Moto 360 is a neatly designed smartwatch from Motorola, powered by Android Wear. This was one of the jaw dropping gadgets announced early this year. This was always on my wish-list and I finally picked it when Flipkart made the watch available last week. In this review, let’s look at two main areas which makes and breaks the deal of this watch. Well, the battery lasts all day for me. I would’ve loved, if it ran for 2 days at least; but again, that’s not too big a concern. I am happy with it.
Thanks to the choice of premium materials used, The moto 360 definitely comfortable and looks very classy. Its circular watch face is one of the most impressive features; it almost reminds of those stylish designer wristwatches with analog tickers. You can glance at your wrist to see updates or just speak to get the information you need. The sensors in-place also helps you keep track of your steps and know your heart rate.
Its been over a week with the Moto 360 and my experience has been pretty good.
Hardware, Look and Feel
The Moto 360 runs a Texas Instruments OMAP 3 Processor with a 4 GB of internal storage, 512 MB of RAM and 320mAh of battery. It also comes with a bunch of sensors on it – Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Pedometer, Compass, Heart rate sensor and a Dual microphone.
The Moto 360 is an IP67 certified water resistant watch. (The IP number is composed of two numbers, the first referring to the protection against solid objects and the second against liquids. The higher the number, the better the protection). The Moto 360 can only stand and Protect against the effect of immersion between 15cm and 1m; and not against long periods of immersion under pressure. You will also find the heart-rate monitor sensor in the center. (image below).
The Moto 360 comes in two different color variants; black and Gray. The gray one comes with a stainless steel metal watch face and a Gray strap; whereas the black one comes with a black painted stainless steel watch face with a one-sided black colored strap. The horween leather gives a velvet texture to the strap. The stainless steel buckle is simple and impressive as well. This gives a very neat feel to the watch and stays firm in your hand unlike button holds or magnetic straps.
In the position of the traditional watch dialer, you have the home button surrounded by a brass material. This gives a very premium look and feel to the watch when you use it.
The screen is made up of a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The IPS display screen is sharp and works pretty slick in day-light as well. You must’ve already read or seen different reviews about the fact of moto 360 not having a full circle display. Well, there is a little notch/band in the bottom of the screen which holds the ambient light sensors, display drivers and the digitizer. Motorola could’ve avoided this band, but that would’ve resulted in a bigger bezel edge. Watch this video on ‘The Verge’, where the motorola engineers explain the design.
The Black strap version isn’t available on Flipkart as of now; but will eventually show up. Motorola had also announced that, the metal straps are going to be available by end of this year.
The accessory is yet another highlight. The wireless charging cradle looks impressive and doubles as a night watch clock. The charging surface just wirelessly charges the Moto 360 when you keen the watch on the cradle; which means, no clamping adapters or cables getting tagged up to the watch. The rubber foot on the charging cradle holds well on glass surfaces and tables. You can also charge the watch with any other wireless chargers as well.
Software Platform, Integration:
Any phone running Android 4.3 or newer and supports Bluetooth LE is compatible with Moto 360. To begin using the watch, you will have to install the Android wear app on your phone and pair your watch on Bluetooth. The watch would sync for all the notification and app interactions. However, some integral elements like Pedometer, Clock and heart sensor need not have a paired Android Phone to work.
The Android Wear app, allows you to control some basic settings of your watch. You can choose between the watch and phone for the primary screen for notifications. I personally love the option to silence the connected phone, especially when I am wearing the watch. Works great at work and while driving. Android Wear does take time to sync your applications to watch; hence, you have an option to re-sync the applications manually.
You can also prevent some applications from pushing the notifications to the watch. for eg: If you get mentioned too often on twitter, you can basically turn off the notifications on the watch. Motorola also offers an app Motorola Connect, which help you customize the watch faces, edit your wellness profile etc.
You can basically tap on the screen to look through different cards coming in from your Google Now experience; and also notifications from your applications. You can continuously swipe through the right for more information and actions; and can also swipe left to close the notification. For example: On a whatsapp message notification, you can tap to open, swipe right to look through the entire conversation and message, further swipe right to reply to the message by speaking in-to the phone. The Google Text to speech is very impressive and pretty much works spot on. You can further swipe left to dismiss this notification.
You can also wake up the watch by just twisting your wrist; pretty much similar to how you would use your wrist watch to see the time. You can long Press on the watch screen to change different watch faces; and also gently tap to start the Google Search App.
Dragging the screen from top will also mute the notifications coming on your watch. You can also see the battery status and the date here. You get a vibration alert on notifications. Please note, the Moto 360 does not have a speaker module built in it.
While on the home-screen, you can say, “Ok Google”, to basically search, take a note, set a reminder or even Navigate to a nearest cafe etc.
In the settings menu, you will find an option to adjust the brightness of the display and also have an option to change to an ambient screen. Ambient screen allows you to see the watch face and the notifications in a dim state all through. Having it on would certainly drain the battery much earlier than usual. When you turn off the Ambient mode, the watch screen completely turns off thereby which saving battery on the watch and switches on only when you move your wrist or tap on the screen or press the home button.
There is no app-launcher built in this watch (Android Wear) as of now. You will need to goto Google (gentle tap on the watch), and then scroll down to select the start option to invoke any app. You will find all the predefined apps and you can also load more by installing wear apps on your phone from the play store.
Other simple tips involve, using the home button to wake up or put the phone to sleep or long press to quickly reach the settings option. You can also dim the display of the watch by just placing your palm over it.
If someone calls you on your connected Android Phone, you receive a notification (with their picture from your directory) which allows you to either dismiss the call or answer. However, to speak, you will need to use the phone or any other bluetooth enabled headset.
Pros and Cons:
Though it looks like Android Wear technology is made for square or rectangle devices, the circular Moto 360 doesn’t look strange or cutout on most of the information. When compared with other Android Wear, the Moto 360 runs an older processor. The Snapdragon definitely out beats the OMAP 3 in terms of the speed, but the simple design philosophy of android doesn’t show a vast difference. The Moto 360 is definitely a well designed and beautifully constructed smartwatch. The wireless charging cradle makes it look so elegant as well. The pedometer and the Heart rate monitor apps work slick as well.
Although it looks like a heavy metal watch, it feels very light.
At first, it looked like an extended screen for the phone and additional overhead to charge this unit along with my regular smartphones. However, its been a week and I use the watch to skim through the notifications during meetings, take voice actions, notes etc. I do not seem to miss any notification and most importantly, works pretty awesome with Google micro Maps while driving. With increase in screen size of smartphones these days, mounting a big phone on dashboard/windshield for maps is quite cumbersome.
At 17,999 INR (250 USD in the US), I would definitely recommend this, if you are looking at buying a smart watch. This is not an ultimate watch. It is still a first generation device and there are few notable limitations; However, this ecosystem is certainly going to evolve and I’m sure, it would make your life easy.
Summing up, Simplicity is the one word which you can easily associate with Moto 360 or Android Wear in general. This would definitely change the way how you interact with you phone in days to come. The Moto 360 is a very impressive unit and it’s definitely one of the best looking Android Wear devices available till date.