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Motorola Moto 360 2nd-gen first impressions: flamboyant, but pricey

|December 1 2015 |Motorola, Smartwatch, First impressions, Android Wear

“The new Moto 360 carries forward the legacy of its predecessor with a stylish look along with adding some much-needed features”

Smartwatches present an interesting conundrum for consumers – neither they are stylish enough to replace regular wristwatches, nor they offer enough functionality to replace a smartphone. In fact, their true potential can only be exploited when they’re connected to a mobile device. Perhaps that explains why the smartwatches haven’t taken off in a massive way, despite the presence of almost all major brands in the segment – Apple, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Huawei… you name it.

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Motorola however, has tried to take an interesting approach. It has put an emphasis on design with a circular dial and premium strap when it launched the Moto 360 (first impressions) a year back. Now, the brand has launched its second-gen iteration, which at the first glance, seems to be very similar to its predecessor, but is actually a tad different. Having got our hands on the watch, let’s see what the new Motorola smartwatch offers.

The first difference between the new Moto 360 and the previous model is the available sizes. While the first-gen version was available only in a single 46mm option, the Lenovo-owned brand is now offering consumers the option to choose between 42mm and 46mm dials. The smaller size is aimed at both men and women, while the bigger model would be an ideal choice mainly for men.

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We were able to try the smaller Moto 360 during the event, and it looked really good on the wrist. The dial is made of stainless steel, which imparts a premium feel to the new Moto 360. Available in gold, silver or black hues, the dials look classy as well. Similar to its predecessor, you can choose between leather or stainless steel straps. However, now Motorola has made it extremely easier to swap the bands if you want to.

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In terms of buttons and design elements, you get a crown towards the right and a microphone towards the left. At the back of the Moto 360, you’ll find a heart rate monitor.

Moto 360 (2nd-gen) first impressions 22 Moto 360 (2nd-gen) first impressions 23

With the difference in the sizes of the Moto 360 (2nd-gen), the IPS display panels being used are also different. While the 46mm model houses a larger 1.56-inch screen, the smaller variant features a display size of 1.37-inches. The screen resolution remains almost the same in both the models – 360 x 330 pixels (360 x 325 pixels in the case of the 42mm model). However since they have different screen sizes, the pixel density differs, with the 42mm variant offering more sharpness at 263ppi in comparison to the 233ppi sported by its larger sibling.

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Just like its predecessor, the new watches can withstand submersion in up to 1m deep water for up to an hour, thanks to IP67 compliance. You also get durability with the Gorilla Glass 3 protecting the display panel.

At the heart of the second-gen Moto 360 ticks a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, which offers a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. In comparison, the previous Moto 360 was powered by a TI OMAP processor, which only had a single core running at 1GHz. This means that the new watch should offer smoother performance, and we didn’t feel any stutters while moving across screens or swiping away notifications during our brief usage. The CPU is mated to 512MB RAM, which remains the same as its predecessor.

 

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For storage purposes, the Moto 360 comes with 4GB of flash memory. You can utilise the available storage for storing music files, etc.

Android Wear is the platform of choice for the new Moto 360, which stands at v1.3. The watch can be paired with an Android device running v4.3 or above, as well as Apple devices running iOS 8.2 or up via Bluetooth. The integrated Wi-Fi allows the watch to offer some functionality even when it’s not paired with a mobile device.

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An interesting feature in the Moto 360 is Live Dial, which as the name suggests, offers live updates right on the main screen, without the need of opening any app. You can get up to three different updates by choosing between weather, heart activity, time, calories, steps taken, etc.

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The watch also utilises Motorola’s fitness-tracking application dubbed Moto Body. The app can track your calories, steps taken and your heart rate. It can also help you stay focussed by sending you weekly emails about your progress.

The original Moto 360 won accolades for its design, but its battery life played the spoilsport. Motorola seems to have worked on that aspect as the 400mAh-powered 46mm model claims to offer a runtime of two days with the ambient display turned off. Its smaller sibling is fuelled by a 300mAh unit, which should last a day and a half. Sadly, if you utilise the ambient display feature, then both devices would die within a day. The watches can be juiced up using a wireless charging dock, bundled with the retail box.

Building a strong case in favour of smartwatches becomes even tougher when we bring their pricing into the equation. Motorola’s asking price for its second-gen Moto 360 is quite high at Rs 19,999, that too for the smaller 42mm variant with a leather band. For the metallic strap version, you need to shell out Rs 22,999, while the bigger model with metallic band would set you back by Rs 23,999.

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Pricing aside, if you’re looking for a smartwatch, then the Motorola’s offerings are among the best in terms of design and functionality. Even if you’re an iOS user, the Moto 360 (2nd-gen) seems compelling as it’s more affordable than the Apple Watch, yet looks more fashionable.



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