Xplora XMOVE Two-minute review

According to Techradar, The Xplora XMOVE fitness tracker is a basic and affordable activity watch designed for families that collates the number of steps each person and applies them across a range of different sports. Xplora’s app gives out awards, badges and ‘Xcoins’ that can be put towards digital content and consumer goods, all in an effort to gamify an entire family’s attempts to be less slovenly.

Gimmick or game-changer? The XMOVE is a bit of both. Its core features are, for the money, impressive. There’s a sensor to monitor activity, with an option to monitor inactivity, reminding the wearer to get moving and/or drink water at specific times. It has running, walking, cycling and swimming modes to record activity data, plus an optical heart rate monitor and a sleep tracker to record the duration and quality of your rest. It has some smartwatch functions too, funnelling messages and notifications from social media and messaging apps.

Xplora XMOVE screen in natural light showing daily step counts for the week

THE XMOVE feels a little flimsy, but it’s water resistant, and is well built enough for such a cheap device. However, it doesn’t do very much with the data it collects, and we’re not convinced about its accuracy. For example, it uses an accelerometer rather than GPS to calculate distance, and it can’t be calibrated. The motion sensor that is supposed to wake-up the display when you raise a wrist is also a bit hit-and-miss.

The seven sports modes – including swimming – are impressive, and the device is comfortable while out on a run (albeit with a screen that can be a little dim even on full brightness).

Despite its shortcomings, the XMOVE has a lot of appeal for families after a simple and affordable device to track activity. It comes in a range of colors that should appeal to kids and adults alike, it’s comfortable and light to wear, and it does just about enough, data-wise, to encourage you all to get move active.

Xplora XMOVE price and release date

The Xplora XMVOE was released in June 2021, and is available from Xplora and third-party retailers in black, petrol, gray, and pink.

Costing £49.99 (about $70 / AU$90), the XMOVE is one of the most affordable sports watches around. However, at the time of writing it was only available for purchase in the UK, Germany, Spain, France and Poland.

Design

  • Lightweight and slim
  • Weighs 32g
  • Waterproof to 1.5m

The XMOVE has a no-frills design and build. It’s got a plasticky look and feel and a slightly hollow ring to it when you tap the screen, but none of this affects its functionality. In fact, this 45 x 38 x 10mm watch is so slim and lightweight, you’ll hardly know it’s there.

Xplora XMOVE side view

With an IP68 rating it’s water resistant to 1.5m, so it can be worn when swimming (there’s also a swimming mode in its menus), and unlike many fitness trackers aimed specifically at kids, such as the Fitbit Ace 3, there’s an optical heart rate monitor.

Otherwise, the hardware is basic. The 1.3-inch LCD display has a resolution of just 240 x 240 pixels. It’s relatively easy to read and colorful enough, but it’s not very bright in direct sunlight. Its touchscreen works most of the time, though there’s often a slight lag. A small dial on the right-hand side serves to wake the device.

The watch band is simple silicone and all about function; it’s got plenty of adjustment holes (essential for a device designed to be worn by both adults and children) and two keeper loops to stow any loose strap.

Setup

  • Straightforward setup
  • Requires a main ‘guardian’ account for the family
  • Configurable app and smartphone notifications

The XMOVE is a Bluetooth device that syncs with a phone app when it’s close. Setup involves scanning a QR code displayed on the device’s screen, which is easy enough, then setting up a main ‘guardian’ account. Each device needs a profile, too, so you end up with two. Confusing.

Configured via the app, the XMOVE can also show incoming messages from Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Skype, Outlook, Line and WeChat, as well as displaying notifications for SMS and gently vibrating when you get a call. Having smartphone notifications on your wrist is handy while running, though the text is exceptionally small.

Xplora XMOVE displaying QR code for connecting the watch to a smartphone

Fitness tracking

  • At-a-glance step counter and heart rate
  • Seven sports modes
  • Concerns about accuracy

The XMOVE is all about the here and now. Want to know how many steps you’re taken today, or your current heart rate? No problem. Compared to yesterday’s? Not so easy to find out. Any trends? Nope. If you’re a data-muncher on a fitness drive, you’re going to have to eat elsewhere because the Xplora MOVE is about getting you moving and taking more steps – and that’s about it.

What it does do, it does well. Although it counts your steps automatically, if you go for a run you have to scroll through some ‘sports’ options and select ‘outdoor running’. You then get a screen showing your distance run, steps taken and the number of steps per minute, along with the current duration of your run.

Close-up of Xplora XMOVE showing step count, calories burned, and distance

As with most non-GPS running watches, the XMOVE uses best-guess algorithms. We ran exactly 10km – as defined by a GPS watch we were also wearing – and the XMOVE recorded it as 8.7km. While mid-range to high-end smartwatches tend to offer the chance to use a treadmill to calibrate their algorithms, the XMOVE does not.

