Moto 360 Second Gen Review: Moto Make It Your Own

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

The new Moto 360 is an upgrade in every possible way -- better battery life, a more sensible strap arrangement, inclusion in the Moto Maker program, bolstered internals, and support (albeit limited) for iPhone. But here's the rub: the second generation Moto 360 is what the original should've been. Although the Snapdragon 400 is a nice step up from the OMAP 3, for example, even that new processor is occasionally too pokey for some newer apps. So while Moto outdid itselfn with an elegant, customizable design, it didn't do much to outdo the broader industry. Though some may argue that the customizable aspect of the Moto Maker experience give the Moto 360 2nd gen device the edge it needs to compete, and indeed that may be true.

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From a design standpoint, there's a lot to love here. You can tweak it to your heart's content via Moto Maker, and you can use a variety of conventional straps thanks to its external lugs. There's a larger 400mAh battery in the 46mm model, and the entire chassis just feels more polished. But the lower-resolution display still seems disappointing on some levels. It's particularly glaring when you consider a Moto X Pure Edition sports Quad HD display, though it's hard to argue how much less physical room a watch has to work with. In kind high end smartphones have made it impossible to wait for apps to load, swipes to animate, and toggles to trigger. The Moto 360 occasionally will feel like it's hustling to keep up.

In terms of pricing, the $299.99 base feels acceptable, though it's pretty easy to get that closer to $400 with a couple of extras from the Moto Maker store. Still, it's playing in the same field as everyone else, with base models in the Android Wear lineup hovering between $200 and $400, and the Apple Watch starting at $349. 

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One other point to consider: it feels as if the next generation of Android Wear devices may just around the bend. The next evolution of Android (version M) is but a couple of quarters away, and with that will come newer, smaller, more power efficient SoCs. It may be a good time to try on a smartwatch like the 2nd gen Moto 360 but all too soon there will be new offerings and alternatives coming to market.

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Regardless, Motorola made some nice enhancements to this iteration of the Moto 360 and it's definitely a solid option in Android Wear. The Q4 launch season is just starting to ramp up, however. It may pay to sit tight before taking the plunge but the second generation Moto 360 look great and gets most of what you'd want in a smartwatch done with reasonably good execution.
approved hh

 hot  not
  • Improved build quality
  • Syncs easily with Android
  • Moto Maker = geat customization options
  • Upgraded internals
  • Doesn't play well with iOS
  • Fitness tracking functions are hit-or-miss
  • Battery life could still be improved
  • Occasionally sluggish

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