Any time a new piece of technology is released that resembles its predecessor, there are folks who wonder if the upgrade is actually worth it.
While there's a group of folks out there who were really hoping the new Moto 360 would have a full circle design, dropping the display shelf and focusing on looks instead of features, there are even more people seriously wondering how much of an upgrade this watch really is.
After all, when you look at the specs it's clear the new Moto 360 isn't surpassing the capabilities of the watches that have been released to compete with the original, none of which are exactly standing tall as vastly superior anyway. The original Moto 360 had some flaws, especially when it came to battery life and overall performance, but it looked great and many early adopters are able to squeeze a full day of enjoyment out of it.
It's a year later, and while Motorola's update appears to only be keeping up with the trend there's a lot to consider in choosing between the current and new Moto 360.
Let's just get this one out of the way early. The new Moto 360 is going to have significantly better battery life than its predecessor. While the bump from 320 mAh to 400 mAh in the 46mm version of this watch may not seem like much, it's important to consider the processor being used here. The quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor in this watch will be consuming significantly less energy to perform the same tasks as the single core OMAP 3 that powers the original. Side by side, performing the same tasks, the original Moto 360 will die way faster than the newer model.
Since Motorola had battery life to spare, and it was important to compete with the other Android Wear watches that have been released in the last few months, the ambient display is always on by default. With the screen on every second of the day, this new Moto 360 will still get better battery life than the current Moto 360, whose ambient mode only lasts a few seconds. If you turn this mode off, battery life on this new Moto 360 is immediately doubled. Those of you who proudly claim to get more than a day out of the current Moto 360 will mostly likely be able to get three out of this new offering.
Long term survival
If we've learned anything from the first major update to Android Wear on the original Moto 360, it's that this hardware isn't going to hold up to too many more updates before being essentially unusable. While the most recent update to Android Wear 1.3 didn't prove to be nearly as challenging, a casual glance at the animations and overall performance compared to a newer Android Wear watch will show just how much the current Moto 360 is struggling to keep up.
It's not going to be particularly long before the current Moto 360 isn't able to keep up.
The reasons almost every Android Wear OEM is using the Snapdragon 400 with 512mb of RAM are availability and performance. Qualcomm isn't going to stop supporting the Snapdragon 400 anytime soon, and this processor is more than enough to do everything you want your wrist computer to be doing. It's going to continue to be the default for a while because it works, and because Qualcomm makes enough of them that all of thene manufacturers can buy a lot of them.
It may not be the next update, or even the one after that, but it's not going to be particularly long before the current Moto 360 isn't able to keep up with the new features Google pumps into Android Wear without some significant drawbacks.
Migrating is easy, but expensive
One of the best things about the new Moto 360 is how easy it will be to move from your old watch. If you already have a favorite band, it will transfer with ease. If you already have a preferred watchface and setup, the Android Wear app on your phone will sync everything over as soon as you pair the new watch. Google did a great job making the software work the same on every watch, and Motorola did good making sure bands and designs are similar enough to be compatible.
The only real reason to consider the current Moto 360 over the new Moto 360 is the price tag.
The only real reason to consider the current Moto 360 over the new Moto 360 is the price tag. At $300 for the base model the new Moto 360 isn't cheap. When you see the $150 new and often much cheaper used price tags associated with the current Moto 360, the decision becomes understandably complicated. If you already own a Moto 360, spending $300 for what may seem like a minor upgrade on the surface is silly.
The differences between these two watches may not be apparent on the surface, but if you're seriously considering one over the other it couldn't be more clear this year's Moto 360 is the one you should spend money on. If you already have a Moto 360 and are on the fence about an upgrade, a quick look at a display model in a store or on a friend's wrist should reveal how much faster and smoother this new Moto 360 is, not to mention the dramatic increase in battery life. Alternatively, if you already own a Moto 360 and are honestly happy with what you have, there's no harm in waiting. Who knows, maybe the not-yet-released Moto 360 Sport is what you're actually waiting for.