Moto 360 First Impressions

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 0 Comments

Moto 360 First Impressions

Motorola’s new smart watch, the Moto 360, comes in a wide range of style and size choices. My review unit arrived today, so I’ll be pairing it with the Moto X Pure Edition and furthering this month’s foray into the Android side of the fence.

I had my first peek at the new Moto 360 earlier this month at a special Lenovo press event ahead of IFA. You can find out more in Latest Moto 360 Smart Watch Amps Up the Style and Choice, but the short version is that I selected one of the larger (46mm) men’s watches to review.

As with the Moto X Pure Edition I’m also reviewing, the Moto 360 experience gets off to a good start when you order it: Using Motorola’s excellent Moto Maker, you can configure the watch in ways that are simply not possible with other smart watches. That means band and case color choices, but also style (Men’s 42mm, Men’s 46mm, Women’s, and, soon, Sport), the case bezel and even the (software-based) face.

moto-maker-watch

The version I configured–46mm Men’s, black chamfer, case, and leather band–would set one back about $350, though the 42mm is a more reasonable $300. (The cheapest Apple Watch with a leather band is $650, but you could always get the Apple Watch Sport and then buy a leather band for a total of about $500.) It ships with a charging cable and plug and a nice charger dock.

docked

Depending on your taste, the Moto 360 holds up well against Apple Watch from a quality standpoint, though of course the bigger unit I got looks gargantuan next to Apple’s device. I happen to think round watches are prettier than rectangular watches, however, and find the Moto 360 to be quite attractive. And it appears to be well-made too.

sizes

Initial sync is simple enough: Download the Android Wear app to your Android handset, pair the two devices, and let nature take its course. The actual syncing of content took a while, but I could move on from there and do other things too, so I did.

First order of business was to choose a watch face, though I ended up sticking with the default choice, which has three peek-through circles (“complications”) for apps, which I’ve also left on their defaults of Day/Date, Weather, and Steps.

config-face

That this watch face has a black background is not coincidental: One of the weirdisms of the Moto 360 is that the display is not entirely circular. Instead, there is a small area at the bottom of the screen that is not used by the display for some reason. Some refer to this as a “flat tire,” since it makes the circle look, well, like a flat tire.

We’ll see whether that is problematic in day-to-day use, but Motorola claims that the Moto 360 still has the biggest “display to bezel ratio,” and by a wide margin. So far it’s not bothersome.

flat-tire

I will need to spend some time with the software before I can say anything intelligent about it. In my previous experience with Android Wear, I found it to be much simpler and more logical to use than Apple Watch, with very simple gestures. And my initial quick hop around the UI on the 360 corroborates that.

Just a quick, knee-jerk reaction right now, but so far the Moto 360 is what I figured it would be: A high quality combination of the right form factor (circular) and the right wearable OS (Android Wear). More soon.

 

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