The biggest issue with most smartwatch is that either they are too ugly or too complex – some are both. The round-faced Moto 360, however, is one of the very few devices that not only look cool, but also keep you in the loop with the tech world.
Several other circular devices including the LG G Watch R are on their way, but Moto is the first to arrive. It has a beautiful round shape plus the construction is pretty elegant as well. However, after using it for a while, you’ll realize it just stays a step behind the whimsical dream-watch that appeared on the tech horizon a few months ago.
- Price : 249.99
- Display : 320 x 290 resolution 1.56-inch LCD with RGB matrix
- Compatible with : devices running on Android 4.3 and later
- Battery: 320 mAh (up to 2 day)
- Operating system : Android Wear
- Chipset : 1 GHz, Texas Instruments OMAP 3
- Memory : 512 MB RAM
- Storage: 4 GB
- Weight : 49 g (core unit)
- Connectivity : Bluetooth® 4.0,
- Input : Pedometer (9-axis sensor), Optical heart rate monitor (PPG), Ambient light sensor, Dual microphones
- Colors : Black, natural stainless steel
In-depth Review of Moto 360
The Moto 360 brings pretty much the same experience to your wrist as LG G Watch or the Samsung Gear Live, because all of them are based on Android Wear, and Google has hardly allowed the manufacturers any freedom to customize their gadgets.
However, because of its round shape, Moto 360 adds a new dimension. In addition to suffering the very same problems as other Android Wear watches: short battery life, awkward notification system and apps that are not easily accessible, Moto faces some additional issues, though not by Motorola’s fault.
Although Google claims that Android Wear supports both square and round face, but in practice it doesn’t always make the most of the round design. Some apps feel cut off or cropped, sometimes notifications are oddly laid out, scrolling though a list will cut off titles and images, and sometimes list items shoot down to the bottom of the screen for no apparent reason.
In short, Android Wear doesn’t come natural to a circular design, and we hope that the future updates will fix this issue.
Besides the 1 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 3 processors, the smartwatch is pretty similar to other Android Wear watches in terms of hardware specs. It comes with 4GB of onboard storage, 512MB of RAM, and a microphone. Although the processor might seem weaker than that found in other Wear-based smartwatches, yet you’ll hardly notice any difference in performance.
Design and display
Design is where the Moto 360 excels, in fact we can safely call it the most beautiful Android Wear smartwatch available to date. It’s a round watch with touchscreen display and a solitary button on the right side, with no hidden plugs or buttons. The button activates the watch, puts it to sleep or brings up the setting menu when you press and hold it.
It comes in two colors, black and natural stainless steel; and you can choose from the black or gray leather straps.
Straps are made by Horween Leather Company – a local neighbor of Motorola in Chicago. Although, the watch supports 22 mm straps, but be careful before buying any standard strap as there isn’t much room to play with where the pin meets the body.
The back of the watch features an optical green LED heart rate sensor in the middle, while the rest of the back is inductive for contact-free charging.
The Moto 360 doesn’t have a killer display. The 1.56 inch touch display is slightly raised above the metal housing and thus is prone to smudging. The LCD has a resolution of 320×290 pixels which looks fairly bright but is far from impressive. In fact, if you look closely, the text will look fuzzy and washed-out.
What’s more annoying, there’s a little black bar – which is actually the ambient light sensor – and the display isn’t completely round. This looks weird especially on white watch faces.
Moto 360 Charging and battery life
Another interesting feature of Moto 360 is its inductive wireless charging system. You can charge your watch in style by placing it on the dock and it will display time and charging percentage as it charges. This not only makes charging the watch easy, but also turns it into a bedside nightstand. The dock works with standard USB wall charger.
Moto 360 takes a little under 2 hours to charge from 0 to 100%, and the battery may last up to 2 days.
Originally, its battery life was even worse and wouldn’t last for 12 hours (with ambient light senor on), but a recent firmware update has improved things to a good extent.
Moto 360 has two different modes, and the mode you choose dictates how long your watch will stay alive. If you keep the ambient sensor on, the watch’s display will stay on all the time but will adjust according to the lighting conditions and the watch can last up 20 hours depending on your use. But if you turn the ambient sensor off, the watch’s display will stay off most of the time and you’ll have to wake it up with a flick of your wrist. In this case, the battery life will get stretched to two days.
In short, the Moto 360 is on a par with other Android Wear smartwatches after the firmware update.
Dust and water resistance
The Moto is IP67 dust and water resistant. It means that you can take shower with it or wear it while doing the dishes, but take it off before going for a swim. In case you’re using the standard, soft leather strap, better not take it anywhere near water.
With a built-in pedometer and optical hear rate monitor, the Moto might sound like a smartwatch with decent fitness tracking capabilities. But unfortunately, both the sensors are far from perfect.
The heart rate monitor is neat… when it works. When you’re sitting idly on the couch or snoozing in bed, it will show your heart rate and will even push it to the fitness tracking app, if you have any on your smartphone. However, it took several attempts before the watch started registering my heart rate after a long break during my workout session
The pedometer works somewhat better, but always showed more steps than I’d actually walked. It also sends the number of steps to your paired phone.
Motorola prides themselves on their excellent microphones, and you’ll be impressed by the improved noise-cancelling mic in the Moto 360. It’s much better at understanding what you say – even in crowded settings – than most other smartwatches.
All in all, the Moto 360 is the best Android Wear smartwatch out there so far. Yes, it costs $50 more than the Samsung Gear Live, but it’s worth the extra money.
The criticism on Motorola that they’re trying to guise their gadget as a traditional watch does make sense, but that’s what Moto 360 is designed for. It doesn’t target geeks, instead it will appeal the fashion conscious users.
With all the limitations, the distinctive design and premium materials give it a posh look. On top of that, it’s lightweight, comfortable and doubles as a bedside clock with its cleverly designed inductive charging cradle.
It’s just a matter of time before Google updates and takes the Android Wear experience to the next level. That will surely put a new life into Moto 360. Still, if you can tame the battery usage, and fitness tracking isn’t anywhere near the top of your wish list, the Moto 360 smartwatch is a standout choice.
Design & Display8/10
Compatibility & Connectivity6/10
FEATURES & APPS8/10
- Elegant design
- Qi wireless charging technology
- Ambient light sensor
- Light weight and comfortable
- Water resistant
- Short battery life
- Android wear isn't ideal for round face as yet
- Comparatively weaker processor
- Slightly expensive