Moto 360

A few more thoughts on the sexiest Android Wear smartwatch

It's been a couple months since we first got our paws on the Moto 360, and it was pretty much universally declared the best of the bunch. The square LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live simply looked plain next to this round wonder. Since then we've seen new arrivals from ASUS, Sony and another from LG. And we also now have in our possession a fully functioning Moto 360, unshackled from the demo mode we've all grown tired of seeing.

On one hand, we pretty much knew what to expect. The Android Wear software hasn't changed a bit since Google I/O in late June. But at the same time, this is new territory. Round territory.

And we've got a few more thoughts on the Moto 360.

1. Round may look better to you, but ...

Moto 360 and LG G Watch

It almost feels weird to say, but it's getting used to the round display on the Moto 360 feels like it's taking a little time. The user interface is exactly the same as the square models — it's just that there aren't any corners anymore, and we're having to retrain our brains just a little bit.

Still, it looks so much better. But if you've got a square watch and you're perfectly happy with it, you might not need to shell out any more cash just yet.

2. Those steel links are to die for, but the leather straps aren't bad, either

Moto 360 Steel

Motorola went to great length to tell us about the straps on the Moto 360, and how they weren't just going to put some piece of rubber on there like the other guys. (Ouch.) They're using the same leather from the Horween Leather Company nearby in Chicago that they're using on the back of the new Moto X. And it's quite nice.

But for our money — an extra $50, to be exact — the steel bands are the way to go. They give the surprisingly light watch a bit of weight, and that in turn gives it a little more prestige. (As if it needed any?) And they just look good.

The only question: Silver? Or black? (And when will Motorola ship them?!?!) OK, that's three questions.

3. Thank you, Motorola, for a proper Qi charger

Motorola's completely correct when it says it didn't want to blemish the Moto 360's lines with a charging port. So, wireless it is. And it's apparently using proper Qi charging, which means you should be able to plop it down on any proper Qi charger you have.

Take note, everyone else: This is how to do it. (Looks like any sort of debugging will have to be done over Bluetooth, though.)

4. Get used to a blank face

Moto 360

One of the cool things about Android Wear smartwatches so far has been the always-on dimmed mode, so you can always flip up and see what time it is. The Moto 360, however, doesn't roll that way. When the screen's not on, the screen's not on. The one exception is when it's on the dock, charging. That's when you get a dimmed, sideways clock and charging indicators. They look quite nice (and we have a feeling the Moto 360 is using the same DayDream mode other watches use for the dimmed mode instead for this charging face.)

And, yes, the Moto 360 does have an ambient light sensor. But as of the time of this writing, it's turned off by default. You'll have to dive into the settings to enable it. Not sure if that'll change at some point.

5. So what was under those stickers?

Moto 360 back

Remember how the underside of the Moto 360 was some big secret for so long? We got to see it just fine at Google I/O, but there was a sticker on the back. We didn't know if it was just a clear piece of plastic hiding a couple rings of something that aided in the charging, or what. Turns out it was just a sticker to conceal two things: The a printed list of features, and the optical heart-rate sensor.

Here's what the ring of listed features says:

  • Water resistant IP67
  • Moto 360
  • Stainless Steel 316L
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • Wireless charging
  • Pedometer
 

Reader comments

Moto 360 hands-on redux

106 Comments

I'll have to see the retardedly named LG G Watch R in person to be 100% sure. But to my eyes, the Moto 360 is still the sexiest smartwatch that has broken cover thus far.

Yup. I still don't buybimto the functionality of these things in general, but DAMN this is one sexy looking piece of jewelry.

Only knock on the wireless charging for me is that Motorola didn't go all-in for this generation of products. Would have been nice to see the second generation Moto X and Moto G both get wireless charging to go with the Moto 360.

I completely agree. How insane is this? How can you bring out the watch with qi charging but leave it off the phones? It's just so completely bone headed. Not to mention that it makes the Motor an automatic no buy for me. Unless there's some aftermarket add on like the S5 has it just went of my list.

Smartphone users on the whole don't care about wireless charging. With a smart watch it is a necessity from a practicality standpoint. For a smartphone... The mass market has so far said "Meh".

Disagree. The market has said "meh" because getting wireless charging on most phones is a pain and ruins the aesthetics of the device. he Qi wireless back on the GS5 KILL the beautiful design of the phone. Not only that, but the launch of the replacement back was months after the phone was released. If it was included by default, a la Nexus 5, fewer people would be complaining about the USB cover.

The day is coming (hopefully sooner rather than later) that a phone will be launched 100% water proof with zero ports. The days of USB charging/data transfer/headphone jacks are dying. Everything can be done via bluetooth these days. It's only a matter of time.

