Hands-On With the Third-Generation iPhone-Compatible Moto 360 Android Watch

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The first Moto 360 watch came out in 2014, featuring an Android operating system (now wear OS) and a circular display, a design choice some Apple Watch owners have lusted over.

Motorola discontinued its version of the Moto 360, but a third-generation version came out recently because the name has been licensed to a company called eBuyNow. The new Moto 360 still has the same look and feel as older models, it runs Wear OS, and it can connect to an iPhone, so we thought we'd check it out and compare it to the Apple Watch.


Priced at $350, the third-generation 42mm Moto 360 continues to use the same circular design introduced with the original Moto 360, and it's equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor, 1GB RAM, and 8GB of storage. It features a heart rate monitor along with GPS and NFC capabilities.

It has a 360 x 360 OLED panel that's always on, like the new Apple Watch Series 5 models, plus fast charging, water resistance, and a charging puck. In a nutshell, it's pretty similar to many of the Android-based Wear OS watches on the market.


You can pair watches that run Wear OS with the iPhone, so the Moto 360 can be used in lieu of an Apple Watch, but given the lack of native integration, it's just not worth it. Functionality is limited to reading text messages, notifying you about text messages, and tracking fitness through Google Fit.


There's no option for answering phone calls, interacting with text messages, or interacting with other devices like the Mac. At $350, there is no reason why an iPhone owner should buy a Wear OS watch like this over an Apple Watch, even if the circular design is appealing.


For Android users, though, it's a solid choice. The OLED display looks great for a smartwatch, there are two buttons for navigation, and it can run Google apps downloaded directly from the wrist. Wear OS can be customized so quick actions like tracking workouts, paying for purchases, and sending texts are right at your fingertips, and combined with apps, functionality is not far off from what the Apple Watch can do.


On the downside, it's a little bit sluggish and sometimes just fails to respond to input for a few seconds, plus it's sometimes prone to random disconnects. Google still needs to make improvements to Wear OS to put it on par with competing platforms like watchOS, but for Android users looking for a smart watch option, the new Moto 360 is worth considering even if it's not made by Motorola.

What do you think about the Moto 360? Is the circular design something you'd like to see in a future Apple Watch? Let us know in the comments.

Article Link: Hands-On With the Third-Generation iPhone-Compatible Moto 360 Android Watch
 

rizzo41999

macrumors 6502
May 27, 2009
367
912
MA
I like it. The first gen was like wearing a stack of half dollars on your wrist! Glad they trimmed it down.
 

confessJason

Cancelled
Oct 14, 2011
86
258
Beautiful work of art. Oh yeah, it’s also round unlike the Iwatch. And 1GB of RAM? This is definitely a must-buy.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
11,900
8,957
Austin, TX
Yeah, it's odd that the Apple Watch wasn't round from the beggining given that its honeycomb interface seems like it was designed to optimize space on a round display.
That interface is not very good, but you're 100% right it appears to be for a round display
 

Jim Lahey

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2014
908
1,625
Sunnyvale
The day we see a round Apple Watch is the day we see Steve Jobs reanimated so he can he put it through the crusher. I would never say never, but the chances of it happening any time soon are vanishingly slim.
 

dcassone

macrumors newbie
Apr 17, 2012
11
16
I have tried at least 3 non-Apple smartwatches before getting an Apple Watch. I can tell you that none of the non-Apple watches including a beautiful round well-built MyKronoz ZeTime can do anything close to what an Apple Watch can do. IMO - part of it is that Apple just thinks things out more, and part of it is Apple does not let 3rd parties have access to the really cool watchOS stuff via the API.

I knew I was missing some functionality, but until I got my Apple Watch, I did not know how much I was missing....it was huge

So, until the round watches catch up (or Apple makes one), I'll gladly take the functionality over the shape.
 

DominikHoffmann

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2007
171
92
Commonwealth of Virginia
Triumph of Skeuomorphism.
I disagree. For the one-glance way of telling time or the two-glance telling of elapsed time, an analog watch face winds hands down. It’s the same reason even modern display-based instruments in cars still have round speedometers.
- - Post merged: - -

So, until the round watches catch up (or Apple makes one), I'll gladly take the functionality over the shape.
This is a great discussion to have. I remember how Tim Cook talked about the multitude of style preferences people have. Unfortunately, that only translated to a choice of metal finishes and wristbands.
 

MacDownunder

macrumors member
Jun 26, 2006
36
1
Melbourne, Australia
I dont particularly like the square design nor the short battery life of the iWatch, thats why I bought a Fenix 5 - sure there are things it cannot do but there are also really useful things that iWatch simply cannot eg: GPS plot of Race Course (sailing), against HR, Time and then be able to view that plot. However as a solution to wearable payments Apple has Garmin beat hands down. These are but two differences and both devices are amazing bits of tech that will get better and better as the years pass.

