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In June of this year, simultaneously with the announcement of the software platform for Android Wear wearable devices, Motorola introduced its first smart watch Moto 360, which immediately after the announcement caused a real sensation among the public. After all, at that time it was the first device of its kind, equipped with a round display. Yes, and the classic form without frills appealed to many. Still, against the backdrop of the Moto 360, most modern smartwatches look like “rattles” for geeks. On the other hand, serious competitors have begun to appear in the face of ASUS ZenWatch, LG G Watch R, and the mythical Apple Watch looms on the horizon. But they have not yet reached the shelves, and Moto 360 can be bought today, which means there is something to discuss, which I propose to do in this review.

round and beautiful

Why “invent the wheel” when everything has long been invented. The best shape for a watch is round. Yes, there are models with completely wild forms like Devon Thread 1 Exoskeleton

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…or MB&F Horological Machine 4:

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But this is for fans of the strange and collectors. Normal people in most cases choose the classics. This is what experts from Motorola staked on, creating a simple-looking, but very beautiful thing that took the best from the world of watches and technology:

I’m not surprised that Motorola was the first to launch a smart watch with a round display, because it has experience. Remember the legendary rotator phone Motorola Aura for the rich and successful:

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True, in Moto 360 the screen is not completely round, but more on that later, but for now let’s take a closer look at the hero of the review. The device comes in an unusual round box, which, as it were, emphasizes the shape of the device, they say, “Look – we are round, the first round smart watch on the market, we even have a round box“. This is a nice little thing, since the box is really made with high quality:

box

Inside, the watch itself is hidden on a kind of pedestal:

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In addition to the Moto 360, the box also contains a contactless charging station, a power supply with an American plug, and a couple of small booklets.

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The charging station uses a regular micro-USB port and can be connected to any power source, be it a laptop USB port, an iPhone or iPad charger, or an external battery. Everything was tested in practice – it works without problems. To start charging the device, just put it in this kind of docking station, after which it turns into a beautiful bedside clock (the display does not go out during charging):

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The design of the Moto 360 is minimalistic even against the background of traditional watches, not to mention some Casio, like the Edifice EQB-500. There is a model in black and natural steel. The body material is stainless steel, and it is a kind of impressive washer with a diameter of 46 mm and thickness – 11.5mm. Far from being a women’s watch, it looks great on a man’s wrist and fits almost any outfit.

There are a minimum of some elements for which the eye could catch. Hole microphone on the edge on the left, one and only hardware button against, optical heart rate sensor on the bottom plate and covered with glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with bevelled edges 1.56 inch IPS display with permission 320×290 dots (205 ppi):

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I want to pay special attention to the complete strap. This is genuine leather, and not easy, but from an American company Horween. It has been in the leather business since 1905 and is considered one of the finest leather manufactories in the world.

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The strap is quite thick and very soft. It sits on the hand like a glove and does not cause discomfort at all. If you tighten it tightly (which is undesirable – according to the rules of wearing, a finger, at least the little finger, must be squeezed between the watch and the wrist), then it can creak when the brush moves – this is cool. By the way, the strap is held on traditional watch studs and has a standard width of 22 mm, that is, theoretically, it can be changed to any other, but I personally do not want to do this yet. I really like the set.

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Hardware power button also made of metal, used to blank the screen and to quickly switch to the clock settings, for which it is enough to hold it down for three seconds. She has an average, rather tight move and a clear, albeit silent, click, no accidental clicks.

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Let’s go back to display, namely, to its scandalous cropped part from below, which caused and continues to raise questions from people. Indeed, such a decision seems strange. I’m sure many of you have asked the company a dumb question: “Is it really impossible to make the display completely round??!”. But the fact is that this zone is not a hardware defect or a technical problem. As shown by the LG G Watch R and the same Motorola Aura phone, there is no problem in creating a completely round screen, without any cut off parts. In this case, the complexity of placement played a role. ambient light sensor. It is he who is in this black area, for which the gaze of outside observers constantly clings, but Moto 360 users stop paying attention to him literally a day after the start of active operation of the device.

Motorola took a simple path, simply taking part of the screen space under the sensor, but it was clearly possible to come up with something – to drill an extra hole in the steel case and move the sensor there, for example? But we have what we have, and at the same time Motorola has kept an interesting feature for the second generation Moto 360. How do you like this advertising slogan: “Now the display of our smartwatches is truly round, without compromise“. Again, I repeat – literally on the second day you stop paying attention to this window, because the functionality of the gadget is much more important, and it is really good, no matter what the skeptics say.

