Screengrab via Marques Brownlee/YouTube

Should you buy the new Moto 360?

What's more appealing: The new Moto 360's specs, or the price drop on the original version?

Feb 29, 2020, 8:19 pm*

Tech

 

Joey Keeton

Motorola’s Moto 360 was remarkable for being the only smartwatch that wasn’t ugly as sin. 

Instead of going for the Tron-chic chosen by most companies, the Moto 360 was designed to resemble an ordinary watch, which just happened to have a few tricks up its sleeve. Now, a revamped version of the Moto 360 will hit shelves—but is it an upgrade?

The new Moto 360 will debut at a starting price of $299, with the choices of colors and bands bringing that price up to a potential $450. The Moto 360 offers a choice of colors (gold, black, and silver) with the addition of a rose gold to the 42mm version.

While it was perhaps the best looking of each tech giants entry into the smartwatch game, the original Moto 360’s specs left a bit to be desired. Its battery lasted only one full day, with luck, and it lacked wifi support upon its release (which wasn’t remedied until a software update was rolled out last summer). 

Being the prettiest smartwatch doesn’t cut it these days. The original Moto 360’s design left much room for improvement, with replaceable bands that proved quite frustrating to swap out, and a thick, circular body giving the impression of a gigantically-sized, analog watch battery being strapped to your wrist. The LCD display also had a black bar at the bottom, which was commonly referred to as a “flat tire.” 

So, with the second generation of the Moto 360: Did they fix this stuff? Let’s have a look at the changes made:

  • The previously frustrating-to-replace bands have been replaced by more easily accessible, quick-release versions . The stainless steel body extends out to make the connections more accessible, which also helps to keep the watch from sliding around on your wrist.
  • While the face’s diameter of 46mm will be retained from the original model, a new 42mm size will also be available, and marketed to both men and women. Both models are 0.1mm less thick than the original, which a thickness of 11.4mm (so, it’s still really thick).
  • The screen of the new 46mm model will retain the 1.56-inch size of the old one, with the new 42mm’s screen measuring 1.37 inches.6
  • The pixel density on the 46mm model has jumped to 233 ppi, over the original’s 205 ppi, with the new 42mm boasting the highest count at 263 ppi.
  • The backlit LCD will remain the same as the original model.
  • Addressing complaints about the positioning of the device’s only hardware button, the button has been moved from its previous 3 o’clock position to a 2 o’clock position.

Tech Improvements:

  • The Moto 360’s battery life receives a significant boost. With the watch’s “ambient mode” shut off, the new 46mm model’s battery life can last two days while the 42mm can go for 1.5 days of average use. With the ambient modes on, however, the device lasts only one day.
  • The ambient mode on the 2nd gen Moto 360 leaves a dimmed clock face visible on the display screen at all times, whereas the original model ambient mode activated the dimmed screen only when the display was raised up to the wearer’s face. As with the original, this mode can always be switched off to preserve battery life.
  • Wi-Fi functionality is available out of the box on the new Moto 360.
  • The “flat tire” remains, with Motorola wrestling with the decision but ultimately deciding that it provided the best screen-to-body ratio.
  • Speaking of sensors, the second generation will come included with all the basic ones: Accelerometer, gyroscope, haptic engine, optical heart rate monitor, and ambient light sensors. For a built-in GPS, however, you’ll have to wait for a third, later-shipping sport model.
  • The new Moto 360 models will be equipped with Android Wear 1.3, which is also available for the first gen models.

The first generation Moto 360 will drop $100 with the second generation’s release, making them only $150. 

For the tech-obsessed, the 2nd gen models appear to have a lot of good things to offer. For the hesitant, the original model’s new cost of $150 coupled with its perfectly adequate capabilities make it a great way to see what all this “wearable tech” business is all about, without having to drop hundreds of dollars on a device that you might not enjoy.

H/T Moto 360 | Screengrab via Marques Brownlee/YouTube

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*First Published: Sep 4, 2015, 1:42 pm