- It's a looker
- Step and sleep tracking accurate
- Smarts are minimal
- Syncing is too much hassle
Hybrid smartwatches are taking off and Timex wants a piece of the pie. The Timex IQ+ Move is the watchmaker's move into the connected future, but like Fossil, Misfit and others it's fusing classic looks with tracking smarts.
It's interesting to see the degree to which this varies across hybrids right now, and the result of the IQ+ Move is more "proper watch" meets basic fitness tracker. It's less feature-fit than the Withings Steel HR and even the Hugo Boss Smart Classic; it doesn't even do notifications. But it does a couple of things solidly.
The watch is available now for and comes in two sizes, and a range of different colours and materials. I've been spending some time with one wrapped round my wrist - here's my verdict on the IQ+ Move.
Timex IQ+: Design
Timex has the looks. The Move is a nicely designed hybrid, and like many of its peers it gives away very little in terms of its smarts. There's a 37mm (with 18mm swappable bands) and a 41mm version (20mm bands) available but both do exactly the same, and both are water resistant to 50 meters.
I spent most of my time with one of the "sportier" variants that comes with a silicon strap, and I've been wearing it in the shower with no problems, although the other model I tried has a leather strap that would obviously fare less well when wet. All the models are alloy with varying finishes, and all light and comfortable enough on the wrist. The case is nice and thin too, so no complaints on the general aesthetic.
There is one giveaway however: the sub-dial in the bottom ride side. This acts as a progress bar for either your step or distance goal - whichever you set it to in the app. The crown on the side of the case is mostly used as a button for turning on the backlight or checking the date; you can pull it out to set the hands manually, but you can also calibrate the hands in the app (and you'll have to during setup). As long as you're syncing it with your phone, it will also automatically adjust to different time zones if you're travelling.
The indigo backlight is activated with a second-long push of the crown, emitting a warm - but not too bright - glow that fills the face evenly. Like me, it might take you back to the days of checking the time on your cheap Casio in the dead of night.
Overall, it has all the looks of a conventional timepiece, and the minimal amount of tech lets it stay svelte. If you find yourself not using some of the tracking features after a few weeks, you're still left with a nice looking watch that doesn't cost the Earth.
Timex IQ+: Features and tracking
The IQ+ Move does very little, but it does some of the basics pretty well.
Let's start with step tracking. The Move is pretty accurate in this department, and while there were a couple of times it clearly got it a bit off, it's kept a very close pace. In fact, on step tracking alone I found it better than the Fitbit Charge 2, which too often overcounts my steps. I had them both on my wrist for a day and the Fitbit was racing ahead. I also did some basic counting methods and found the Move was usually within 10 steps or so - which is decent. It's not a perfect science; I don't think anybody out there can claim to have 100% accurate step tracking, but rest assured the results will be close.
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Where it's fallen down is in translating that to distance, with a habit of overestimating the ground I've covered. It's nice to think I've been so active, but when I initially calculated my actual distance against what the Move thought I'd accomplished, it had been far too generous. There is a way around this: in the app settings you can adjust the distance tracker by a positive or negative percentage, so it can be fine tuned to your walking style.
The sleep tracking has been more accurate than I expected. I've been using it alongside the Beddit 3, which in testing I found to be one of the best sleep trackers out there. The Beddit sits under the sheet and tracks every slight movement as well as heart rate and snoring, while the Timex relies on motion from the wrist alone.
Yet I found them to be pretty close with a 10 - 15 minute average of difference in total sleep time. The Timex has done better than a fair few other wrist trackers I've tried, although it does little beyond give you the total amount of hours slept and how much was deep, light or awake (which is all done simply by tracking how still you are). Still, kudos to Timex on the accuracy.
And that's kind of it in terms of the main features. As I said, there's no notification support at all - not even a bleep or a buzz. There are a couple of other small things you can do: you can set a single alarm via the app, and even a timer, although the latter feels more faff than it's worth considering you need to sync the watch to start it - and that's quite the palaver.
Timex IQ+: Syncing and app
So let's talk about that. To view your data and keep it updated in the app you'll have to sync the IQ+ Move with your phone. Sounds simple enough, and you'd think auto-syncing would be standard by now, or at least it would be a case of opening the app and letting it do the business.
With the Move, however, it demands the awkward task of hitting the sync button in the app and also holding the crown on the watch down for five seconds, until it bleeps at you and the hands turn to 12. This is the only way to get the two talking; leave the app hanging for too long and you'll have to hit the button again, and vice versa with the watch. It also requires a bit of hand gymnastics if you're trying to do it with the phone in your hand.
Really, it shouldn't be this difficult, and I hope Timex finds a more elegant solution through a future update.
As for the app itself, it's a pretty basic affair. Your homescreen shows you the progress you've made that day towards you step, distance, calorie and sleep goals. Tapping on one will bring up a bar chart that can be presented by hour, day, week, month or year, giving you an view of your progress over time.
That's about as granular as any of the metrics other than sleep go. As I mentioned previously, you can see a breakdown of your sleep through the night - made of deep sleep, light sleep, and bits you were awake - and you can edit the start and end times if it gets it wrong. But sadly you can't do anything with any of the captured data beyond peruse it in the app. Syncing with Apple Health and Google Fit would be nice.
Time IQ+: Where it sits
For anyone looking to hybrid smartwatches, the IQ+ Move is a nice alternative to the likes of the Withings Steel HR and Misfit Phase as it manages to blend in as a conventional timepiece. Just know that it does less than most of its competitors.
While some of those could be classed as analogue "smartwatches", I feel that without notifications and some other features, the Move is leaning more towards fitness tracker territory. But it also looks great, and what it does, it does mostly well. For some people, that will be enough.
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