The Archon Move is a fitness tracker with heart rate monitor that costs just £59.99 which is around half the price of the the Fitbit Charge 2.

 

Its basic features include:

 

  • Track Steps, Sleep Pattern, Meter and Calories burnt and Heart Rate
  • 5 Point Multiple-point Colour touch screen allows easy swipe and faster scrolling.
  • 1.06″ Colour HD TFT Screen provides clear and high-resolution display
  • Variety clock style for selection (Vertical or Horizontal, with or without Heart rate)
  • Reliable Bluetooth connection within 8M. Automatic pairing simplifies connection process.

Build

In terms of its design, it is quite attractive as far as a fitness tracker goes, it has the same sort of build quality as the original Fitbit Charge. Which in general is a bit plasticky but it is still pretty good for the price. It seems narrower than the original Fitbit but its screen covers most of the top of your wrist. The plastic strap comes in 6 colours and mine was a nice military green. What I didn’t realise until I saw someone else’s review is that the device is actually removable from the strap, so you can swap colours if needed. More importantly, it means if the strap is damaged the whole device isn’t ruined, unlike the Charge which I found has about a 12-month lifespan before it falls apart.

As usual with devices like this, the charges uses a proprietary charging cable/mount. It seems adequate, the Archon is held in place with a magnet and the connection feels quite weak, so you need to be careful when placing it on charge.

It is rated for IP67 so it should be rain and shower proof.

There is also no hardware button, and you navigate the device through its touch screen.

Setup

Initial setup was quite difficult, it is not that the process was hard, it is the same as every other Bluetooth device. However, there were issues establishing a connection, the app connected at first but then wouldn’t do any form of update or sync. I removed the device and tried to start again and got nowhere. My phone could connect by selecting it manually in the Bluetooth menu, and eventually, I did get the app to connect to it. So I am not sure if connecting via the Bluetooth menu worked or not, but it was a bit of a faff. Once connected there didn’t seem to be any major issues with ongoing connectivity.

If you have used Fitbit before, the Archon offers a lot of the same features and plus a few more options. In particular app notifications can be customised, so I personally switch off all WhatsApp & facebook notifications as I can’t be dealing with the constant distraction, but SMS and phone calls remained on. You can also change the heart rate sensor sampling times or have it switched off. One setting I found was important to switch off was the notification for loss of Bluetooth. It will vibrate twice if it loses connection, but I don’t need it connected 100% of the time, and it is quite annoying when it does so.

During use

During use the Archon starts to show signs of its more affordable roots compared to Fitbit. The device is quite slow to use and the touchscreen is quite unresponsive. I also found that the optical heart rate nubbin would irritate my wrist a bit, though I am quite hairy so this probably didn’t help, but I don’t have that issue with eh Garmin 235 or the Fitbit.

Due to the lack of a hardware button and the slow screen, starting an exercise can also be a bit annoying. In the past I would often start a run and then activate Fitbit after I started because I forgot, you can do this quite easily without looking and it is quick to do. If I were to do that with the Archon I would physically have to stop and spend about 15+seconds activating the activity.

Battery life is also poor compared to Fitbit, though I had the heart rate sensor sampling frequently, however, the Fitbit samples constantly and that would last several days. This lasted 2 at most.

The app itself it decent, but again no match for the well designed Fitbit app. However, it is probably a nicer looking app than the Garmin equivalent. The app also offers similar gaming functionality as Fitbit where you can have steps challenges, the problem here is the lack of users compared to Fitbit, I had 10+ people on my Fitbit list and I am not a particularly popular person.

While the above points do seem quite negative, the device and app do actually do what they are supposed to quite well, step counting was very similar to Fitbit. Heart rate tracking was semi-accurate, which is about as good as you get with wrist-based HR. It had my resting HR at 61bpm which is about 10 higher than it should be, which is also 10 higher than it used to be because I am a little chubbier than I was at the start of the year! Max HR was around 171bpm which I am pretty sure is inaccurate as I rarely go much past 160bpm. My much more expensive Garmin is just as bad if not worse for wrist-based tracking.

Overall

I have been comparing this device to Fitbit throughout the review, and at the end of the day, it is probably not quite as good as the Charge or Charge 2. However, it is half the price, and quite likely has much better longevity thanks to the removable wrist strap. It does everything the Charge does too and it does it reasonably well, so if you are on a budget or are just wanting to get into basic fitness tracking it is actually a pretty good option.

You can buy the Archon Move today from Amazon for just £59.99