Music Photo Life Review: Actxa Spur+ Review: Fitness Tracker with VO2 Max and Heart Rate Monitoring
If you find the name Actxa familiar, that’s because it supplies the step trackers for the National Steps Challenge™ for the past years. Actxa is a Singapore brand formed in 2015 and focuses on developing health and fitness related products. Their software arm, Activate Interactive Pte Ltd, develops apps like Health 365, and games for health and fitness since 1997. Their experience in this area clearly shines in the Actxa app.
The Actxa Spur+ is the flagship fitness tracker retailing at S$109, with current ongoing promotion at S$94. Other basic trackers only count steps, and the Tempo 2 issued by the National Steps Challenge™ Season 4 comes with a heart rate monitor. The Actxa Spur (no “plus”) is similar spec to Tempo 2 but runs on Actxa App which has more fitness stats. While it comes in only one strap size, there are enough holes to fit even my daugher of 11 years.
The Actxa Spur+ comes with colour display plus VO2 Max monitoring. It is functionally comparable to Garmin Vivosmart 4 or Fitbit Alta HR (which does not have VO2 monitoring), but both are more expensive and no colour display.
What is VO2 Max? It calculates the maximum amount of oxygen a person can consume during a workout. It is a good indicator on how much endurance a person has for prolonged exercise. Without any clinical machine to measure, those VO2 Max monitors on the wrists are usually based on formula around the measured heart rate. In short, a higher VO2 Max reflects better fitness level.
Design-wise, the Actxa Spur+ has 2 diagonal strips printed on the glass surface. The strap is smooth on the underside while the outside is textured.
The standard watch buckle ensures the strap does not come loose easily as compared to most other fitness trackers.
Charging is via proprietary magnetic charging dock. There are no physical buttons, so the only way to navigate the tracker is to tap the screen.
Connecting the watch to the smartphone is a breeze. The best part is that you can connect to any smartphone without having to re-pair or reset the watch. Just disconnect the watch from the old phone, install the Actxa app to the new phone, log in, and sync. Using Bluetooth Low Energy protocol, the device is authenticated through the Actxa app instead of the phone Bluetooth settings.
The watch shows real-time stats like steps, distance walked, heart rate, etc. but the screens are fixed. Also, you can see from the above screenshots that you can enable a few features on the tracker, like main display, alarm, notifications, move alert, wake-up gesture.
All the data is synced to the smartphone app, where there are dozens of screens to present the stats. Like all fitness trackers, the app offers interesting insights on your health stats. The Actxa Spur+ offers more stats than most other trackers for the same price. Here are the metrics in detail:
Heart Rate Monitoring
Active Time Tracking
From the daily dashboard, you have a summary of each of the above stats. The step tracking is a bit more sensitive than my Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro, which is a good thing specially if you depend on it to clock your daily 10,000 steps to earn your rewards.
You can drill into the details on each of the metrics. Here is what it looks like for all-day heart rate monitoring.
If you have recorded any workout activities (long-press on the tracker), then the app will show the heartrate chart and the intensity level, among other information. One issue: when battery is low, it cannot start a new session. Or during workout when the battery hits low, the workout will end prematurely.
The VO2 Max will also be plotted over time, with every workout you record.
This page below shows sleep quality. On certain nights, Actxa Spur+ could not detect my sleep duration accurately, for reasons unknown.
The Actxa Spur+ is a full-featured activity tracker designed to provide loads of fitness metrics for the wearer. These metrics are indicators of fitness level, and like most wrist trackers, they are not as scientifically accurate as clinical equipment, but captures the fitness trends of the wearer over a period of time. While there are many inexpensive products from China, many of them are not designed by English-proficient developers resulting in some challenges in understanding the user interface. Compared with the established brand trackers, Actxa is value for money. If you participate in the National Steps Challenge™ and needed a more advanced fitness tracker with more health stats, the Actxa Spur+ is a great choice for less than S$100.
The Actxa Spur+ is available at selected retail outlets, Lazada, Actxa website, and Singpost branches, at a launch promo price of S$94 (RRP $109).
Loads of fitness metrics including VO2 Max which is only available in more expensive trackers
Able to switch smartphones without wiping tracker stats
6-day battery life, longer if you disable heart-rate monitoring
Works with Health 365 (National Steps Challenge)
Cannot start workout activity sessions when battery is low
Wake-up gesture is not as sensitive
Proprietary charging dock (most trackers have this constraint)
Product is not rated waterproof for swim use
Actxa Spur+: Summary Specs
Battery: 130 mAh
Water Rating: IP67
Display: Colour TFT 0.96-inch with touch sensor
Material: hypo-allergenic flexible TPU strap