I felt fortunate when I received an email from Motorola inviting me to be an early purchaser of a Moto 360Â smartwatch. Thrilled is more accurate. In my opinion the 360 is probably the best looking of Â all the new Android Wear watches. I jumped at the opportunity.
My watch arrived well ahead of schedule, and I couldn’t have been happier when I opened the box. The watch was everything I hoped it would be. Itâ€™s well designed, great looking, and light weight. I had read reviews saying that the watch was too large, but thatâ€™s simply not the case. I compared it up against several of my other â€œregular watchesâ€, and it fell somewhere in the middle in terms of size. The Moto 360 wasn’t the largest watch in my collection, nor was it the heaviest.
I wore the watch every day for about two weeks, including a four day trip to New Orleans for The unSUMMIT. Here are my thoughts:
- Love the round face. Just looks right.
- I set the Moto 360 to notify me of emails, text messages, Tweets that mentioned me, and other little Google Now tid-bits. Works great. I really like not having to pull my phone out of my pocket to look at a message. With the Moto 360 I looked at my wrist, and if I didn’t need to respond I just swiped the notification away. Itâ€™s odd, I never realized how often I donâ€™t have to respond to a message.
- The step counter was quite inspirational. I found myself trying to reach 10,000 steps every day. When I was short a couple thousand steps in the evening I found myself leaving the hotel for a short walk. Peer pressure.
- Some have complained about the small bottom black cut-off area. Never bothered me.
- I tried all the stock watch faces and settled on â€œDigitalâ€ as my face of choice.
- Speaking about watch faces, there are some really great designs out there. I downloaded a few watch face apps from the Play Store as well as side loaded a few from a Reddit thread where users drop their work for others to try. Awesome.
- Thereâ€™s no shortage of information on the Moto 360. As mentioned above thereâ€™s a Reddit thread, a Google Plus community, etc. Very helpful.
- Battery life was much better than expected. After reading reviews I was expecting problems making it through the day. Not the case. Typical day for me while on the road was about 16 hours. I still had between 15-30% when I put the watch on the charger at night. It never died on me.
- Love the wireless charger. Being Qi wireless enabled is certainly a plus. One could even get a Qi-enabled portable battery if the need arose.
- Decided on ambient mode off. Ambient mode seems to eat up more battery and I donâ€™t see the benefit.
- Itâ€™s just so cool to see the watch sitting on its charger at night. When docked, the watch makes a great dresser clock.
My entire experience with the Moto 360 was positive. I think thereâ€™s definitely a niche for this type of wearable device, and I can think of several use cases specific to healthcare. So why did I send it back? As soon as I connected the Moto 360 to my Galaxy S5 the battery life took a big hit. Yep, my phone started draining at a much faster rate. I originally thought it was the Bluetooth connection, but that never made the top five on my list of items impacting the battery. For whatever reason â€œAndroid Systemâ€ doubled its impact on my phoneâ€™s battery profile. It went from 20-22% to nearly 50%. During my travels to New Orleans I was charging my phone two to three times per 24 hour period. Unacceptable.
I thought the problem might have to do with a setting or an update so I took to Google to find an answer. I found reference to others that were having the same issue with the S5, but no one had a solution. Several people recommended that turning off the GPS, turning off location reporting, turning off auto screen rotation, turning off auto brightness, etc. Initially I started following all the recommendations, but they I decided against it. My phone has become important for all the things I do, and I want a no compromise solution. I use all those things that people were recommending that I turn off. In fact, some of those things like location reporting, make Google Now the awesome feature that Â it is.
The battery drain doesnâ€™t appear to happen with all phones. I’ve talked with those using non-Samsung devices and they don’t seem to have the same problem. I thought about buying a new Moto X to pair with the Moto 360, but I simply can’t justify a cost like that. So for now I’ve sent the watch back. I’ll try again with the next generation Moto 360, or if I break down and pick up a new Moto X.