Moto 360 Review: Android Wear-Powered Time Piece

Summary and Conclusion

We're sure many of you are contemplating the need for a smartwatch. I, too, wondered this. I’ve found myself quite productive using only a smartphone, and I’m a proponent of minimalism. Those who are managing just fine by using just a phone, and aren’t keen on the idea of replacing their conventional watch or buying a watch at all, probably aren’t going to be swayed by the Moto 360. (Or any smartwatch, for that matter.) The Moto 360 adds a lot of shortcuts to your wrist, as it were, but it doesn’t add any new functionality beyond acting as a heart rate monitor and pedometer.

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But what if you’re already set on buying a smartwatch, and you’re just trying to decide which? In that case, the Moto 360 is a very strong contender with one major condition: that you either own an Android device or you’re willing to buy one. The design of the Moto 360 is top-notch and every bit the quality of anything on the market currently. Even the basic black model, replete with its black Horween leather band for $250, is stylish and functional. It’s light and fashionable, and largely stays out of the way. It even packs basic fitness functionality for those unwilling to wear both a watch and a tracker. Amongst the competition, it’s in the upper echelon in terms of looks too, in our opinion. Which counts for a lot — after all, this is indeed something you’ll wear everywhere.

The experience of using the Moto 360 is one that grows better with time. At first, the experience may feel odd. We’re accustomed to having notifications pop up on our phones, but on our wrist? It’s a new paradigm, and it takes some fiddling with your notification settings to ensure that you’re getting what you want (and only what you want) coming to your wrist. Thankfully, Moto makes it simple to mute the watch, activate Theater mode for keeping it dark in the cinema, and even recharge it wirelessly.

After using the 360 for a solid week, I found it tough to put down. It really does become a companion of sorts. It keeps daily logs of your steps, is quick to notify you of information that’s pertinent, and yes, it does a good job of telling you the time. Android Wear has a brilliant user interface. It’s sophisticated enough to take orders via the “Ok Google” spoken command, yet it’s simple enough that it doesn’t complicate the watch face. You’re able to do just enough — view, archive, delete, or open on the phone — to make the watch useful. Yet, the truly complicated tasks are reserved for the phone that’s paired to it.

For around $250 MSRP, it’s a great accessory for Android owners who consider themselves power users. Particularly for those who prefer to keep their handsets in a pocket or purse, the watch becomes something of a no-brainer. To boot, Motorola just opened up Moto Maker for the 360, which brings a flood of new design customizations to fruition. For those toting iPhones, you can safely await the Apple Watch — unless Google really does publish an Android Wear app for iOS. If that happens, we’ll have an old fashioned cross-platform showdown on our hands.

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Rumors are already making the rounds about the Moto 360's successor. And given that it has been on the market for a few months already, it’s reasonable to assume that Motorola will have a follow-up ready prior to the 2015 holiday season. Is it worth waiting for? Perhaps. The Moto 360 isn’t the type of gadget that’ll transform your life overnight, but at this point, it’s also quite easy to find street pricing that sells for less than MSRP. You’d be wise to go that route, or buy used or referb, to satisfy your curiosity now, and await the second-generation model that could possibly ship later this year.

hothardware recommended

 hot  not
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Stylish, understated, sleek
  • Syncs easily with Android
  • Moto Maker = Customizable
  • Very useful mobile accessory
  • Won't work with other OS other than Android
  • Fitness tracking functions are hit-or-miss
  • Battery life, as expected, could be better

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