Motorola Moto 360 (2015) review

The new Moto 360 made us seriously consider dumping the Apple Watch

A smartwatch with style: the 2015 Moto 360 is a stunner, even on small wrists
A smartwatch with style: the 2015 Moto 360 is a stunner, even on small wrists
A smartwatch with style: the 2015 Moto 360 is a stunner, even on small wrists

Highs

  • First female-friendly Android Wear smartwatch
  • Design your own look with Moto Maker
  • Works on iOS and Android
  • Android Wear has come a long way

Lows

  • No NFC or mobile payments yet
  • One-day battery life
  • iOS support is limited
Home > Product Reviews > Wearable Reviews > Smartwatch Reviews > Motorola Moto 360 (2015) review

When Google introduced Android Wear, it wasn’t the LG G Watch or the Samsung Gear Live that caught everyone’s attention: It was the Moto 360. Its round screen was revolutionary in 2014, and it was gorgeous.

Motorola took that same iconic design and improved it this year with the 2015 Moto 360. It still doesn’t have a perfectly round screen, but it does deliver on the potential that was buried inside the first-generation Moto 360. Complete with competitive smartwatch specs, Moto Maker customization options, and limited iOS support, the new Moto 360 is one of the best Android Wear watches around.

It’s also the first of its kind to try and court both men and women, but is it good enough to top the competition?

Ladies, look no further than the 42mm Moto 360

As a woman, and someone with a smaller wrist, I’ve been strapping on Android Wear smartwatches since they first came out, and each and every time I’ve been let down by thus-and-such’s concept of “unisex” and “female friendly.” While the 42mm Moto 360 is still the size of a large Apple Watch, the way the lugs are angled allows it to fit on smaller wrists like mine. The circular shape of the watch face somewhat disguises the size, so even though it is the same measurement as the larger Apple Watch, it doesn’t look as massive. And, when you compare it to the 46mm men’s version, it looks downright delicate!

Read more: 10 Moto 360 tips to help you make the most of your smartwatch

I went for a silver body and the blush leather strap when I designed my Moto 360 review unit. Although you may not be able to tell from the photos, the 42mm design actually does fit my ridiculously small wrists and it looks gorgeous. It’s the first Android Wear smartwatch that I’ve ever enjoyed wearing and the only one I’ve ever been complemented on. You see, from a distance when you just glance at it, the Moto 360 looks like a normal watch. Both male and female friends said they liked the way it looked on me better than the 38mm Apple Watch, and I had to agree.

The Moto 360 is the first Android Wear smartwatch I can safely recommend to women, and it’s the first smartwatch that’s made me consider dumping the Apple Watch.

Is the 42mm Moto 360 the perfect size? No, but it may be the best Android Wear watch option women have. Why? Design. That 42mm casing looks slimmer and fits more naturally on the wrist than the Huawei Watch, it’s closest competitor size-wise. The bezels are thinner, the profile more slender, and the lugs are angled correctly, so they don’t wing over slim wrists. It is still pretty thick, though, but that’s something that all smartwatches will need to conquer in the near future.

The Moto 360 is the first Android Wear watch I can safely recommend to women.

Perhaps the best part about the Moto 360 is that you can customize it to suit your tastes with Moto Maker. You can choose the metal finish on both the casing and the bezel, the texture of your watch bezel, and the kind of band you want. All the bands for the 42mm Moto 360 fit the 16mm standard, too, so you can buy your own online and they’ll fit. The slimmer bands also add to the air of femininity, and there’s a leather wrap band that loops around twice.

You can also choose to get a couple different textures around the bezel, so the metal isn’t too flashy. The textures are really subtle and classic, as are the color options of silver, gold, and rose gold. The end result is a smartwatch that you more or less designed yourself. Moto Maker helps buyers create their own devices, which means that your Moto 360 is truly unique. Even the Apple Watch with all its bands feels limited once you’ve seen what Motorola has on offer with the Moto 360.

Motorola Moto 360
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

The watch faces are also highly customizable. You can alter the color palettes of watch faces if you don’t like the default color combination, too. The coolest watch face for women is the flower one, which was hand painted by a member of the Women’s Collection design team. You can choose between a variety of different flowers, including roses, irises, poppies, lilies, and more. It’s beautiful.

The same goes for men. The Men’s Collection was curated by Motorola’s designers to suit male tastes. Guys have more options when it comes to smartwatches, so the Moto 360 may not be to your tastes, and that’s okay. There’s always the Huawei Watch, LG Watch Urbane, and Samsung Gear S2, to name a few.

Typical smartwatch specs

On to the specs: The first Moto 360 suffered from lag and poor battery life after a while, but the new one shouldn’t have those problems. It’s powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM, which is pretty much par for the course with Android Wear smartwatches. It packs 4GB of storage for offline music and other files. These are all standard numbers for 2015 Android watches, as are most of the specs.

