Motorola’s second generation Moto X smart watch comes in two sizes, and now comes in models aimed at men, women, and fitness fans. Based on Android Wear, this new wearable offers a tremendous range of style choices, and is reasonably affordable.
The other day, I mentioned in Samsung’s Latest Smart Watches Could One-Up Apple Watch that round seemed like the “right” choice for a smart watch—with an acknowledgment that such things are, of course, subjective—but dinged them for abandoning Android Wear, which I consider to be the best wearable platform at the moment. But maybe I should have just waited a few days, because Motorola’s second-generation Moto 360 seems to get everything right.
By which I mean, yes, the new watches are round, as were their predecessors. (In fact, Moto 360 was the first round smart watch.) And yes, they run Android Wear, which Lenovo tells me has improved dramatically since last year, and is backed by over 4,000 apps. As important, perhaps, given the personal nature of these devices, Moto 360 really turns up the volume on style and choice.
I’ve almost pulled the trigger on a Moto 360 several times over the past year. What usually prevented this bit of over-consumerism is that I already had an Android Wear watch for testing—a fairly miserable Samsung Gear LIVE—and that I don’t use Android handsets all that much. And when the price was lowered dramatically about a month ago, I held off because I figured this meant a new version was coming. Obviously, that was the right move.
The second-generation Moto 360 will eventually come in three major styles: men’s (in two sizes, 46mm and 42mm), women’s, and, soon, a special Sport model. The standard Moto 360 watches are available for preorder now and will start shipping at the end of the month. The Moto 360 Sport is coming soon, Lenovo says.
This new Moto 360 refines the design that debuted last year and using Motorola’s excellent online order tool, Moto Maker, you can customize the style, bezel, case, band, and face, a level of personalization that simply isn’t available elsewhere (even at Apple). You can also customize your Moto 360 after the fact with new bands, thanks to the simplest band replacement mechanism I’ve seen, a simple slide-based lug system, and can buy Motorola and third-party bands.
Aside from the round design—I know, crazy, a watch that actually looks like a watch—the Moto 360 further distance itself from the smart watch field by offering—by far—the best screen-to-bezel ratio in the market. That is, the Moto 360 has the smallest bezel, by far. Apple Watch is just average.
Moto 360 also differentiates from other Android Wear watches by offering a unique glanceable user experience that takes advantage of those watch face “complications,” which on traditional watches are typically just other clocks, or perhaps a moon phase display. Called Live Dials on the new Moto 360, these complications let three apps “peek” through to the watch face so you can see live data like steps, calories burned, weather, battery life, another clock, and so on.
Moto 360 Sport is—or soon will be—a new 42mm design that makes a few changes. It has everything found in the traditional Moto 360 models, but adds a built-in GPS for speed, distance and rate, and maps—without needing a phone. It also has an AnyLight display, which Lenovo says offers both reflective and transmissive views so you can see the watch face on the go in any conditions. It also features a unique silicon band that is more secure, water resistant, and wicks away sweat.
From a tech specs perspective, the Moto 360 includes a 1.37-inch (360 x 325) or 1.56-inch (360 x 330) display, a 1.2-gigahertz quad-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of onboard storage. Battery life is rated at 1.5 to 2 days, depending on the model. Pricing is $300 to $420, well under the average selling price of the more limited Apple Watch.
In short, I think Motorola may have cracked the smart watch puzzle in a way that still seems to confuse Apple. To be sure, I’ll be reviewing one soon, so stay tuned.