The Moto360 – More than a Pretty Face
As the selection of smartwatches on the market continues to grow, it’s becoming a bit difficult for smartwatch shoppers to know where to start. So, to help make your decision easier, we’re continuing the series of smartwatch reviews we began with the Samsung Gear S. Today’s post covers Motorola’s Moto360, which is currently one of the best designed smartwatches on the market, and one of the strongest entries into the stylish and futuristic world of Android Wear.
360 Degrees of Style
With a round face encased in Stainless Steel, the Moto360 is definitely one of the best looking smartwatches out there. In fact, it has a look and feel that is much closer to a traditional luxury watch than most other watches (especially with one of the many downloadable watch faces that allow you to mimic classic watch designs). This design philosophy makes it feel a lot more natural for first-time smartwatch owners who are new to the concept. The IPS display is crisp and bright, and delivers full visibility even in direct sunlight. The Moto360 is IP67 certified as water and dust resistant, so you can stop worrying about getting it wet while washing your hands or getting it sweaty during a workout. The display measures in at an impressive 1.65” across, but the smartwatch remains surprisingly lightweight at only 40 grams. The key takeaway here is that it’s comfortable and won’t leave an imprint on your wrist like some larger traditional watches.
Powered by Android Wear
The Moto360 is more than just a pretty face, with Google’s Android Wear platform putting the “smart” into “smartwatch”. Connecting to your Android device (running Jellybean 4.3 or higher) is as simple as downloading the Android Wear app and connecting with Bluetooth. As Google’s flagship device, the Moto360 is generally the first to receive updates and is currently running Android Wear 5.1.1, which now allows users to connect to devices through WiFi for when you’re out of Bluetooth range. Notifications are completely customizable, which means you can decide which messages result in a telltale buzz on your wrist so you can determine when you really need to pull out your phone.
While downloadable watch faces, games, health apps and cool features (like emojis you can draw on the screen) continue to enrich the experience, Google Now is the true star of the Android Wear experience. Google Now cards serve you useful information right when you need it: telling you what weather you can expect first thing in the morning or what the traffic looks like on your commute home around the time you’d usually leave work. At any time you can say “Ok Google” (or the wake-word of your choice) to start a voice search, dictate a text, set a reminder or save your latest idea as a voice memo.
The Moto360 really shines by simplifying a lot of frequent functions that you’d normally need your phone or tablet for and moving them to your wrist where they’re far more accessible. You’ll find yourself using the larger screens on your phone and tablet less for checking notifications and more for the more intensive apps they were designed for. It’s actually liberating.
There isn’t as much room for a huge battery if manufacturers are looking to keep smartwatches sleek and lightweight, so smart power management is essential. The Moto360 gets a lot of mileage out of its 300 mAh battery with a variety of intelligent settings to save you from the anxiety of running out of power. Ambient Mode allows you to keep the screen dimly illuminated at all times but the default setting (which I recommend) has your screen go dark when you’re not actively using the watch. Unlike some other smartwatches – which tend to require an exaggerated “checking your watch” gesture to wake the screen – the Moto360 is much more intuitively responsive to movement. It stays dark to conserve energy when it’s not in use and illuminates quickly when you need it. The gesture-based controls are amazingly intuitive – tap the face to wake or place your palm on it at any time to put it to sleep. On a regular day (which for me involves at least 100 email, social media and app notifications), I’ll still end the day with 20-30% battery life left.
One of the coolest features is the stylish wireless Qi charging station included with every Moto360. Simply place your watch on the mount and you can get a full charge in less than half an hour. The fast charging means a lot more flexibility for active users – rather than being limited to overnight charging, you can grab a full charge during your morning routine or while you’re getting ready to go out for the evening.
The bottom line
There’s really no better way to experience the Moto360 than to try one on and actually see it on your wrist. Check out the Moto360 and our other amazing Smartwatches in the accessories section of www.bell.ca.
Dan Flatt is Bell Canada’s Senior Manager of Social Media Strategy & Intelligence.