The Moto 360 looks much better than the other smartwatches available in the market right now, thanks to the level of detail given to the design. Motorola has made quite a splash with its Moto 360 smartwatch globally, offering the first smartwatch that comes with a round dial, water-resistance as well as an integrated heart rate monitor and pedometer. Will its unique features be enough to help the Motorola smartwatch speed up the adoption of wearables in Canada? Is this smartwatch worth the asking price of $279? Find out all the answers in our Moto 360 review after the break.
Moto 360 has a 1.56-inch LCD display clad with Gorilla Glass 3 on a round watch-face, making it the only circular smartwatch in the market. The IPS panel is pretty good to look at and adjusts the brightness by itself if you have turned on the ambient light sensor. The display remains turned off usually but lights up automatically when you turn the wrist to look at the watch.
Like a regular watch, Moto 360 has a button on the sides, but it does not change the time on the watch. Instead, long-pressing this button opens up a menu that shows all the features of the smartwatch, such as doing a Google search, counting steps, tracking the heart rate etc.
At the bottom on the screen is a black bar (ambient sensors) that disrupts the circular design of the watch-face. This bar looks awkward and takes a lot away from the overall look of the smartwatch.
In terms of design, the size of the watch’s dial and the weight of the whole watch matter a lot. In Moto 360’s case, the metal-finished watch does not feel too heavy on the wrist. The dial itself does not look too big on the wrist.
Basically, Moto 360 is just like any other Android Wear smartwatch — it brings all of your smartphone’s notifications to your wrist. All of your new notifications, such as SMS, WhatsApp messages, emails, updates or alerts by apps etc, come on your wrist as soon as you pair it with an Android smartphone.
Apart from the standard Android Wear capabilities, Moto 360 has step counter (pedometer), heart rate monitor and wireless charging. Both Google and Motorola’s heart rate monitoring apps are pre-loaded, so you can choose which you want to use. You can also set goals for yourself on Moto 360 if you use the step counter on your smartphone regularly. The smartwatch will not be damaged if you dunk it in 1 metre of water for up to half an hour; instead of such dips in the pool, we found ourselves getting Moto 360 wet while washing the hands and as claimed, there was no damage.
You can interact with notifications on Moto 360 by tapping on the screen to read the notification or swiping it away to remove it. Once removed from the smartwatch, you cannot check out the notification again except by opening the app on the phone manually.
In case you were wondering, Moto 360 does not let you make or receive phone calls independently. It will only show that you have an incoming call and allow you to receive it, but you will need to take the phone out of your pocket to actually talk to the caller.
The problem is that Android Wear is still a work in progress, so you face a few problems while operating it. The app selection is limited, you cannot open an app on the smartwatch directly unless there is an active notification for it, navigating within the app is very limited still, among others. This hampers the overall Android Wear experience, and though we realize such features will take a little time to come, we still believe that the asking price of $279 for Moto 360 is too much.
Moto 360, sadly, does not have all-day battery life if used to its full capabilities. During our review period, the maximum battery life that the smartwatch delivered (with ambient light sensor turned on) was 17 hours, while the average period was in the range of 14 and 15 hours. Turn the ambient light sensor off and you get over a day of battery life. This is decent for a small 320mAh battery, but most people are not used to charging a watch every night and it is a small inconvenience.
Unlike other smartwatches in the market, the Motorola 360 relies of wireless charging (magnetic induction type) to recharge the battery. Just plop the smartwatch on the wireless charger and the battery will start charging instantly.
Do You Really Need It?
Frankly, no wearable device today is good enough to be a gadget that you cannot live without, Moto 360 included. This smartwatch, at least initially, felt like just a complementary device to the smartphone, making it easier for us to check out what’s going on with our smartphone.
But surprisingly, once we stopped using the smartwatch, it was actually missed. The convenience it provides just makes everything easier. Taking the phone out of the pocket each time to see who called or messaged felt like a huge chore after a week of checking it out by simply turning the wrist. Similarly, using Google Maps on the small screen is also convenient while traveling. It’s just so simple!
So Should You Spend $279?
Frankly, you shouldn’t. The smartwatch is fun to use and makes keeping track of what’s up you’re your phone very convenient, but $279 is still a lot of money to spend on a gadget that still has room for improvement. Smartwatches, and wearables as a category, are still evolving and the initial version of Android Wear as well as Moto 360 is still not as essential as we would like it to be.
However, you can go for it only if you are an early adopter or if you really, really want the best smartwatch in the market today on your wrist.