Motorola Moto 360 (2015) #ExpressReview: Best Android Wear smartwatch, if at all you need it

Motorola Moto 360 (2015) is a good-looking watch but Google’s Android Wear fails to make it 'smart' again.

Written by Debashis Sarkar | New Delhi | Updated: January 2, 2016 8:11 pm
Motorola, Motorola Moto 360 review, Moto 360 (2015) REVIEW, Moto 360 2 review, Motorola Moto 360 features, Moto 360 1 vs Moto 360 2, Moto 360 flipkart, Android Wear, wearables, smartwatch, technology news Motorola Moto 360 (2015) is a good-looking watch but Google’s Android Wear fails to make it ‘smart’ again. (Image: Fareeda Muhammed)

I have already spent Rs 12,999 in buying the first gen Moto 360 in June 2015, obviously after the price cut. So, if Motorola wants me to spend at least another Rs 20,000 for the new Moto 360 (2015) as a new year gift, it has to be damn good.

The good guys at Motorola have sent me the high-end 46mm Black Metal Moto 360 (2015) version, which is priced at Rs 23,999, for reviewing. And let me put this straight- it is completely out of the box when I say that the only difference I observed was that the crown has moved from the regular 3 o’clock position to 2o’ clock position. You still have the ‘flat tyre’ round display.

I really wish I could replace the leather bands of my old Moto 360 with the Black Metal version band to prove my point. But I don’t wish to take the pains of hunting a watch store near my place to do so. Thanks to Motorola for simplifying the process of changing bands in the new Moto 360. But only if you are interested or even better, if you find them.

Unlike the option of customising the new Moto 360 via Moto Maker, Indian consumers will have to choose among only five options. Out of these, if you want a bigger 46mm dial, then you have only one option- the Black Metal version at Rs 23,999.

If you are comfortable with a smaller 42mm dial, then you have four options, and out of which, only one comes with a metal band- the Silver variant for Rs 22,999.

The other three leather band versions (Black, Brown and Gold) are priced at Rs 19,999.

That’s like very little in terms of choice, especially after witnessing Moto Maker which gives 300 options. Also, the funny part is that even Flipkart is confused as to which version it is selling.

Before jumping into the software features and what can it do, I would say I am not impressed yet. And yes. Motorola might again bring down the price drastically very soon. So, I will wait.

Moto 360 (2015): The Black Metal version

It is bulky and will take some time to get used to. I don’t know whether this is a problem for you or not, but I hate metal bands mostly because they generally tend to pull out hairs on the wrist. And it hurts. Thankfully, the metal band design of this was not cruel to me. The locking mechanism is hidden and looks awesome.

Important questions first.

How is the battery life?

One and a half days at max, when it is constantly connected via Bluetooth to your smartphone. And if you want to use it as a watch primarily without connecting it to your phone always, then you can squeeze up to three days.

The best part is that the battery gets fully charged in just an hour. It uses the same wireless charger. Don’t be surprised it gets really warm while charging.

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What is new?

The first thing you would notice is that the ambient light is always on in the new version. This means you can always glance at the time. The new Moto 360 runs 1.2Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC.This makes it smoother. It is powered by Android Wear v1.3 based on Android 5.1.1 and you might be already using it on the older Moto 360 version. Motorola has done its bit by adding Moto Body app.

DON’T MISS: MOTO 360 (2015): What’s new?

According to Motorola, here are the most notable differences:

-Choice of smaller and more compact 42mm version with several band options

-Bands can be changed easily via the quick release pins.

-Better processor

-Better display

-Better battery life

But what about the software essentially? It is still the same almost. The new Moto 360 is just a good looking digital watch powered by Android Wear, which ensures quick glance at notifications.

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Is it still a notification device on your wrist?

Yes. Google Now cards still continue to be the heart and soul of the Moto watch. You will be notified of your chats, emails, calls, alarm, etc. Moto Body summarise your health records on the watch. Basically, it is still an extension of your smartphone. Voice recognition has improved but still has a long way to go. The million dollar question: Can you answer calls? No. At present, Android Wear notifies of calls. You can always swipe to answer it on your phone.

Verdict

Android Wear still has a long way to go. You can do very little for the price you are paying. Also, you got to do a lot of swiping to get what you need. And the experience might be confusing for first time users.

Though you can use the new Moto 360 with iPhones, however, the experience is very limited. Basically, you are cut off from whatever little goodies Android Wear has to offer. For iPhone users, the new Moto 360 makes no sense at all.

Motorola on its part has done whatever it could do while making the new Moto 360. It comes with more style options. Looks a bit better. And of course, better battery life. But Android Wear will be the real problem for most users, at least in India.

If you have already gotten used to changing your smartphone every year or six months, you can now might think of spending your money on changing smartwatches. My thoughts might obviously sound old school, but if I am spending Rs 20,000 on a “smart” watch again, it better be really smart and has to stay functional for at least two to three years.

Ok Google. Pay attention to Android Wear, if you want budget conscious Indian consumers to look at you for smartwatches.