What kind of beast is Android Wear?

A long time ago, Google promised to squeeze Android wherever possible, and gradually the company is implementing its plan. In addition to smartphones and tablets, this operating system makes its way into household appliances, and the latest spurt has thrown it into wearable gadgets, that is, smart watches. Actually Android Wear – this is such a stripped-down version of the “Green Robot”, capable of working on a very modest hardware stuffing and having an interface that is adapted to small displays by modern standards. Although at one time not all smartphones could boast of such a filling.

In particular, Moto 360 are based on a gigahertz processor TI OMAP 3which is supplemented 512 MB RAM and 4 GB drive. Interaction with a smartphone is carried out through Bluetooth 4.0and from the sensors there are pedometer and optical heart rate monitor. All of this is powered by a rechargeable battery. 320 mAh. There is also a vibration motor and a pair of microphones. Excluding a relatively weak battery, we actually have a full-fledged smartphone 3-4 years ago. But without a full OS-based companion Android 4.3 and newer Moto 360 are useless. When you turn on the watch for the first time, they immediately hint that you need to install the Android Wear client [скачать из Google Play] on the phone, otherwise there will be no holiday:

 

Well, this is not a problem if you have the right device. I used Huawei MediaPad X1 7 as a test subject. After installing the required software, you need to run it and simply follow the instructions on the screen:

 

At the final stage, we create a Bluetooth pair as with some kind of headset, and in the process it will also be necessary to confirm the code on the watch:

 

Then, within a few seconds, the gadgets will “pair” – this is normal, you have to wait:

 

Well, you can start using your new smart watch, having previously passed a quick briefing on how to use the gadget directly on them. I recommend doing this carefully so that later there are no questions and you do not have to turn to Google for help. In fact, everything is quite simple and you just need to remember the general scheme for controlling the device. Let’s go through its main features.

Hardware button turns off the screen while returning to the clock face if you press it while in the application. It also turns on the screen, but it can also be done simply by tapping on the display. Another option for activating the display is to bring the watch to your eyes in a familiar movement, as if you were going to look at the current time. In this case, an accelerometer is used that tracks the corresponding movement, but this feature does not always work, but about 60–70%. It is often easier and faster to press a button or tap on the screen than to raise your hand several times in the hope that the display will now light up and you can find out what time it is.

Let me also remind you that holding down the hardware button for three seconds takes you to a meager settings menu where you can adjust the display brightness (auto or manually), disable / allow the transition to sleep mode (the display does not go out, but works mostly with minimal backlight until you press on it or a button), activate flight mode, turn off the power or reset the watch, change the watch face, search for nearby Bluetooth devices, and reset settings. The last point is very important, in connection with which I singled it out. If you want to connect your watch to another Android devicethis can only be done after resetting the settings.

Watch face change not only in the options menu. The fastest way to do this is to activate the display, press it and hold your finger for a couple of seconds, after which you will be able to select any of the seven standard dials, as well as installed third-party ones. With the help of these simple steps, you can completely transform your Moto 360:

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If, with the screen activated, smoothly do swipe from top to bottomthen you can see the current date, the amount of remaining charge and enable / disable the Do Not Disturb mode, that is, turn off the vibration.

But while we talked, so to speak, about the wrapper. What’s inside Android Wear? To get there, just tap on the screen when the display is activated, or say “OK Google“. Now we have to say again:

 

Yes, it’s that crazy time when a man talks to his own watch. But do not count on an entertaining conversation. The list of commands is limited and it is available both on the watch itself (just swipe up from the bottom or be silent for a few seconds) …

 

 

…So it is in the Android Wear client on a smartphone, and in the latter case, you can configure applications or actions that correspond to one or another command:

 

As for the quality of European language recognition, it is at the same level as in the Android OS, since, in fact, the power of a smartphone and the Google online service are used for this. That is, a network connection is required, otherwise voice control does not work. The speed of the watch’s response to commands also depends on the speed of the Internet connection. As part of the world LTE, everything works fine. But Chernihiv CDMA (the only option for a more or less decent mobile 3G Internet in Europe) is somehow very difficult to cope with this, and sometimes you have to wait for 5-10 seconds and, as a result, do not wait. But when the Internet is fast and powerful, the system works well. You can say: “What is the weather?”, and get an answer right on the watch screen, which is convenient and you get used to it:

 

A timer, an alarm clock are set in a similar way, notes are made – in general, the voice control system works well, although I personally use it only for the mentioned timer, weather and alarm clock. Still, the main task for smart watches is to work with notifications, which is implemented quite conveniently.

