Moto 360 second gen review

Motorola's new smartwatch goes big on customisation but doesn't change the game
Moto 360 2

The original Moto 360 was the most hyped smartwatch of 2014, not to mention the poster child for Android Wear. In many ways, it was destined to disappoint. This time around the spotlight has split, and Motorola has been offered some room to breathe.

With a big focus on customisation but no new standout features, can the $299 second generation Moto 360 deliver something special?

Moto 360 2: Design and build

First up, if you're a woman who's interested in smartwatches, the 42mm Womens Moto 360 is the wearable you've been waiting for. Not the Apple Watch, not the Huawei Watch. It's the first Android Wear watch this (female) reviewer has put on her wrist and not thought it looked a bit silly. Sure, it's still fairly chunky at 11.4mm and that might put off some, but overall it's a compact, jewel-like piece that looks just the right amount of boyfriend watch. It just works on a woman's wrist.

And for that matter, a man's wrist. Put the new 46mm Mens Moto 360 next to the first-gen Motorola watch and you can see the subtle differences that really turn this design into a 'watch' rather than last year's circle on a strap.

Smartwatch showdown: Samsung Gear S2 vs New Moto 360

The crown has moved up slightly, the bezels have been refined and the watch has stylish lugs either side of the body to attach the straps. These actually now differ between models, with the two styles tailored to men and women and to fit different widths of 16mm, 20mm and 22mm straps. Smart.

Motorola mentioned the new levels of Moto Maker customisation and we got to see some of this at IFA, with plenty of the rose gold and gold-plated models on display as well as new pale pink and cream leather bands. After tinkering with finishes, bezels and accents in Motorola's customisation tool and seeing different versions together in a presentation box, the watches don't look like some outdated one size, one look fits all gadget.

Read this: Our updated Huawei Watch hands on

There are gold, rose gold and silver cases and bands, and the same colours again but 'peaked' for the bezels (with micro cut versions on offer too). In terms of strap, it's stone gray or blushed brown for the Horween leather ones (double wrapped leather available for the brown one); silver, gold or rose gold for a metal lug. Put it this way, you wouldn't feel embarrassed turning up to a party wearing the new Moto 360 if someone else has the same idea. Chances are they'd look totally different.


Part of the reason for this is the very reasonable price.The second gen Moto 360 starts at $299 and tops out at $450 depending on how you customise it with Moto Maker.

Compare that to the Apple Watch (up to around $1,100, forgetting the Edition) and the Huawei Watch (up to $799) and there's much less chance you'll get a nasty surprise when you try to recreate a smartwatch design you've seen in swanky lifestyle shots. With a narrow pricing system, Motorola is putting personalisation for 'the masses' into action, making its customisation service viable for everyone, and that's a very good thing.

Moto 360 2015: Display

Everyone knows that the Moto 360 was the world's first round smartwatch without actually having a fully round display. And if you were bothered by the flat tyre last year, you'll be irked to know that it returns for a second outing.

Now, opinion is split in the Wareable office about whether this was a good move. On the one hand, companies like LG, Samsung and Huawei have made fully round smartwatches with compact designs and in Huawei's case, 0.6mm bezels. On the other hand, nothing has yet come close to the modern, edge-to-edge look that the Moto pulls off with even more style in this edition.

Read this: Asus ZenWatch 2 first impressions from IFA

Motorola has never actually over-promised on the quality of the smartwatch display itself but it is quietly bringing this up to scratch. The second gen 360 ups the pixel count to 360 x 325 for the 42mm model and 360 x 330 for 46mm but doesn't dazzle when compared to say, Apple and Samsung screens.

The backlit LCD isn't quite as punchy as AMOLED in colours or contrast, for starters. That's not a dealbreaker now but as more apps bring images, GIFs and even video to the (really) small screen over the next 12 months it could start to get irritating. It's plenty bright enough and the ambient light sensor, which is responsible for that flat tyre, auto dims or brightens the screen and isn't quite so blinding in darker rooms as it was on the first Moto 360.

