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Terrier Tech: Motorola MOTOACTV

A fitness tracker for the great outdoors

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This week “Terrier Tech” looks at Motorola’s MOTOACTV, a small, watch-sized fitness tracker that packages smartphone processing power in a wearable cube. The device features GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity—which means you can focus on working up a sweat and leave all the data tracking to the ACTV.

Already bought a workout tracker? Take heart: the ACTV is also compatible with ANT+ enabled devices. We were able to link the ACTV to Motorola phones and push text messages and phone call notifications to the 1.6-inch, Gorilla Glass®–protected touch screen. Unfortunately, you can view only incoming calls and texts, making the phone-to-ACTV connection only slightly useful.

Once the ACTV is set up on your computer, the device is surprisingly easy to use—simply scroll through the touch screen to start a workout, and the ACTV does everything else to record your pace, location, and calories burned. If you’ve also set up the ACTV to access your wireless network, it will automatically upload all your info onto the MOTOACTV website for you to peruse later, or set fitness goals and workout times.

Unlike other trackers, the ACTV allows you to correlate your workout performance with the music you’re listening to while using the device. This has the advantage of letting you know which songs inspire you to push harder.

Now, a word about the price. The ACTV isn’t cheap: the price ranges from $249.99 to $299.99, which buys you either 8GB or 16GB of storage space for music. There are a variety of additional accessories that can be purchased, including wristbands, bike clips, even a heart rate monitor to tailor to your specific workout needs. Given the fact that you can find many of the ACTV’s location and pace functions on similarly priced smartphones (or even built into gym equipment), we were hoping the device would be less expensive. It does make training for your next marathon a lot easier by computing the raw data into a user-friendly set of graphs and charts, but if you don’t have the cash, you can always grab a free running app for your smartphone or even a stopwatch, a pen, and paper.

“For the cost of an ACTV, I could pay someone to sweat for me!” gasps “Terrier Tech” host Warren Towers. “Unless you’re a super-athlete, I think you’ll be happy with just a free app on your phone.”

Want “Terrier Tech” to review a gadget? Post it in the comments section below or DM us @BUToday.

Joe Chan can be reached at joechan@bu.edu. Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu.

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Joe Chan

Joe Chan can be reached at joechan@bu.edu.

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