Moto 360 2nd Generation SmartWatch – REVIEW

A classy, minimalist return to form of the 2nd generation Moto360 smartwatch.

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Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom.  I’m pleased to show you guys the new Moto 360 second generation smartwatch and for your reference, I ordered the 42mm size which you’ll see in this review.  Those with larger wrists or those who want the bigger screen, for an additional $50, the 46mm is available.  One of the biggest perks of the Moto 360, if you’re buying directly from Motorola, you have the option to customer your watch pretty extensively, but the price does add up pretty quick.  I personally paid for the base model at $299, which isn’t too bad when you’re comparing other base model smartwatches, but before getting ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at my tests and my experiences and see how this model fared.

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The watch has been very comfortable, despite the stiffer leather strap, more on that a little bit later.  Although it may look large, the watch is surprisingly light.  The stainless steel housing hasn’t scratched which is a great plus and the chrome bezel which any watch would receive scratches overtime has shown to hold up very well with only a very few, very minor amounts of scratches for the time of me owning this.  Although in photos (and the reason why I didn’t get into Smartwatches in 2014 was that they did look gargantuan) it seems huge, but actually having one in person, and wearing the 42mm size watch, it’s been fine.  Not to mention, most new smartwatches going into 2016 do look more like time-pieces or actual watches, rather than a niche toy for tech enthusiasts.

Going around the 360, you have the multi-purpose button at the 2-o’clock position which feels natural.  This enables the screen to turn on or go into ambient mode, but holding this down will offer your settings and all of your apps for quick access.  One tap on the same button allows you to move back in the menus or brings you back to your main display.   On the opposite end, there’s a little microphone for voice recognition which I’ll get into detail shortly, and rotating to the back, more smartwatches are now including a heart rate sensor, which I’ll test and review later in the fitness portion.  But while in the back, the Moto360 features these quick-release pins, allowing you to use other 3rd party bands that are 20mm wide, or for those buying the 46mm 360’s, you can fit a 22mm band.  Very convenient and easy to do if you like to switch up on colors, or more importantly, using a strap that’s a bit more water resistant, if you’re intending on running and sweating with this watch on.  And before I forget, the watch does offer IP67 water resistance, ( The IP67 rating means that the product will maintain its operability even if it is gently submerged in a tank of still tap water at room temperature for about 30 minutes, up to a depth of 1 meter
)and for those who don’t know, that means this can sit in 1 meter (or 3.3 feet of water) up to a half an hour.  I wouldn’t swim with this, but washing hands and showering is fine.

But regarding that leather strap that came with the 360, the leather band doesn’t appear to hold up as well.  Although most leather bands will show signs of wear, the 360 uses stiffer leather than the competition from my experience, resulting in more wear to be visible and the band to wrinkle faster.  If you’re watching other Youtube reviews on this smartwatch, pay close attention to the leather bands in the video, the leather straps look more beat up than mine here.  So far, I personally noticed some of the leather fraying on the edges on where the buckle locks on my wrist and comparing to the Huawei smartwatch I’m also testing, which I have worn for the same amount of time, the Huawei so far looks to hold up better.  Not a deal breaker, but something I wanted to point out since others are not mentioning.

And last, rotating to the front: The display on the 42mm size I have here is a 1.4inch screen featuring a resolution of 360×325, resulting in a 263-pixel density.  Indeed there are other competitors with higher resolution.  The differences are there but they are very minute.  For example, putting this against the Huawei smartwatch which features a 400×400 display with a 286-pixel density, the difference in sharpness isn’t drastic enough for the average consumer to take notice.  One thing I would point out though, Motorola went with Gorilla Glass 3 which is holding up fine with no scratches so far, but it features an LCD display, not OLED like the LG Urbane, Samsung Gear S2, or the Huawei smartwatch, and indeed, OLEDs are known for providing deeper blacks and more contrasting colors, which is accurate, the 360 isn’t as dark or as vibrant, but the Moto 360 LCD display is still a pleasure to look at.  Despite being LCD, I noticed the Motorola provided a brighter screen, better whites and it wasn’t as yellow as the Huawei’s, and bringing this outdoors in bright sunlight, the screen is still visible in person.

Using this in the office, at the grocery store, etc, it’s perfectly viewable.  One last item that I know folks have talked to death about, is what folks are calling the flat tire.  Motorola stated to reduce the size of the surrounding bezel, they had to place the light sensor on the bottom of the screen.  Personally using other smartwatches and then jumping to the Moto 360, the black bar that cuts off part of the display surprisingly didn’t impact my enjoyability and it didn’t bother me.  Of course, everyone’s experience may be different, and I know a good handful of viewers really dislike this.

Starting with the main screen, you’ve seen some watch dials already, but holding the screen down offers 19 dials from the factory, with some you can customize right on the watch.  There’s a good variety from the sleek and modern to more unique designs with both light and dark backgrounds available.  New to the Moto 360 and more smartwatches are now offering is an “Always On” display.  When the smartwatch is tilted away from the face or the watch hasn’t been in use, the 360 displays a black and white toned down version of the clock to conserve battery.  Gently moving the wrist as if you’re intending on looking down at your watch does automatically turn the display on and from my testing, this works almost flawlessly and very rarely I needed to flick my wrist twice to have the display show.