Nexus 6 anyone?

I completely agree and will be among the first to get such a phone (assuming the camera doesn't suck and doesn't cost a gazillion dollars or is exclusive to AT&T). :)

I went all in with Qi... Nexus pad by the bed (easy to slap the phone on without looking thanks to the magnets), Nokia upright charging strand on the desk (on clearance at big blue), and an LG puck pad by the couch (or in bag when traveling).

Once you get used to having them there's no going back. I end up charging a lot more often, seems silly but reducing that extra step of fishing for a cable and connecting it really spurred me to recharge more.

yeah totally agree. Which has put me in a pickle this generation on what phone to pick, as none of them have Qi so far.

I had a Palm Pre with the charging back. I had a charging stand on my desk, in the car and on the night stand. Wireless charging is SO worth the extra expense - especially with the finicky which way is up micro USB cables. Once you go wireless you never go back.

Any thoughts on the screen Phil? I know you guys have been commenting a lot about the other Android wear displays.

Wait what??? A blank face when not in active use?

Thats kinda stupid considering it's a smart"watch". I have a Gear Live and it doesn't always activate when I flip my wrist. It takes a tap to wake it up. It will be quite annoying if I want to check the time but the watch did not come to life. Also, this behavior distances the moto360 from an actual watch, quite contrary to what Motorola wants to achieve with the 360.

I was going to get the moto360 but THIS might actually be a deal-breaker for me.

I just checked out Droid-Life's video for the 360 and it has an option called "Ambient Screen" that leaves the screen on at all times. It dims the brightness way down and flips white interface elements to black to reduce battery usage, but it still gives a warning when you activate the feature that it's going to reduce battery life.

I just hope it gets through a day this way.. I'm definitely going to be ordering one here shortly when it goes live :)

From what I saw.. It won't get a full day with the screen off most of the day

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That's why I went for the Pebble Steel. Nice leather band and the battery lasts for days and days, almost a week, and the display is ON all the time. No pressing buttons or anything to see the time or the notifications. My two biggest needs are an on display all the time and not commandeering the bluetooth. Had another watch that took it over and I couldn't use my earpiece or bluetooth in the car. But the Pebble doesn't do that. It's connected somehow and allows me to use the other bluetooth devices just fine!

Looking at the pictures just reminded me of all the "it's made of plastic" rumors that were going around about a month ago. It's funny how, in the absence of fact, rumors spread. Obviously it appears that a little area on the back is plastic to allow for wireless charging but the rest is all metal and glass. I'm really torn between the 360 and the G watch R, I might have to buy both.

I've heard the battery life doesn't even last a day? Is that correct and is that even with the screen off 'off' when it isn't in use.
Function is more important that looks!

I'm there with you..the screen being off all the time and only a days worth of battery? I'm going to hold tight...Asus might be it!

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The Verge in their review said only around 12hrs of use...And that was with the display off most of the time. I was about to buy it till I read that. A watch at minimum needs to last 20 hours before giving me a battery warning to get my money and ideally show some info all the time. I don't mind a charge every night though it would be nice to have longer, but it better make it till I go to bed without warning me it's about to die. I'm also not OK with a watch that doesn't show me anything until I turn it on or flick my wrist as to me, that is a step backwards.
I'm sad...I had been looking forward for today.

Finally!
We need the review and a comparison to others on the market especially the ZenWatch (my other choice)

Hardly 'sexy' but quite a decent effort all the same for a first attempt.

The metal strap looks random but competent but I hazard a guess this will improve with future iterations. As a lover and user of fine watches I am glad someone has tried to keep the traditional watch format in terms the physical appearance regardless of the device functionality. For me and I perceive for many others that's the attractive selling point.

I personally don't want a huge screen on my wrist or a shrunken phone (dumb and desperate idea) but rather, a smart timepiece that extends the usefulness of my smartphone and other connected devices.

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Totally agree! I think the LG G watch R or whatever it's called is a much nicer looking watch.

I also think the metal straps on these type of watches just doesn't look right, actually I think it looks really tacky.

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Am I the only one that thinks this looks like the first watch you got when you were a kid to tell the time? All the hype = meh in my opinion. The new LG watch at least 'looks' like a luxury watch

No I agree. But I am being merciful as it's a first effort. It doesn't look special but neither does it look awful. The renders as usual looked so much better.

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No make that two... All current smart watches look a tad tacky but hey its early days.

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I think you're flying pretty lonely there. The G watch R if anything looks less premium and more like a kid's watch.

