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