Motorola first unveiled their Moto 360 smartwatch last year with much fanfare, boasting of its beautiful appearance and round design that hinted of something other than rectangularity. Now that the device has finally come to fruition, we must see whether this unique Android Wear watch stands out against an otherwise bland wearable tech market.
Moto 360 watches begin at $250, which is slightly more than competing watches from LG and Samsung. That may be partially explained by its lack of additional features like NFC payments or GPS (that will come later with Moto 360 Sport) but Motorola has mostly focused on improving what was already good about its predecessor by increasing battery life and creating better software watch faces.
Motorola's Moto 360 watch features an exquisite 1.56-inch display coated in Gorilla Glass and housed in an all metal body, along with ambient light sensors and voice command functionality. Although capable of making calls hands free or downloading and listening to podcasts without the use of another phone, its main omission remains hands-free phone calling and podcast download/listen capability; that may change soon but for now remains incomplete product offering.
Moto 360 goes beyond Android Wear's basic features like notifications alerts and exercise tracking to include an advanced fitness tracker with heart rate monitor and pedometer that automatically records steps, distance and calories burned throughout the day. I tested out running apps using Bluetooth connectivity and found it an effective option for tracking route, pace and speed while I ran.
The Moto 360 stands out with its inductive charger, letting you rest it on a cradle to recharge while it remains on your wrist. While this feature works great on most surfaces, I was disappointed to discover it wouldn't charge while sitting in pockets or airlines seats - yet its 400mAh battery lasted roughly a day and a half when using just its always-on screen setting and none of its always-on features (I didn't take full advantage of all available always-on features).
Motorola provides several custom watch faces, as well as its Moto Body app for tracking health and fitness, which is one of the more detailed fitness-tracking apps on Android Wear and an improvement over Google Fit app. Unfortunately, its battery drains quickly; charging takes significantly longer compared to other Android Wear devices; therefore if you plan to wear your Moto 360 during physical activities or sleeping you should bring along an additional battery along with its charging cradle for optimal use.