The 42mm women’s version has a 1.37-inch screen with a 360 x 325 pixel resolution, while the men’s 46mm version has a 1.56-inch screen with a 360 x 330 pixel resolution. The two models also differ in terms of battery size, with a 300mAh battery inside the 42mm model, which really only lasts through one day. Just like the Apple Watch, by 11 p.m., you’ll need to pop it on the charger. The 400mAh battery inside the 46mm model is rated for 2 days of use, but we can’t say whether that’s accurate, because we only tested the 42mm version. Both charge with a wireless charger and connect to your phone via Bluetooth.

Read more: 5 common Moto 360 problems, and how to solve them

Speaking of connecting with phones, you can now connect your Android Wear smartwatches to an iPhone as well as an Android phone, which greatly increases the number of users who could buy the new Moto 360. Motorola said that there are now more than 4,000 Android Wear apps in the app store, and you’ll get notifications just like you would on your phone. The latest version of Android Wear runs smoothly on the watch, and iOS support is actually decent, considering (more on that later).

The new Moto 360 also packs several sensors, including an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, and heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor syncs up with the new Moto Body app, which gives you encouragement and coaching throughout the day to help you reach your fitness goals. It’s similar to the Apple Watch’s little alerts, which I’ve always found motivating. I like it much better than the standard Android Wear fitness app.

Finally, thanks to a coating on the aircraft-grade 316L stainless steel casing of the Moto 360, the watch offers IP67 water resistance, so it’ll be safe from small splashes. Motorola still cautions against swimming with it on, though.

Android Wear on iOS and Android

Let’s get this out of the way: I’ve never been fond of Android Wear. All the swiping, the weird process for onboarding apps, the endlessly scrolling app menu, and the awkward appearance of notifications and “OK Google” marring my watch face – It all annoys me. I much prefer the app screen of the Apple Watch, its storing of notifications in a pull down menu, and its Glances shortcuts. And to be honest, my favorite smartwatch interface is Samsung’s Gear S2. The rotating bezel makes navigation much easier, there’s an app menu that’s easy to use, Samsung made its own Glances, and the notifications are better hidden – just like on the Apple Watch.

Long story short, Android Wear needs some serious help.

If you like Android Wear and you’re not into chunky watches, you’ll love the new Moto 360.

Having said that, Android Wear is much better than it used to be. I went all in with Motorola for a few weeks, using the new Moto X and Moto 360 together, and the experience was as good as it gets for Android Wear.

The smartwatch OS is fantastic with Android phones, and now it even works with iPhones. Apple puts some restrictions on Android Wear, so you won’t be able to do everything with your Android Wear watch that you can do if you’ve got an Android phone. The list of apps the work with iOS and Android Wear is also still pretty limited, and you’ll be stuck primarily with Google apps (though some work better than others). However, you can receive notifications from any app on your iPhone, which is great. You just can’t interact with most of them yet, which sucks.

Hopefully, Android Wear for iOS will grow and become more seamless, but for now iPhone users shouldn’t spring for it (unless they only want fitness tracking and notifications).

Available at: Amazon Best Buy Verizon Target

Conclusion

It’s not every day I see a smartwatch I actually like. In fact, there are only two truly smart watches that I’d even consider wearing. The new 42mm women’s Moto 360 is one; the 38mm Apple Watch is the other. Of the two, the Moto 360 is prettier, but the Apple Watch is more of a pleasure to use.

If you like Android Wear and you’re not into chunky watches, you’ll love the new Moto 360. It’s just the right size, and the new lugs are slimmer and more attractive than any you’ll find on the LG Watch Urbane, Huawei Watch, or LG G Watch R. You can also design your own watch from scratch, so it’s more personal than any other smartwatch around – even the Apple Watch.

If you’re a man, you’ve got a lot of choices, and that’s great. Just to mention the two latest Android Wear smartwatches, you can’t go wrong with either the Moto 360 or the Huawei Watch – Both are nearly equal in terms of specs, and the Huawei Watch occasionally tops the Moto 360. The Moto 360 is more subtle and classic, though the Huawei Watch will suit those who like chunky watches.

However, if you’re a woman who’s always wanted an Android Wear smartwatch that looks nice and doesn’t overwhelm your wrist, the Moto 360 is your best choice. Of course, those who have a Samsung phone can also consider the Gear S2, which is lovely, albeit more modern-looking.

In the end, smartwatch choices come down to looks, since most of them have the same insides and even the same OS onboard. In my eyes, the 2015 Moto 360 is the best-looking Android Wear watch yet, for men, and finally, for women.

Highs

  • First female-friendly Android Wear smartwatch
  • Design your own look with Moto Maker
  • Works on iOS and Android
  • Android Wear has come a long way

Lows

  • No NFC or mobile payments yet
  • One-day battery life
  • iOS support is limited