Bringing back to relevance Fenix does notifications but you cannot answer calls or reply via the watch which for me is fine as I just need to glance at notification mist of time rather than reply on a small fiddly screen, its the same reason I'll do multi-tab search/research on the web using my MacPro with 2 screens, rather than using my iPad and split screen as its just so much easier.

Buy what works for you and not what others tell you you should
 

redman042

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2008
2,914
1,366
If I were an Android person and wanted a watch, I might get this, but it wouldn't make me feel any less jealous of Apple Watch owners. Two problems: the Moto360 is slow, and it's round.

As someone who has owned an Apple Watch since it first hit the market, I know first-hand how lag can mar a smartwatch experience. If you're going to lift your wrist up to do something, as opposed to pulling out your phone, it had better be fast and reliable. The Apple Watch was originally neither, and it took until Gen 3 to finally get there. I have a Gen 4, and lag is finally ancient history to me. It always does what I want, right away. Only Apple can pull this off, because Apple makes their own watch CPU. Android Wear devices are stuck about two generations behind when it comes to processors, with no solution in sight. Qualcomm won't bother because they won't sell enough CPUs to justify it.

As for round, yes it looks more like the watches we are used to. But round is simply not the right screen shape for deep smartwatch functionality. You can do basics with it just fine (telling time, setting an alarm, etc.) but if you want to do more than that, a round screen is going to clip off too much info. That's why I believe Apple will never do a round smartwatch. Because it ruins the canvas.
 

JediStarWars

macrumors member
Oct 26, 2015
51
70
I don't think a round Apple Watch is going to happen any time soon as the OS is designed for the square face. That said, a round watch face will always be superior to a square one. The two things Apple Watch are sorely missing are (a) a round watch face and (b) third party watch face customization.

(b) will never happen because Apple are too greedy - they prefer to monetize customization.

Good luck to the Moto 360... The more competition to Apple, the better for the consumer.
 

Stromos

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2016
157
287
Woodstock, GA
What is the obsession with round? It literally only makes sense for an analog watch. Who wants to read a text on or anything on something round?

Why
do people
think this is a
good idea
for a
watch?
It's really confusing to me. It reminds me of the Echo Spot which was round and is mostly useless for getting information. Rectangles are for reading.....
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,179
3,441
Twin Cities Minnesota
What is the obsession with round? It literally only makes sense for an analog watch. Who wants to read a text on or anything on something round?

Why
do people
think this is a
good idea
for a
watch?
It's really confusing to me. It reminds me of the Echo Spot which was round and is mostly useless for getting information. Rectangles are for reading.....
It is a different design that suits some people. Remember watches are often a fashion accessory too, so it may just work better in someone else’s aesthetic overall.
 

dwsolberg

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2003
725
493
The round design still looks nicer to me, but it's the past. A digital watch is best with a square screen because that's the best way to show information. Image a round computer screen, phone screen, or television screen. It might look cool, but it's not suited for its purpose.

It will take a while for people to adapt to this, and some will prefer the old fashioned way just as some people prefer records over streaming music. Nothing wrong with that, but Amazon isn't going to make an Echo that plays records.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,326
13,683
In between a rock and a hard place
If I were an Android person and wanted a watch, I might get this, but it wouldn't make me feel any less jealous of Apple Watch owners. Two problems: the Moto360 is slow, and it's round.

As someone who has owned an Apple Watch since it first hit the market, I know first-hand how lag can mar a smartwatch experience. If you're going to lift your wrist up to do something, as opposed to pulling out your phone, it had better be fast and reliable. The Apple Watch was originally neither, and it took until Gen 3 to finally get there. I have a Gen 4, and lag is finally ancient history to me. It always does what I want, right away. Only Apple can pull this off, because Apple makes their own watch CPU. Android Wear devices are stuck about two generations behind when it comes to processors, with no solution in sight. Qualcomm won't bother because they won't sell enough CPUs to justify it.

As for round, yes it looks more like the watches we are used to. But round is simply not the right screen shape for deep smartwatch functionality. You can do basics with it just fine (telling time, setting an alarm, etc.) but if you want to do more than that, a round screen is going to clip off too much info. That's why I believe Apple will never do a round smartwatch. Because it ruins the canvas.
If an Android fan wants a smartwatch, they should just get one from Samsung. Tizen runs much better than Wear OS. I'm not a fan of any smartwatch, but my wife's Samsung watch is actually as nice as my kids' Apple Watches. Neither are nice enough to convince me to wear one but they are both better than anything running Wear OS. Google doesn't seem to care about Wear OS anymore.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,922
14,608
Central U.S.
I've always preferred round watch faces but I've come to understand that it's not the best shape for a smart watch interface. At least this new design looks like a watch and not some clunky monstrosity.
- - Post merged: - -

Beautiful work of art. Oh yeah, it’s also round unlike the Iwatch. And 1GB of RAM? This is definitely a must-buy.
My Apple Watch Series 4 from 2018 has 1GB of RAM, lol. The fact that it runs on Android means it needs at least double that to be comparable.
 
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