- Smart, premium design
- Deep customisation
- Android Wear greatly improved
- Screen bar
- 'Meh' battery life
Moto 360 2nd Gen (2015) Review: We review the sequel to last year’s Motorola Moto 360, an all-improved smartwatch that boasts sexier design, impressive customisation and the slickest Android Wear yet. So is it worth upgrading your old 360 or jumping ship from another smartwatch?
We’ve been reviewing smartwatches and wearables for over two years now (starting with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Gear back in September 2013), which makes it all the more depressing that very few of them are worth strapping to your wrist.
Google’s Android Wear OS has thankfully come a long way since its early days, with a more intuitive and feature-packed interface, so now we just need the hardware to match. Step forward Motorola with the new Moto 360, its second smartwatch boasting new designs and features for 2015. But with hot competition from the likes of Samsung’s Gear S2, is this the prettiest and most feature-packed watch right now?
The new Moto 360 is one of the most customisable smartwatches ever conceived. Head over to Motorola’s Moto Maker service and you can construct your own Moto 360 from scratch, choosing between two men’s sizes or a women’s model, choosing your preferred bezel colour and style and even picking which leather or metal strap you’d like. And if you’re not too keen on the strap you select, or you’d simply like to jazz it up for special occasions, the standard 22mm design means you can swap it out any time you like.
Last year’s Moto 360 looked great in the press images, but disappointed when I finally slapped it onto my wrist. That chunky body seemed rather awkward and the plasticky finish made it feel like a toy rather than a premium accessory.
Thankfully the 2015 model is a serious improvement. That stainless steel frame, bevelled bezel and funky two o’clock power button add a lot to the Moto 360’s aesthetics, as does the new strap join. It’s still a chunky beast, but it doesn’t seem quite so imposing in this incarnation. And the choice of sizes mean you can go smaller if you have more feminine wrists.
Good news too if you’re too lazy to remove your watch when you jump in the shower. The Moto 360 is IP67 dust and water resistant, so it can be fully submerged for a good long while without spoiling (although be careful if you opted for the leather strap).
The only design feature that has blighted both Moto 360 models is the black bar at the bottom of the screen. It’s not exactly massive or intrusive, but it does break up the circular presentation.
Still, get over that and the sharp resolution and subtle colours make for an attractive LCD display. It’s bright enough on the standard setting to clearly see outside, with the option of a brightness boost if absolutely necessary (plus the usual cinema mode to dim it down and the choice of keeping the watch face visible when the watch is hibernating).
The screen is also perfectly responsive to pokes and swipes, so you won’t be frustrated when trying to skip through your notifications or fiddle with apps.
Android Wear feels seriously upgraded compared with its original state, now offering a quick and easy means of skipping to your favourite contacts and apps, as well as toggling important settings.
You can now scroll through menus with just a flick of your wrist if your other hand is busy, which is massively useful, as is the improved voice search. And with unexpected support for iOS, watches are now a more financially sound alternative to the Apple Watch.
Check out our guide to the latest Android Wear features for more info.
The Moto 360 doubles quite well as a fitness tracker too, with a built-in heart rate monitor that’s as responsive and accurate as any others we’ve tested. Readings tend to take around ten to fifteen seconds and are recorded by Moto Body, along with steps taken, distance covered and so on, so you can see how good you’ve been all week.
And as you’d expect from a new Android Wear watch, the Moto 360 comes with Wi-Fi support so you can still get notifications even if you’re not connected to your phone.
Performance and battery life
Last year’s Moto 360 was a let-down in the performance department, offering a jittery, stunted experience. Thankfully Motorola has updated the single-core processor to a quad-core Snapdragon 400, the smartwatch CPU of choice, which keeps the Android Wear OS running smoothly at all times.
Battery life is unfortunately as poor as most other smartwatches, offering more or less a day of use between charges, even if you only use it to tell the time and check notifications. If you forget to charge the watch before you set off in the morning, you’ll be staring at a blank screen very shortly.
The good news is that the Moto 360 charges wirelessly, which means you simply need to slip it onto the bundled dock and it’ll start sucking up power. The dock also leaves the watch face exposed, so you can clearly see the time when the 360 is sat on your bedside table (thankfully it’s a dim blue readout, so it won’t disturb you when you’re trying to get some kip).
Of course, you’re also unfortunately obliged to carry the dock with you when you travel, which means more crap in your case. And if you forget the dock, then you’re stuffed.
In its 2015 incarnation, the Moto 360 is a greatly improved smartwatch. It’s still not quite perfect, with an unfortunate screen black spot and the usual less-than-impressive battery life, but the superb degree of customisation, user-friendly interface and premium design make this one of the best Android Wear watches right now.
|Screen size||1.37/1.56-inches (circular)|
|Compatibility||Android 4.3 (or newer), iOS 8.2 (or newer)|
|Bonus features||WiFi, optical heart-rate sensor, IP67 cetified|