Moto 360 2: Features and fitness

No-one will buy a second gen Moto 360 for a functional edge. There is no such edge in Android Wear, apart from the inclusion of GPS on the Sony SmartWatch 3. But with Motorola's pro fitness vision set firmly on the Moto 360 Sport, there are no real standout features on the company's classic smartwatch.

So what has Motorola done to spice up the standardised wearable OS?

There's a range of classy, first-party watch faces available and this time, there's more granular customisation – of backgrounds, accents and live dials, Moto's answer to Apple's complications. And of course, there's now a fully fledged selection of stylish Android Wear watch faces to download, many designed for a round display. The Moto Connect app lets you muck about with watch faces and the dock mode on your smartphone but complements, rather than replaces, the main Android Wear app.

Aside from watch faces, Motorola has again included an optical heart rate monitor on the inside of the watch body. The 360 Sport, with its UV coated display and built-in GPS, will be the smartwatch/running hybrid for enthusiasts but Motorola is still going after casual or beginner fitness quantifiers with its built-in Moto Body features.

Wareable verdict: Moto 360 Sport review

You can take on the spot readings of your bpm via the heart rate reading in the Moto Body Wear app – it's generally accurate but we'd trust the second reading over the first one which is often way too high.

On the watch you can also see at a glance progress for daily and weekly 'heart minutes', steps, activity and, once you've completed 14 days of tracking, analysis of your averages. We'll update this review once Moto Body has worked its magic on our stats.

Head to your smartphone and the lovely UI details continue with cues from the circular Apple workout apps. With daily dashboards, goals and graphs for calorie burn, steps and heart activity, the set-up is very Fitbit-esque and there are both weekly progress emails and chirpy motivational alerts to the smartwatch throughout the day.

Moto Body also hooks up to Google Fit so you can feed your everyday activity into Google's health and fitness platform and switch to a running watch or GPS tracker for workouts. There's the beginnings of an app that wants to really see results for its users, but nothing that we haven't seen done better by dedicated fitness tech developers.

One last note on features and function. One method that the likes of the Samsung Gear S2, with its rotating bezel, is using to differentiate devices is controls – the consensus being that we don't much like prodding small touchscreens. Android Wear has some gesture controls but here Motorola sticks to the touchscreen and single hardware button approach. Again, this is not the manufacturers' fault but it is a missed opportunity for Google's OS.

Moto 360 2015: Android Wear

Alongside Motorola's own efforts, there's also the updated Android Wear to look forward to – the same as you'll get elsewhere but in a somewhat prettier package. We won't go into too much detail but there are some fresh features to play around with. We'd say Android Wear is about halfway to being an intuitive, useful, delightful smartwatch OS – it gets better the more we stick with it but there's still some way to go.

We still find ourselves swiping away too many context-aware Google Now alerts, but the smartphone notifications and controls are reliable and easier to manage with more recent functions like the 'undo' button.

With update after update, navigating the OS has been made easier with menus of apps, contacts and actions, plus new quick access brightness boost and cinema modes. The Wi-Fi compatibility is helpful for wandering around big houses or offices, away from your smartphone, and – less so – connecting to networks on the go.

New additions such as Together steal tricks from the Apple Watch by allowing you to connect your watch face to another Wear user. It works a treat at speeding up the process of sharing messages, activities, scribbles and emojis with a partner or housemate. We tried it out with our boss which, you know, we wouldn't exactly recommend.

Lastly, a big new addition to Android Wear is the iPhone compatibility – we tested the Moto 360 2 with an Android device but it's simple enough to set up with iOS. Just bear in mind there's no third party app support and voice commands are limited to Google's own apps.

Moto 360 2: Hardware

One of the slight disappointments of the first Moto 360 was performance. In most smartwatch reviews, you'd take it as a given that the hardware is capable enough but Motorola's decision to use an old TI processor didn't do it any favours. The occasional spot of lag when navigating the OS and switching between apps and actions let it down.

Well, consider that lesson learned – the second gen 360 runs on a Snapdragon 400 and is as zippy as you'd expect it to be. Plus the Qualcomm tech helps to account for some of the bump in battery life. As with last year, there's 4GB of storage – for music, say – and a fairly standard 512MB of RAM. It doesn't need any more than that.