The XMOVE is not as responsive as it could be, either. With ‘wake screen on wrist raise’ the XMOVE is supposed to switch itself on every time you lift up your wrist to glance at the watch, but only this works most of the time, and not at all if you raise the XMOVE while lying in bed. It also takes about a second and a half to light up, which feels like a long time when you’re running or even when you just want to check the time.

It’s a similar story with touch; the XMOVE screen isn’t super-responsive, and we had to jab at its screen a little too often for comfort in an effort to wake it up. However, once it’s woken it’s possible to reliably scroll and swipe through apps and stats without much lag.

Sleep tracking report on the Xplora XMOVE

The XMOVE has an at-rest screen that displays the time and date, along with icons for heart rate and steps. There’s also a section for taking real-time measurements of your heart rate, blood pressure and blood/oxygen levels, all of which seemed accurate. However when you do ask it to measure those metrics, it does so, but then leaves the result on the screen for only about five seconds before the watch sleeps. It then defaults to the home screen.

We loved the silent haptic buzzes that accompany alerts to move (along with a graphic of a running man), drink water (a half-glass of water appears on the watch face) or a morning wake-up alarm. It’s perfect if you need to get up early and don’t want to wake your partner.

Companion app

  • Very basic data
  • Join challenges to compete against other users
  • Useful ‘sedentary reminder’ option

The Xlpora app is built for kids. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but it’s covered in badges, virtual ‘coins’ and general gamification tools that, frankly, won’t mean much to your average adult. The app collates the total number of steps, which convert to Xplora Coins (Xcoins) at a rate of one coin per 1,000 steps. Xcoins can be spent exclusively on digital products from Goplay, which partners with Sony PlayStation, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros and Fox. However, during our review Goplay was available online, but not via the app.

Step counts and Xcoin achievements in the Xplora smartphone app

Achievement badges can also be earned, but more interesting is a section in the app containing a few challenges. For example, a ‘Walk to Mars’ challenge sees you embark on a 54 million kilometer journey (the shortest possible distance between Earth and Mars) where 1,000 steps equals 10 kilometers, with the winners after a specific date bagging an iPad, Lego, a drone or a telescope.

That’s cute, but in terms of collating rich data on activity, the Xplora app is disappointing. It gives you a total number of steps run, but not distance. Click the steps icon and all you get is a very simple line graph of your steps taken from the last week and last month. Rich data this is not.

Setup options for the Xplora XMOVE on a smartphone

The watch’s essential functions, including notifications, are customized through the smartphone app (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

The app does include an area upfront to set alarms and reminders, crucially to move about and/or drink water at specific pre-set times. The ‘sedentary reminder’ gives an option to move every 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes, and a step threshold to achieve between 100 and 1,000 steps. You can set it to apply to specific time-slots on specific days, too.

All good, though the app does lack any kind of guidance. Should we be moving once per hour? Every 30 minutes? It’s not clear. Ditto its water reminder. None of this comes with virtual rewards, so can be easily ignored.

Battery life

  • 160mAh battery
  • Lasts about five days

Inside the XMOVE’s tiny chassis is a 160mAh lithium-ion battery that’s reckoned by Xplora to last up to 10 days on standby, or five days of normal use. That proved about right in our tests, and perhaps it’s even a little conservative; it lasted for four long runs in an entire week without the need to recharge. That’s largely because that tiny battery isn’t powering a GPS receiver, of course.

Xplora XMOVE beside its USB charging cradle

What we didn’t like about the XMOVE is how it’s recharged. Xplora supplies the XMOVE with a very cheap-looking proprietary USB charging cradle. It attaches to the XMOVE magnetically, but without it the XMOVE cannot be recharged. Since this is supposed to be a family device and proprietary chargers and obviously ripe for losing, it’s a bit off-message.

First reviewed July 2021

Buy it if

You don’t need fancy hardware
A low resolution screen and a slight lack of brightness make this flimsy product seem low quality, but it’s very comfortable, has an excellent strap and it’s waterproof. What more do you really need?

You want to run to Mars and earn a GoPro
Collect enough Xplora Coins and you can even get yourself a free GoPro Hero 9 Black, though you’ll need 12,000 of them (we earned 40 in a week-long test).

Don’t buy it if

You want rich data on your activity
Although there’s an excellent read-out as you run showing you how far you’ve gone, how fast you’re moving and how long you’ve been running for, this data isn’t easy to access after the run is over and nor can it be shared with other apps like Strava or MyFitnessPal.

You need accurate data on how far you’ve run
Since the XMOVE uses an algorithm to chart your movement it’s not as accurate as a GPS watch. In our tests it underestimated how far we ran by about 10%.