Did Motorola just let every other smartwatch maker eclipse the Moto 360?

Did Motorola just let every other smartwatch maker eclipse the Moto 360?

The Moto 360 (2015) is pretty great. But it's also an awful lot like last year's Moto 360. Sure, it has a new processor and water-resistant rating, but that flat tire is still there and its specs resemble every other smartwatch. From last year. With the excellent Huawei Watch and Samsung Gear S2 making waves, did Motorola just let themselves be eclipsed by ever other smartwatch maker?

The Moto 360 was the defining smartwatch of its generation. It was the first round smartwatch and it looked great, compared to the clunky early offerings from Samsung and LG. But it had an old processor, a poor display and pretty poor battery life. But it looked really good, except for that flat tire at the bottom of the screen, which housed the display drivers and ambient light sensor.

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Despite competition with better specs, the Moto 360 (left) ruled 2014. / © ANDROIDPIT

In the ensuing competition for consumers' wrists, the Moto 360 proved to be the favorite, despite its shortcomings. We held our breath for the next version, which, we hoped, would deliver all kinds of improvements and redefine what a smartwatch could be and look like. But that hasn't exactly happened.

The new Moto 360 looks very similar to the old one. It has a more defined metal bezel surrounding the display and lugs where it previously had that ingenious invisible strap system. It's still quite thick, that flat tire on the display is still there and there are precious few improvements to speak of.

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This is the new Moto 360. It looks a lot like the old one./ © ANDROIDPIT

The few improvements that have been made don't even feel that significant. Snapdragon 400? Sure. Crown at the 2 o'clock position? Yep, seen it. When you compare the new Moto 360 with the smartwatches from last year, it's a clear winner, on both the looks and specs front. But this isn't last year.

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The LG Watch Urbane is pretty chunky but it does look good. / © ANDROIDPIT

While other manufacturers have pushed their wearables forward, by comparison, Motorola has tread water. This year's smartwatch specs are pretty much standard across the board. 

AndroidPIT Huawei Watch Moto 360 size comparison
The Huawei Watch (right) is at least as stylish as the Moto 360. / © ANDROIDPIT

LG has moved on to its Watch Urbane series, which includes the new 23-carat gold version. The Huawei Watch looks just as good as the Moto 360 and the new Tizen-based Samsung Gear S2 Classic is easily Moto 360's equal in the design department. And there's Asus' new ZenWatch 2 as well, although we're not sure it looks better than the original.

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Samsung's Gear S2 Classic is the best looking smartwatch we've seen for a while. / © ANDROIDPIT

Only time will tell how successful the Moto 360 (2015) will be against this stronger field. It may have some loyal fans who don't mind that it has only just caught up with last year's specs. And perhaps its similar design is enough for those who liked the first generation watch, and want to stick with what's familiar but still benefit from internal updates. One thing I do know, is that Motorola is, for the first time, at risk of facing a total eclipse on the circular smartwatch front.

Who do you think delivered the best smartwatch this year? Let us know in the comments.

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  • peterg Sep 20, 2015 Link to comment

    Flat tire makes this a showstopper for me.

  • Pete Caldwell Sep 6, 2015 Link to comment

    I feel Motorola has made a big mistake keeping the flat tire. Yes, I know, many Moto 360 owners will swear up and down its nothing and you barely notice it once you get used to it - the problem is the buying public will not bother to get used to it because there are too many other full-screen options now for the same price or close to it, which was not the case when the original moto 360 was released. I was a proud Moto 360 owner and flat tire apologist - but when the 5.1.1 update was delayed over a month for the 360 when every other device got it, I finally gave in to my secret lust and bought the LG Urbane and said goodbye to the flat tire forever!
    Now, I get what Motorola says about screen to bezel ratios, and have seen their graphical response to naysayers - but funny how they don't include the Huawei watch on that graphic as it manages a tiny bezel and an OLED display. As for the light sensor that is supposedly the main reason for the flat tire? I can tell you on the original it worked as often as not (maybe it's better once new ones?) and after getting annoyed too many times at a stubbornly dim screen in bright light or the reverse, I turned the automatic setting off on my Moto and found a brightness of "1" worked quite well in all but the brightest rooms, and a quick push of the side button gives most watches a quick temp max bright. In other words, that differentiating feature was useful maybe 50% of the time and then not critical. Why Moto engineers couldn't stick the sensor in a hole in the away facing side body of the watch (like the mic) and let it detect the ambient light there -which would work just as well in most cases while allowing a beautiful full circle watch face - is bewildering. And if they'd use OLED the battery would last longer then the wasteful backlit lcd tech. They seem to be contradicting themselves by saying the beauty of the watch is what matters to people - just not apparently the part everyone stares at the majority of the time.
    Let's hope they can sell enough to make a 3rd version and get the screen right then as I do like the exterior quite a bit - but not enough to sacrifice the bottom bit of screen when others have equally beautiful watches with no apologies necessary.

  • Brian Stewart Sep 4, 2015 Link to comment

    in your eyes whats required to make these devices more useful ? personally generic notifications are useful enough and i do believe that apple's original idea to push health with the Apple Watch is still valid.
    but you are right there is nothing really exciting about these devices and most likely will not be for a while so i ultimately still view them as 'watches' first with the benefit of notifications . so if they look good as a watch then i'm happy - this is why i'm really liking the samsung device (firstly these devices need to be great watches) (and also liked the original 360)

  • Rick Pruden Sep 4, 2015 Link to comment

    could care less about the flat tire, but nothing new to get excited about. that's going to be the case with all the android wear devices - Google and app developers will create the new features that make these devices truly useful to the masses.

  • Brian Stewart Sep 4, 2015 Link to comment

    yep the flat tire killed it for me :-( - Samsung Device looking great!

  • John Matthews Sep 4, 2015 Link to comment

    Moto 360 is now on sale only at BestSmartwatchOffers .com

    • peterg Sep 20, 2015 Link to comment

      Scam website comment above by fake profile.

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