The whole device is also water resistant to IP67 (but not dust proof) which means it can be immersed in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. It's not to be used when swimming though and obviously don't dunk a leather strap – that's what the Moto 360 Sport will take care of when it arrives.

Moto 360 2015: Battery life and charging

Our favourite thing about the second gen Moto 360's battery is, again, the cute wireless charging dock. It's not ideal for frequent travellers but the neat and tidy bundled accessory is almost identical to last year's and really lets you build charging into your nighttime routine in a way that doesn't have you screaming at a blank smartwatch screen come 7am. Plus you can now choose the colour of the charging display in dock mode via the Moto Connect app.

As for the battery life itself, it's a 300mAh unit on the 42mm Moto 360 we've been wearing, which Motorola says is good for a day with the ambient screen turned on or 1.5 days when it's turned off.

Moto 360 2nd-gen
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Amazon

We've been wearing the watch in ambient mode and, about half the time, the 360 2 still has somewhere between 5–30% juice at the end of the day. The rest of the time it conks out in the late evening. With the 46mm smartwatch, the larger 400mAh should last for up to two days but to be honest, we really need smartwatches to get to the point where they easily last a whole weekend on one charge. We're not there yet.

One small but important point – now that most Android Wear smartwatches including the Moto 360 2 support Wi-Fi, you'll save battery on your smartphone as you won't need to leave Bluetooth on all day.


Moto 360 second gen
By Motorola
If anything is game-changing about the second gen Moto 360 it’s the level of customisation on offer. Women in particular should get on very well with this smartwatch design. That said, Motorola’s rivals, particularly Apple, are fast catching up and everyone from fashion brands to modular smartwatch startups have realised that personal style is key for wearables. The Moto 360 2 improves on some key problems with the first Moto watch – performance and battery – but there's nothing that really moves smartwatches on. If you’re sold on Android Wear and are willing to accept its flaws the second gen Moto 360 is an affordable, stylish, everyday smartwatch. And maybe it doesn’t need to be more than that.

Hit
  • Classy, light, customisable design
  • Android Wear is halfway there
  • Improved performance
Miss
  • Flat tyre remains
  • Battery is better but nothing special
  • No features to stand out from Android Wear rivals

38 Comments

  • TheWerewolf says:

    "The original almost round smartwatch refined"

    There. Fixed the headline for you.

    Before the 360 fans get here - no - it didn't need the flat tire to avoid being bulkier - the Moto 360 2 is 46m wide and 11.4mm thick - the LG Urbane is 45.5mm wide and 10.9mm thick.

    • manu09090 says:

      but the 360 has a 1,56 inch screen vs. the 1,3 inch from Lg´s..So you can´t compare these two.

  • Plaguezzz says:

    Totally agree the screen size on the Moto 360. 

    • jinihub says:

      Dose it really matters?

      • Pent4 says:

        size always matter

        • cheeky_bastard says:

          that's what you'd wish she didn't say!

        • cheeky_bastard says:

          That's what you'd wish she wouldn't say!

          \(•_•)
           ( (>
           / \

        • Junior says:

          Thats what she said

  • Voolar says:

    I think maybe the "flat tire" is now Moto's thing… I wonder if they left it in because it was so contentious… it's become part of their design.

  • xToddrick says:

    It's illogically round so that's a fail.. Also what's a "full verdict"?

    • dansung says:

      Twice a half one.

  • capzfelix says:

    Does the Moto360 2 support 24/7 heart rate tracking?

    • p.lamkin says:

      Like all Android Wear watches with an optical sensor, you have to manually take your own heart rate. 

      • Domdymond says:

        The LG supports continuous heart rate tracking.  

  • anaidabasit18 says:

    Smartwatches are now on sale only at BestSmartwatchOffers:com

  • bevo says:

    Having owned the original Moto360 for the last 3 months and using it every day I can say definitively it is well worth every penny. I have found that when I try to go back to a regular watch I make it about an hour and then want the 360 back on. I have lost count of the number of people who have asked me about it or commented on how cool it looks. It is an eye catching device. I make heavy use of the SMS and email notifications as well as the fitness aspects. It really is a great device and I can't recommend it enough. I hope to get a new model with a different color scheme for Christmas. It is cheap enough that you can own a couple with different designs for different occasions and not feel like you just broke the bank.

