About time

It’s late to the game but the Moto 360 still looks good and func­tions great.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - Bytz@ thes­tar. com. my

THE Moto 360 was the poster child for An­droid Wear when Google first launched the op­er­at­ing sys­tem for wear­able devices. One of the rea­sons why the de­vice was get­ting so much at­ten­tion was be­cause the Moto 360 had a round face, a first for an An­droid Wear smart­watch.

Fast for­ward a few years and round smart­wartches have be­come a lot more com­mon on the mar­ket, so it would be in­ter­est­ing to see how the Moto 360 2nd Gen stacks up against the com­pe­ti­tion.

Face off

A watch is an im­por­tant piece of fash­ion state­ment and the Moto 360’ s round de­sign makes it look like an at­trac­tive tra­di­tional watch.

While the de­sign is wor­thy of praise, Mo­torola has yet to solve the “flat tyre” prob­lem that plagued the first ver­sion of the watch. For the unini­ti­ated, the watch looks like a flat tyre be­cause the bot­tom of dis­play houses the am­bi­ent light sen­sor so it’s blacked out.

This waste of screen space does di­min­ish the ap­peal of the Moto 360, es­pe­cially as other man­u­fac­tur­ers have been able to make round smart­watches that make full use of the dis­plays.

How­ever, the am­bi­ent light sen­sor does a good job of bal­anc­ing be­tween be­ing vis­i­ble enough un­der sun­light and dim enough not to blind you in a dark room.

The dis­play has a res­o­lu­tion of 360 x 325 pix­els – it’s not the high­est but the screen still looks pretty good.

The re­view unit uses Hor­ween leather for the strap. Hor­ween is a good brand but af­ter just two weeks of use, it wrin­kled quite badly. The good news is that you can eas­ily re­place it with a stan­dard 22mm strap of your choice.

One of the ap­peals of hav­ing a smart­watch over a tra­di­tional one is the abil­ity to change the watch face. If you’re bored of see­ing the same screen day af­ter day, you can eas­ily change it as the watch comes with plenty of pre­set faces.

We pre­fer us­ing the darker watch faces so the flat tyre won’t be so ob­vi­ous. If you want even more choices, there’s plenty more on the Play Store.

Wear­able An­droid

Even though I am a first time user of an An­droid Wear prod­uct, I found it easy to set up the smart­watch and get ac­cus­tomed to the user in­ter­face.

You will be re­quired to down­load the An­droid Wear app on your smart­phones to pair it with the Moto 360. The app is now com­pat­i­ble with both An­droid and iOS devices, so iPhone users can join in the fun but won’t have ac­cess to all the func­tions.

The app is the heart of the smart­watch ex­pe­ri­ence. Not only does it of­fer tu­to­ri­als but also real- time in­for­ma­tion such as the Moto 360’ s bat­tery sta­tus and avail­able stor­age. It’s also the place for dis­cov­er­ing more watch faces and com­pat­i­ble apps.

The Moto 360 has a built- in heart rate mon­i­tor which can be use­ful dur­ing work­outs. The de­vice was rather good at gaug­ing my heart rate com­pared to other smart­watches that I had used in the past.

An­other must- have fea­ture is the step counter and it’s also present.

No­tify me

One of the main ap­peals of a smart­watch is that it makes it easy to read no­ti­fi­ca­tions with­out reach­ing for the smart­phone.

No­ti­fi­ca­tions re­ceived on the smart­phone will be pushed to the Moto 360 and it will ap­pear at the bot­tom of the dis­play. For those who are al­ways miss­ing im­por­tant calls or mes­sages, this is rea­son enough to get your­self a smart­watch.

You can also switch on ges­tures so that you can flick your wrist to scroll through your no­ti­fi­ca­tions – it may not al­ways work smoothly, but it can be use­ful at times when you have your hands full or dirty.

In case you are won­der­ing, it is pos­si­ble to re­ply mes­sages di­rectly from the Moto 360. While there isn’t an on­screen key­board for you to type replies, there are pre­set replies to choose from. Or you can also make use of Google Now’s textto- speech ca­pa­bil­ity, which I found to be pretty good.

Google Now is also great for tak­ing notes and adding en­tries to cal­en­dars.

Just like with An­droid smart­phones, there is the prob­lem of over­lap­ping apps – for ex­am­ple, fit­ness re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties are tracked by both Google’s Fit and Mo­torola’s Moto Body app. It all boils down to per­sonal pref­er­ence, but it can be con­fus­ing to first time users.

It is also clear that An­droid Wear is still in the early stages of de­vel­op­ment be­cause it isn’t as pol­ished as the An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

There were a num­ber of hic­cups – some­times the Moto 360 got dis­con­nected from the smart­phone for no ap­par­ent rea­son and at times no­ti­fi­ca­tions did not ap­pear on the watch.

While the in­stances were rare, it’s some­thing that needs to be fixed by Google soon.

Got the power

A smart­watch is only as use­ful as its bat­tery life, and the Moto 360 doesn’t per­form too badly here. With min­i­mal us­age of just check­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tions with screen set to auto turn off, the watch man­aged to last a good two days of use.

For those who pre­fer the watch screen to be al­ways on, a mono­chrome screen will be dis­played when the smart­watch is in­ac­tive.

When I tested the Moto 360 with the screen set to al­ways on, the bat­tery man­aged to last a full day. I charged it to full in the morn­ing and when I re­turned home in the evening it was at a re­spectable 30% to 40%.

The charg­ing process de­serves spe­cial men­tion. Un­like some smart­watches which re­quire a charg­ing cra­dle, the Moto 360 comes with a wire­less charg­ing dock.

All you need to do is to leave the de­vice on the dock for it to charge and while be­ing charged, the Moto 360 dou­bles as a desk clock which is pretty nifty.

Con­clu­sion

The Moto 360 2nd Gen is a re­spectable smart­watch. For those who want a de­cent look­ing time­piece that keeps you con­nected to your smart­phone, it is hard to go wrong with the Moto 360.

My big­gest gripe with the de­vice is the flat tyre look but if you can live with that then the Moto 360 is worth check­ing out.

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