Moto 360 (2nd-Gen) Smartwatch Review
Back in September 2015, Lenovo-owned company, Motorola, introduced their latest smartwatch, the Moto 360 (2nd-gen). Sporting a metal body with classic timepiece design and running Android Wear, does it have enough to entice old-school watch wearers to finally transition to these connected digital timepieces? Find out in our review below.
Before we get started, the Moto 360 (2nd-gen) comes in different variants varying in materials and size. In this case, we’re reviewing the top-of-the-line model – the 1.56-inch, 46mm, with Cognac Leather strap.
Design and Construction
The Moto 360 2nd-gen features an updated look compared to its predecessor. It still features a stainless steel casing but has a more premium look thanks to the edge-to-edge glass and polished bezel. Externally, it’s closer now to a classic timepiece than a smartwatch. The physical button, which is embossed with the Moto logo and housed in a gold frame, adds sophistication to its overall design.
It comes in three sizes: 42mm for men and women, 45mm for the sport variant, and a larger 46mm for men. Aside from the usual black and silver color, Motorola added Rose Gold to the mix which will certainly appeal more to women. Motorola is also giving buyers more options when it comes to its interchangeable bands. While the Sport features a silicone band, its siblings sport Black or Cognac Leather bands made by Chicago-based Horween (which smells good, by the way).
There are a few sensors placed around it. There’s the ambient light sensor on the front which some might find distracting, there’s a microphone on the side for Google Now voice commands, and heart rate sensor at the rear. Inside is a pedometer to monitor your steps.
When worn, the Moto 360 2nd-gen is comfortable with a decent amount of heft. It feels warm at the bottom especially if you wear it right after charging from its cradle but cools down after a few minutes. The leather has just the right amount of firmness to exude durability but soft enough to be worn comfortably for hours. If you’re worried about water, the Moto 360 2nd-gen has IP67 rating so it can withstand a good deal of water splashes. Display is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass so light scratches shouldn’t be an issue.
We’d like to note though that after a week of using it, the leather starts to show signs of wearing out. There are wrinkles with the edges starting to chip off a bit. The leather feels softer which makes it comfortable but no longer looking spanking new. The good news is it accepts third-party straps so you can replace them whenever you like.
The display is still one of the aspects that smartwatches with full digital faces need to improve on. In the case of our Moto 360 (2nd-gen) unit, the 1.56-inch screen size is more than enough, but the 360 x 330 resolution though which equates to a low 233ppi is not always eye-pleasing especially if you want to admire the details of a watch face since pixels are discernible.
On the bright side, it will still suffice for reading the time, messages, and notifications on the watch. Colors and viewing angles are good and have enough brightness to be viewed outdoors. It has auto-brightness and battery-saving Always-On screen mode.
It doesn’t use AMOLED so it doesn’t have the blackest black out there and still emits a bit of glow in the dark. It’s a bit distracting though especially in dark environments like the theater so I prefer to turn it off temporarily.
Features and OS
The Moto 360 (2nd-gen) runs on Google’s Android Wear OS which supports iOS and Android. Our unit now runs on version 1.5 after updating. The main home screen is the watch face which you can change by pressing and holding for a few seconds. Swiping horizontally from the right will bring a list of apps while swiping from the left will dismiss opened apps and notifications.
To view notifications or messages, just swipe vertically from the bottom and just scroll. Swiping from the top gives you quick access to notifications settings. The physical button though serves as a quick exit to the home screen.
As for apps, Android Wear mostly depends on the apps installed on your smartphone. You are required to download the Android Wear app before you can sync it via Bluetooth and connect to your home WiFi. Once synced, it will now show other Google apps like Hangouts, Keep, Google Fit, Maps, and Find my phone feature. It even has support for third-party apps like Spotify and Skype. You can download more from the Play Store if you want to enhance the Moto 360’s features.
It’s a different case for the iPhone though as it doesn’t sync with some of the Google apps we have on the phone. It’s understandable since Android Wear is expected to be more compatible with Android. For iPhone users, you’re better off with the Apple Watch.
As for its fitness features, the Moto 360 (2nd-gen) can monitor your heart rate and number of steps using the Moto Body app. It can also calculate calories burned and make an analysis of your average physical activity after several days of monitoring. If you have a buddy with an Android Wear smartwatch, you can also take advantage of the Together watch face so you can share data of your activity with that person.
The Moto 360 2nd-gen is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and 512MB RAM. Everything runs smoothly and we didn’t encounter and crashes or lags. When we get a notification on our phone, we immediately get it as well on the watch which then reminds you with a subtle but noticeable vibration.
Voice commands work as well but don’t always show you what you need on the watch like your e-mail, instead it opens the default e-mail app on your phone. Do note as well that it needs constant Bluetooth connectivity with your smartphone to get quick updates like notifications, location, and weather.
The 46mm Moto 360 2nd-gen is equipped with a 400mAh battery which it claims to last up to 2 days. With our time with it, I can say they’re spot on. It has it’s own battery saving features like turning off WiFi when it senses that it’s not in use or shuts off the whole screen after a period of inactivity like at night when you’re asleep.
The watch face you use can also affect battery life as some that you download from the Play Store might use more fluid animations or colored Always-On screens instead of black and white. Based on our experience using such watch faces, the Moto 360 2nd-gen can churn out a day and a half which is still good.
As for charging, the Moto 360 2nd-gen comes with its own wireless charging dock and microUSB charger. You can also use a power bank for OTG charging. Charging from 0% to full takes about an hour. What we advice is to charge it whenever you had the chance like while you’re taking a bath, that way you can maintain having enough battery.
Smartwatches nowadays are starting to become more and more appealing. Not only they pack wireless features and fitness monitoring, they also exude that premium look by sporting the classic design and feel of regular watches. The Moto 360 (2nd-gen) was able to incorporate all of that, making it more appealing to tech savvy users as well as those who have a strong affinity to elegant timepieces.
The concern now is the price. The entry-level variant starts at Php16,999, which is expensive. The model we have on hand is the top-of-the-line at Php18,999. That said, everyone will surely appreciate the Moto 360 (2nd-gen), it’s just that not everyone will be able to afford to do so.
Moto 360 (2nd-Gen) specs:
1.37-inch IPS LCD @ 360×325 pixels, 263ppi (42mm/45mm ‘Sport’)
1.56-inch IPS LCD @ 360×330 pixels, 233ppi (46mm)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor
4GB internal storage
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
GPS (‘Sport’ only)
IP67 dust and water resistant
300mAh (42mm) and 400mAh (46mm) Li-Ion battery
Android Wear OS
What we liked:
* Good build and display
* Replaceable bands
* Decent battery life
* Android Wear still needs improvement in features
What we dislike:
* Low-res display