The Moto 360 — the highly anticipated, first circular Android Wear timepiece — hits the market today for a cool $249.99.
The smartwatch, which doubles as a pedometer and heart rate monitor, boasts a cool design (it's lighter than the LG G Watch), polished materials (scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass!), and wireless charging. It also comes just days ahead of Apple's possible unveiling of the iWatch on Sept. 9, but if the early reviews are any indication, the Moto 360 could be the watch to convince people to use wearables. That is, if the battery doesn't die too quickly.
Over at The Verge, David Pierce dove into the device's wearability:
I already feel naked without it, but I don't notice my smartphone so much anymore... The Moto 360 is the smartwatch I've been waiting for, the $249 timepiece that promised to be the first Android Wear device I'd actually want to wear. It's designed to prove that smartwatches don't have to be ugly. That they can, and must, be beautiful. That a smartwatch should be a watch, and that being a watch is ultimately the only thing that matters."
Katherine Boehret is also a fan at Re/Code, calling a round face "better than geeky rectangular designs." She also noted the cool factor of interacting with the smartwatch. "My favorite feature of the Moto 360 was dictation," she writes. "Talking into your watch while leaving your phone in your pocket or bag is a freeing experience. It also just looks cool."
Similarly at Gizmodo, Brent Rose praised the watch for its comfortability, attributing it to its leather strap, "which feels great on the skin."
But the leather strap, argues Joanna Stern for The Wall Street Journal, grew grating the longer she wore the watch, especially when she sweat while exercising. It's also large, and feels more unwieldy on smaller wrists. "It almost looks like I grabbed a clock of the wall and strapped it to my arm," she writes.
The biggest complaint out of reviewers targets the device's battery life. Stern notes that she had to charge it twice to last a full day, despite Motorola saying a full charge can do so. "The Moto 360 is a big step in the right direction," Stern writes, highlighting the model's round design. "But it still doesn't meet my criteria for a smartwatch due to hardware and software shortcomings."
Nancy Blair notes the same fault in her review for USA Today. "The Moto 360 does a great job of feeling more like a wristwatch," she writes. "Not so charming is the battery life."
As for the software, CNet's Scott Stein writes that it worked similarly to other Android Wear devices, while again noting the battery life.
It runs the same OS as other Android Wear devices, by design: a common interface and operational language weaves through all these devices to create a sense of consistency. Google wants Android Wear to make sense, and for developers to make apps that will run on as many devices as possible. So, under the hood, this still feels like the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch in terms of basic menus, card-based swipe notifications, and apps.
My feeling after my first day of use, however, was mixed. I tried pairing it with the new Moto X, and also my trusty Nexus 5. While the Moto 360 is fun to wear and look at, I still found Android Wear's notifications to be quirky, and not always responsive. Battery life on a full charge around 2 p.m. dribbled down to 17% at the time this story published at 1 a.m."
It'll be up to the consumers to figure out what will make them overlook the flaws, TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington concludes. "Personally, I've found that Android Wear doesn't yet have what I need to make it a daily necessity," he writes, "but perhaps Motorola's careful attention to design will convince this traditional watch fan."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.