The Moto 360 is here, and it’s about time.
Motorola unveiled its first smartwatch six months ago, which is a long time in terms of wearable devices.
Since then we’ve seen other round smartwatches, luxury smartwatches, and even one from a little-known company called Apple.
So can the Moto 360 earn a place on your wrist? Let’s take a look.
First impressions and design
The Moto 360 doesn’t look that big in the press pictures. But get it on your wrist and you realise just how large it is.
The upside is that you have plenty of space to swipe through screens. The downside? If you have small wrists, it’ll look ridiculous.
Really, Motorola could do with taking a leaf out of Apple’s book and offering a smaller version too.
That said, overall it feels well built and reassuringly chunky, and comes with its own wireless charging dock. Just plonk the Moto 360 down and it’ll juice up.
It runs Android Wear, which is Google’s operating system made especially for wearable devices.
Set-up is a doddle. Just pair it with your Android phone by following the instructions, and it’ll automatically sync your apps, email and calendar.
Once that’s done, you’re all set to get notifications on your wrist.
There’s nothing to install on the Moto 360 itself. Every time you install a new app on your smartphone, you’ll start getting the relevant notifications on your smartwatch.
Android Wear looks very clean, but it’s not perfect.
To get to the menu, you have to wake the screen, tap it to start voice activation, and then swipe down.
Obviously Google is keen to push voice control, but it could do with simplifying access to the menu.
Voice control has its own issues, as we’ll see in a bit.
Unlike the Samsung Gear S, the Moto 360 doesn’t take its own SIM card, so it works as a portal to your phone rather than as a standalone device.
You can read texts and emails, get notifications from apps like Citymapper, set reminders, even make calls (though it will only start or answer the call, you’ll have to actually make it or take it through your handset).
The only input method is voice though, so you can dictate texts and emails but not type them.
You swipe left to return to the homescreen, and swipe to scroll up and down.
Annoyingly, the bottom portion of the screen is cut off, too. It’s less noticeable on the black watch faces, but still a bit of a boo-boo design-wise.
It’s pretty usable, but there are a few niggles.
Emails lose their formatting, so appear as one chunk of rambling text. Which is annoying if someone has a long email signature.
There’s also no distinction between the subject of the email and the body.
Emails don’t always come through immediately either. On a couple of occasions we saw them on our phone before they hit the Moto 360.
Voice recognition is generally very good, but you have to be in a quiet environment.
It also doesn’t give you the chance to check your text before sending, just fires it off straightaway. Natch, that could lead to some misunderstandings.
The screen lights up when you move your wrist, but it takes a second to catch up, so it’s not as convenient as looking at a normal watch.
You can keep the screen always-on, but this saps the battery. And battery life is pretty poor to begin with – we got a full day out of it, but you will need to charge it every night.
The screen is also a magnet for fingerprints, so be prepared to wipe it on your shirt a few times a day.
Having said that, reading texts and emails on your wrist is very convenient. We found ourselves glancing at them while browsing the web on our mobile, like a second screen.
If Google can iron out the kinks in Android Wear, this will be a very good smartphone accessory. As it is, it’ll have to make do with being the best smartwatch around.
- 4GB internal storage
- Android Wear OS
- 1.56-inch LCD screen
- Dual microphones
- Optical heart rate monitor