The clock is able to transmit absolutely all Android notifications, including those that come from third-party applications, and this is implemented as follows. The Moto 360 notification is announced with a slight vibration, and the following notification appears on the screen (in this case, it is a message from Facebook):

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And here is the same notification on a smartphone:

 

If you turn off the sleep mode, the screen will look like this until you click on it:

 

Did you receive several notifications from one application at once, or did you not react to the previous ones? It doesn’t matter, the system will report this:

Notifications from the Fenix ​​Twitter Client

To find out the details, just pull the card up:

 

If the notification is not very important, and you just want to remove it from the clock and from the notification shade on your smartphone, just swipe the card to the right. Moreover, it works both with an open notification and on the screen with a dial. Otherwise, when you need to react somehow, swipe from right to left to access the available options. In the case of Fenix, it is only possible to open the program on a smartphone, after which you will have to reach into your pocket or backpack for the handset. But, by unlocking it, you will immediately be taken to the desired application:

 

But some other programs give more options. For example, it is very rich in terms of interaction with Gmail smart watches.

 

So, you can view the list of incoming letters, if there are several of them, and even look into each of the messages:

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Moreover, it is possible to immediately delete it, or react to the letter by dictating the answer by voice:

 

 

After any voice command, the task is not executed immediately, but after 3-4 seconds, and if the recognition is incorrect, you can cancel it by pressing the blue button next to the inscription “Preservation»:

Set an alarm for 7am

Swipe from left to right to return to the main watch screen or go one step back.

If a call arrives on your smartphone, then using Moto 360 you can reject it by making a swipe from left to right, or accept it in reverse. In this case, you will have to quickly get a smartphone, since you cannot use the watch as a headset.

Working for hours is quite simple and in general the interface is intuitive. It takes just a few hours to get used to, after which you do all the actions automatically. However, in addition to notifications, an alarm clock and a timer, Moto 360 has a number of other features.

Chips and features of Moto 360, plus third-party software

The smart watch has a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor, which the accessory often reminds the user of, highlighting information about the number of steps taken and notifying about the goals achieved:

 

In addition, during the day, Moto 360 itself measures your heart rate from time to time and creates a map of activity. Naturally, you can also start the measurement manually, moreover, as in the Motorola proprietary application (it is it that reports on heart rate activity in general):

 

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So in the standard Google software, which is also responsible for counting steps:

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Using Moto 360 as a full-fledged activity tracker will not work – so far there are too few opportunities for this. There is no calculation of calories burned and other functions of specialized devices, but these problems are solved by software. Difficulty in another way – this is a leather strap, which is undesirable to actively wet and water afterwards, plus the watch itself is unlikely to withstand a harsh meeting with a barbell or dumbbells in the gym if you touch them with a brush, which often happened with personal sports trackers.

But in everyday use, you can not be afraid of the device – it is quite strong, plus it meets the requirements IP67, that is protected from dust and can be briefly immersed in water. I tested the strength of the clock on my own example, several times accidentally hitting it with a door frame, a table in a train, or some other solid objects. The objects themselves suffered (tore off the paint from the door), but there were no marks left on the clock and even the black coating was not scratched.

In addition to the shape and design, the gadget stands out from the competition even very quality microphones with its own noise reduction system. In noisy places, the Moto 360 responds to voice and executes commands much better than solutions from Samsung and LG.

No less cool and contactless charger, but only when there is a flat surface to place it on. It is problematic to charge the watch on the go by throwing it into a backpack along with the charger and an external battery.

vibration motor in Moto 360, not to say that it is very powerful, although tangible. Sometimes you can miss notifications, but the alarm vibration pattern is very annoying, but a squeaker would also be nice. Unfortunately, it is not included in this watch.

Display bright enough not to go blind in the sun, while it also has a comfortable minimum brightness for working in complete darkness.

As for third-party software, Android Wear already has about 1000 applications, including games, utilities and watch faces. Programs are available on Google Play in a special section. First, they are installed on the smartphone, from where they automatically enter the watch (they are deleted in the same way). On Moto 360 and other Android Wear devices, third-party software is located under “Start» main menu:

 

Navigating Google Play in the “hours” section is not yet very convenient, so I recommend using a more comfortable directory for this Wear Store [загрузить из Google Play].