But one of the biggest reasons why anyone would consider of getting a smartwatch is the convenience of getting Smart Notifications, text messages and a slew of other handy features right on the wrist.  Whenever a notification comes in, a small bar on the bottom of the screen will stay there and swiping up allows you to read the entire message.  Google Hangouts, Gmail, text messages, calendar reminders, incoming phone calls, all of this shows up here without the need of taking out your phone.  You can choose to ignore a phone call from your watch, you can delete email as they come in on your wrist which is a time saver when you return back to your computer or a neat feature on smartwatches, you can respond to text and those Google hangouts messages.  There’s no on-screen keyboard like the Samsung Gear S2 I reviewed a few months back, however, there are pre-made responses which are ok, but that little microphone on the side I showed earlier, you can speak into the watch and this will type out your messages.  I noticed responding to text messages went mostly without a hitch and the watch did fine with understanding me for the most part.  Oddly enough though, the only issue with voice recognition I really had was saying “okay Google” to initiate the Voice Recognition from the Home Screen or main display.  I would have to repeat “okay Google” several times before it caught on.  But after that, asking for directions from my watch or asking the watch to perform a command worked for the most part.

Going back to the main screen, swiping right, just like holding the side button, your most recent apps are up top and scrolling down reveals all the apps you have installed.  And considering this is using Android Wear, there’s I would say a decent to good amount of apps available in the Google Play Store.  The Google Basics are mainly here, like Google Fit, Hangouts, Gmail and Google Maps, but if there isn’t a stock app from Android Wear or Motorola that suits your need, there’s always 3rd party apps like RunKeeper, Shazam, Calendars, Strava, the weather of course and a very good amount of watch dials all free.  If you’re using apps like iHeartRadio or Pandora, you will have music controls show up on your watch to pause, play and skip your music.  There’s also 4 gigs of internal storage to sync some of your music from your phone, to your watch, and if you have Bluetooth earphones, you can listen to music right from the Moto360.

Going back to the apps screen, swiping right one more time allows you to select your most recent contact to send a text or initiate the phone call on your phone. Swiping right one last time, you can use “Ok Google” manually without speaking into the watch.  Moving down, you can check your steps from Google Fit, to your last 7 days of steps, check your heart rate right at this moment, and last is to start an Activity.  Since we’re here, let’s talk about the fitness side of things.  With Google Fit as being one of the main options, when you start an activity, they can be categorized by either walking, running, cycling, and there are three other challenges, one for push-ups, another for sit-ups and last are squats.  But initiating a run, the watch will acquire the GPS signal on your phone so it may track your distance and pace much more accurately.  The watch itself doesn’t have GPS.  On the display, only three pieces of information can be displayed at a time, such as pace, distance, duration, steps and time of day.

Unfortunately testing this with Google Fit, Runkeeper, and Strava, none offered real-time heart rate data or heart-rate zone training.  Even running with RunKeeper from the phone, the phone doesn’t register the Moto360 as being a heart-rate tracking device.  I was very much hoping since more SmartWatches now come with heart-rate sensors, that the fitness apps could utilize the technology.  In this case here, the Heart-Rate sensor appears to only be used when you manually tell it to read your pulse. But onto better news, I performed several tests with my pulse oximeter and heart-rate chest strap, the Moto 360 was found to be very accurate from my assessment.  So stock coming from the factory, this will work fine as an all-day activity tracker counting your steps, there’s a stop-watch if you need that, but features we see on dedicated activity bands, like flights of stairs climbed, again, the heart-rate tracking, sleeping analysis, they’re just not here.  At the end of the day, it’s still predominantly a Smartwatch, and the fitness side of things still has a ways to go if you’re more fitness focused.  And this just came to mind since I mentioned sleep analysis.  There is a silent vibrating alarm on the 360 that you can set up to vibrate your wrist to wake you up if you decide to wear this overnight, but the vibrations from my tests are very light in my opinion, especially after testing so many fitness bands with a vibrating alarm feature.

Last regarding battery life, taking this off the charger a little after 7:30 in the morning, wearing this all day and receiving messages, notifications, and keep in mind, the always on display I left running, I ended the day a little after 10:30 at night, basically 15 hours and 3 minutes in total to be precise, I still had 37% battery remaining.  Leaving the watch bedside, the following morning at 7:53 am, the battery levels had dropped to 12%.  From my experience, the Moto360 does last about a day and a half, about 36 hours total, and the worst performance I’ve had is just a little over 24 hours, which is still suitable for today’s smartwatches.  Recharging the device, Motorola does offer a wireless charging cradle which I really liked.  Just slide this in, doesn’t matter which side, and the watch goes into landscape mode displaying the time on your nightstand.  Recharging for me had taken about 2 hours to complete from a 1% battery remaining.

So overall regarding the Moto 360 2nd generation, I only had very few minor issues with regards to using the interface.  Only once I have lost Bluetooth connection with my Nexus 6P phone and had to restart the watch for the connection to re-establish.  Using the watch itself, there are minor stutters here and there noticeable when scrolling through the app section, but not bad to the point where it was an issue.  It’s not perfect and the 2nd gen still has it’s own little downsides, but once I compiled my entire experience, it’s still a good SmartWatch and I did enjoy using it on a daily basis.  For the average consumer, I think they’ll very much enjoy the watch and find it useful if you’re looking for Smart notifications and messages to pop-up on your wrist.  The issues I’ve mentioned so far are minor enough to be overshadowed by the rest of the watch’s performance.  Regarding the look, let me know what you think below.  Obviously, it’s subjective, but do you like the rounded design, or would you prefer, say, the Samsung Gear S2 with a more sporty look…  or do you prefer Huawei’s recessed-in watch face?

So that’s it.  Remember to read my other smartwatch reviews here on  Be sure to add me on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.  As always, my website is here to help you make a purchase decision.  I’m Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom – I’ll see you guys on the next one, you guys take care.

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