The original Moto 360 was the king of the smartwatch walk when it was introduced along with Android Wear about 18 months ago. It was certainly the most attractive smartwatch mostly because it looked like an actual watch. Unfortunately, the promise of the device didn’t quite live up to the reality. Battery life was awful; performance was sluggish; and it was far too large for those with small wrists.
Some of those problems have been solved with the 2nd generation of Moto 360 smartwatches..there is a 42mm model for those slim wrists but it is still pretty thick and clunky looking.
I have been testing the new 360 sport which is a device aimed at bridging the gap between smartwatches and fitness trackers. It’s a smartwatch that puts fitness first, not just an afterthought.
The Moto 360 Sport looks like what you’d expect from a fitness device. It has a sweat-resistant silicone band and a slightly raised metal bezel. The silicone band is probably the nicest I have seen, very smooth, almost like velvet with just the right amount of stretch. It is very comfortable on the wrist.
As a day-to-day watch, the Sport feels more like a regular 2nd gen 360 in a less glamorous package. Notifications still pop up, Google Maps is as good a navigational companion as ever, and the always-on OK Google Now actually works. Oh yes! it is waterproof with an IP67 waterproof rating, which is good for a half-hour of submersion in a meter of water.
The The 360 Sport also features built in GPS that is pretty accurate if a bit slow getting started. Motorola keeps the battery drain down by turning on the GPS only when you are running. But, if you run for an hour you will probably have to put your watch on the charger before the end of the day. Forget tracking your exercise routing if you happen to be cycling, skiing or swimming with your waterproof watch.
Unlike many other smartwatches, the Moto 360 Sport works with both Android and iOS smartphones, because the Android Wear app now runs on both Android and iOS. But this is purely a technicality. To get any real fitness value out of the Moto 360 Sport, you need to be using it with an Android smartphone.
I paired the 360 sport with my iPhone 6 and was able to receive notifications from the iPhone, and use the built-in Moto Body Running app on the watch. There is no way currently to share fitness data with the iPhone.
Pairing the watch with my Moto X Play smartphone was a much more satisfying experience. Native apps offer the best and least complicated experience with this watch. There’s the Moto Body app that shows you a snapshot of your steps, calorie expenditure, heart rate, and more. The companion Moto Body app on Android phones gives a surprisingly complete view of your data, and with multi-colored check marks signaling whether you’ve met your goals in various categories.
The display is nice and bright and easy to read although some notifications tax my aging peepers. As with most LED screens it is near impossible to read in bright sunlight so Motorola uses a Hybrid screen that switches to black and white reflective so you can read the time outdoors but if you want to fiddle with the apps it reverts to the impossible to read LED display so you will be looking for some shade.
The Moto 360 Sport is a sort of sportier, GPS-equipped version of the standard Moto 360 smartwatch. It has the round face, touchscreen display, wireless charging capabilities, and notifications from your smartphone. The idea behind the sport watch is that it can offer an “untethered” workout experience. You can leave your phone at home when you head out for a run.
It is supposed to look equally good on the track or in the office..personally I find it (and every other smartwatch) still looks kind of clunky. Unfortunately, as a sports watch, the Moto 360 Sport also falls a bit short. You can only use the watch to track running, and that’s it. Hopefully Motorola can find a software fix for that.
Moto 360 smartwatches are available from Best Buy, Telus, Bell and Videotron. The Sport model reviewed is $380 at Best Buy.