Moto 360 puts a real watch with Android Wear on your wrist

September 5, 2014
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After months of speculation, leaks, and wishful thinking, Motorola has finally unveiled its own take on the nascent smartwatch line. But while LG may have beaten it to the round face punch with its G Watch R, The Moto 360 could still win when it comes to design, finesse, and wireless charging convenience.

Motorola has pretty much delivered on the promise of a round faced smartwatch that it showed off last June, including that small occluded portion of the display. Motorola says that the section is necessary to house the LCD driver and the ambient light sensor. Now, one might ask how LG managed to pull off a full display surface on the G Watch R. While the technical answer is still partly a mystery, there is one thing that partly answers that: LG's gadget is considerably bigger, perhaps choosing to hide the components behind the face instead. Now, the official statement from LG is that the girth is attributed to waterproofing. And yet the Moto 360 also boasts of an IP67 grade but still manages to keep the watch's design petite and, for all intents and purposes, more unisex than other existing Android Wear options out there.

It is that attention to design that might give the Moto 360 an upper hand. The smartwatch is beautiful and durable, with a body made of stainless steel and a screen protected by Gorilla Glass. The strap is made from premium and genuine Horween leather but its use of standard pins and sizes means you can use any strap of your choosing. That said, Motorola warns against using metal straps not designed specifically for the Moto 360, as it may interfere with the watch's radio antenna nested inside the bezel. One other important factor that sets the Moto 360 apart is its wireless charging capabilities. While more of a technical feature, it means that Motorola was able to give the watch a smooth and whole body, without ports or pins to break the surface and the illusion of a regular watch. The wireless charging dock might be less portable than, say, a cradle, but there are myriad wireless charging pads out there that could do the job just as well.

In terms of hardware and software, the Moto 360 is unabashedly quite vanilla, with almost the same features as other Android Wear smartwatches out there, including a heart rate sensor. While that may be a bit disappointing to hear initially, on further analysis, it isn't surprising. Motorola's most popular smartphones, namely the Moto X and the Moto G, offer an unencumbered pure Android experience from beginning to end. And so it would be totally out of character for it to deviate from that when it comes to Android Wear. In short, you get a pure Android Wear experience, no frills, no gimmicks, in an exquisitely designed smartwatch.

The Moto 360 will be available with a slightly higher price tag of $249.99, starting midday of September 5 in the US and can be purchased from Motorola's website, Google Play Store, and Best Buy. The default color options for the smartwatch include black and grey leather straps, but Best Buy will offer an exclusive limited edition with a grey suede finish. Later in fall, more options and accessories will be coming, including leather straps for $29.99, metal bracelets for $79.99, and wireless chargers for a yet to be announced price.


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