Review: Motorola MotoActv

April 16, 2013 in Motorola, Smart Watch Reviews

The front view of the Motorola MotoActv

At a glance
The Good: Smart functions work well and notifications are easy to read on the watch itself.
The Bad: Difficult to type on the small screen and is limited to Android devices.
Final words: It is a fitness device first and a smart watch second. It is also pricier than the other smart watches. If you are in the market for a sports and fitness tracker and a smart watch as well, then this is the best smart watch for you right now.

Pricing and availability: US$259.99 for the Motorola MOTOACTV 8GB or US$279.15 for the Motorola MOTOACTV 16GB Golf Edition

This is primarily a fitness device that has smart watch capabilities second. Even so, the MotoActv is a pretty competent smart watch as we will show in this review.


The side of the Motorola MotoActv

The MotoActv sports a beautiful 1.6 inch touchscreen display and, like the Sony SmartWatch, it uses a clip to attach itself to a wristband or your clothing. Given its size, it is surprisingly light and comfortable to wear on your wrist.

It can be worn during most land-based sports, but since it is only sweat-proof and rain-resistant, water sports are out of the question.


Setting up

The MotoActv will record your age, gender, height and weight during the first power up sequence. This data will be used to calculate your workouts and the settings can be changed subsequently in your personal profile page.

You will then need to connect the MotoActv to a computer to install MotoCast. After installation, you will be directed to create a MotoCast ID. Wifi set up is an optional step, but it allows your MotoActv to sync your data with account wirelessly.

The device has five home screens: Settings, Workout, Timepiece, Music and Notifications in that order. The default page, Timepiece, will show the date, time, steps taken and calories burnt for that day. You will need to swipe left or right from Timepiece to get to the other home screens.

Typing on the MotoActv is somewhat troublesome due to the small screen. You will need to scroll left and right to get to the keys you want.



As this fitness tracker has smart watch capabilities as well, you can pair the MotoActv with an Android phone (no luck here for iOS users).

To begin, download the MotoActv app from the Google Play Store and activate your smartphones Bluetooth mode. On your MotoActv, go to Settings, tap on General, select Smartphone settings and tap Start Setup. Follow the onboard instructions on your app and the devices will be paired shortly after.

This will allow you to receive text messages, calls and calendar notifications on your MotoActv. You can even return a missed call from the notifications screen by selecting it and choosing Call Back.

Text and calendar notifications work as they should and are large enough to view without needing your smartphone.


Motorola MotoActv


As this is primarily a fitness device, most of its functions revolve around fitness. For starters, you can set workouts for yourself, for example, starting with a 15 minute moderate warm up jog followed by a more intensive 30 minute run and ending it off with a cool down. There is a Competitor function on the MotoActv that allows you to compete against a virtual competitor. You can see how you are doing in a challenge or relative to a previous workout or a preset time and distance goal. The MotoActv is GPS capable and will be used for both running, walking and cycling.

What is a workout without music? The MotoActv allows you to sync your playlists from iTunes or Windows Media Player to keep you entertained during your workouts.

To keep track of your workouts, the MotoActv is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) heart rate monitor sensors. Pairing them with the MotoActv is easy, but the MotoActv can only be paired with only one type of sensor at a time (either BLE or ANT+). You can however pair multiple sensors of the same technology type to the MotoActv at the same time.

The MotoActv caters to golfers as well. You can use the MotoActv Golf software to enable your MotoActv to keep track of your scorecards, clubs and key statistics.

To conserve battery life, the display sleeps after a few seconds of inactivity. Waking it only requires the share of your hand. When paired with a smartphone, the MotoActv uses about 30% of its battery capacity every day, giving it a battery life of just around 3 days, which is decent.


You can buy the Motorola MotoActv in two versions:
Motorola MOTOACTV 16GB Golf Edition


Tech Specs
Color: Black
Dimensions: 46 x 46 x 9.6 mm
Weight: 71g (with wristband)
Display: 1.6inch scratch resistant touchscreen
Compatibility: Devices with Android OS 2.3 and above

  • ANT+ enabled
  • Audio jack, 3.5 mm
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) enabled
  • Bluetooth 1.5 class or higher enabled
  • FM Radio
  • GPS


Check out the Motorola MotaActv on Amazon

If you are interested in accessories for the MotoActv, do take a look at our reviews for the Heart Rate Monitor and Bike Speed and Cadence Sensor.

We hope you liked our Motorola MotoActv smart watch review and would love to hear what you think in the comments below.