Runtastic’s New Waterproof Activity Tracker Is Also a Charming Watch
Over the last several years, we’ve come to understand that activity trackers must be unobtrusive bracelets, rubbery black caterpillars that occupy our wrists and log our every move. There’s life after the boring band, though, and it looks a lot like the Runtastic Moment.
“Looking at the products currently available, we strongly felt there was a large gap between fashion and functionality,” said Runtastic CEO Florian Gschwandtner in a statement. “Therefore, we developed the Runtastic Moment to be an all-encompassing device that is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and habit-forming.”
Like the Withings Activité Pop before it, the Moment—actually a family of four models, available in various colors—is a watch first, activity tracker second. Not some digital smart watch, either; the Moment has real watch hands and a real watch face and tells real watch time. It also has a real watch battery, which you’ll have to replace every six months or so, instead of having to find a charger every few days or weeks.
Underneath that analog veneer, the Moment’s high-tech innards log your every move all day and all night. It’s compatible with the iPhone 4S or newer, Android smartphones running 4.3 or higher that embrace Bluetooth 4.0, and similarly recent, Bluetooth-equipped Windows Phones. The reasons for the Bluetooth requirement—which by now most Android phones meet—are that it’s low energy, meaning it won’t drain the Moment’s traditional lithium battery, and it’s how the Moment syncs with device. There are no ports here, no cords, no clutter. Just a few taps of a Runtastic app offloads your information.
And yes, that does mean that the Runtastic Momentum is compatible only with the eponymous app, as well as another called Runtastic Me. That’s the most glaring (though also entirely understandable) potential drawback of the Momentum; if you’ve spent the last five years charting your workouts with Runkeeper, MapMyRun, or any of the assorted fitness-following partners that dot the App Store tapestry, you’ll need to embrace a fresh start. (Withings, it’s worth noting, partners with multiple health apps, including those mentioned here).
If being locked into Runtastic either doesn’t matter to you or sounds actively appealing (it’s a fine app!), you’ve got choices. For $130 you can grab the Moment Fun or Moment Basic, which appear to be basically the same watch aside from the highlighter-inspired color schemes available in the Fun model, and a slightly larger display on the Basic. The $180 Elite steps you up to a leather band and a more business-casual design, while the comparably priced Classic seems similar but adds a “rose gold” option.
Despite the differing color schemes and price tags, all four Momentum devices are identical in practice. They track your steps, calories, and sleep, showing your progress in a small circle on the watch face. They’re all waterproof, so you’ll get full credit for all of your shower activity.
Smartwatches have plenty of appeal, especially for those who need a rope to save them from drowning in notifications. They can also, though, be overkill, and another low-battery annoyance in your life. A normal watch can offer similar relief from your smartphone, at a lower price and with a much broader range of stylistic choices. An attractive normal watch with secret, activity-tracking superpowers seems like the best of both worlds.
That doesn’t mean the Runtastic Moment is the right watch-plus for you. Some things to consider: The Activité Pop is slightly more expensive, but works with more apps. You may also like prefer the look. It seems unlikely, too, that these will be your only options in this category for long. It may be worth simply waiting until your fashion and function preferences align, or until the amount of competition drives prices down across the board.
The important takeaway from Moment is that there’s now more choice, not just of device type but of device provider. The notion of what a wearable is or isn’t, should or shouldn’t be, hasn’t yet been settled. Your wrist deserves exactly what you like. If that hasn’t been invented yet, just hold tight. It’s only a matter of time.