Just as I suspected, all hype. The wait was entirely too long and the leaks too many. I'm wondering how many who were all gung ho about the 360 have changed their minds.

I'm hoping the reports I'm hearing on news channels this morning about subpar battery life are incorrect.

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I was gung-ho. I have now changed my mind. The wait was way long and having to have the screen off like that looks ridiculous. Like it's broken. My ocd alone has prevented me from considering this as an option. (I understand you can have a dimmed screen always on but if it only lasts 12 hours with the screen off...)

n5

Still my favorite, though my friend thinks round looks old fashioned. But not me, me likies!

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Dammit they changed to coming soon. I didn't get a chance to sneak an order in.

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Their phone reps (it's freaking hard to talk directly to a store) are now saying they won't have any until October 9.

Someone in the Salisbury MD location is calling me back today to see if they got any.

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I bet these dates coincide with when they believe they will have stock in a best buy warehouse. These initial shipments should be dropped shipped from Motorola directly to stores.

The stupid thing about it is they want to charge you twice if you buy it later or just pay $50 extra when you buy the watch with it. Idiots. They did the same thing with bamboo backs. Makes this keep looking less and less interesting. Plus the band will be proprietary from what it seems. I rather get Watch R or Gear S.

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If you buy the watch with it (metal band) , you don't get the $30 leather band. They aren't charging you extra for the metal. They're charging you extra for the leather, which is already factored in to the $250 price. It's simple mathematics.

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Oh man do i get this or the iwatch. Tough call. Iwatch seems to be better option.

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How can the iWatch be a better option when you haven't even see what it looks like or know what the specs are?

Probably depends on what phone you want. I'd prioritise the phone platform over the watch platform, personally. Android Wear currently works (and maybe only ever will) with Android. iWatch will likely only ever work with iPhone.

I would expect that there will be some great looking Android Wear watches coming from Fossil, etc. but perhaps Apple will be making similar deals with watch manufacturers.

Wait wait wait...the screen is totally OFF when not activated? This is a 100% deal breaker to me. I like to be able to glance at my G Watch when the screen is dimmed all the time, and I'll feel like a dummy walking around with a blank display on my wrist.

Thank you Phil. You just saved me ordering this thing today, being hugely disappointed, and having to go through the return process.

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No that's not true there's an ambient mode that dims the brightness and will reduce battery but keeps it on all the time

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Still a fail. It seems we haven't come very far from the first digital watches where we had to press a button to see the time (lest the LEDS drain the battery.)

Interesting. Is this confirmed? Come on, Phil - give us an update!

However, even if this is an option, if the battery is said to suck even with the screen turning completely off, I imagine leaving the screen on and in dimmed mode will destroy the already lackluster battery life.

This thing is shaping up to be such a flop.

I would actually feel a bit unique if I was wearing a watch with a completely blank display. Imagine how many people would want to know what the heck that is on my wrist?

Sadly, the battery on the X and 360 has me pausing, and probably passing. The 360 for sure is a non-starter.

Well, we don't know anything about the battery on the X yet other than the size. I'd say we should wait and see how it holds up.

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I am confused about the screen being off all the time. Does it turn on when you lift your wrist up to see the time or do you have to push a button? I was honestly hoping for an Active Display option here. If I have to hit a button to see the time I think it may be a deal breaker for me.

Based on having the G watch, I'm pretty sure raising and twisting your wrist will automatically turn on the screen. This is how the G watch works, except that the screen is always on, and lifting your wrist switches from dimmed mode to lit mode.

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I've been desperate for this watch since they first announced it. I could have cried when I read the review on the the verge this morning that the battery only lasts 12 hours. There is no way I want to take a watch off during the day to charge it just so it can last 18 hours. Gutted. Looks like I'll have to take a look at LG's round or even the Gear S, like the standalone sim idea.

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My Gear Fit is small, functional, and lasts 3-4 days on a single charge. It cost $100. Kind of a no-brainer to stay with that until something comes out that is truly better.

So, one of the big "features" of the 360 is that it looks like a "real" watch, but it doesn't have an always on watch face?

Ok,.

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I watched the droid life video and the screen kept turning off every time he stopped using the watch. Am I missing something?

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Ah, yes. I see that now. Thanks! I thought the ambient sensor mode was only to automatically adjust brightness, and wouldn't result in the screen staying on.

However, with that said, I wonder what enabling this does to what appears to be already lackluster battery life.

Meh. Imo watches in general are old school. I might be interested if I wasn't surrounded by clocks 24/7. And I definitely don't need something else to charge every night.