    • Bevsworth says:

      Hello. 

      I wondered whether you could reply to texts, whatsapp on the 360 please? If so, how?

      • Geor says:

        Hi, yes it works well with whatsapp, you can read and reply to messages easily. 

  • docsunny says:

    Dont buy motorola watch .

    i had moto360 which got detached from strap in 1 month.
    submitted it to service centre.its been more than 3 months i havent received replacement. they dont have facility and expertise to repair these watches in india. motorola india is very rude.when ever i contact them on mail or phone they just extend the date 15 days saying parts are stuck in customs.
    service centre has 4 customers with same problem in jaipur.
    my advice never buy from motorola.

  • daniellamontero says:

    Smartwatches are now on sale only on BestSmartwatchOffers:com

  • BEahmer33 says:

    Do not ever buy this watch directly from Motorola, their return policy is stone age. I bought this watch as a Christmas gift for my son on Dec. 4th and it was not the one my son was looking for. We tried to return this on Dec. 26th and their response was it was out of the 14 day window. Are you kidding me? People order gifts for Christmas early and not wait until last minute and worry about Fedex delivering it late.Then their "upper management"  claims they cant help me. Wow! cant or wont? I don't think im asking for an unreasonable thing here, its unopened and it was a gift for Christmas...I cant rate the watch other than its not the one my son wanted. However, after this experience I refuse to ever do business with Motorola products and especially directly from them. Please just be careful for dealing with the worst customer support team in the world.

  • dk3d says:

    Bought the Moto 360 2nd Gen last weekend and tried it for about 24 hours before I returned it totally disappointed and frustrated. 

    Yes, it had WiFi connectability but it rarely worked and kept getting a "Cannot connect to cloud" message or icon. Saying "ok Google" was hit or miss to the point where you'd have to constantly glance at the watch (since there's no vibration feedback) to see if it actually worked, which kind of defeats the purpose. 

    The combination of Android Wear and Moto Connect are a total joke. They have apps like Keep and google music, but no gmail app? Yet you can send and receive emails, sort of. 

    Answering calls: Ok, you can answer your phone, just make sure to find an app that actually turns the speaker on, otherwise.. I mean, what is the point?

    You can't talk on the phone through the watch (no android watch can as far as I know).

    The "Flick wrist" to turn face on was also hit or miss.

    So a typical scenario: You're driving and want to send a quick message to your wife. Flick wrist, say "ok google, message to (insert name here). I'll be home soon."

    Problem is, the flick wrist to turn on, doesn't always work. 50/50. So then you have to LOOK and see, did the watch turn on/activate?

    Ok, tap with finger to turn on, say ok google, ... damn, can't connect. My phone is right there, what's the problem?

    shake phone. It connect. Ok google, message to wife, I'll be home soon..."

    Damn, it stopped before I could finish sentence. .. 

    All this while driving. 

    I tried the above scenarios to test, while simply walking around an outdoor park trying to send test messages to my wife, read notices, etc and found the watch too unreliable. I took off the strap, pulled out my phone, and returned the watch to bestbuy an hour later. 

    I wanted, really wanted to like this. I love the idea. But the reality is the hardware and software on the Android side is at least a year or two away from where (it seems like) Apple is right now. People with the Apple watch show me how they can answer, talk to, and listen to phone calls on their watch. For $350. This $300 moto 360 2nd gen could barely send a message. 

    • njpnda says:

      FYI, the samsung watch, since the first generation back in 2013, allowed you to answer, talk to, and listen to phone calls on the watch. Apple has been behind on the whole smart watch thing.

    • Domdymond says:

      The zenwatch 2 will make and receive calls from the watch using is built in speaker.

      Calls go through the phone but it uses the watched speaker and mic

  • dk3d says:

    Bought the Moto 360 2nd Gen last weekend and tried it for about 24 hours before I returned it totally disappointed and frustrated.

