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Gadget of the Week: Making a Moov on smart accessories

From cables to covers, buying smartphone accessories can be hit and miss, but a new local brand wants to change this, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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What is it?

Moov is a new South African brand of smartphone and other high-tech accessories, including chargers, smartphone covers and screen protectors, and wireless earbuds. The brand was created by the Core Group, which runs the iStore chain in South Africa, and distributes high-end brands like Apple, Nintendo, Knomo and Belkin.

While the iStore offers an extensive range of smartphone accessories, it recognised that these were often made for the global market, and sometimes had to be adapted to local needs through workarounds rather than being made for this market.

“There are many accessory brands in the market, but our local requirements sometimes differ from those internationally and Moov gives us more flexibility with being able to meet those demands,” says Jonathan Drake, head of accessories at the Core Group. “As an example, we have an ongoing demand for a clear cover that is robust and drop-proof. However, global suppliers don’t always offer this. They offer clear cases or drop proof cases, or stop supply before demand has run out. We have developed a combination offering for Moov with our Clear Drop Proof case.”

This partly answers the question of whether there is room for a local accessories brand, given the flood of both high-end and low-end devices available in any store. Mainly, it straddles the needs met by both ends of this value chain: “Our main objective is to offer exceptional quality at affordable price points and use innovative design to meet the ever-changing needs of our South African consumers.”

The brand name is itself intended to reflect this constant change.

“We operate in a dynamic, fast-paced and ever-changing industry,” says Drake. “The name ‘Moov’ reflects this high energy industry and our mission to support our customers with ‘moving’ forward in their own lives with products that support their evolving lifestyle in their careers, at school, at home, or on the sports field.”

We tried a cross-section of the products, including charge and sync cables, and True Wireless Earbuds. The latter was the most impressive in terms of price versus performance and appearance. For R799, one gets a pair of sleek, black earbuds that look similar to Apple’s AirPods, but with flatter stalks – and, of course, less than a third of the price.

It comes with an equally elegant black charging case, with a full charge delivering up to 4 hours playback time. A 20-minute charge gives back an hour of play. Automatic pairing, touch and voice controls, and hands-free calling round out a high-end experience at a lower-level price.

How much is it?

  • Moov 20W Power Adapter: R299
  • Moov 20W Power Adapter + USB-C to lightning cable: R499
  • Moov Qi 10W Wireless Charger: R399
  • Moov True Wireless Earphones: R799
  • Drop protection Case iPhone 12 Pro Max Clear: R399
  • Glass Screen Protector for iPhone 12 Mini: R299

Why should you care?

When shopping around for smartphone accessories, especially for the iPhone, one tends to find the official product is heavily overpriced. Apple knows that the halo effect of its quality image will part millions of consumers from their money. It also discourages use of third party accessories, either by threatening warranty exclusions, or not allowing these to work with its devices.

The Core Group has worked with Apple for more than a decade, and has a good understanding of compatibility requirements. It also has the resources and positioning to dictate customisation and quality needs.

“The products are manufactured in China, but our local team evaluate market demands, conceptualise new product lines and manage the process with a global product design team from concept, to product sampling and testing, production, logistics and then launch,” says Drake. “We have input into the design of products based on local demands, so the products are made according to what is a need by South African customers.”

What are the biggest Negatives?

  • It has a primary focus on the Apple ecosystem, with charging cables mainly USB-to-Lightning, meaning they are designed for connecting to iPhones and iPads. All current screen protectors and phone covers are for iPhones.
  • Pricing on some products, like screen protectors, is relatively high, given that one can get phone covers and cases for the same price.

What are the biggest Positives?

  • Cost-effective alternatives to overpriced Apple accessories.
  • High quality accessories at accessible prices.
  • All Moov product has MFI (Made for iPhone) certification, a programme Apple runs to ensure approved accessory developers have access to the resources needed for compatibility.
  • Additions to the range will be announced later this year, hopefully moving it outside the Apple walls.

* Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

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