Motorola Moto 360 Review48
Interface and Functionality
For the most part, the Android Wear experience doesn’t differ here from what we’ve seen already, but Motorola throws in two heart rate tracking apps to help motivate us to be active.
Google’s new Android Wear is still in its infancy, but it’s slowly seeing more support from third-party apps. Therefore, the core experience of the Moto 360 doesn’t differ all that much to what we’ve seen already with other Android Wear smartwatches. At the heart of it all, Android Wear has a uniform approach that makes the experience identical between all Android Wear smartwatches. Now, we won’t get into all of the details, seeing that we covered the noteworthy things in previous reviews, but we’ll quickly mention what’s different here on the Moto 360.
First and foremost, the presentation differs because it uses a round display. To tell you the truth, the UI and apps scale accordingly to fit this shape, and in all fairness, we hardly notice anything too different with the overall look of the platform – so we’re able to quickly adjust and navigate around. Just like other Android Wear watches, the Moto 360 utilizes various finger gestures and taps to operate around the UI. Swiping up/down/left/right on the display allows us to move around through various cards, while long-pressing on the watch face gives us additional ones to choose from. In addition, we can cover the display with our palm to instantly turn off the display – putting it back to its standby mode.
Beyond the round layout of the interface, the only other thing we spot different about the Moto 360 is its preloaded heart activity apps. Actually, there are two preloaded apps that make use of the Moto 360’s heart rate sensor – in addition to the stock Google Fit app that’s associated with Android Wear. First, there’s the “Heart Rate” app that has a slick looking interface to measure our pulse. Clearly making good use of the round display, where an arrow moves up and down the gauge, we absolutely prefer its styling over the Google Fit app.
Complementing it is the “Heart Activity” app, which tracks our overall health activity over the course of a week. In order to do this, the Moto 360 automatically measures our heart rate every 30 minutes – where it displays the data in a weekly view, so we can gauge our level of engaement. The premise of it all, of course, is to try and get us to become more active throughout our day. It’s definitely going in a good direction, much better than Google Fit, just because it’s doing something to motivate us to improve our results.
Aside from that, the Android Wear experience here is identical to every other smartwatch running the platform. For newbies, there’s definitely a learning curve to overcome, but after some practice and patience, they’ll be able to fully comprehend it. However, the Moto 360’s usefulness will hinge on Google Wear’s adaptation and continued support. In its current incarnation, it’s mostly a notifications hub – powered by Google Now. Yeah, several third-party apps have sprouted since the platform’s launch, but the platform by itself is still largely nothing more than an extension of Google Now. Thanks to its dual-microphones, the Moto 360 is able to accurately register the “Okay Google” command, which is used to do an assortment of things via voice control.
Processor and Memory
Compared to its rivals, the performance here is just a notch behind, but it’s nothing terrible.
Crammed into the casing, the Moto 360 is powered by a TI OMAP 3 processor coupled with 512MB of RAM. Playing around with some pre-production units at Motorola’s headquarters in Chicago, we were pretty pleased by the snappy and fluid response of the Moto 360. However, after messing around with our review unit, a final retail one, we do notice that its performance isn’t as buttery smooth. In comparison, the Samsung Gear Live’s performance seems snappier. Well, it’s not sluggish or anything like that, as the Moto 360 handles all operations without any noticeable hitches to its performance, but it’s just a notch behind the performance of its existing competition.
So far, so good. The Moto 360, much like Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch, boasts 4GB of internal storage, which is primarily used by the platform to store various data and system updates – so it’s not something we can technically tap into to store multimedia content.
Relying on Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity to interact with an Android powered smartphone (a Moto X in our case), the Moto 360 is able to establish the connection for approximately 25 feet indoors – matching the distance of the Gear Live. In order to initially pair it, we’re required to download the Android Wear app from the Google Play Store, which does nothing more than initializing the connection and being a hub to browse for certain compatible Android Wear apps.
Okay, so the only multimedia function that we have access to on the watch is controlling music – and that’s all folks! After selecting a song to play, whether through Android Wear’s “okay Google” function, or merely selecting it through our connected smartphone, the smartwatch is transformed into nothing more than a controller. Not only do we have access to the pause/play function directly from the card, but swiping over gives us forward and reverse functions as well. And that, folks, pretty much sums up the extent of its multimedia offering at the moment.