    Yes, it had WiFi connectability but it rarely worked and kept getting a "Cannot connect to cloud" message or icon. Saying "ok Google" was hit or miss to the point where you'd have to constantly glance at the watch (since there's no vibration feedback) to see if it actually worked, which kind of defeats the purpose.

    The combination of Android Wear and Moto Connect are a total joke. They have apps like Keep and google music, but no gmail app? Yet you can send and receive emails, sort of.

    Answering calls: Ok, you can answer your phone, just make sure to find an app that actually turns the speaker on, otherwise.. I mean, what is the point?

    You can't talk on the phone through the watch (no android watch can as far as I know).

    The "Flick wrist" to turn face on was also hit or miss.

    So a typical scenario: You're driving and want to send a quick message to your wife. Flick wrist, say "ok google, message to (insert name here). I'll be home soon."

    Problem is, the flick wrist to turn on, doesn't always work. 50/50. So then you have to LOOK and see, did the watch turn on/activate?

    Ok, tap with finger to turn on, say ok google, ... damn, can't connect. My phone is right there, what's the problem?

    shake phone. It connect. Ok google, message to wife, I'll be home soon..."

    Damn, it stopped before I could finish sentence. ..

    All this while driving.

    I tried the above scenarios to test, while simply walking around an outdoor park trying to send test messages to my wife, read notices, etc and found the watch too unreliable. I took off the strap, pulled out my phone, and returned the watch to bestbuy an hour later.

    I wanted, really wanted to like this. I love the idea. But the reality is the hardware and software on the Android side is at least a year or two away from where (it seems like) Apple is right now. People with the Apple watch show me how they can answer, talk to, and listen to phone calls on their watch. For $350. This $300 moto 360 2nd gen could barely send a message. 

  • fb_101538544 says:

    Very BAD experience with MOTO 360 2nd generation 46mm.

    I paid the extra 50£ for the metal wristband but when i got it i realized that it was very very short (16 cm) . I have a normal wrist and it did not fit. On their website thay say that the watch comes with 4 extra link that allow to fit larger wrists but in my box there was only one.

    I contacted Motorola customer service and after 2 calls, 2 chats and 3 emails they told me that they have no extra links and they cannot help me. the only solution was sending back the watch.

    What kind of company are they? they run out of wristband links and they deliver the watches hoping that it will work.

    it is pathetic, they lose 300£ and a client because they cannot deliver a wristband that fits normal people or an extra-link that costs 10 pence?

    All this just suggests that they just improvise and they cannot compete with Apple or Samsung.

    Samsung with their smartwatch delivers 2 bands - 2 different size so there is no risk or problem.

    bye bye MOTO - never again.

    • Domdymond says:

      I called moto they sent me 3 links for the black band withing 2 days for free. Also they said each watch comes with extra links in the case.

  • donbis says:

    I got my moto 360 thru Amazon in the mail ( from China ) and all the text is in some form of Chinese. How in gods name do I change it to English? I've tried everything, someone please help.

  • donbis says:

    I just got my moto 360 thru Amazon in the mail ( from China ) and all the text is in some form of Chinese. How in gods name do I change it to English? Help please.

  • stephenierago says:

    Moto 360 is now on sale only on BestSmartwatchOffers:com

  • theresalobo says:

    Smartwatches are now on sale only on SmartwatchOffers:com

  • Rash_360 says:

    I just bought Moto 360 from Flipcart. Paired with my IPhone 6 and charged to 100%. Battery died within few hours gets disconnected on its own and requires re pairing . Can anybody help. 

  • Arjunrathi says:

    Hello, sir I am using blackberry z30 (os). This moto watch easily connected and proper working on blackberry mobile phones

    • Arjunrathi says:

      Which smartwatch I buy for BlackBerry z30 mobile phone. Plz tell me. 

  • txgrana says:

    Is there no volume on the Moto 360 Gen2 watch for the alarm? Appears to only vibrate. I guess the watch alarm is intended to be used only while wearing it.

  • landlav says:

    If you get a moto 360 make sure you get a SnuG Bumper case and band set in 10 colors to protect the screen (and give it a new look) You can find them at www.snugwatchbands.com

  • jollydsouza says:

    Moto watches are now on sale only at SmartwatchOffers .com

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