Withings Move ECG full review

Withings offers fitness trackers that are designed to look like classic everyday watches, and the Move ECG is no exception. Like the Move, it comes with customisable straps and faces, activity monitoring and sleep tracking. However, what makes this watch stand out is in the name.

One of the only downfalls of the Move was its lack of heart rate tracking - something that the Move ECG rectifies. You can use the electrocardiogram (ECG) to take a quick analysis of your heart rhythm with the press of a button, along with a short summary about whether your reading is normal or shows signs of AFib (atrial fibrillation, AKA an irregular heartbeat).

An ECG is different to standard heart monitoring on a fitness tracker, which only tells you how fast your heart is beating. An electrocardiograph (ECG) on the other hand is used in hospitals across the world and considered to be extremely reliable for tracking and analysing your heart rhythm, spotting irregularities that could be a sign of poor heart health. However, this additional feature does come at quite a steep price hike. 

If you'd like to see what the Withings Move ECG is up against, then check out our rankings of the best fitness trackers

Price

The Withings Move ECG is available in the UK now, priced at £129.95/$129.95. Unfortunately it’s not in stock in the US at the moment, though you can sign up to the mailing list to find out when it's available. The Withings UK site only offers shipping to European countries, but you can pick it up from Amazon UK which does do international shipping should you need it.

At this price point, the Move ECG is actually around double the price of the Move (coming in at £59.95/$69.95). Although, having an ECG on a fitness tracker is a very specialist feature - something that you'd only really see on the likes of the Apple Watch Series 4

You can choose from two face colours (black and white) as well as an additional wristband in another colour for £19.95/$19.95. That’s all the customisation that you can do on this watch - you aren’t able to pick out any other watch faces as you can with the Move due to the addition of the ECG, which requires stricter regulations due to the design.

Design

The Move ECG comes in a sleek design with a smooth strap and clear face, with an additional hand that is used for the ECG and exercise tracking. The plastic face is surrounded by a stainless steel bezel ring, which doubles as the monitor for your ECG. If you put the Move and Move ECG side-by-side, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference really.

As with the Move there’s two dials on the face - one for telling the time and the other for measuring your exercise and ECG. The dial works for exercising by measuring your step goal for the day out of 100% (with the dial going from zero to hundred) and gradually moving throughout the day as you get closer to your goal.

Withings Move ECG

The dial also changes when you use the ECG, counting down from 100 to tell you how long you need to wait before you can resume your day-to-day activities (more on this later). Once it’s over, it goes back into the position of the step goal percentage for the day. Everyday at midnight the watch resets back to zero.

You can choose from either a black or white 1.4 inch face - the former comes with a black strap, and the latter comes with a blue. On top of those colours you can also add on a grey, yellow, coral or mint strap for a different look. I tested out the watch in basic black.

This is also an extremely lightweight and unobtrusive watch - a nice change of pace compared to something like the chunky Amazfit GTR. You won’t find it a hindrance on your wrist, and it easily fits under more fitted clothing if you need it to. In fact, the simple design and companion app means that this watch could easily become an everyday wear without obviously being a fitness tracker.

Fitness tracking

All the data that the watch collects can be found on the companion Health Mate app (available for iOS and Android), leaving the watch uncomplicated and easy-to-use. The Move ECG will transfer your step count or ECG reading from the device onto the app via Bluetooth - though you don’t need your Bluetooth constantly on to do this, which is great news for your phone’s precious battery life.

On the Health Mate App you can track all your previous exercise history. The watch comes with automatic exercise detection that works for walking, running, cycling and swimming (yes, the watch is waterproof, with a rating of up to 50m depth). However, if you want to log something a little more specific - like pilates or even ice hockey - you can manually input this in the app, with a choice of forty different sports and activities.

Withings Move ECG

The recording in the app will include the duration, distance travelled and the calories burnt during the exercise. If you have your phone nearby you’ll also get a GPS of your route. Here you can also add photos and notes - something useful if you’re tracking your progress over time.

New to the Move ECG is also a tracker for how many floors you’ve climbed and the elevation gained during that time. This is a great feature if you’re into your hiking or training on hills etc.

During the night, the watch automatically tracks your sleep, providing a detailed analysis on when you got deep and light sleep, any interruptions you had, plus an overall ‘Sleep Score’ with breakdowns on what you’ve done in the past in comparison to now, and the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep.

The app can also integrate with other fitness apps for more granular tracking. For example, there’s a section specifically for MyFitnessPal, which means that you can keep your food log and fitness records all in one place.

Now time for the selling point of this watch - the ECG. The benefit you can take from this is that this feature is 100% medically certified, and it shows. Readings on the watch are extremely thorough - including a live graph on the app as you perform an ECG.

Withings Move ECG

To do this you need to click the button on the right side of the watch, and then place two fingers on the top right of the edge of the face and hold them there for 30 seconds. The app advises you to be still and silent whilst the reading is being taken to get the most accurate result possible.

Having the watch on-hand therefore could be very useful if you're ever experiencing unusual chest pain or shortness of breath and you want to check in on how your heart rate is doing. The app also keeps record of all your previous readings, which you can email or print off and send to your doctor if you'd like a more thorough and professional analysis of your results. 

Whilst this is a neat feature, it’s also extremely manual. ECGs are not automatic - you can only take them manually, and they only last for these 30 second increments. You don't get continuous heart rate tracking as standard, and considering that the ECG is the main selling point of the tracker, it’s a little bit of a bummer. Especially when competitors - some of which undercut the price of the Move ECG - can do continuous heart rate tracking.

However, the Move ECG does take back an edge with a ma-hoo-sive battery life of up to 12 months. Considering some digital fitness trackers need charging after a single days use, this will save you a lot of time and hassle. However, it runs on a standard CR2430 watch battery, and to replace it properly you’ll probably need to go to a jeweller or watch shop, or otherwise risk ruining the waterproofing.

Verdict

When it comes to design, the Withings Move ECG is so classic and simple that it could pass as an everyday watch. On the fitness tracking side, the companion Health Mate app does almost everything you need it to and more, whilst being scientifically backed-up.

However, considering that the ECG nearly doubles the price of the Move ECG in comparison to the Move, its actual capabilities are not as versatile as other fitness trackers that offer continuous heart monitoring. Nonetheless, if you’re simply in love with the Withings Move classic watch design - but want that little bit extra - this is the wearable for you.

Specs

Withings Move ECG: Specs

  • Requires iOS 10 or later or Android 6 or later
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • GPS
  • Silent alarm
  • Activity traker
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Electrocardiogram sensors
  • Water resistant up to 50m