Moto 360 (2015) Hands-On Preview

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As expected, Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) announced its second-generation smartwatch, the Moto 360, at IFA in Berlin. Early leaks, and the fact that it is a follow-up to one of the most attractive smartwatches from 2014, suggested that this would be one of the best-designed Android Wear watches on the market. Lenovo and Motorola did not disappoint, and the new Moto 360 arrives with a lot of buzz.

The new Moto 360 looks more like a traditional watch.

The new Moto 360 looks more like a traditional watch.

Not only does the new Moto 360 have a round and pleasing design, it will arrive in two sizes, as well as a semi-ruggedized sports version: Moto 360 Sport. The Android Wear wearables will all have built-in GPS and be available in more than 300 combinations of materials, colors, looks and other features, all through that the same Moto Maker Motorola offers to customize smartphones. Unlike the 2014 Moto 360, the overall aesthetic bends more to the classic wristwatch than futuristic wearable.

The slim display edge contributes to this, as too do the dimensions, which have been reduced to what the watch industry considers average.

The smaller model with a 1.37-inch display has a display resolution of 360 x 325 pixels, resulting in a density of 263 pixels per inch, while the larger, 1.56-inch Moto 360 sports a 360 x 330 pixel resolution, creating a similar pixel density of 233. For a device this small, this pixel density creates very pleasant and sharp imaging. Reds and yellows definitely pop. We were only able to discern individual pixels with a very close look, and on a particularly slim digital second hand.

The display’s contrast sustainability is average, but that’s a significant improvement over last year’s Moto 360. The viewing angle is wide, and the Moto 360 Sport features what Motorola dubs an AnyLight hybrid display that increases contrast when exposed to direct sunlight.

The new Moto 360's display contrast is decent.

The new Moto 360’s display contrast is decent.

The “flat tire” detail, as featured on the first-generations Moto 360, is still present, and several lower lines of pixels on the display are not active. This does slightly alter certain Android Wear skins and certain Android Wear apps, and it could be a problem for users. That said, it doesn’t reduce the functionality at all, and it seems a small price to pay for what is otherwise a great-looking smartwatch.

Moto 360 features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 chipset, running a 1.2 GHz clock with Adreno 305 graphic chip, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. The watch proved highly responsive in our time with it, and reacts swiftly and precisely to finger swipes across the display

Even the smaller version of the watch provides great response precision, and seemed better than the competing Android Wear watches we’ve tested.

If anything, Moto 360’s challenge will be its battery, just as it is with other smartwatches. The smaller version features a 300 mAh battery, while the bigger has a 400 mAh battery.

Will that be enough to get a user through a full day? We’ll find out when we review the new Moto 360. At first glance though, this smartwatch seems like a decent step in smartwatch market maturity.



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