Device Review: Moto 360

Device Review: Moto 360

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This year at I/O, Google announced its wearable effort, uniquely named Android Wear.  To help show they were serious they announced three Android Wear devices, but only two were immediately available.

The last of the three announced devices was the Moto 360. Motorola, formerly Google owned, entered the game of wearables with a round smartwatch. This is truly the first circular display available to the public. This new form factor for wearable devices has had people from the Tech community holding their breath for months now.

So is the round smartwatch the one you want to wear a-round town?

Build

My experience with wearing Android Wear is with the Samsung Gear Live. Personally, I chose the Gear Live mostly because of the aesthetics. The Samsung Gear Live’s design looks better than the LG G Watch that was available at the time. Is the moto 360 pretty enough to change my mind?

The circular display married with an amazingly well designed stainless steel body and power button make this device the most attractive Smartwatch running Android Wear today, by far. The watch that I received is the silver watch with a grey strap. Optionally, you can purchase the black watch mated with a black strap.

The moto 360 comes with leather straps. If you are not into leather, you can exchange them for metal straps. My recommendation would be to go to your local jewelry shop and find your ideal watch band and have them install it.
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Display

The Display is 320 x 290 pixels, which gives you a ppi of 205. The circular form factor of the watch is reminiscent to our normal everyday watch form factor. Since non-smart watches are typically round, it’s no surprise that the 360 looks and feels more natural on our wrist and in the use of the smartwatch.

The inclusion of an ambient light sensor also adds to the functionality of this watch, brightening and darkening as appropriate.

Hardware

When it comes to internal hardware, we find a TI OMAP 3 processor with 4 Gigabytes of internal storage and 512 Megabytes of RAM. As far as connectivity we only have Bluetooth 4.0 Low Emission and for charging we have wireless Qi charging. This is a very nice addition and is compatible with any standard Qi wireless charger. Also, you will find a pedometer, ambient light sensor and optical heart rate monitor to keep tabs on your health.
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Battery

The battery is a 320 mAh non-Removable battery. When it comes to battery life, Motorola claims a full day with “standard usage.” Initial reviewers claim that you needed to charge this device once or twice a day with “standard usage.” It’s not all that surprising to see an OEMs definition of “standard usage” not jive with others. Honestly, initially I was worried about purchasing this device because of the potential battery drain.

The reality of the matter is most of reviewers were doing benchmark tests with very high usage. That is not really how you and I use our watches. So with that in mind I decided to make the purchase.

After 4 days of running daily battery tests and normal watch usage observations on my multiple Android Wear devices, I’ve found that battery will last a day. Personally my settings include turning off the ambient sensor and keeping the brightness low, around 2-3, and this has not caused any problems. All notifications still come through from Hangouts and GMail and I am still able to get through the entire day. I am definitely happy with this battery life. You should expect to charge the device daily.

 

Software
Google decided on to take control of the updates to the Android Wear. The current version on this device is Android Wear 4.4W.1. I received an update after I turned on the device for the first time. What makes this device unique is not the Software that’s on it, but the companion application that’s helps you pair your phone to the device and load Android Wear apps.

 

Hackability

Connectivity on the smartwatch is limited to a Bluetooth connection and wireless charging. All we can do at this point is initiate ADB over Bluetooth but the ability to flash is only starting to become possible.

My recommendation would be is to keep an eye out for the XDA threads and I’m sure with in the near future will get more and more customization on this device.

Almost all of the applications that I demoed on the Gear Live Watch, will work on the moto 360. This is mostly because a lot of app updates have been pushed out after the release of the moto 360. The Development community has embraced Android Wear and every day you will find more apps that bring new functionality to this new wearable form factor.
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Conclusion

The moto 360 was a device that I was expecting not to like. All the reviews that I saw prior to my purchase were negative. Once you get the device and you actually put it on, you notice that is different than all the devices that are currently available for Android Wear. This option by far feels more natural when it comes to wearing a watch.

When I did my review of the Gear Live, I told you guys you should wait and see what the moto 360 offers before you make a decision whether or not Android Wear is something for you. I have to say the device itself is well designed and it has a good solid battery that will last you the entire day. There is a great set of watch faces built in that look excellent.

Android Wear is here to stay and we’re only going to see more innovation and more options for this ecosystem as time goes on. The device is currently sold directly on the Google Play Store, Best Buy and directly from Motorola. While this is technically the most expensive Android Wear on the, it’s definitely worth it.

So based on what’s available right now to purchase, I would recommend the moto 360. If you’re have a spare $250 for a watch, get the moto 360. By far of the three watches currently available it’s the one with the best user experience. If you’re tight on money then right now the LG G watch is $179 at Best Buy and the Google Play Store. So those two are definitely a great entry level watch.

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