Motorola Moto 360 Review

Hundreds of companies out there want to create the perfect piece of smartwear wrist device for you. From LG to Jawbone and from Samsung to Fitbit, they give you an array of choice in the form of smartwatch and fitness band. Motorola (now acquired by Lenovo) has also joined the bandwagon with much fanfare and launched Moto 360.

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Motorola Moto 360 is the Android wear smartwatch and the first to be launched with round face. Touted to be the most stylish and functional smartwatch till date, it has also received positive response from the users and experts alike. The designer of Moto 360, Jim Wicks has also said that he wanted the users to exclaim “whoa” and get floored by its design. But the question arises, is it enough? For how long the segment of smartwatches is going to be dominated by mere style and not substance? Is Motorola Moto 360 is any different from Android wear smartwatches? Let us find out!

For the uninitiated, Android wear platform lets you transmit the data from your phone to the smartwatch. You get rid of the notification anxiety and can just navigate, swipe or tap on the smartwatch display. It also enables voice command on the watch and let you ‘call a car’ or find directions by just speaking it. With the help of app, you can track fitness, activity and heart rate through it.

Design:

Motorola Moto 360 Review

The Motorola watch was launched this year and indeed one of the best looking watches we have in this segment namely LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. It makes for a comfortable wear and has beautiful design

It is the first Android wear device that features a round watch face and it is a very crucial purchasing aspect because one will be wearing it on wrist, for all there to see. So, it has to look good. And due to its round face, it looks like traditional watch and in the crowd of square watches with analog display, it does stand apart. It seems to be a conscious decision of the company to make Moto 360 a mainstream attempt. Made of stainless and glass, the watch is comfortable to wear. The strap is made of leather that comes from a luxury Chicago based tannery. No wonder, it is more flexible than its counterparts’ straps, G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. Weighing in at 49 grams, it is lighter than LG G Watch and Gear Live that clocks at 63 grams and 59 grams respectively. The straps are also interchangeable and available in black, light and dark gray. As we write this, the company has also launched colorful straps. The metal bands are also rumored to release by the end of this year that will be more in-tune with the metal housing of the smartwatch. Please note that these straps are only compatible with Motorola Moto 360 and you may have to take a jeweler or technician’s help to interchange them.

With a diameter of 46mm diameter and the thickness of 11.5mm, this watch is bulky and seems to cry for attention. People with petite frame and small wrist may find it difficult to wear it given its massive size. However users, who love to sport large watches, this might be the perfect smartwatch for them.

Motorola does not offer any specific skins for its debutante smartwatch as of now.

Moto 360 Display:

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The pixels are spread from one corner to another, to the end of silver bezel. So, the round face is entire screen, a welcome and refreshing break from Samsung Gear Live and G watch. The resolution is 320×290 with per inch 205 pixel that is colorful and decent enough for this small size screen.

The only eyesore is bottom black bar that interferes with the user experience of round watch face. The company opted to create a bottom bezel and housed ambient light sensor as well as display drivers in it rather creating a circular bezel. Experts also agree that chamfered glass from an edge to another would have been wonderful than this. No wonder that most of users have put off their decision to buy first generation Motorola Moto 360 and are waiting for the release of second generation Moto 360. You can read more about it here.

Moto 360 is the first ever round face Android wear watch and Motorola has not left any stone unturned to ensure that the UI and round display get along fine with each other. Well, does it succeed? Part yes. Part no. You can see the part of text cutting off the corners. Scrolling through the messages can become very troublesome due to this. The touch screen also looks jarred at some angles and against the white backdrop.

Motorola Moto 360 is the first Android wear watch to feature ambient light sensor that enables auto-brightness in it. It also has backlit LCD and lets you read the notification in the bright daylight too. Though, the backlight is not half as crisp as one sees in e-paper display of Pebble but it just works fine. The brightness of LCD also drains the battery life considerably and despite the sensor, you need to put Moto 360 on charge a bit too often.

Do not confuse the ambient screen feature of Moto 360 and ambient light sensor. The ambient screen implies that an idle watch will not go on blank mode by default and rather would go to a dim grey phase that can be still glanced upon to tell the time. The display will wake up when you will lift your wrist and look at it. If you take the smartwatch off the wrist, the display will go to jet black despite the ambient sensor mode.

The screen can also be activated by tapping on the screen and lifting the wrist. You can also press on the crown on the right side. The settings of watch can be accessed by holding the watch down. If you want to change the round display, hold and press the screen for a wide assortment of customized watch faces. Motorola has also introduced ‘Connect’ app for the customization of watch face settings. It also has dial faces that tell you time of two cities. Quite a useful feature for people who work with global teams!

