What can I say about the Moto 360 that hasn’t already been said about every other Android Wear smartwatch on the market? Luckily, there’s quite a bit. First off, if you’re not familiar with Android Wear, this brief review may not make a lot of sense to you, so I’d recommend reading our Android Wear review to get caught up on things.
The Moto 360 is the smartwatch we’ve all been waiting for this year. I wear this thing everywhere. I suppose Android Wear’s functionality has a lot to do with my love for it, but the Moto 360 packs charm all on its own. Enough with the small talk, let’s get into the review…
If you haven’t had a chance to experience an Android Wear smartwatch or you’re on the fence about buying one, let the Moto 360 be your first. I promise you won’t regret it. Currently, this is the best looking smartwatch your money can buy. Though I hope that Motorola has set a standard to be met with future devices. If you haven’t seen our unboxing/hands-on video, check it out here. Motorola’s packaging is also very sleek.
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies through. Being a first generation product, the Moto 360 has its bugs and kinks, but the benefits outweigh all. As far as I’m concerned, there are only a few categories we need to address: Design/build quality, functionality, and battery life.
Check out our Moto 360 review video below:
Once you understand Android Wear, there’s not much to talk about when it comes to the devices that run it. With that said, I will keep this review short and sweet. First off, let’s talk about build quality.
This is a very fine piece of tech. The Moto 360 not only looks like a traditional watch, but the beautified technology will turn heads. The body is constructed from stainless steel and plastic, while the band is made of leather by Horween. The watch face is a circular 1.56-inch 320 x 290 display covered in Corning Gorilla glass with a sleek beveled edge and a small button lives in place of the crown that can be used to sleep/wake the watch and access the settings.
On the side of the Moto 360 is a microphone that can be used to dictate replies to various message services (that are supported) like Hangouts, use the “Okay Google” command to search the web or pull up information, and initiate commands. I hate repeating myself, but this watch is classy. Personally, I dig the silver Moto 360 with the gray Horween leather strap over the black model. Just in case you were curious, the strap is completely replaceable.
Also, at the bottom of the 1.56-inch display, you’ll find a small area that seems the be “blacked out.” Don’t worry, it’s not a defect. This is where Motorola decided to put the ambient light sensor (for auto-brightness) and probably make a connection with the IPS display. I’ll agree that it’s not the best look to what would otherwise be a complete circle, but think about the alternative. Large bezels. I’ll take the small black area any day of the week.
Without getting too in-depth with Android Wear (full review here), the Moto 360 is a star performer most of the time. There are occasions (very annoying ones) where the 360 will completely lock up or exhibit dropped frames and lagging. I’m not sure of the science behind the lag, but it’s more than likely thanks to the TI OMAP 3 processor inside. To put it nicely, the OMAP 3 is a bit dated.
Aside from the slight lag every once in a while, the Moto 360 is great. You’ll also never notice the lag (except when it locks up), unless you’re really looking for it. Motorola also ships the 360 with several customizable watch faces. Using the Motorola Connect app (Play Store link), you can customize the background and accent color of each watch face that comes with the Moto 360.
Other than the watch face customization and circular Android Wear layout, the Moto 360 performs just as any other smartwatch in its class would. No surprises here. I realize I didn’t go over every aspect of the 360’s functionality, but as I mentioned I’m not going to get too in-depth with Android Wear as we’ve published a full review that you can read here.
Here’s the deal. This is a device that’s meant to be touched and played with every second of the day. It’s meant to enhance and at the same time simplify the interactions with your smartphone. So if you’re touching it all day long, the battery is going to die very quickly. On-screen time is very important here. Since the Moto 360 only houses a 320mAh battery, every second that screen is on and illuminated is taken from your precious battery life.
First, make sure that you’ve turned off “Ambient screen” mode. This will kill the 360’s battery in less than 12 hours (8 to 10 in my experience). The Moto 360 ships with this mode off by default, but some people prefer to have it on because it keeps the display illuminated at all times. That’s cool and all, but be prepared to charge your smartwatch more times in a single day than an iPhone 4.
Like I said, just leave “Ambient screen” mode off and you’ll be fine. With pretty heavy use (I get a lot of notifications), I was able to get through an entire day with the Moto 360 and still have about 15-20% battery life left. When it’s time to charge, just throw the Moto 360 on its wireless Qi charging dock or any old Qi charging pad you have lying around the house. It’s super simple.
Well, I’m sure this paragraph is going to be a bit predictable, but as I’ve stated throughout this review, you should want this smartwatch. The Moto 360 is the best smartwatch you can currently buy. If you’re thinking about buying one, go do it. Don’t look at the other Android Wear devices because they are inferior, at least for the time being,
Motorola has priced the Moto 360 at $249, which is a pretty epic deal if you look at its competition. It’s a sleek and well-designed smartwatch that brings all the golden features we’ve seen with other solutions in the same space. I’ll continue to wear my Moto 360 until something better comes along, but even then, a smartwatch that looks this slick will be hard to ditch.