Motorola Moto 360 2 review

Motorola used IFA 2015 to showcase it's new Moto 360 smartwatch, which is the second-generation of the wearable and now comes in two sizes. Here's our full and in-depth Moto 360 2 (2nd-generation) review. See also: Best smartwatches 2016

Also see: Best Black Friday Smartwatch Deals

Updated 21 December with video review.

Moto 360 2 review: Price & availability

Motorola has now launched the new Moto 360 which starts at £229 when you build it on the Moto Maker, which we'll talk more about later. Of course, if you want the larger model or a more premium strap, you can expect that price tag to increase significantly. That's more than the original but still a good price with rivals coming in above this.

You can also get the Moto 360 2 from Amazon for certain models (no Moto Maker, of course) with prices, at the time of writing, starting at £211.

The most you can spend is £349 which is the Men's 46mm model with a gold case, micro knurl bezel and metal strap. These add £40, £30, £20 and £30 to the starting price respectively. Find out more about the Moto Maker in the next section.

For comparison, the Apple Watch starts at £299 for the small Sport model, and the LG Urbane costs £219. Last year's Moto 360 was priced at £199.99. Considering aspects like the build quality and hardware on offer, the value is good if you don't add too many extras.

You can find out more about the price and release date of the Moto 360 2 here.

Moto 360 2 review

Moto 360 2 review: Design & build

We loved the original Moto 360 when it launched early last year as one of the first Android Wear smartwatches, not least because of its circular display that helps it look more like a traditional smartwatch rather than a lump of tech strapped to your wrist.

But the biggest complaint we had about it (as did many, many others) is that there's a portion of that circular display dedicated to the ambient light sensor and therefore doesn't have pixels. This results in an irritating 'flat tyre' effect. That's why we're so disappointed to see that it's still there! If you want to use a circular design as your clock face, you'll find that the bottom of it is cut off in an ugly and truly frustrating fashion. It might seem like a small thing but it makes a really big difference.

Moto 360 Moto Maker

Motorola has put some time and thought into the rest of the design, though. There are now two sizes available. We're not keen on the way Motorola has labelled these sizes as men's and women's, but in the 'Men's' collection there's a black, silver or gold option, and in the 'Women's' collection there's silver, gold and rose gold.

When it comes to the size options, Motorola has included the 46mm and 42mm models in the Men's collection, but the Women's collection only features the smaller 42mm design -awkward.

The smartwatch has a stainless steel body, and has been slimmed down significantly helping it look sleek and in some cases quite elegant with the leather straps. The physical button on the side of the watch has been moved up slightly, too, to the 2 o'clock position. This makes it a lot easier to use.

As mentioned, the Moto 360 is available to customise through Moto Maker, meaning you can choose exactly the strap, colour and size combination you like. This isn't new, but the previous Moto 360 had very limited options, whereas this year's model offers lots of choice. You can even choose to have a different colour bezel around the watch face, for example, and Motorola doesn't charge extra for that.

Moto 360 2 design

You do have to pay extra for 'micro etch' for Women and 'micro knurl' for Men though which is an additional £20. Tiny lines are cut into the metal to add these effects.

In terms of durability, the Gorilla Glass display combined with IP67 dust and water resistance should keep it safe in most conditions, but you won't want to take it with you if you plan on going swimming or taking a bath. This is the same as the original.

Moto 360 2 review: Hardware & specs

We've talked about how the Moto 360 looks, but what can it actually do? Each model comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip inside, with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. This new chip brings the Moto 360 in line with premium smartwatches like LG's Watch Urbane and the Huawei Watch (which you can find out more about in our hands-on review here).

Performance is generally very good but we have found the new Moto 360 to occasionally freeze, mostly when dismissing a notification or card. This is a shame since it's not something we've really experienced on rival Android Wear devices. It can also take a second or two to load some apps.

