Circular style: Motorola’s Moto 360 reviewed

Another major part of the Moto 360 is its design, and while the square watches are all, well, square, the Moto 360 sits inside of a perfect circle, with a metal edge that makes the watch look more like a watch than any other smartwatch before it.

It has competition, mind you, in LG’s circular G Watch R, but even that product has a casing around it that pulls the band together, which is great if you like the sports look, but a little annoying if you like a simple circular design that elegant watches often bring.

That’s the style Motorola has adopted for the 360, and you’ll find a minimalist and snazzy look that is hard to move from here, with it basically consisting of glass and metal connected to the wrist by a simple strap of leather.

We do need to address the bottom of the screen, though, because it’s one area that people will look at, and that’s because while the watch is circular, the screen doesn’t fit that circle perfectly.

Rather, it has a small sliver removed from the bottom so that Motorola could put in a brightness sensor, something the LG G Watch R didn’t accommodate. As such, in that watch, the display sits at one brightness setting the entire time, which means you might have it blast your eyes at night or have it too dim in the daylight.

Motorola’s 360 smartwatch doesn’t suffer either of those issues, though, thanks in part to the ambient light sensor where that strip has been removed from the bottom of the display. With this part here, you don’t get the full circular screen, but you do get an automatically shifting dynamic screen that changes the brightness of the display to match where you are, and that’s a seriously good thing.

All of this helps to make the Moto 360 one of the most usable smartwatches out there, but it still comes with a few drawbacks.

One is that the whole thing can come off a little chunky, even though it is pretty much the same thickness as the LG G Watch R that we loved last month.

The thickness is practically spot on between the two, but the minimalist framing with just a metal casing and slim strap make the Motorola 360 appear bigger and chunkier.

Some won’t mind, that said, and it’s not too much of a leap to say that people prefer the thicker watches will appreciate this effort by Motorola, but not all, so make sure to try it on first as it doesn’t suit all wrists.

Another issue is the battery, which generally just struggles to get much more than a day. There is maybe a day and a half of battery life here, but that’s it, and any attempt to really wrestle more life will likely be met with a battery that loses power just when you want to check the time.

The final drawback is the one that seems to arrive with the other Android Wear smartwatches, and that’s that there is just no great reason to use one, outside of wanting to be on the cutting edge of everything in technology.

Sure, it’s a second screen for your phone, and if that floats your boat, do it. But there’s no raison d’être to say “yes, you must have one of these,” at least not yet.

Maybe when Android Wear’s second generation software rolls along any time now, sure, but until then, it’s just a second screen, albeit a very good looking one.


Motorola’s first effort in the smartwatch space is one of the best looking around, but it still comes with similar quibbles to the other smartwatches out there primarily because it just doesn’t do enough.

We’re delighted to see some of the software improvements, that said, and the fitness additions as well as the customisable faces make this a much more feature rich smartwatch than either of the models we’ve seen from LG, but you’ll have to be into the style, as well.

If you can handle that and the $329 price tag, we’d suggest taking a look at the Moto 360, as it’s a sexy little machine, though we still want to see it doing more.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Metal body; Screen is protected by Gorilla Glass; Mostly circular screen makes the 360 look more like a watch than the square smart watches out there; Comfortable to wear; Heart-rate tracker included; Motorola includes some custom software for making watch faces and tracking your fitness; Charger makes the watch more like an appliance due to how the wireless charging works;
Still no real reason to have one; Can look a little chunky; Requires charging practically nightly;