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Old 02-11-2016, 03:32 PM   #1
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Moto 360 Generation 2 Smartwatch Review

In the next episode of Bad Voltage, Iíll be reviewing the Motorola Moto 360 Generation 2 (2015 edition). Tune in tomorrow to listen to the ensuing discussion and the rest of the show. In the interim, hereís the review:

While Iím both a watch aficionado and a huge tech enthusiast, Iíve not traditionally been super impressed with smart watches. Sure, I backed the original pebble but the first few generations of devices in this category just didnít impress me. Sub par displays, laggy unintuitive interfaces and terrible battery life werenít the only issues. They just werenít aesthetically pleasing. Shortly before our trip to Germany for Bad Voltage Live, friend of the show Tarus Balog mentioned the translation feature on his original Moto 360. I was intrigued as I unfortunately donít speak any German. After taking a look at the Moto 360 generation two (or 2015 version as itís sometimes called), I saw a watch that actually appealed to me. Evidently itís not just me, as Iíve gotten several comments on how nice the device looks from random enthusiasts since my purchase.

The first thing youíll notice when you start to build your watch using Moto Maker is that there are quite a few options. You can choose from 42mm or 46mm faces designed in menís style, or a 42mm womenís style. There are multiple bezel choices, the case is available in a variety of colors based on which style you choose and there are myriad bands in both leather and metal. The price ranges from $299 Ė $449, depending on which options you choose, but given the large number of variables there should be something for everyone.

Moving on to specs, all models have gorilla glass, wireless charging, an ambient light sensor, heart rate sensor, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, are IP67* dust and water resistant, and have both wifi and bluetooth connectivity. The smaller style has a 300mAH battery that should last a little over one day, while the 46mm style has a 400mAH battery that should last almost two. In my experience, that estimate is pretty accurate but does depend on whether you utilize ambient mode. The wireless charger is a little stand that turns the watch into a small clock while charging, which is a nice touch. The watch does work with both Android and iOS. It appears Motorola plans to be a good Android citizen on the upgrade side, as I literally got the Marshmallow upgrade notification as I was writing this review.

With specs out of the way, letís move on to using and wearing the watch. Iíve already mentioned that I like the look of the watch, but I should mention that itís also well built and comfortable to wear. Getting notifications on your wrist does come in handy at times, and not having to reach for your phone to check your calendar is nice. You can dictate text messages using the watch, but I just donít *ever* see myself doing that. To be fair, I donít do that with my phone either. The Google Now card implementation is both intuitive and useful. The translation feature that led me to first look into buying the watch works as advertised and came in handy on multiple occasions. The Google Fit and Moto Body functionality is also there for those who are interested, although keep in mind Motorola has a dedicated Sport Watch. Overall I like the device more than I anticipated, but there are some downsides. Iíve only been using the marshmallow version of Wear for 15 minutes or so, but overall Wear is not quite where it needs to be. It is getting closer though, and that isnít specific to the Moto 360. While battery life on the device is acceptable, I think for a watch to get mainstream adoption it will need to be able to last for ďa weekendĒ and so far Iím not aware of a non e-ink one that does. I should note that while the original 360 was the first round smartwatch, both it and the generation 2 model have a small notch out of the bottom part of the display that has derisively been nicknamed the flat tire. While it doesnít bother me much, it seems to drive some people absolutely bonkers. Competing round watches from LG, Samsung, Huawei and others do not have the tire.

So, whatís the Bad Voltage verdict? The Moto 360 generation 2 is a sleek, well built, reasonably priced device with enough customization options to appeal to traditional watch enthusiasts. If youíve been holding out on getting a smartwatch, it may well be time to take another look.


Note, Iíve heard good things about the latest Huawei Watch but donít currently have one. If I get one, Iíll certainly review it here as well as post a comparison to the Moto 360 2. If you think thereís another watch I should be looking at, let me know.

* IP67 Ė Withstands immersion in up to 3 feet of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Not designed to work while submerged underwater. Do not use while swimming, or subject it to pressurized streams of water. Avoid exposure of leather band to water. Not dust proof.
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