REVIEWS

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum

Linksys VELOP Whole Home Mesh Network

Fitbit Alta HR

2016 Range Rover

2016 Ford Flex Limited

Timex IQ+ Move fitness tracking watch

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature

2016 Mazda MX-5

Sennheiser PXC-550 Bluetooth headphones

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan

Sudio Regent Bluetooth headphones

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

VisionTek SoundTube PRO Bluetooth speaker

Fitbit Charge 2

2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Apple AirPods

Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2016)

808

Game of Thrones Season Six Blu-Ray

Michelin Premier all-season tires

Tom Tom Spark 3 Cardio +

Google Daydream View VR headset

ASUS ZenBook 3

Jaybird X3

JBL SoundBoost Speaker Moto Mod

Moto Insta-Share Projector for Moto Z

Google Pixel XL

Apalon's My Alarm Clock app

Lenovo Moto Z

Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3

iOS 10

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless vacuum

Tablo by Nuvyyo

Samsung Gear Fit 2 fitness wearable

Ulysses for macOS and iOS

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format inkjet printer

HBO's Vinyl Season 1

Apple MacBook (2016)

Papago! GoSafe 268 mirror mounted dash-cam

Piper all-in-one security

JayBird Freedom headphones

SF MoMA app

Fitbit Blaze fitness tracker

UA HealthBox

Dyson Pure Cool Link

Lola by Blue

HTC 10

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Dell XPS 12 with 4K Ultra HD display

RHA S500i Noise Isolation headphones for iOS

Samsung Galaxy S7

2015 Mazda CX-9

Moto 360 (2015)

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear headphones for Android

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Wednesday
Mar092016

Review: Moto 360 (2015)

Text and photos Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Surprisingly light for its size, the Moto 360 feels like a quality product. I like the semicircular display as this seems to work well with many third-party watchfaces. One advantage of Android Wear is that anyone can make a watchface for the devices that support it and changing these watchfaces is super easy.

I’ve held off reviewing Motorola’s latest Moto 360 for a number of months because I’ve been waiting for Android Wear to offer something new worth covering, but seeing as how development of Google’s smartwatch OS seems to have been stunted, I will proceed to give my thought and impressions on the hardware aspect of the equation.

The Moto 360 version 2, Is a refinement of Motorola’s relatively successful wearable. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the 2014 and 2015 variants, even the charging docks look identical, ­but they are not.

The Moto 360 (2015) is all about subtlety as well as making the Moto Maker customization feature available for the first time outside of Motorola’s smartphones.

With the Moto Maker website, users are presented with a plethora of metal finishes, colours, watch materials and strap styles. The process offers a level of choice and personalization experience that's extremely rare in mass produced consumer electronics.

That said, Moto Maker is US and UK only, so Canadian buyers will have to content themselves with whatever styles and variants their nearest Best Buy has to offer. 

You can also get his and hers version of the Moto 360 (2015) as well as an all-new sports model which I have not yet had the chance to check out.

Surprisingly light for its size, the Moto 360 feels like a quality product. I like the semicircular display as this seems to work well with many third-party watchfaces. One advantage of Android Wear is that anyone can make a watchface for the devices that support it and changing these watchfaces is super easy.

My review unit is the large 46mm case in stainless steel with gold button and a gold strap on a black leather band.

Aside from the placement of the singular button, it is also slightly thinner than its predecessor plus the Moto accessory straps can be removed and replaced without tools, which is a very convenient feature.

I had the straps of my original Moto 360 changed from leather to stainless steel last year and the fellow who did it managed to scratch the finish of the Moto 360 with his jeweler’s screwdriver.

With the new system, I can easily change the straps myself, provided I use Moto-certified accessory straps.

 

The features that stood out with the first Moto 360, namely battery life, great screen resolution and build quality are also what make the new version a great product.

The new ambient mode, which shows the time all the time, is a feature that makes me really love wearing the Moto 360 (2015), and one that I expect every serious smartwatch to have this year.

Simply put, if you need to jerk your wrist maniacally just to enable the timekeeping function of your watch, then it isn’t a very good timepiece no matter what apps or features it offers.

Motorola's always-on display is now being implemented on the latest smartphones from Samsung and LG, which shows that they've led the way in intuitive design in this area.

Battery life on the 46mm Moto 360 is great and can easily last me two days between charges. Motorola also offers some widgets with their included watchfaces which serve like complications that can show specific bits of data like steps, weather and the date.

I do get, and like,  notifications, some mapping features, voice searches via ‘Ok Google’ commands and the requisite step counting. Since the Moto 360 (2015) does not have a speaker (a major oversight in my opinion), it can't be used to take calls or for listening to audio messages. 

There’s a heart rate monitor but it needs to be invoked if you want to get a reading, or needs to be triggered by an app or service which most people don’t have time to fiddle with.

Unlike the Apple Watch, which takes heart rate readings throughout the day, having the feature on the Moto 360 feels like a half-measure since Android Wear isn’t anywhere as proactive with its health tracking.

The rest of the experience, sadly, is Android Wear which just feels so lacklustre right now that I really don’t feel compelled to continue using it.

I really am hoping that Google releases a substantial update that can go beyond the Google Now-focused notifications and showstring links to some apps which most people will realize they won’t need.

The Moto 360 (2015) offers some of the best smartwatch hardware in terms of build quality and materials plus a vast amount of choice in terms of personalization. The company smartly evolved hardware from an already inspired design and now there are various sizes of the Moto 360 as well as a sports-focused variant.

Android Wear is still very much in flux and while it has a range of neat 3rd-party watch faces, the core OS itself and the wearable features might seem lacking for some users.

Part of the problem dogging Android Wear is fragmentation, while it is great that there is a wide choice of hardware types, sizes and features, the lack of uniformity across the board makes some features shine on certain models, while it is lacking for others.

It's going to be hard for developers to create unified experiences across devices beyond watch faces and menial features.

If you're heavily invested in Google Now, need a smartwatch for playing back music, for use as a navigation tool or for basic pedometer tasks, the OS won't disappoint, although I feel it can offer so much more.

 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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