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Motorola Moto 360 SmartWatch on wrist

What can a smartwatch provide that my smartphone can’t?

June 9, 2015 - Android, Reviews, Social Media, VMBC, Wearables - , , ,

As someone who uses Google products daily, I’m typically the first to get excited when they release something new. However, Android Wear just didn’t do it for me–What can a smartwatch provide that my smartphone can’t? That’s the question I wanted answered.

Here’s my experience with the Moto 360…

Motorola did a great job of packaging. Unboxing the Moto 360 felt like I was taking out a quality timepiece rather than a generic piece of electronic. It came in a black and white circular box which contained a Qi charging cradle, Micro USB wall adapter, a few guides, and of course, the Moto 360. I got the all black version with a black bezel, leather band, and buckle.

I think it’s the best looking smartwatch to date. The Moto 360’s circular display is gorgeous. The large 1.56 inch glass display enclosed in a thin steel bezel looks amazing with the screen both on and off. The best part, It feels like a regular watch. I was worried that it would look obnoxious on my wrist, but it’s actually not much bigger than today’s modern style watches.

Setup was quick. The on screen instructions were clear, concise, and easy to follow. Installation and pairing with my Nexus 5 smartphone was a breeze. After charging for an hour, I was asked to install Android Wear and Motorola Connect.

Android Wear
Much like every Google product, Android Wear is no different. It’s material design is both aesthetically pleasing and effective. I was even able to customize the watch face/screen to something more my style.

Out of the box you get time, date, notifications, caller ID, music player controls, steps, heart rate monitor, alarm, calendar, and stopwatch. Of course, functionality can be extended by downloading other Android Wear applications.

Everything is gesture and swipe based, which came as second nature to me since I use Google Now on my Nexus 5 smartphone. You swipe up and down to scroll through notifications, right to see more details and actions, and left to dismiss and close. The only problem I had were random software hiccups; such as having to try 2-3 times before being able to open a notification and see more details.

Notifications are a big selling point for Android Wear, and I can see why. It does exactly what it’s supposed to, and that’s give you up to date information at a glance of your wrist. Text messages, facebook notifications, emails, directions, etc–I see it all. Since wearing the Moto 360, I’ve become less attached to my smartphone; 80% of the time it now stays in my pocket. Thanks to bluetooth connectivity, I sometimes even leave it at my desk while I attend meetings in another room. In the car, the Moto 360 has probably saved me numerous times from a texting-while-driving ticket. I now reply with voice commands rather than having to text manually with my smartphone. So yes, I love having notifications and immediate control on my wrist!

The “Ok Google” functionality works as it should. I can do Google searches, send text messages, and start applications all with my voice. Having said that, I only really use it for replying to text messages. It’s cool to show to others, but I rarely ever use it.

As for the pedometer and heart rate sensor, it’s pretty much killed my desire to use Android Wear as a fitness wearable. I think the step counter works fine, but I have yet to get a proper heart rate reading. All I ever get is “Tighten band and try again.” Talk about accuracy… I think for now, I’ll stick to my fitbit. It has far more accurate readings and offers more statistics than I’ll ever need.

Battery life was fine. It could be better, but at least it lasts a full day. I always charge it overnight so I don’t see it ever being a problem unless I’m unable to access an electrical socket for more than 24 hours.

Final Thoughts
Overall, I think the Moto 360 is a worthwhile investment. The software doesn’t do a whole lot, but that’s the way it should be. At first, I was disappointed that it couldn’t do everything my smartphone could… but after a day of two, I realized that it doesn’t need to. Complicated tasks should be done on a bigger display; such as your phone, tablet, or pc. Imagine browsing Instagram on a tiny 1.56 inch display. That just sounds terrible. Your watch should act more as an extension, rather than a replacement. If you’re ok with that, then you should definitely give the Moto 360 a try.

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