This seems to be the biggest question circulating about the Moto 360 at the moment and understandably so as your smartwatch is pretty well useless if it runs out of power midway through your day.
Some of the early reviews have suggested less than 12 hours of battery life and in my testing that is unfortunately true for the Ambient (always on) mode. As you can probably guess with this option switched on the display is always active, it merely drops to a very dim black and white version until you interact with the watch. I have done a run down on the watch twice in Ambient mode so far and I saw approximately 11 hours the first time through and 11 and a half hours the second time through. Basically unless you have a really short “day” or you have a charger available to you at all times the ambient mode isn’t a tenable option for most users.
Now with the Ambient mode turned off, meaning that the screen is completely off unless you move to view something on the watch, the battery life is a much different story. So far I have seen between 17-21 hours of battery life in this mode, which is plenty to get me through most days. I don’t personally find using this mode to be a problem as the watch reliably turns the screen on whenever I move to look at it and it is unquestionably worth that additional battery life for me.
Also worth nothing the battery charges to full in a little over an hour from completely dead, so you aren’t out of the game too long if you do manage to discharge the watch completely. The dock is also the best I’ve used so far in terms of just letting you drop the watch on it and not really have to worry about whether things are lined up properly.
Where the battery is a bit of a disappointment the design of the 360 is if anything better than I imagined it would be. It iswithout a doubt the most comfortable and best looking wearable I’ve used to date and Motorola put a lot of thought into that (hence abandoning those early square designs).
Many pictures of the watch make it appear bulky and that simply isn’t the case if you are comparing it to most standard men’s watches. It is approximately the same size or smaller than most of the watches I have compared it to and is considerably lighter. I can easily forget that I have anything on my wrist until I feel the watch vibrate or I glance at it. I had my wife try it on as well and while it is certainly a better fit for a man’s wrist it didn’t look ridiculous on her by any means.
Fashion is naturally subjective, but this is also the first smartwatch I’ve had that didn’t scream that it is a gadget, it looks like a nice (not luxury level, but nice) watch and I wouldn’t feel out of place wearing it in an office or to a formal event.
The screen is perfectly acceptable to me, but we are a bit spoiled by the insane pixel count on our phones these days and it is apparent that this is a step below current standards. Considering I’m not relying on the watch to look at pictures or video this doesn’t particularly bother me, but it is noticeable nonetheless.
My only other complaint regarding the screen is more properly directed at the UI and that is that text will sometimes push all the way to the edge of the display and will be cut off or at least distorted by the beveled edge of the display. This needs to be fixed on the software side and it’s a bit surprising that it wasn’t already corrected given that this was always one of the display types supported by Wear.
Someone asked in the questions post whether I would recommend running/exercising with the 360. You can certainly do it, the 360 is IP67 certified so it can handle being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes, your sweat isn’t going to cause it any problems. With that said I’m not sure how the leather band would hold up to that long term. The watch bands are removable, but are unfortunately custom sized to the Moto 360, so if you want something that is going to fit perfectly you’ll need to wait and see what additional options Motorola will bring to the table in the coming months.
Another question from yesterday was simply what sensors are in the 360.
- 9-Axis (Accelerometer, Compass, Gyro)
- Optical heart rate monitor
- Light sensor
Overall my first few days with the Moto 360 have definitely been a mix as I’m blown away by the design and feel of the watch, but the battery life is something I’m continuing to look out for. There are quirks and issues with Wear like the text not adjusting properly for the circular screen and others that could be attributable to the 360 like losing connectivity with the phone 5-6 times throughout the day. This is all tolerable to me as an early adopter, but could be a tougher pill to swallow for the average user.
I’ll have a lot more to say in the full review, but if you do have any questions about the 360 just let me know in the comments and I’ll respond there if it’s something I can answer quickly or add them to my full review if it’s something more in depth.