Moto 360 Review

moto 360

In the past few years, Samsung has been trying to sell their gear smartwatches to the general consumer relatively unsuccessfully.  But on the 25th of June, Google revealed three new watches and Android wear – a version of Android specifically modeled for wearable devices.  We saw the LG G Watch, and the Samsung Gear Live, both which were released that day.  But it wasn’t until September that the Moto 360 – the first round smartwatch utilizing Wear – was released.

It’s great in sunlight due to its ambient sensor

The Moto 360 is understated but elegant.  It’s  simplistic design doesn’t have the brass of Samsung’s Gear live, but its traditional round screen is more reminiscent of classic timepieces.  It’s 320 x 290 pixel display – while easily read and great in sunlight due to its ambient sensor – is cut only by a small slice at the bottom of the screen – a design choice that Motorola says was necessary for a watch with such a slim bezel.  This imperfect circle has been criticized by a few, including LG – which taunts its perfectly circular screen on their upcoming LG G watch R.  In my usage, the small slice isn’t bothersome at all.  In fact, it provides a nice baseline for Android Wear’s horizontally positioned card interface.  I much prefer a slim bezel to LG’s sportier design – and for good reason.

Traditional watches are jewelry

Traditional watches are jewelry, and they can’t always match what you’re wearing  For example, you probably wouldn’t wear a huge Casio with a tuxedo.  Since smartwatches are meant to be worn all the time, I want a watch that will match anything.  And the Moto 360 delivers just that – a simple but elegant design that goes with any occasion or attire.  I got the black version with a black body and strap, but there is also a grey version with a metal finish and grey strap.  Motorla also says that the 360 should work with any 22mm watch band.  Whichever way you choose to go, the build quality is super,.  Metal construction makes a huge difference in the feel of a watch, and the provided leather band is a lot more comfortable than a plastic one.

At $250, the Moto 360 is rather expensive for an Android Wear watch, but is still inexpensive compared to the Apple Watch at $350, or the supposed price of the LG G Watch R.   Motorola has shown us that it can make high quality products for the low-budget crowd with their Moto G and E, and the 360 is no different.

moto on wrist a

 

Motorola’s processor is power hungry and slower than its rival

Despite the classy build, the Moto 360 has an older TI OMAP 3 processor, an odd decision compared to LG’s and Samsung’s choice of Qualcomm.  Motorola’s processor is power hungry and slower than its rivals, and it shows.  There is some noticeable lag with animations from time to time, and the battery is not as long-lasting as LG’s or Samsung’s watches.  Being said, the battery is hardly a problem.  I’ve found that I can get a guaranteed 20-22 hours with moderate use, and at least 16 with heavier use.  I recently went to a 24 hour hackathon, and the 360 lasted more than the entire time with light usage.   Sure, you’re going to have to charge it nightly, but Motorola got it right with their simple Qi  base stand that will charge the watch fully in around an hour.

Motorola also nails voice recognition.  Long text responses are easily recognized, even in areas with lots of background noise.

But do we actually need it?

But one important question remains with the Moto 360, and really all smartwatches.  Sure, they’re cool, but do we actually need them?  The answer is a little of yes and no.  While I could live without my smartwatch, I couldn’t live without my phone.  And I suspect that this lack of necessity will translate into slow adoption.

However, the 360 has proven itself to be more than helpful.  I’ve used it to put myself on a schedule, get to classes on time, and even send a few Yo’s.  And when more apps support the Android Wear platform, it’ll become even more useful.  I’d love to view a Snapchat, or view a Facebook comments on my watch.

moto 360

If you’re looking to buy a gen 1 device, Go with the Moto.

The biggest problems I’ve seen have to do more with Android wear itself, which will undoubtedly be updated and enhanced as the OS matures.  Even today, thousands of apps support the wear platform, creating a formidable opponent to Apple’s watch releasing in 2015. All things considered, the Moto 360 is the best looking and functioning smartwatch on the market.  If you’re looking to buy a gen 1 device, Go with the Moto.

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