Review: Is the Moto 360 smartwatch worth its price-tag? | HT Tech

Review: Is the Moto 360 smartwatch worth its price-tag?

The Moto 360 is now available on Flipkart for 17,999. Housed in a stainless steel bezel, Motorola's frst stint with Android wear sure is a head-turner. But does it deserve the price-tag it comes with?

| Updated on: Oct 04 2014, 13:27 IST
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In a world overruled by tech toys 'labelled' as smartwatches, Moto 360 is the only contender that'll make your head-turn.

Smartwatch isn't quite a new thing with the first wave of smartwatches hitting the shelves in the later half of last year; this technological feat had largely failed to impress the tech-aficionados and consumers. Pegged as the next big thing in wearable tech, smartwatches have so far under-delivered due to lack of true functionality or absurd designing; making it a complete miss.

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Well, this is not the case with Motorola's first stint with Android Wear: Google's platform for smartwatches. And for starters, this watch is arguably the only one worth earning warm appreciation. We review this piece and list out its pros and cons.

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Motorola has aesthetically got everything right with their first iteration of smartwatch. In fact, where others have miserably failed, Motorola has taken the lead by leaps and bounds. The watch is a piece of circular metal coupled with beautiful leather straps - taking cues from the existing design aesthetics of wristwatches and comfortably embedding it with technology. It's the kind of watch you would fall in love with and would definitely like to give that Breitling, for which you had been saving money, a miss. The unique circular display of the watch clocks in a 1.56 inch LCD display protected by Gorilla Glass 3 - Motorola definitely scores big on this feat. However, as speculated earlier, the watch doesn't sport an OLED, but it definitely does not disappoint - at least not for this price point. In fact, the display sports a stark 205 PPI (pixels per inch) with a 320*290 resolution: something that will leave you awe-struck as soon as the watch lands on your wrist. It does fall short compared to Samsung Gear's PPI delivery, but with an outer design so good, we couldn't have cared about how the competition has fared in the respect. The display is everything that pleases the eye, be it at night or out in the sunlight - it does the job pretty well.

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The watch is nestled comfortably in a stainless steel bezel that isn't like any run-of-the-mill kind of metal. The finished stainless steel case gives quite a posh and high-end feel. Motorola takes a lead viz-a-viz other smartwatches with its leather straps: a respite from those cheap and majorly ridiculed rubber straps. More so, the leather straps are made by Horween, the company known for making NFL footballs. So you can expect a great leather strap that should have a longer life. The model we got had grey leather straps that draw a perfect contrast with the steel case - making sure to grab every bystander's attention. Despite packing in premium materials on board, the watch isn't bulky in terms of weight or appearance.

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Specs and Functions

The digital watch is equipped with 512 MB RAM and 4GB internal storage and runs on OMAP (Open Media Applications Platform) 3 processor. The OMAP 3 works on a Cortex A8 processor core that was seen in iPhone 4's A4 SoC (System on Chip). Thus, multitasking on the watch happens with much ease. Android Wear packs in a powerful notifying tool that keeps you posted on weather updates, traffic conditions and your scheduled meetings. A light vibration alerts you of incoming messages, calls and emails. You can read your Whatsapp conversations on the watch, along with the added feature of replying back using the voice recognition function. Motorola has tried to replicate the essence of a wristwatch by including a physical button on the right hand side of the metal bezel. The button, however, only enables you to activate the screen and deactivate it; while a long push will take you to the settings where you can adjust brightness, switch to the airplane mode, restart or reset the device and check for system updates. Placing your palm on the face of the screen quickly puts of the display - however it does leave behind smudges on the screen. The smartwatch connects to Android phones (Android 4.3 and above) and dons Bluetooth 4.0 that enables it to communicate with the phone. It functions on the native Android's operating system for wearable tech - Android Wear, and you'd have to download the app from the play store.

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Motorola has positively made the watch for people from all walks of life - giving in 7 dial themes to choose from: a subtle black minimal theme that looks quite classy, two dialed theme that provides the utility of being in sync with two extra timezone's time (something that frequent fliers will definitely love), a white classic style that resonates with a classic pocket watch style, a plain digital styled theme, one with rotating dials, a daytime style theme and an old-school retro. The subtle black minimal being our favourite, we'd say there is a theme for every mood. With a pedometer inside and an optical heart rate monitor laden in the back, this piece of technology swiftly crosses over from a smartwatch to a fitness band. For those WHO reckon themselves as adventurous and outgoing, the smartwatch comes with an IP67 water-resistance rating. Please note water resistance, and waterproofing are completely different things and we offer not to confuse you. The IP67 rating lets this device function under 1 meter of water for about 30 minutes by the clock, but since most consumers don't like to submerge their IP67 rated smartphones under water, we believe those who'd like to buy this product wouldn't want to do that either. The watch functions on the voice recognition feature, that works best when the wrist is at half-an arms length away from the mouth: the process does become a tad bit aggravating at times though. We did face problems while calling out the contacts with the full names. The contacts saved as single names were much easier for the voice recognition to comprehend. There is a cut-off at the bottom of the screen that the company could have got done with and shoved on the inner side of the metal bezel.

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This is perhaps the most essential thing for any smartwatch. A normal full charge of this product garners about a day and half, if you're an average USER. Heavy users shall be able to squeeze in just about 10 hours, something that is not impressive at all. What really makes this product loose point is that it comes with a wireless charging dock. This product COMES WITH what they call a Qi wireless charging dock that sure is novel, but we're not sure many users will buy this idea. There is a lack of micro USB charging point that would compel you to carry the Qi charging dock, always - this being the biggest drawback for this watch. In the times where there is a constant fight to carry your portable battery docks and portable chargers, omission of the micro USB could turn away the more practical minded user from this product.

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Addition of 3G or wi-fi would have brought in more laurels to the Motorola team. Even a half decent battery life and the lack of micro-USB charging port does not really solve the problem in the quest for the best smart watch. The watch also misses out on the voice-calling feature that loosens up on the privacy factor but is a boon to make those short one-liner calls. However, this clearly fits in the bill for the near-perfect smartwatch in terms of style, utility, ethos pertaining to an actual wristwatch and the materials used. The more feature hungry and techno-enthusiasts could try their luck and wait with what Samsung brings to the table with their soon to be launched Samsung Gear S.

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First Published Date: 04 Oct, 11:15 IST