The Moto 360 second generation is a solid improvement over last year's model. Motorola has given its smartwatch a new processor and a few design tweaks, plus it now comes in two sizes and remains super customizable. After a week of using it, however, I still get the impression that the Moto 360 will spend another year behind the competition. Read our full Moto 360 (2015) review to find out why.
Update: Marshmallow has been confirmed for the Moto 360, find out more details in the software section below.
- Highly customizable through Moto Maker
- Easy strap removal
- IP67 water resistance certification
- Android Wear is now a decent platform
- Wireless charging dock is practical and stylish
- The screen is not 100 percent round
- Still very thick
- Battery life
Moto 360 (2015) release date and price
The Moto 360 second generation was announced on September 2, 2015, and is now available from Moto Maker in selected regions. The price of the base model price is higher than last year, at US$299, which doesn't include the patterned bezel (that's an extra US$20), the gold body (which costs US$30 more) or metal bands (which will set you back an additional US$50). Add all those extras up and you have quite a pricey smartwatch on your hands (or wrist).
Moto 360 (2015) design and build quality
Are people looking for a smartwatch or a classic watch? You wouldn’t wear a smartwatch just to check emails or the time, right? You want it to look good too. In this sense, the new Moto 360 is one of the best smartwatches on the market. You can customize the Moto 360 in many ways with Moto Maker, from the steel case to the bracelet, so you can get a smartwatch that looks just how you want it to.
For this review, I received a voucher from Motorola, to enable me to do just that. The shopping experience begins with the size options: 46 mm or 42 mm. Next you can choose the color you want from a total of eight main color options and three for the color of the steel. Finally, you can choose between six bands in two different materials: leather or metal. Some of the choices, such as bracelet with double back, cost more. But the whole customization process was quick and easy.
There are three key differences between the 2015 Moto 360 and the original model. The steel case now has a classic band fitting. Removing the band is easy, thanks to its adjustable adapter. The second is that the main hardware button, the crown, has moved from the 3 o’clock to 2 o’clock position, which should stop you activating it by accident. The third is that there are now two size options.
However, one of my biggest criticisms also comes down to the size of the device. Last year’s model was too thick, and unfortunately, Motorola has repeated the same mistake in 2015. Looking at the table below, you can see that even with the slight difference in battery capacity, the new and the old model have almost identical dimensions.
|Moto 360 2015 (46mm)||Moto 360 2015 (42mm)||Moto 360|
|Battery||400 mAh||300 mAh||320 mAh|
On the back, the Moto 360 2015 has a heart rate monitor, which collects data every five minutes and provides analysis of the wearer's heartbeats for up to 24 hours at a time. The new IP67 rating means the Moto 360 has good water resistance, but keep in mind that that applies to the watch itself, not, for example, the leather strap, which will suffer from repeated exposure to moisture.
In short, the great success of the Moto 360 (2015) is its customizability. LG doesn't offer this, neither does Samsung, Apple nor Sony. The only manufacturer that comes close to Motorola in the customization of its wearables is Huawei. In this regard, the second generation of the Moto 360 has a big lead over the competition.
Moto 360 (2015) display
The new Moto 360 display is 1.37 inches on the smaller watch and 1.56 inches on the larger option. Both use IPS LCD technology at resolutions of 360 x 325 (263 ppi) and 360 x 330 (233 ppi), respectively.
Reflections coming off the display have reduced considerably compared with the last device. However, it still might bother you at angles of 30 degrees or more. The Moto 360 (2015) screen brightness is good enough that you can easily tell the difference between the different levels. Of course, screen brightness is directly connected to battery life and a positive point here is the fact that you can easily read from the screen, even on the lowest brightness level.
Touchscreen sensitivity was not always great during my testing. This was frustrating at times, especially when I was in a hurry and trying to launch an application quickly.
Overall, the screen is quite good, but I hope the third generation of the Moto 360 reviews the size of the bezel and the position of sensors that prevent the cause the black dead space at the bottom of the display and prevent it from being completely circular.