Motorola Moto 360 can be charged wirelessly. Featuring Qi magnetic induction, the smartwatch does not have any charging port. All you have to do is to place the watch in charging cradle and the watch is good to go! The charging cradle comes with the watch.

When the smartwatch is placed inside the cradle, it will show the digital clock setting as well as the charge percentage. In this situation, it can work as a bedside alarm as well. This is a wonderful idea but the lack of USB port is evident and you feel it when you do not have Qi wireless charger already.

Features of Moto 360:

Earlier referred to, Connect app is not just limited to customized watch faces but does a lot more. With the help of underside sensor and this app, you can use it to track heart rate. Unlike Samsung Gear Live, you do not have to hold your wrist still for minutes. A few seconds and you will be able to monitor the heart beats per minute. The smartwatch also features activity monitor that can be used to track your activity stats. Enter the vitals such as height, weight, gender and you can dig your heart activity ranging from active, inactive to vigorous. This app pushes you to remain active by keeping a watchful eye on your heart rate per minute. The active goal is quite moderate to achieve and you can fulfil it by just walking around for 30 minutes or going to a nearby market.

The Moto 360 has an in-built pedometer and can be used to measure number of steps taken.

Performance and battery life of Motorola Moto 360

The official specs list battery range of 300mAh to 320mAh however, the battery has 300mAh printed on it. In a press release, Motorola has made clear that due to the lack of space, the company has opted to print only 300mAh. Yet, the battery life of Moto 360 is disappointing.

The battery of Moto 360 only runs for a day. If you use it to receive notification for text messages, Twitter, Facebook and Google Now as well as for the voice commands with the ambient screen mode on, its battery life drops to 7%, which is quite a spoilsport. In the case if you are using it just to check time or receive notifications and not voice commands, it does fare better with about 20% after 10 hours of usage. So, if you buy Moto 360, be ready to charge it on an everyday basis.

But who would like to shell out a fortune for a smartwatch that hosts some pretty features but does not have the battery to run them? Or can ditch you in the middle of day and is not even able to tell you time after the battery runs out? The lesson Motorola and every other smartwatch maker should learn here is that battery can be a game changer in this segment and not just a pretty package.

The watch packs in TI OMAP3630 processor that is quite outdated. This is the same processor sported by HTC Droid Incredible 2. However, there is no sluggishness while navigating through the notifications except for the part when you are trying to remove a bunch of it.

Availability and Motorola Moto 360 Price

Motorola Moto 360 is available for purchase and is available for $249 in the United States and for £199 in the United Kingdom. In Australia, it is available at AU$267. The price is slightly on the heavier side due to its premium looks and features. Motorola with metal band will be available at $299.

Moto 360 Amazon Discount Link

The Competition

As Apple Watch has yet to see the light of the day, only two smartwatches, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live are here vying for the attention users in this segment. The promos of Apple Watch has been very promising and given the price as well as short battery life of the lot, the competition is not going to be easy for Motorola Moto 360 watch. Asus ZenWatch also looks very promising in this segment.

Also, the Moto 360 won’t be the only round face Android wear smartwatch for long as both LG and Samsung are expected to launch their smartwatch with round watch faces. Therefore, people who want to buy round display in the smartwatch segment; they will have plenty of choice and not just Moto 360 but in terms of premium looks and exceptional feature, it could be just the one till the time Apple Watch comes along by next year. The Apple UI and app support also looks exceptional in the demo. So, it could also eat up the viable market segment of Moto 360.

Our Take on Motorola Moto 360

As far as design is concerned, Moto 360 is a piece of art. No Android wear smartwatch can beat it in terms of looks and build. If we keep the aesthetics apart, it does not have much extraordinaire to offer. It has heart rate sensor, pedometer and activity tracker that most of fitness band and smartwatch in this segment offer to their users. The wireless charging and ambient light sensor is unique indeed.

The round display makes it a class apart yet the patchy notifications and black band is a deal breaker for many as these interfere with user experience a lot. Despite the premium price, the battery life is disappointing and the worst in its segment. It is to be noted that most of Android wear smartwatches need to be charged at least once in a day however, Moto 360’s battery life is the worst!

Motorola Moto 360 looks better as of now but it is just a matter of a few months that it is a talk of town. Now when we all know that the release of second generation Moto 360 is round the corner, we might just wait for it and skip it for now. If you cannot wait to try the Android wear smartwatch on your wrist, it is indeed the best bet for this segment to date.

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