It wasn’t long ago when I said that smartwatches were useless devices that no one really needed, then I started reviewing and testing them. Truth still is, no one really “needs” a smartwatch but if you have some disposable income they sure do come in handy, handier than I first thought. With the new crop of watches coming up and Android Wear maturing, it may be a good time to look into one if you’re curious. Still king of the hill on the Android side, the Motorola Moto 360 V2 has almost everything you could want in a smartwatch. Read on for my Motorola Moto 360 V2 review!
- Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
- Backlit LCD
- Mens 42mm and Womens: 1.37” (35mm), 263ppi (360 X 325)
- Mens 46mm: 1.56” (40mm), 233ppi (360 X 330)
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400 with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU (APQ 8026)
- Adreno 305 with 450MHz GPU
- Ambient Light Sensor
- Vibration/Haptics engine
- Wireless charging
- 4GB internal storage + 512MB RAM
- Bluetooth® 4.0 Low Energy
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
- Dual digital mics
Round watches are my preferred shape for watches, there are some exceptions when I enjoy a square watch but for the most part I feel round watches look nicer on the wrist. The Moto 360 V2 looks similar to its predecessor with two major design changes, the wings and crown placement. Last years model had no wings and the band was installed into the body of the watch making changing bands a pain in the keister. The addition of the wings makes installing watch bands much easier and it gives the watch a more traditional watch like appearance.
The crown has been moved into a right side diagonal position on the body of the watch instead of the right side center. At first I felt this was a horrible idea as I am just used to the crown being right side center. After continued use however, I felt it was an excellent design choice making it easier to depress and use the crown functions with your thumb and index fingers. I’m sure some people may still prefer a right side center location but I felt it was very easy to adapt to this placement.
Of course the biggest thing to talk about on the design front is the ability to use Moto Maker when ordering your Moto 360 from Motorola. The base price of a Moto 360 is $299 for the 42mm watch face version. I customized mine in Moto Maker and opted for the larger 46mm version which brought the price up to $399. Moto Maker offers a plethora of possible combinations and if you really want to design the watch in your style, it’s really worth using. You can buy these on Amazon or the Moto Store already ready to go but you’ll have to choose from their design choices. The one thing about Moto Maker is having to wait for your watch to be completed, delivered and arrive. But if you have the patience to wait and the desire to have a unique watch, Moto Maker is the only way to go.
As mentioned above, my review unit is the 46mm version making the viewable display area of the watch 40mm with a 360×330 resolution and 233ppi. The Huawei Watch 42mm clocks in at a higher 400×400 resolution and 286ppi and does not have the “flat tire” the Moto 360 has. While I admit the Huawei Watch display is slightly more vibrant and clear, it’s not so much that it defeats the Moto 360 V2 hands down. The difference is nominal and not that noticeable in day to day use.
As I said earlier, the “flat tire” is back on the Moto 360 V2 and Motorola claims this is the best place for its sensors that allow the watch to function properly. Huawei managed to use all the surface area of their watch face without needing to put sensors in that spot so not sure why Motorola couldn’t have done the same. At any rate, the “flat tire” may bug some users but I’ve found it’s not even noticeable to me anymore. This is going to be a huge personal preference more than anything.
Swiping and input gestures worked flawlessly on the Moto 360 V2 and most everything was quick and snappy. The only time I had an issue was changing watch faces, sometimes the watch didn’t recognize my long press for activating watch face changes. The watch display performs decently well in bright sunlight but there are certain watch faces that are easier to see than others. One of the areas the watch bests the Huawei Watch is the fact it has auto-brightness, this is a big deal for some users. Personally I keep my Android Wear watches at a 4 brightness all the time.
Overall the display is great and the addition of a 46mm face is great for those of us with bigger hands. The 46mm is noticeable larger than the 42mm and while I feel I made the right choice, the 46mm is pretty damn big.
Android Wear continues to gain improvements in performance and integration, it really works and flows well with Android devices. I used my Moto 360 V2 paired to a Moto X Pure as well as a Nexus 6P and each device ran the software flawlessly. That being said, Android to Android functionality isn’t what hurts the software scoring here, the reason I scored software lower (as I did in my Huawei Watch review) is due to the iPhone functionality.
Android Wear watches now work with iPhone but in a limited way and they in no way give you the same experience as you get when paired to Android. Of course that is not entirely unexpected but if you’re paying this much for a watch, I would think you would want all the functionality it can offer. Simply said, Android Wear watches work with iOS but I wouldn’t buy one as an iPhone user. Some of the issue is iOS itself, Android Wear can’t function as Watch OS does because Apple doesn’t supply the ability to do that. So spending this much money on partial functionality just doesn’t make sense. Still, while some of the fault lay with Apple in functionality, the software scores a bit lower because it just doesn’t give equal experiences across platforms.
That said, Android Wear is amazing when used with Android.
Battery And Charging
OK, battery life on the Moto 360 V2 is obviously going to vary on how you use it, much like any other device. I found that with notifications on, replying to email, responding to texts, and phone calls, I could get through the whole day with 20-30% battery life left. This is an improvement over the first generation Moto 360. Battery life on the 2nd generation is right on target for what I think a smartwatch should be at. I don’t think battery life is going to be in the days for these things in a very long time, if ever. So ending the day at 30% is much better than last years version which barely made it through the day with 10-15% left.
Charing the Moto 360 is the best charging experience yet. Qi wireless charging on the included dock is great and fast. I had an issue with the Huawei method of charging, using pins and a not so great charging puck, but Moto did it right. Where there were times the Huawei wouldn’t charge at all, falling off the pins or getting bumped and misaligned, the Moto charging method is by far better and more elegant and efficient.
Starting at $299USD, the Moto 360 V2 price can quickly go up depending on size, straps and customizations. My review unit clocked in at $399 with the upgrade in size and customized bezel. Right now the Moto 360 V2 is the best value in a Android Wear smartwatch of this class that I can think of.
If you’re looking at smartwatches for your Android device do not walk past the Moto 360 V2. This has to be at the top of your list to check out. Moto Maker and the overall design are the choice reasons to consider this watch.