Moto 360 - A beautiful smartwatch

Moto 360 is my love at first sight kind of smartwatch. I have been eyeing it ever since its launch in 2014. Finally, a good friend allowed me to use it. I was looking forward to spending a good time with it. This was also going to be my first experience with Android Wear. After spending more than 1.5 years with Pebble and truly loving it, I decided to try being unbiased.

First impressions of Moto 360, the most beautiful looking smartwatch. Motorola did a great job with round display. Breaking from the squares and rectangles of the smartwatches. Moto 360 uses the wireless charging technology. This means no plugging in of the charging cable into the watch. To charge, place the watch on its charging pod and snap, it charges (just like that). The charging pod is bulky and requires a micro USB cable too. The pod, surely adds bulk when travelling.

The smartwatch is based on Android Wear operating system. This is the Android similar to one on phones but designed for wearables. The smartwatches' and also Google Glass (discontinued for public currently) are based on Android Wear.

Setup via Android Wear

The setup using the Android Wear app (requires download from Play Store) was a little complicated. The watch got connected to my phone via Bluetooth only after a lot of trying and then finally doing a factory restore. This wasn't one off time. During the week, I had to factory reset my phone various times (I'm a flashaholic and keep trying different ROMs on my phone). Each time the watch only got connected after doing a factory reset.

Android Wear app allows basic control over the watch. The app helps choose the watchfaces from the phone, display the watch battery status and connect/disconnect the setup watch. To modify or add more watchfaces, it required me to download an additional app - Moto Connect. This allowed for customising the default watchfaces.

To download more watchfaces, I had to head back to play store. These watchfaces are available to download but as separate apps. These apps would at times be required for single watchface or sometimes has multiple watchfaces to switch. All these watchface apps (4-5 that I tried) had an average file size of 5-6MB (which is large compared to Pebbles').

Once the setup was complete, I was prompted for a software update available (since my friend had not used it for a while). On accepting to download the update, the watch prompted me to charge first (it had 16% battery). After a long waiting and only after it reached 80% battery, the update finally began processing. The installation took about 30 mins before it installed and allow me to use the watch again (felt as if I'm updating the Android version on the phone).

Display

Moto 360 has a very sharp touchscreen display. The multicolour support makes the UI looks better than 64 colour support on Pebble. The LCD display is an eye candy. The display renders are sharp for the images and backgrounds, making Pebble bite the dust. The incoming call or messages notifications interface is jaw dropping.

The settings menu holds an option to save the battery. Enable this and the watch display goes black. The display is turned on only when the wrist is turned to view the time. Typical to how we look at the time on a regular watch. This proves useful to save the battery. The sensors worked better than one on Pebble. The normal shaking off the wrist does not turn on the backlight. This gesture on Pebble is sensitive and turns on the backlight accidentally at the time. The turning of wrist feature on Moto 360 does pose a challenge as well. To turn on the display when the hands are busy with holding stuff is one such situation.

The watchfaces look natural on the round display and allow a lot of customised colourful options. When using the dark background based watchface, you'd not notice the lip and that bottom of the display. If you looked without attention, it can easily pass as a regular watch with disguised smart features.

Battery

Moto 360 along with other Android Wear based watches, only fall face front on the battery life. Pebble has definitely either ruined me or made me more battery demanding. The single charge via wireless charging pod and wall socket took about 2 hours from 5% to 100%.

The full charge lasted me typically 18 hours. Getting off the pod in the morning before starting work, survived the working hours. While going to bed, I had to put it for the charge without fail. Both my Pebbles' - Original and the latest Pebble Time lasted me 5-6 days on a single charge. Allowing me carry on without taking off the Pebble for the whole working week.

Experience

During the week of trying Moto 360, starting from the scratch (resetting the watch) I had a nice journey. After this journey, I came back happily to my Pebble Time (which still had 40% battery left after being switched off for this week). It is definitely the most good looking smartwatch. It was my first experience of the touch screen display. The display is both bright and sharp. The images and text renders are amazing and they pop out.

The connectivity of Bluetooth and its range was similar to Pebble. The only drawback I felt was with some messed up setting, which did not push the notifications for calls to the watch. Android Wear proved to be a little complicated for simple Pebble interface user. At times I wanted to remove the notification from the face of the display, but would accidentally get dismissed from the phone as well.

The dress look of Moto 360 had another challenge. The leather band surely gives it an elegant look but is a no no for taking it under the showers. Moto 360 can stand the showers (for the geeks IP67 compliant), its the band which makes it challenging.

Since I've been on Pebble, my phone is always on silent and this made me missed quite a few calls. Not to forget that one instance, when I was travelling and my wife called me 6 times before she called me on another phone that I carry (I'm sure all the married people have got the hint).

Conclusion

Moto 360 is no doubt the only other go to smartwatch if I ever switch from Pebble. Round and sharp display, amazing colours, flick the wrist to turn on the display and great watchfaces. Motorola only needs to start implementing the phone battery technology of theirs into the watch, and I'm sold. Other minor ones include - the bulky charger and slow charging.

There are few things the Google needs to sort out for Android Wear. Tedious setup procedure, size for watchface applications (seriously 5-6mb is huge), and minimum battery charge to install updates.

Moto 360 is available in India via Flipkart. Flipkart is the official partners for Motorola in India.

I'll stick to Pebble for now. I have also got my Pebble Time Steel delivered in the meantime. Looking forward to reviewing it soon as well. Hold on tight.

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