Moto 360 Sport review

Moto 360 Sport
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AT - TIME

The Motorola brand has been rather quiet, at least in Malaysia. Now a Lenovo company, we’ve not heard much about Moto since the Moto G, E and X (well, sort of). Recently, it made a re-entry of sorts, this time through its smartwatch – the Moto 360. The second generation Moto 360 that’s built for sport, to be exact. It’s lightweight, looks good and now comes with a GPS. So how good is the Moto 360 Sport? Let’s find out.

Design

In terms of design, the Moto 360 continues the much-loved circular watch design. It uses a strong silicone construction – so it doesn’t absorb sweat, and it resists fading and staining. It’s dust and water resistant to IP67 certification – and will withstand immersion of up to 3 feet of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. If you’re planning to go swimming with it, though, it’s not recommended.

Personally I think it looks great. At 54g it’s light enough to be on your wrist all day, without getting in the way of your workout too. The design’s minimalist, with a single button on the right that operates like a Home/Back button.

I did find the silicone material a bit of a dust magnet though, something I never got on the Samsung Gear S2 Sport. An annoyance, not a deal breaker. Just make sure you run it on a tap often.

Size-wise, the watch case measures 45mm, with a 11.5mm height. Slightly thicker than the Gear S2 Sport, but less bulky than the Huawei Watch.

The downside of the Moto 360 Sport is that the band isn’t removable or replaceable, so zero customizability here. In any case of strap damage, you’re going to have to replace the entire watch, I’m afraid.

Overall, it’s well-made, and I just love how it looks and feels.

[nextpage title=”Display & Performance”]

I like the fact that it looks like a conventional watch – nothing geeky, and certainly not like a toy, the way the original Pebble was. Or the old Star Trek-looking Gear S.

The circular 35mm AnyLight Hybrid Display is a first for the Moto 360. The display pushes out 263PPI at 360 x 325 pixel resolution, protected by Gorilla Glass 3.

AnyLight is really cool. It’s the world’s first hybrid screen and it automatically adapts to ambient light. When you’re indoors, it’s a readable LCD screen. Outdoors when you’re out for a run in sunlight, it reflects natural light, making it clear and sharp. It’s no gimmick. It works really, really well.

Hardware

Under the hood, if you’re interested, is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip running at 1.2Ghz. The quad-core SoC is mated to an Adreno 305 GPU. Memory-wise it gets 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage.

Naturally, being a smartwatch, it packs a plethora of sensors – barometric altimeter, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope and a vibration/haptics engine. Additionally, there’s the all-important optical heart rate monitor to boot.

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In the connectivity department, it rocks Bluetooth 4.0 LE and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.

As mentioned, the Moto 360 Sport features a built-in GPS. This works seamlessly with Moto’s fitness apps as well as other popular fitness apps like Fitbit, MapMyRun and Strava.

The 300mAh built in battery delivers a full day of use, with Ambient on.

Last but not least, it supports wireless charging via a bundled charging dock, and also features dual digital mics.

Android Wear

In the heart of it all, is Android Wear, Google’s powerful smartwatch OS. It’s incredibly easy to set-up from the word go, and once paired to your smartphone, it just works.

The cool thing about Android Wear is that you don’t need to manually install watch versions of apps that are on your paired smartphone. During set-up, these will be downloaded and installed for you.

Just like with Apple Watch’s WatchOS or Samsung’s TizenOS, there is a slight learning curve in the beginning. But once you’ve gotten the hang of which direction of swipe does what, then all becomes natural.

Some may complain about the ‘flat tire’ design of Android Wear, but I don’t find it bothers me much.

Watch faces can be customized, and more can be downloaded from Google Play. I personally like the default Moto Sport watch face which gives me my activity stats at a glance. But you may want something different, so go crazy.

You’re never going to escape the fact that it’s going to be notifications crazy on you – from Facebook updates, to WhatsApp/LINE/Telegram messages, to emails and more. You can modify to suit your taste of course.

Moto 360 Sport
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Messaging #bffs from your wrist

The fact that it’s Android-powered means Google is at your beck-and-call. Just say ‘OK Google’ and the watch will wake up to serve you. You can send a text message, make a call, set an appointment, navigate to a destination. You name it. Pretty darn cool, really. Try doing that with your G-Shock.

In terms of apps, there’s plenty for you to play with although Android Wear doesn’t have quite the breadth of the Apple Watch. While it’s available in other countries, I’m still impatiently waiting for my Uber app to appear. Grr.

Performance

I’ve been able to squeeze about 1.5 days of use with the Moto 360 Sport, and this with full Ambient on, meaning most if not all notifications for major apps turned on.

Performance as a whole is snappy, and I’ve never encountered any slowdowns or system errors since picking it up 2 weeks ago.

The AnyLight Display is something I like a lot. It work as promised. Whether indoors or in bright sunlight, it’s always legible and clear.

Motorola’s MotoBody app is surprisingly good, tracking my daily activity diligently, and also becoming my tracker at the gym.

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[nextpage title=”What I like & what can be better”]

I’m going to admit, I’m not entirely convinced about this smartwatch thing although I own a Fitbit Surge and a Samsung Gear S2. However, the Moto 360 Sport has grown on me, simply because it looks and feels good.

Being IP67 certified means I don’t worry about it getting wet, and I often run it on the tap to wash after a day’s use, or after a gym workout.

Moto 360 Sport
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Gear S2 Sport vs Moto 360 Sport

The big pluses for me is the understated but attractive design and the AnyLight Display. Because it runs Android Wear, there’s plenty of apps and watch faces to choose from. And for the same reason, it means I get the full advantages Android and Google – from Google NOW to Gmail, Google Maps, calendaring, you name it.

As a fitness tracker, it gets the job done and I think MotoBody is pretty awesome.

Performance as a whole is good, snappy and reliable with no notable slowdowns or freezes/crashes.

What can be better

It’s a shame that the band isn’t removable nor swappable. This means I won’t be able to change it if it gets damaged or worn, which also means a shorter shelf life. It also means I can’t be individualistic and put in an orange band. And that sucks. My other gripe is that it seems to attract plenty of dust. I’m not sure if it’s just the humidity here but it’s annoying.

The bundled wireless dock is a little ill-fitting, and unlike the one with the Gear S2, it doesn’t lock in place when docked. It’s a minor complaint, but really could have been designed better.

1.5 days isn’t bad for a smartwatch that buzzes me throughout the day. I’m not picking on the Moto 360 Sport on battery life per se, because I think it copes pretty well. But smartwatches really should have bigger batteries and deliver at least three solid days of use without having to be charged.

Pricing and availability

The Moto 360 Sport comes in Black, Orange or White; and retails for MYR1,399 (incl. GST). It’s available at Lazada.com.my.

Verdict

This baby’s got appeal, in a cool, understated way. I’m sold on the way it looks, flat tire and all. It’s no doubt one of the handsomest smartwatches you can buy. I have no complaints about performance, while I wish battery life could be better.

It works great as a plain jane watch, or as a fitness tracker. Sure it’s targeted at the sporty crowd, but honestly it wouldn’t look weird on your wrist even if you’re wearing a suit.

Moto’s AnyLight display is awesome, and for me, a key separator from the rest of the pack.

My only real gripe is the non-removable band, but otherwise, the Moto 360 Sport is one of the better smartwatches out there.

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