My only concern is can someone that has had a nickel allergy wear this watch? It looks like the outer band is only metal directly touching on the wrist. I'm assuming the qr pad is not metal because of the fact that wireless charging doesn't work well with a metal casing.

Damn you Moto Damn you and the horrible battery life, the verge and NY times reviews were disappointing

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The proper qi charging may have just officially sold me on it. If I can just plop it down on the same charger I use for my phone that's super convenient...

Curious how the screen is under the sun. Hopefully it's better than my G watch

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To date I've seen nothing that would make me leave my Galaxy Gear 1.
2-3 day battery life. Camera. Video. Notifications, It may not have all the bells and whistles that Android Wear does but at least I can see what time it is 12 hours after I put it on.

Oh Moto... You made us wait so long for this?

Has anyone said for sure if the wireless charging dock is included in the $249 price? Common sense would tell you that would be a major fail on Moto's part if it's not, but nothing that I've read so far has confirmed the watch includes the dock.

As attractive as the Moto 360 and other Android Wear devices are, I have to remember these are Gen 1 devices, or the cynic in me might call them beta devices. For me a watch needs to last a weekend off the charger, display information in a passive manner, i.e. whenever I glance at the damn thing, not only when I shake my wrist or tap the screen. I love the idea of Android Wear. I just think it's too early in the product life cycle to drop 300 bucks on a device that forces me to adapt to it's limitations.

Prove me wrong Moto!

My question is: On point #4, does the watch have some setting where if the screen is off and I raise my arm to look at it or shake my wrist (some gesture or motion), it'll automatically turn the screen on? Something similar to Active Display for when you take the phone out of your pocket, or auto-light settings on normal digital watches. I can live with the screen being off as long as I can check the time without pushing the button or tapping the screen.

Yes, it does have this feature. When you lift/twist your wrist, it will turn on. You can see this in some of the new videos on Youtube.

This is a very attractive watch and I have been highly considering making this my first Android Wear device but I am still up in the air regarding the overall functionality of these watches and if I would really find it useful enough to warrant a $300 purchase since my phone is already attached to my hand 24/7. Since I am in no rush I will most likely wait for the release and reviews of the LG G Watch R before deciding if my wrist will indeed be wearing one of these watches this year or if I will wait for the next generation.

But I am really happy to see that the look of these watches is clearly headed in the right direction.

best buy got only one for whole central ohio area and its already gone :(
The best buy sales told me they had 50 calls today asking about it.

Seems they seriously underestimated demand all over, probably based off previous smartwatches. There's half a dozen G Watches sitting in the cage below the display at my Best Buy, and so they're only bringing two 360s in initially to gage demand, at least according to a manager. This despite the fact that he admitted at least half a dozen people had walked in before 11am today asking about it... /facepalm Worst part is Best Buy Puerto Rico has no online component whatsoever.

And a special thanks to Best Buy in general. I called all my locals, even some as far as an hour and a half out, and got a run around. One told me that it wasn't due out till October (then 20 min later I called back hoping to get someone who knew wtf I was asking about since the first guy had to ask his mobile team, it was sold out), I had 3 tell me they would hold it for me, only to call back and say "sorry, our manager wont let us do that". I had a 2 tell me they just took them off the truck but they were set for preorders (yet Best Buy didn't offer preorders nor did they allow online purchasing, only store walk ins), lets see what other crap did they give me...

In the end, I had to walk into the closest one, order it to have it shipped to my house, and it SHOULD get here on the 9th or 10th (the gray one)

What a total clusterf***

I am not convinced that I want, this extra "THING" in my life. If so, we need something smooth and modern; possibly shaped around most of the wrist.

The "Wrist Watch" was designed for use in the trenches of WW1; mainly because pocket watches often fell in the mud! Yip that was why we have this form factor - EXPLODING SHELLS and MUD. Most designs so far have been ghastly; they don't even copy good designs like the smoothly curved RADO watches of a few years ago. Bizarrely - Samsung do try alternative formats, but they need to take it much further.

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All I can say is I am sorely disappointed. I was really hanging out for this. A watch where you only get 12 hours battery with screen which is turned of most of the time is a total waste of time and money. It looks a beautiful device but the battery and screen are a deal breaker.
Looks like I will now be waiting for the next generation of smart watches as none of them are worth it at the moment. That is coming from a technophile, but a technophile who will not throw money at a product that does not produce the goods

Battery life totally kills this beautiful device. I expected at least the runtime of my LG G Watch. Always on screen like on the G Watch is a must have on a watch in my oppinion. G Watch R is my last hope now. I returned my G watch only because I had problems with the charging pins.