Review: Moto 360 Smartwatch
“Nice watch,” I have heard about a dozen times a day over the last two weeks. Onlookers, both friends and strangers alike, were commenting on the Moto 360 smartwatch strapped to my wrist. Motorola released the 360 in early September in a relatively unpopulated market. Apple’s watch isn’t scheduled to be released until 2015, and that alone gives the Moto 360 an edge. It should be noted, however, that the Moto 360 can only be paired with Android devices running version 4.3 or later, and Apple’s device, unofficially dubbed iWatch, will only be compatible with devices running Apple’s iOS operating system.
Let’s talk specs. The 360 is equipped with 512 MB of RAM and a modest 4 GB of internal storage, which may be of no consequence since most content is streamed to the device rather than stored locally. Unlike smartphone displays, the 360’s display is round, as in a watch, which makes it pleasantly stylish. The 1.5” LCD display packs 205 ppi and is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which resists fingerprints and scratches from everyday wear and tear. An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the LCD display’s backlight.
A physical button on the side, which resembles the winder/time setter on normal watches, functions as a sleep/wake button. On the opposite side, a microphone picks up voice commands. The rear of the device has an optical heart rate sensor. The Moto 360’s battery charges wirelessly when the smartwatch is placed on the charging stand and the watch assumes the function of a desk clock. By default, the 360 is furnished with a real leather band, but different materials or colors are also available. While the device has no speaker it does provide haptic feedback for notifications.
The Moto 360 can function independently of a smartphone, but it is then limited to non-network tasks (Google Now requires an active Internet connection). These include a pedometer and heart rate monitor, viewing calendar entries, and clock-related items, such as setting a timer, using the stopwatch, or viewing and setting an alarm. The only means of text input beyond these pre-sets is via Google Now.