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Moto 360 review: All hype or superb smartwatch?

Does Motorola’s premium smartwatch deserve space on your wrist?

No other wearable has come close to the hype and attention the Moto 360 has received in the past few months. Although the market has been duly saturated with new smartwatches, the Moto 360 has certainly piqued the interest of many potential users, who have yet to be persuaded on the need for a smartwatch. Out of the box, the most obvious change between the 360 and nearly every other smartwatch is that it’s round. It looks like an actual watch that people would choose to wear, compared to some previous monstrosities and the whole design has a distinct premium finish. There’s a choice of bands to help keep the Moto 360 attached to your wrist, with the leather variant we tested lightweight and sleek in design. The metallic watch face is well constructed with the screen is slightly raised, but the whole build is chunky and quite obtrusive on the wrist.

A simple long press on the side button turns on the Moto 360, with the smartwatch needing the Android Wear app on your smartphone to connect. The process is easy and pairing can be completed in a few seconds. Android Wear is certainly a great addition to the Android ecosytem and adds plenty of functionality to the 360. Users can send texts, control apps and even use a Wear-dedicated launcher all from their wrist. It’s quick at receiving notifications, and a decent solution to quickly confirming or discarding phone calls. The display is bright and colourful, and we can cut it some slack for the odd pixilation due to its smaller size.

Where the 360 starts to falter is really of no fault of Motorola’s. Google’s intent on using rectangles throughout Google Now and many of their other apps, leads to words and pictures often cut off from the 360’s circular screen. It’s a bit too apparent in some areas, especially those that the black panel along the bottom of the watch face cuts out. With the 360 capable of so much, it’s not been best equipped in the battery department either. The 320mAh offering has undergone a couple of updates to prolong its life, but with so much power required for Android Wear, you’ll be extremely lucky to make it through a single day of use.

It’s testament to Motorola’s strong design ethics that the 360 is one of only a few smartwatches people would consider wearing. even if a little chunky. Although Android Wear works a treat on the smartwatch, its integration is far from perfect and a sub-par battery life only looks to make things worse. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but this is a good start from Motorola.

For further reviews on the latest smartwatches, make sure to buy or download the new issue of Android Magazine.