There has been a range of smartwatches hitting the shelves this year, from the likes of Samsung, Sony and the Pebble line up. The only problem is that none of the devices have managed to feel or look like an actual watch. The straps often have a rubberized finish; the displays are too square, too small, or too big, and the short lived battery life can be problematic too.
However, with the Motorola Moto 360 most of these issues have been addressed. The construction feels premium with the brushed metal sides, there’s a singular power button that feels rock solid, and the strip of Horween leather feels like a real watch strap. But most importantly (save for the small bezel for the internals) the display is round which makes for a satisfyingly real, robust, luxury watch feel.
In fact, it’s so watch-like that it’s easy to forget the device is paired alongside a smartphone – that is until notifications start popping up on the circular1.56 inch display. And the set-up is much more straightforward than I had anticipated: Simply download the Android wear app from Google Play, hit open, and tap the pair option. From then on Tweets, emails, texts, Whatapps, and Facebook notifications all come through to the watch screen. Many can be replied to through voice which is really convenient - and works well, so long as the environment isn’t too noisy.
The 360 runs Google’s latest version of Android Wear which has been criticised for being slow, buggy and lagging in places where it shouldn’t, but throughout day to day usage I’ve never noticed any of these issues. The experience has been fluid - and there isn’t much reason to navigate around the watch OS other than powering off and swiping away notifications – it’s all kept simple and neat.
One of the real killer features is that navigation also works through the watch. While using a paired phone as a Sat Nav, the watch prompts turns by vibrating just at the right time, and while walking it becomes an accurate navigation tool from the set of Star Trek. You’ll also encounter notifications showing how many steps have been taken throughout the day as well as an accurate heart rate monitor built into the back panel.
With so much functionality available on such a small gadget, it’s appropriate to assume rapid battery drain. With the 360 I’ve discovered that it doesn’t hold the greatest battery, or the worst. But what it does offer is a little more than acceptable - especially considering how effortless charging is. Included within the box is a small wireless charging unit that allows the watch to sit neatly for charging overnight while becoming a bed-side clock. It really is quite beautiful – so simple, so effortless and the low-light display gently presents the time in a brilliant electric blue without lighting up the entire room. You can expect around 2 days moderate usage until extra juice is needed. All considered, the Moto 360 is the best smartwatch option on the market right now.
lAvailable now from www.Motorola.co.uk £199.99.