The Moto 360 photo © Smartwatchcity.com
Overall impression – Very stylish looks. Let down somewhat by the technical aspects, but certainly not a dealbreaker.
Pros: Stylish round face, lowest priced of the new generation, high quality build, neat wireless charging cradle
Cons: Insufficient processing power resulting in occasional lagginess, relatively poor battery life, low-res display as compared to others in category.
Price: £199 / $250
If the LG G Watch R is the Yorkie Bar of smartwatches, then this is the After Eight Mint. With styling that aspires to that of more luxurious, classic timepieces, the Moto 360 sits elegantly on the wrist, and would not appear out of place worn with a sharp business suit or evening dinner attire. One of the more stylish examples amongst smartwatches, this device seamlessly bridges the gulf between fashion and technology in a way that no other smartwatch to date quite has.
Built of quality materials, with its stainless steel housing and genuine leather strap, the Moto 360 is also relatively light (weighing in at 49g which is around 10g lighter than either the Samsung Gear S and the LG G Watch R) making it feel very comfortable on the wrist. Unfortunately the plastic back-piece is a little flimsy and prone to cracking.
This premium experience, coupled with a very attractive price tag (US$250 or around £200) makes this a watch very much worth consideration, especially for those who would not class themselves as particularly “techie” .
Display: round, 1.56″, 320 x 290, 205 pixels-per-inch LCD with ambient light sensor and auto screen-brightness
In addition to its physical attributes, there are a few clever technical features that have been built into this device. One of these is the ambient light sensor which, coupled with its auto screen-brightness feature ensures both good visibility outdoors as well as battery conservation (and, as we’ll see later, you seriously do need to save as much battery as you can).
The display itself, however, is a little disappointing. With its rivals sporting high-resolution LED-based screen technology, Motorola’s choice of a 205 pixels-per-inch LCD display does look a little drab and ‘pixel-ey’ upon close inspection. And there is also the issue of the now notorious black band along the bottom of the screen which prevents it from being described as truly round, unlike the LG G Watch R which can make that claim. However there is a very practical reason for this band at the base of the screen – behind this is where all the necessary connections and the light sensor is housed . With the G Watch R, LG approached this problem from another angle by having a very large bezel in which the connectors were placed. It is a matter of personal preference, but the Moto 360 does look sleeker as a result.
As for being round, there are a few drawbacks. In regard to both the touch control and view, some apps do not account for the cut-off corners resulting in issues.
Due to being truly edge-to-edge, the display is protected beneath a layer of Gorilla Glass 3 and the device as a whole is both dust and shallow-water proof, having an IP67 dust and water-resistance rating.
There are only 7 watch faces to choose from due to faces designed for square profiles not being compatible, but those available are very well-designed, and with the updated Motorola Connect app these are now user-tweakable.
Performance: TI OMAP 3 Processor, 512 RAM, 4GB Storage
The Moto 360 comes loaded with a decent 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage space, however is let down by its TI OMAP 3 processor which is now quite dated technology (2010). Although not too pronounced, this does cause the display to show noticeable lag when flicking the touchscreen interface, especially after it is first turned on.
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, no NFC nor GPS
Although the initial setup via bluetooth is straightforward, the connection does drop out a little more than you would normally expect. This is a bit of a let down, especially if you were to miss important notifications as a result.
Battery & Charging: not great battery life from 320 mAh battery, clever and innovative wireless Qi charging cradle
We have got used to smartwatches running for several days on one charge. However, with this new breed of power-hungry watches, times between charges have dropped significantly. One important rule of thumb is that, as with phones, you should be able to count on your device lasting all day on normal use, only requiring an overnight charge up. Unfortunately, the Moto 360, perhaps due to its less efficient processor, was not quite able to cut this if the ambient screen option was set to ‘on’. However, with the option set to ‘off’ it does give a full day’s usage, but only just. Time to full charge is relatively good, about 2 hours (and in fact 75% of that was achieved in the first hour), and its charging cradle is a revelation. Drop the watch onto the small and discreet wireless dock and it instantly becomes a convenient little alarm clock showing the time and battery level. However, the lack of a direct charging cable means that charging away from home is not so convenient.
OS and Apps: Android Wear, Google Now integrated, good range of health and featured apps
Loaded with the ubiquitous Android Wear and with Google Now integrated along with its pop-up notification cards interface, the Moto 360 does very well at predicting the information required and in near-real time, such as journey times and weather updates. It also comes loaded with a good range of health and fitness apps such as Google Fit, and the built-in optical heart monitor in the base and pedometer accurately track activity throughout the day. There are also over 40 featured apps including Wunderlust, Tinder and Glympse. Google maps gives step-by-step navigation via voice control.
Control and interface: Good voice recognition, single physical button, very efficient with little interaction required
The voice recognition is actually pretty good thanks to the dual built-in microphones, although it struggles a little in noisy environments. This voice control, together with the predictive information service of Google Now means that there is actually very little touchscreen interaction required, only the occasional glance at the screen will suffice once a notification has heralded its arrival with a vibration. And in the ‘ambient’ screen mode, flicking the wrist conveniently brings the watch to life.
Compatibility: Compatible with all Adroid devices running 4.3 Jelly Bean and above. Not compatible with Apple phones