Moto 360 Second Gen Review: Moto Make It Your Own

Article Index

Introduction and Specifications

Technology moves quickly, but when it comes to smartwatches, things seem to be moving more rapidly than usual. We published our Moto 360 review early last year and here we are merely half a year later testing the second generation of that device. In many ways, the original Moto 360 felt like the hero device for Android Wear. Google still hasn't created a watch of its own, nor has it partnered with a manufacturer to ship a "Nexus" branded Android Wear device. So, the Moto 360 continues to carry the torch.

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But much has changed since the 360 was ushered onto the scene. LG, Huawei, and Samsung have all shipped at least one smartwatch, and the round face -- which was the original Moto 360's unique calling card -- is now commonplace across the market. To boot, the Apple Watch is on the scene, with watchOS 2 bringing a flotilla of dedicated apps to a timepiece that's growing in popularity. In another way, this isn't Motorola's market any longer. It's a crowded space with plenty of competition, which means the stakes are even higher for the new Moto 360.

Before we dig in on the details and finer points, let's take you on a guided video tour, then we'll circle back for analysis...


Apple and Samsung have already had their annual smartphone launch parties, and now, Motorola is taking its turn. For the third year in a row, a new Moto X has arrived on the test bed. There's no mistaking the design -- visual cues that created the silhouette of the original still remain on the Moto X Pure Edition, but it's clear that the company is evolving its flagship phone based on market demands. For instance, the 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display would've been viewed as monstrous in 2013, but today, it feels wholly natural. Moto has also included a few useful extras like TurboPower (which injects 10 hours of life into the phone after just 15 minutes on the charger) and a water-repellant nano-coating.

The Moto X Pure Edition (also known as the Moto X Style in non-U.S. markets) has plenty of competition, but in some ways, it exists in a niche of its own. Samsung and Apple have long since garnered the lion's share of mobile profits in North America, but those flagships start at around $649 and peak at nearly $1,000 with a halfway decent amount of internal storage. 

Apple's unlocked 128GB iPhone 6s Plus goes for $949 exclusive of tax, while Samsung's 64GB Galaxy Note 5 checks in at around $800. Rather than bark up that tree, Moto is hawking a great phone, completely unlocked, at a price point that's downright cheap in comparison. While the $399 base price only includes 16GB of storage, even the 64GB model only costs $499. What's that coin get you? Let's take a look.
Apple and Samsung have already had their annual smartphone launch parties, and now, Motorola is taking its turn. For the third year in a row, a new Moto X has arrived on the test bed. There's no mistaking the design -- visual cues that created the silhouette of the original still remain on the Moto X Pure Edition, but it's clear that the company is evolving its flagship phone based on market demands. For instance, the 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display would've been viewed as monstrous in 2013, but today, it feels wholly natural. Moto has also included a few useful extras like TurboPower (which injects 10 hours of life into the phone after just 15 minutes on the charger) and a water-repellant nano-coating.

The Moto X Pure Edition (also known as the Moto X Style in non-U.S. markets) has plenty of competition, but in some ways, it exists in a niche of its own. Samsung and Apple have long since garnered the lion's share of mobile profits in North America, but those flagships start at around $649 and peak at nearly $1,000 with a halfway decent amount of internal storage. 

Apple's unlocked 128GB iPhone 6s Plus goes for $949 exclusive of tax, while Samsung's 64GB Galaxy Note 5 checks in at around $800. Rather than bark up that tree, Moto is hawking a great phone, completely unlocked, at a price point that's downright cheap in comparison. While the $399 base price only includes 16GB of storage, even the 64GB model only costs $499. What's that coin get you? Let's take a look.

Moto 360 2nd Gen Android Wear Smartwatch (2015)
Specifications & Features
OS
Android Wear 1.3 
CPU
1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Memory
512MB RAM
4GB Internal Storage
Display
42mm Face: 1.37-inch circular display; 263ppi (360x325)
46mm Face: 1.56-inch circular display; 233ppi (360x330)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Wireless
Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700 (AWS),1900, 2100 MHz)
CDMA (800, 850, 1900 MHz)
4G LTE† (B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 38, 41)
Size
Mens:
46mm diameter by 11.4mm high
42mm diameter by 11.4mm high

Womens:
42mm diameter by 11.4mm high
Mens:
46mm diameter by 11.4mm high
42mm diameter by 11.4mm high

Womens:
42mm diameter by 11.4mm high
Mens:
46mm diameter by 11.4mm high
42mm diameter by 11.4mm high

Womens:
42mm diameter by 11.4mm high
 Audio Dual microphones 
 Sensors, etc. Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Vibration/Haptics engine; Optical heart rate monitor (PPG); IP67 dust and water resistant
Battery
300mAh (42mm); 400mAh (46mm)
Color Options
Moto Maker customizations (built-to-order)
Price
$299 to $349
 
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Gone is the pokey Texas Instruments OMAP 3, and in its place is a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPU. That's paired with a 450MHz Adreno 305 GPU, an accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, gyroscope, and a vibration/haptics engine. Connectivity-wise, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g radios are included, and charging is still accomplished via a dedicated Qi-based wireless dock/stand. All in all, it's a nice step up from the equipment found in the first generation, which lagged behind, led to lackluster battery life, and made for a fairly sluggish experience.

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Also new to the Moto 360 this year is its inclusion in the Moto Maker store. The same custom shop that enables users to fully customize their Moto X smartphones is now available to prospective Moto 360 shoppers. One could argue that this should've been around from the start, but that's neither here nor there. Going forward, you can customize just about everything on your watch, from the size to the color to the edge decoration and band. Of course, given that this is indeed a fashion item, it feels right at home, but Moto Maker offers a level of tweaking that isn't found on rival devices. This may in fact be very much a key differeniator for the product line as a whole.

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Are new internals, a new shopping experience, and an updated IPS display enough to earn the Moto 360 a place on your wrist? We'll explore that in the pages ahead...

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