Timex IQ+ Move review: Step-tracking with flair (but not much else)

Since the original Pebble took Kickstarter by storm, there has always been a payoff of beauty against function. In short, if you want something on your wrist with some kind of connectivity, you have to accept that the only heads it’s going to turn are those appalled at your sartorial choices.

Okay, that’s clearly harsh, but you see my point, right? Until batteries increase capacity AND come down in size, a wearable with a screen can only look so nice – and it’s probably capped around the level of the Samsung Gear S3 and the Apple Watch. That means that it’s a connected smartwatch or a beautiful dumb watch competing for your money.

There is a third way, though: the smart-ish watch. These wearables eschew the screen in favour of glass, physical hands and classic timepiece aesthetics. Think the Casio Ediface EQB-600 and the Misfit Phase.

Now American watch veteran Timex has joined the party, with the most beautiful wearable I’ve ever had strapped to my wrist. But is a smartwatch with limited smarts really worth having?

Timex IQ+ Move review: Design


It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that smartwatches aren’t that bad-looking, but wear one next to the Timex IQ+ Move and you’ll quickly see the folly behind this idea. I wore it alongside a Fitbit Blaze over the course of my review to compare recorded stats and it’s like they’re from different planets, no matter how much I like the Blaze.

The Timex IQ+ Move has a smooth, round face, edged with metal, while a slightly curved glass plate covers an understated classical watch face. The watch hands aren’t pixellated, because they’re real and they move, just as they have for centuries. The satisfying tick of the second hand is just about audible in a quiet room. It’s delightful.

What hasn’t been there for centuries is step-tracking, and that’s exactly what the IQ+ brings to the party, with progress towards your daily goal indicated by a separate dial in the lower-right-hand quadrant of the face. The dial runs zero to 100 because it’s based on percentages. This makes sense, given everyone’s step goals are different.[gallery:2]

Those are the only numbers on the surface – the rest is all lines, dashes and dots for an understated style – aside from the Timex branding just below where the 12 would normally be. Our model came with a white face, gold hands and a silver bezel, but different colours are available. The whole look is finished off with a Timex-branded brown leather strap. Like all leather straps, this proved a touch uncomfortable to begin with, with the watch refusing to stay flush no matter how painfully tightly I did it up, but as it’s leather it’s sure to soften up over time.

Timex IQ+ Move review: Smart features

So what smart features does the Timex IQ+ Move offer? Well, none, really. It’s essentially analogue to the most basic original Fitbit, without the suitability for exercise. This is for step tracking and sleep tracking. Oh, and you can set an alarm through the app. That’s about it.[gallery:3]

So how does it do with its two jobs? Step tracking is fine. A spot check as I write this has Fitbit saying I’ve done 568 steps to Timex’s 521 (don’t judge me, I’ve been working from home today), so close enough that you needn’t worry. In any case, measuring accuracy on step trackers always seemed like a pointless endeavour to me. As long as they’re consistent with themselves each day, it doesn’t matter too much if it’s 100 or 500 off the real total.

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