Motorola made quite a splash with its first generation Moto 360 smartwatch. It was one of the first Android Wear smartwatches to hit the market, and because of its round display, became the immediate flag bearer for the wearable platform. Early sales numbers confirmed its popularity with buyers.
Now, however, as new competition has entered the fray — including entries from Apple with the Apple Watch and Samsung with the Gear S2 — Motorola is ready to deliver a second generation smartwatch that solves most of the complaints of the previous generation model.
And of course we just happend to be on location at their New York press event yesterday, to get some quality hands-on time with Moto's new timepieces.
For starters, Motorola has ditched the archaic Texas Instruments OMAP 3 processor that was already old news when it was included in the original Moto 360. The TI processor is what lead to somewhat underwhelming battery life and sluggish performance compared to its counterparts. However, the second generation Moto 360 brings a more credible 1.2GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and Adreno 305 graphics to the table. You’ll also find 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage, which put it on part with its Android Wear competition.
For those that didn’t like the largish dimensions of the previous Moto 360, you’ll be glad to know that Motorola is offering two sizes this time around. There’s a 46mm diameter case that comes with a 360x330 display and a smaller 42mm diameter case that houses a 360x325 display. And this is where our previous aside comes into play — the second generation Moto 360 still features a “flat tire” cutout at the bottom of the display, which means that the actual display area is not completely circular. This is somewhat disappointing, especially considering that rivals like LG, Huawei, and Samsung have managed to incorporate fully circular display without the little black cutout.
We should also note that Motorola has also introduced a dedicated women’s model of the Moto 360 which features a 42mm diameter case and accepts smaller 16mm bands due to its more closely-spaced external lugs.
As for battery life, Motorola says that the men’s and women’s 42mm models comes with a 300 mAh battery which is good for up to 1.5 days of mixed use. The 46mm watch comes with a larger 400 mAh battery which is good for up to 2 days of mixed usage.
For those that have a more active lifestyle, Motorola has also introduced the new Moto 360 Sport which features an AnyLight hybrid display. Motorola says that with this this technology, the display is easily viewable whether you’re inside or outside. AnyLight pairs a traditional backlit transmissive screen with front-lit reflective technologies — the Moto 360 can switch between either mode automatically depending on lighting conditions.
The Moto 360 Sport also included built-in GPS so that you can track not only your distance and pace, but also your speed. And instead of using more traditional leather or metal bands, the Moto 360 Sport makes use of a silicon band that partially wraps around the body of the watch. The band includes a special USB coating to resist fading and staining and includes ventilation channels to help your wrist “breathe” as you workout.
You can pre-order the new Moto 360 today from Motorola.com (where you can take advantage of the Moto Maker customization tool), the Google Play Store, or from BestBuy.com. The smartwatch will actually be available later this month. Pricing ranges from $299 to $429 depending on size and band preferences. Pricing and availability for the Moto 360 Sport will be announced at a later date.