Review: Moto 360 Smartwatch

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The Moto 360 in its charging cradle

The Moto 360 in its charging cradle

By default, Google Now cards are displayed as notifications. Google Now cards include weather information, breaking news, travel info including boarding passes, and package shipment details. Additionally, a number of apps specifically designed for Android Wear devices can be downloaded to take full advantage of the 360. I downloaded a calculator, newsreader, a weather app, and a few games, and quickly came to the conclusion that the Moto 360 could benefit from a dedicated app store.

One of my favorite features on the Moto 360 is its fitness tracking. While it isn’t overflowing with capabilities – it only tracks steps taken and heart rate – the information is displayed clearly. When the default daily step goal of 10,000 steps (this can be adjusted) is reached, the watch buzzes indicating the achievement. A chart of walking activity for the past several days is available and also flags which days the step goal was met. The 360 senses more rigorous activity, and also let me know when I achieved 30 minutes of heart-intensive activity for the day. Finally, the heart rate monitor proved to be quite accurate, and logs the date and time when I request a reading.

The Moto 360 is very effective at providing a glimpse into missed notifications and completing simple tasks, but falls short in providing more in depth information about some notifications. For example, I was able to view the subject lines of unread e-mails in my inbox, but to view the content of those messages, I needed to open the app in my phone. Furthermore, to respond, I had to rely on speech recognition, which was not always accurate, especially in noisy public areas.

The battery life is subject to device usage, but easily lasts all day. Under heavy and constant use, the 360 lost as much as 10% capacity per hour, but it typically will lose about 5% per hour, or, in airplane mode, just 3%. Never did the device power off in the middle of the day due to battery depletion, although, and this is one of the shortcomings of the device, it can only be charged wirelessly via its cradle. The lack of a charging port on the device may prove to be a serious inconvenience when traveling. Thankfully, the 360 charges very quickly (full charge never took more than an hour) and displays the time while it charges, making it a convenient bedside clock. Additionally, its lack of ports awards the 360 with water resistance up to a meter in depth, so you don’t need to stow your watch to shower or do the dishes.

BOTTOM LINE

The Moto 360 is a great little device, but very much feels like a first generation product. It’s easy to see what Motorola will add to the Moto 360’s successor – similar to the original iPod Touch released in 2008, the 360 lacks a speaker and camera. However, it is easily the most appealing smartwatch currently on the market, excelling in form and function, and for $249 retail, it will not significantly affect your budget

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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