When it comes to smartwatches, users have no shortage of options these days. Although the wearables scene and smartwatches specifically are still somewhat fledgling and have yet to really boom and take off, there are a decent number of devices at this point to select from and find one that fits you best. When it comes to Android Wear, we’re a little more limited but that will change fairly soon as LG, ASUS, and Sony have all announced an Android Wear based smartwatch for the coming months. For now though we have three selections, which includes the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live both which launched directly after the announcement at Google I/O in June, and now the Moto 360.
Out of the three available devices, the Moto 360 is easily the frontrunner from an all around standpoint. It has the looks and the feel to please users, it’s comfortable sitting on your wrist,(I actually found it to be more comfortable than the Gear Live)and it performs quite nicely for the tasks that Android Wear is meant to do. Motorola talked a lot about the use of the premium materials within this watch, and from just holding it in your hand and putting it on, you can feel and understand what they were talking about. The leather band feels really nice and comfortable and the button on the side that resembles an actual watch dial protrudes a little more than the button on the Gear Live, making it easier to hit and bring up the watch face from sleep. Although you don’t have to use this method as you can simply wake it up a couple of other ways too, by twisting your wrist or just by tapping the screen. While the materials and the build quality seem great however, one area where Motorola seems to have scaled just a little bit back is in the parts or hardware that make up a smoother performance and a little bit longer lasting battery life.
The Moto 360’s battery life throughout the day is fine, and depending on how often you’re actually checking your watch it might even last you all day from when you wake up to when you go to sleep, and really, that’s all you need. If you’re checking it often though, and using the functions enough the battery can feel a little lacking. This is all without the use of ambient display turned on, which as our own Alex Maxham has pointed out drains the battery pretty good. This is not necessarily the batteries fault, as the older OMAP processor used inside of the 360 wasn’t necessarily known for being easy on the battery and you also have to consider the ambient light sensor which dims or brightens up the display based on how much light there is outside, attempting to adapt and make it easier for the user to see in sunlight. With these features on, the battery life takes a hit and might not be suitable for some users, although these factors will all vary by user so your experiences of course won’t be the same as my own.
Even with the battery life and the old processor, the Moto 360 still feels like a fantastic piece of hardware. They certainly nailed the screen and display. It has held up to a couple of dings against the counter and it looks brighter than the other offerings. By far, Motorola also has the best charging method for all three of the offerings. It’s the easiest to place on the dock since there’s no “plugging it in,” and it charges rapid quick, where I found the Gear Live to be a little slower than the Moto 360 in this case, taking longer than an hour to get to full battery. If you’re going to use your watch as an alarm, the Moto 360’s charging dock is a dream here too as the watch face sits upright and faces you, so you can easily see the time when waking up in the morning. I find this to be a huge benefit. When it comes right down to it, the watch feels good, it looks, good, and it performs really well. Although Motorola could have opted for a newer processor and a slightly larger battery to address the drain from Ambient features, even not having done these things the Moto 360 shines brighter than the competition. It also does a great deal to show what Motorola is capable of, and really gives hope for the second coming in Motorola’s Android Wear department, assuming there is one, and if so hopefully it will be sooner than later.