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Review: Say Hello to Moto’s New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

Review: Say Hello to Moto’s New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

Motorola has released their newest and best Android Wear smartwatch yet, the second generation Moto 360. The Chicago-based company had to do something to follow up their product category defining smartwatch. Once I tried on the original Moto 360, I knew that it would be the device I would judge all others against, even the Apple Watch.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

Overview

What makes the original Moto 360 and the second-generation models desirable are their classic looking round designs. As simple as that sounds, other wearables that I have reviewed come in varying sizes and shapes. Some of them did not look like they even belonged on a wrist. Fortunately for Motorola, they stuck with the classic round design.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

What’s In The Box:

  • Moto 360 2nd Gen
  • Extra Metal Links
  • Wireless Charging Dock Qi Standard
  • Wired AC Micro USB Wall Charger

Gorilla Glass 3 protects the front of the smartwatch and is IP67 rated for dust and water resistance. The 46mm men’s version comes with a 1.56” backlit screen and 233 pixels-per-inch of resolution.

Internally, all of the new Moto 360 2nd gen smartwatches have a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU running at 1.2GHz, an Adreno 305 with 450 MHz GPU, 400 mAh battery (largest men’s Moto 360 2nd gen only), 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, WiFi b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. These are stats one would normally find in fully sized smartphones, not in a watch.

Motorola added multiple sensors into their new smartwatch, including an accelerometer, ambient light sensor and a gyroscope. The haptics engine let me know that taps on the screen registered and its vibration motor was strong enough to alert me to calls and alerts while I was walking or in loud locations like airports.

Beyond that, the Moto 360 is something truly from the future. It runs Android Wear, which inserts the entirety of Google on your wrist and is ultimately powerful. One can ask it questions like, “what is the weather like in Las Vegas,” or “how is the traffic?” It shows the answers on the round screen with graphics or a map with colored lines denoting traffic congestion. It responds to voice, touch and it can measure health and fitness with an optical heart rate monitor.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

Can it compete in a world that has the Apple Watch? Yes it does and in multiple ways. I am able to use the Moto 360’s screen with my finger to swipe and tap. Apple currently requires users to use its digital crown to zoom in and out of watch apps. And their app launcher interface can be difficult to navigate. Swiping in Apple Watch apps only works after an app is open. Though, Apple’s 3D Touch screen is great technology that the next generation of the Moto 360 should have.

For more practical reasons, all of Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatches wirelessly charge with any Qi charger. I have frequently used Aukey’s 4,000 mAh portable battery, featured in the above unboxing video, with a Qi charging coil on top. It is nice to keep handy during long days and for while traveling, to recharge the smartwatch.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

A small black line at the bottom of the Moto 360’s circle hides sensors and was the biggest design issue I had with the original. While it remains in the second generation of Motorola’s smartwatch, they have cleared up a few other issues rather nicely.

I had a problem where the crown on the original stuck out towards the top of my hand. When I flexed my hand backwards, it sometimes would activate the screen. The newest version moves the crown up about 15 degrees towards the top lug where the watchstrap is located.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

The way that bands attach to the new Moto 360 has changed for the better too. Quick-release bands and a new lug design make it easier to swap them when the mood suits. Motorola also offers Moto Maker to customize its fit and finish.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

They have finely crafted Horween leather bands and rose gold, silver and black bezels. Or go all black for that stealth look. There are three sizes, two for men 42mm and 46mm and one for women 42mm. However, the women’s size might be comfortable for some men’s wrists or vice versa, so do not worry about their options moniker.

App integration with Google’s Android mobile operating system and Google Now has come a long way since the first Moto 360. Delta Airline’s Android app syncs with its Android Wear app to display flight information and a bar code that is your digital boarding pass. To display the barcode, swipe a finger a few times on its screen, so easy. I have used the feature to board a flight. It worked flawlessly, which made the gate agent very happy.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

Google Now checks in with the full app on the connected Android smartphone. A small movement of the wrist and then a simple swipe of the finger will display crucial data, like time to work with any traffic delays. Navigating with GPS, for directions, is a common use by smartphone users.

A simple voice prompt made to the Moto 360 to “navigate me to the Bellagio Las Vegas,” checks with Google Maps on the connected Android smartphone. Once a current location is locked, the mode of transportation is determined and then the destination is mapped.

Review: Say Hello to Moto's New Android Wear Moto 360 Gen 2

I enjoyed that Google Maps knew that I was walking or riding in a car and adjusted the directions accordingly. It then vibrates the wrist for each turn. That feature alone has been very helpful and one that continually gets better.

Motorola’s Android Wear Moto 360 and now, the 2nd generation, works with iPhones running iOS 8.2+ and an iPhone 5 or later. This site will check to see if your device is compatible.

Download the Google Now app to setup notifications. It works for voice search; shows who is calling and it pr can see that texts have arrived. The experience is not perfect, there is some lag during voice searches, but at least this smartwatch is an option other than what Apple offers.

Final Thoughts

The company has fixed a few design flaws from the original Moto 360, such as the location of its crown and new lugs for quick-release bands. The Android Wear that comes with the new smartwatch has been upgraded for more integration with Android smartphone apps.

The Moto Maker website easily allows for the creation of a great Motorola smartwatch for almost any taste. I like their rose gold color bezels and a new finely crafted Horween leather band.

Motorola makes one of the most popular Android Wear smartwatches on the market today. They have more competition now, sure. However, they understand that iPhone users want a device they can use as well. The design, hardware and software upgrades coupled with the usability of a smartphone, makes the Moto 360 2nd gen a top smartwatch choice.

Review: 4/5

Pros:

  • Moto Maker Allows For Custom Designs
  • iPhone Compatible
  • Quick-Release Straps
  • New Lug Design
  • Better Location For The Crown
  • Upgraded Android Wear
  • More Detailed Screen

Cons:

  • “Flat Tire” Design Remains
  • Small 300 mAh Battery
  • Android & iOS App Integration Could Be Better

 

Disclosure: I received a Motorola Moto 360 2nd Gen at not cost for review. I have not received compensation for this review. All thoughts and opinions are mine. Photos are courtesy of Motorola.

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