On the left is the Android Wear section on Google Play, on the right is the Wear Store catalog

It is also worth mentioning the branded application for managing smart watches. Motorola Connect [загрузить из Google Play]. It expands on the stock Android Wear client a bit, allowing you to customize your watch faces (hand color, background color, world time), fill out a health profile for more accurate activity data (not much use yet), and find your device on a map. I will add that Motorola Connect only works with Android smartphones and it cannot be installed on tablets yet, which is sad, although this is only a matter of time.

 

Motorola is actively developing the software stuffing of the device, and while using the watch, I once received a message that an update had been downloaded and was ready for installation. Since there is an update, then you need to install it. The process took about three minutes, after which the section “Listen to music”, which is also a remote control that allows you to control the player on an Android smartphone.

 

In addition, software updates have a positive effect on device autonomy. On the first firmware, the watch could hardly withstand 12 hours without recharging. With the latest update, with a constant connection to the smartphone and the disabled power saving mode (the screen is on all the time), Moto 360 live about 20 hoursif the power saving mode is activated, then you can safely count for two days of work. The device fully charges in about two hours.

I also tested several third-party applications that showed that a watch with a square display is still needed for the greatest compatibility:

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But do not rush to throw stones at the Moto 360 garden. Many developers adapt their programs for a round display, and they look quite decent. For example, here is a good calculator [загрузить из Google PLay]:

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There would be a desire and everything can be beautifully customized for yourself. This is Android, after all, a system that seems complicated, crooked and unfinished to some, while others, on the contrary, see in it huge opportunities for setting up and customizing their devices and making “candy” out of their gadgets.

Impressions from use and conclusions

Smart watches based on Android Wear cannot be judged with a swoop, twisting the gadget for 10 minutes in your hands or even picking it up for an hour or two. You need to actively use the accessory for at least a week, study its capabilities, determine the operating scheme for yourself. These thoughts were formed on the basis of personal experience, when on the first day of my acquaintance with the Moto 360 I simply did not understand why I need this watch and what to do with it? Well, yes, there are alerts, so what? But in the end, I now carry an Android tablet and a 3G router with me to get those same notifications on my wrist (there is no Android smartphone, and the main phone is an iPhone). I really want the compatibility of Android Wear with iOS, for which there is some hope. Although, it seems to me, the Apple Watch will appear earlier and show how smart watches really should work. But back to the Moto 360.

What attracted me so much? Yes, all these pleasant little things that the device gives. I can literally delete junk messages on the go, read important ones and react. I can clean up the smartphone notification area, because by removing them on the clock, I also automatically remove them from the curtain on the phone. I can find out the weather without taking out my phone, set an alarm or start a timer (I use it when I cook and for reminders that it’s time to eat). What can I say, if even sitting at a computer I delete all sorts of promotional emails with the help of Moto 360, because it’s faster than switching to an email client on a Mac and doing it through it.

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In general, you get used to good things quickly, and now even crazy thoughts arise to get a Motorola Nexus 6 (pure Android rules, especially Lollipop) and put the main SIM card into it to fully use smart watches before the release of Apple Watch.

Someone will remember Pebble, which is compatible with both Android and iOS, but working with hardware buttons is not as convenient as with a touch screen. And outwardly, the plastic model resembles a rattle, and Pebble Steel is an electronic watch-calculator from the 90s. Although, this is my personal opinion, but in terms of design and ease of use, at least in conjunction with an Android device, the Moto 360 gives Pebble a head start. Unless they are much inferior in autonomy.

On the other hand, there is still room for improvement for both the Android Wear platform and the device from Motorola. It happens that the interface slows down, and third-party applications crash with error messages:

 

What is the result? I’m personally pleased with the Moto 360 and the Android watch platform in general – great design of the device, a good level of interaction with a smartphone, enough functionality to get the phone out of your pocket or bag much less often. Yes, there are more functional models, like independent (and huge) Samsung Gear S, but in terms of the combination of characteristics, the hero of the review seems to me a more interesting solution. The most important thing in this case is software support. Motorola is part of Google and there is no doubt that the company will quickly release new firmware with an update to the Android Wear platform, but how competing solutions will be updated is a question.

Motorola’s main feat is that the company has demonstrated the importance of design even in such a geeky gadget as a smart watch. We already see the result of this today in the form of the same LG G Watch R (Moto 360 still looks cooler, even with a black stripe on the display, IMHO). And tomorrow the Apple Watch will appear and, who knows, maybe this will be a serious impetus to the development of software in Android Wear too. Indeed, at the moment, both Android and iOS are actively borrowing ideas from each other, and this only benefits both platforms.

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