Last year, Samsung introduced us to the Galaxy Gear: the world’s very first smartwatch. It was a big deal, but mixed reviews and hit and miss performance stopped it and other smartwatches from really taking off with general consumers. Samsung hoped to remedy this with the Galaxy Gear S, and while it improved some features, it still lacks some of the vital components to make smartwatches wise investments. One major criticism is the design. It seems that people just want a smartwatch that looks more like a watch than a phone. That brings us to the Moto 360: the world’s first round smartwatch. It is a pretty snappy looking device, but a clunky interface and lackluster features may keep it from being the end-all-be-all smartwatch.
MOTO 360 – THE FUTURE MEETS THE PAST
The first thing anyone will notice about the Moto 360 is that it actually looks like a watch. It has a classic round design, stainless steel polish, and even a leather strap. It is still a large display, measuring at 1.56 inches, but the attempt to make it look like traditional watches separates it from the competition. The body of the watch is a little on the thick side, but it is still light weight and it should feel fine on anyone’s wrist. A home button is placed on the side of the device, and it flows seamlessly with the rest of the device. Users will also notice a sensor on the back of the watch that functions as a heart rate monitor.
IMAGE OVER FUNCTIONALITY
While the Moto 360 looks great in many respects, its actual usability is limited to say the least. Whereas the Galaxy Gear S has its own SIM card and is a few features shy of being its own device, the Moto 360 is still painfully limited to your phone and lacks many worthwhile features. A lot of these issues stem from Android Wear, the operating system most Android smart watches function on. Smartwatches are still in their infancy, and it will be quite a few years before Google and other smartwatch developers fine tune the software. Some issues on the Moto 360 (among other Android Wear devices) are poor navigation, clunky notification systems, and lackluster to borderline useless apps. The best thing the Moto 360 has going for it is the heart rate monitor, but even that is a hit or miss function.
There is at least one upside, though, and that’s the battery and charger. After a firmware update, the Moto 360 averages at about 20 hours of battery life. That means the device will get you through a hard day, but you will have to charge it every night. That may seem like a pain, but the charger is probably the nicest feature of the Moto 360. The smartwatch comes with a cradle that uses inductive charging, meaning you can simply set the watch on the cradle and it will charge. It is better than fiddling with a cable, and it adds to the luxurious vibe that Motorola is striving for. It can’t be used for on the go charging, but it is ideal for overnight charging.
Smartwatches are all still works in progress. Like I said, it will be some time before Google and other developers create a smartwatch that is functional, attractive, and appealing to mainstream audiences. The Moto 360 is an important smartwatch because it has essentially perfected the aesthetic aspect, now if only Google could clean up its near-broken interface. If you are a wearable tech junky, you may be curious about the Moto 360. If you’re just the average user though, don’t bother picking it up. Just appreciate how nice it looks.