Moto 360 (2015) software
The Moto 360 (2nd gen) runs the latest version of Android Wear, which means it has considerable improvements over last year’s watch, including support for Wi-Fi, for example. There are some good-looking pre-installed watch faces too, some of which also act as widgets.
Two features that most caught my attention during my Moto 360 (2015) were the remote service for Android TV, music services, and applications and displays for sports, which give you information that matters when you need it.
The software is well-integrated with the hardware and the heart rate sensor and step counter are accurate. However, there are reports that the accuracy of the statistics generated by this type of device is still only at experimental level, so you shouldn't regard this information as entirely scientific.
Using the official Google app, iPhone users running iOS version 8.2 or higher can now also pair with smartwatches using Android Wear. However, syncing an iPhone with the Moto 360 (2015) proved quite a poor experience. More on that below.
The Moto 360 (2015) will now be getting Marshmallow within the coming weeks. The update will bring a whole host of features like navigation with gestures, new voice integration expansion and support for popular apps like Telegram, Viber and WhatsApp. Find out the full details at our Android Wear page.
Moto 360 (2015) performance
The Moto 360 packs the quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2 GHz. It has the same 4 GB of internal storage and 512 MB of RAM as the previous model. But the GPU is now the Adreno 305 running at 450 MHz. These specs should suffice for most situations. The new Moto 360 also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 support, meaning you can now use it without tethering it to a smartphone.
Android Wear is now compatible with smartphones running both Android and iOS. So if you own an iPhone 6, for example, you can realistically consider the new Moto 360 – or any current Android smartwatch – as a more affordable alternative to the Apple Watch.
I tested the new Moto 360 with the iPhone 6 and, despite problems with pairing, it was possible to use them together. The experience of using the Moto 360 (2015) with iOS was limited because many of the apps don’t work between them. You can perform voice searches, for example, but not send messages using WhatsApp.
Among the Moto 360 sensors are an accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, a gyroscope for monitoring heart rate and the vibrating motor and touch recognition (haptics).
Voice recognition is critical to making a good smartwatch and the Moto 360 (2015) has a similar microphone to most other smartwatches. This is frustrating, because Motorola has one of the best voice recognition engines in the business, as seen on the Moto X Pure Edition and Droid Turbo 2. The main limitations of the microphone may be related to its placement at the bottom of the device, which just isn't an effective location for it. I’ve been using a smartwatch since Android Wear’s earliest days and the most logical location for the microphone is the high up on the right-hand side of a smartwatch.
One aspect of the hardware performance that can't be overstated is that you can pair the Moto 360 (2015) with Bluetooth devices other than your smartphone. If you want to go for a jog or pick up some groceries, you can leave your cell phone at home. If you want to play music, all you need is some wireless earphones, and you can listen to the tracks that are stored on the watch.
Moto 360 (2015) battery
The 42 mm version of the Moto 360 has a 300 mAh battery, and the 46 mm model has a 400 mAh battery. Motorola engineers told me during the launch that this watch will run for two days without needing to be charged. However, within 10 days of use, I couldn’t ever make it a full day on one charge. But remember that the model I tested has the smaller 300 mAh battery – the larger one may last longer.
The plus point here is wireless charging. The well-designed dock charges your Moto 360 quickly and easily.
There are some steps you can take to keep the battery Moto 360 (2015) running for longer too, such as dimming the screen, disabling Wi-Fi when it isn’t needed and disabling the the 'screen always-on' function.
Moto 360 (2015) technical specifications
The experience of using the 2015 Moto 360 is completely different to using the 2014 Moto 360. This is because Android Wear is now a much more complete operating system. The chance to customize your own model has also made the customer experience better, and being able to charge the device quickly and without fuss makes slotting the Moto 360 (2015) into your daily routine pretty easy.
Despite the evolution of Android Wear, the operating system still needs further development. The Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear S2 are Motorola's major competitors in the wearables market, and they offer extra software that interacts more coherently with the hardware, thanks to features such as Apple’s Force Touch, or Samsung’s rotating ring for selecting different menu options.
What your top pick from among the new smartwatches options on the market? Could the Moto 360 (2015) be your next smartwatch? Tell us what you think in the comments.