Customer Review

The manufacturer commented on the review belowSee comments
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had so much potential..., December 30, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: MOTOACTV 8 GB GPS Fitness Tracker and Music Player (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I'll admit that I was torn about purchasing the MOTOACTV after reading the reviews on Amazon, but I finally decided to purchase this product a few days ago and I'm glad I did. As an alternative to some of the detailed, product-specific reviews, I thought it might be helpful to walk through my purchase decision:

It is clear that Motorola identified an unmet market need with this product: a small, fitness-specific GPS device with a built-in MP3 player. That was exactly the feature set that I had been searching for. The alternatives on the market fell short for different reasons:

- iPod Nano, 7th generation: GOOD: small, clip + watch + armband options, music, Nike+ app; BAD: No GPS
- Nike+ Sportwatch, Garmin Watches: GOOD: GPS, small; BAD: No music, watch only
- Smartphone apps (e.g. Runkeeper, Endomondo, MapMyRun, Nike+): GOOD: GPS, cheap or free, most offer music; BAD: requires bulky smartphone, varying quality software

Despite having a feature set that separated it from these alternatives, the MOTOACTV is a first-generation device supported by first-generation cloud-based fitness tracking software. As a result, the device shipped with key flaws, not the least of which was poor battery life and inaccurate GPS accuracy. These types of issues should have been fixed before this product hit the market, but my guess is these flaws were a result of the product team being pushed to get the product out before the holiday shopping season. The nice thing is that in this day and age, the concept of "rapid prototyping" is all the rage. It's now okay to ship a half-baked product, solicit tons of input from early adopting customers, and offer frequent firmware updates to fix major and minor flaws.

Which brings me to the reason I purchased this product: I knew the MOTOACTV v1 would not be a flawless device but it had the features I wanted at a price (on Amazon) that I thought was reasonable. I debated waiting until v2, but I decided to buy this model because I recognized that most of the flaws could be fixed with firmware updates and Motorola appears committed to listening to users and releasing frequent updates. They have already released multiple firmware updates over the past few months (with a preference for the 8GB model, so be wary of the 16GB), including one just before I bought it that fixed the battery life issues. Since battery life was one of the primary complaints from early users, it was essential that they corrected that issue. In addition, they have a forum manager named Matt who is trolling all of the comments on this site and others and is frequently responding directly to customers. I appreciate that, even if he can't fix every issue.

In sum, this is not a perfect product, but I love the combination of features and the fact that it's getting better with each firmware update. Using the MOTOACTV is SOOO much better than lugging around my bulky mobile phone on long runs! As long as Motorola continues the level of support that they have shown during the first few months of this product's life cycle, I would definitely recommend purchasing this device.

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January 14, 2012 Update

I've been running with the MOTOACTV for over two weeks and have logged ~80 miles with it. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the device itself. The website that stores workout data and other features, on the other hand, is decent but needs additional focus. For instance, the site does not integrate "planned" and "actual" workouts into the same calendar interface. That's a clear miss that I imagine most customers would want.

As I mentioned in my review above, this is a v1 website and thus I would not expect it to be perfect. Motorola appears committed to listening to customers and rapidly updating the product, so I trust that they are working behind the scenes to improve the online experience. At this point, I'd give the entire MOTOACTV ecosystem (device + website) 4.5 stars. Because I care more about the device than the website, however, I left my rating at 5 stars.

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August 25, 2013 Update

Downgraded to three stars since Motorola discontinued the product and is no longer committed to improvement as they were when I wrote the initial review. Unfortunate because this could have been a great product.
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The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Jan 1, 2012 4:02:53 PM PST
Hey, thanks for the shout-out! And I'll be sure to pass your comments on to the engineers -- they deserve some strokes. It's great to hear someone notice and acknowledge these efforts to listen and respond to owners.

We don't actually have a preference for the 8GB product, but we did release the last couple of software updates on the 8GB devices ahead of the 16GB versions. At this point they are both on the same software and we don't anticipate another "split" in the release schedule.

I hope you will consider joining the Motorola Owners' Forums (https://forums.motorola.com/hives/db0dbff05b/summary) where there is a growing MOTOACTV community.
 
 
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
A comment by the manufacturer   (What's this?)
Initial post: Jan 1, 2012 4:02:53 PM PST
Hey, thanks for the shout-out! And I'll be sure to pass your comments on to the engineers -- they deserve some strokes. It's great to hear someone notice and acknowledge these efforts to listen and respond to owners.

We don't actually have a preference for the 8GB product, but we did release the last couple of software updates on the 8GB devices ahead of the 16GB versions. At this point they are both on the same software and we don't anticipate another "split" in the release schedule.

I hope you will consider joining the Motorola Owners' Forums (https://forums.motorola.com/hives/db0dbff05b/summary) where there is a growing MOTOACTV community.

Posted on Jan 15, 2012 10:19:35 PM PST
Scott and/or Matt, I've looked all over, but still can't find out if this device has the ONE thing I cannot do without--current pace. I'm a competitive runner who has used a Garmin in the past while training for marathons. Since I recently had my iPod stolen, and since I'm gearing up for a marathon this year, I figured it'd be a great time to get a device that combines the two. What I need is to know my pace as I am running. Does this device do that? Does it display this as I'm running? I'm running at a pace where a few seconds off my goal pace means I'm running too fast or two slow, so it has to be accurate. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2012 4:17:46 PM PST
It definitely displays current pace. From my experience, the pace does jump around a bit so I'm not sure if it's as accurate in real time as it sounds like you would like. To compensate for that, I also have it display my current "lap pace" which for me is set to record my current mile pace. Between those two, I feel pretty comfortable that I am within +/- 10 seconds of my target pace at a given time.

The MOTOACTV also has pace zones that you can set manually on the website and track via a dedicated screen on the device. Admittedly, I haven't quite figured out how to set it up properly (my lower and upper pace targets never seem to stick), though I'd like to figure it out soon.

Finally, I haven't tested this, but I wonder if putting the battery in one of the other modes that only record GPS data every 2 or 3 seconds (as opposed to the standard mode of every 1 second, which I use) might also have a "smoothing" effect for the real time pace calculator. Have any others tried this?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2012 8:13:44 PM PST
Scott, thanks a lot for the detailed response. Matt, or anyone else, do you know if setting the GPS data record to 2 or 3 seconds makes the pace more accurate or "smooth?" Looking forward to finding out as this will be the deciding factor for me in buying this over a Garmin 110.

Posted on Jun 18, 2012 5:26:00 AM PDT
andrewgmiles says:
Thanks for such a detailed review Scott (and you Matt for getting involved in these comments). I'm left with two questions:

- I plan on running a marathon whilst using GPS and listening to music. You mention a firmware update improved battery life. Is it now good enough for this?
- I love idea of the watch giving me updates 'you just ran 1 mile' etc. BUT can it give those updates whilst you are playing music? Or do you have to choose if to listen to music or get the voice-updates on your run?

cheers, Andrew

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 6:45:31 AM PDT
If you use wired headsets, you will be fine -- even with the screen on you should get about eight hours of battery life. With Bluetooth headset, well, how fast are you? :) If you are faster than the average runner of the Boston Marathon, you might make it, but for most runners, Bluetooth will be more than the device can support.

The music fades out a bit so the coach can speak, then it comes back up.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 7:45:19 AM PDT
andrewgmiles says:
Excellent, thanks Matt!
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