Moto 360 2 screen

That Snapdragon chip is paired with Adreno 350 graphics, and there's 512MB of RAM and 4GB of on-board storage should you want to download songs and listen to them while you're out and about without your smartphone.

Which brings us on to the next point, which is that the Moto 360 itself can connect to Wi-Fi, which means you can use lots of its internet-requiring features without your smartphone should you wish to, as long as you're able to connect to Wi-Fi.

We've talked a bit about the screen size, but taking a closer look at the resolution you'll find that the 42mm model is 360 x 325 pixels at a pixel density of 263ppi, while the bigger watch offers 360 x 330 pixels at 233 ppi. Both are clear,crisp and an improvement on the original in this respect. However, as mentioned, that flat tyre is a real sticking point.

There's still a heart rate monitor on the spec sheet and this is on the backside of the watch once again. This, if it is of much use to you, works better than most we've seen on smartwatches and genuinely gives a reading without needing to push the watch into your skin. We're not convinced it's always accurate though, providing a reading of 100 bpm while sitting a desk writing this review.

There's no GPS so like rivals, the Moto 360 2 isn't a great choice for those looking for great fitness features. You'll want to look out for the Moto 360 Sport when that arrives.

Moto 360 2 heart rate monitor

Depending on which model you buy, the Moto 360 2 either has a smaller or larger battery than the original. The 42mm has a 300mAh battery while the 46mm is 400mAh. Our review sample had the larger and we found that with default screen settings (always on), it lasted a couple of days with fairly light usage – heavier users will likely need to charge every night.

Charging can be a faff with smartwatches but Motorola makes things much easier with the wireless charging dock. This means that you can simply take your watch off at night, leave it on the dock while you sleep and it will be topped up when you put it back on, no matter how much you've used it. The problem comes when you find yourself away from the dock for whatever reason since you can't just plug in your smartphone charger.  

Moto 360 2 wireless charging

Moto 360 2 review: Software

The new Moto 360 runs Google's Android Wear OS for smartwatches, which means its fully compatible with most Android devices, and interestingly also with the iPhone now that Google has released an Android War app for iOS. iPhone users won't get the full range of features, though.

Moto Body is Motorola's fitness app, which uses the sensors in the Moto 360 to track steps, calories and heart-rate, and can also be used to track specific workout activities. Motorola has announced a new Sport model of the Moto 360, but that was only in prototype form at IFA and there's no word on when that'll be available to buy just yet.

Moto 360 2 Moto Body

In addition to the Moto Body app, Motorola has also added Live Dials for the Moto 360, which means you can see information such as weather forecasts and your step count at a glance right from the home screen. Tapping on those Live Dials on the watch faces which have them will take you to the related app on the watch itself.

There aren't as many faces to choose from compared with some recent rivals but you can, of course, download more.

Motorola Moto 360 2: Specs

  • Android Wear (Android 4.3 or later) and (iPhone 5 onwards, with iOS 8.2 or later)
  • 1.37in, 360x325, 263ppi (42mm)
  • 1.56in, 360x330, 233ppi (46mm)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU
  • Adreno 305, 450MHz GPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Vibration/Haptics engine
  • Optical heart rate monitor (PPG)
  • Dual digital mics
  • Wireless charging with included dock
  • IP67 dust and water resistant
  • 300mAh (42mm)
  • 400mAh (46mm)
  • Android Wear (Android 4.3 or later) and (iPhone 5 onwards, with iOS 8.2 or later)
  • 1.37in, 360x325, 263ppi (42mm)
  • 1.56in, 360x330, 233ppi (46mm)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU
  • Adreno 305, 450MHz GPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Gyroscope
  • Vibration/Haptics engine
  • Optical heart rate monitor (PPG)
  • Dual digital mics
  • Wireless charging with included dock
  • IP67 dust and water resistant
  • 300mAh (42mm)
  • 400mAh (46mm)

OUR VERDICT

The new 2nd-generation Moto 360 is a decent smartwatch offering excellent build quality and hardware. The value is good if you avoid the extras on the Moto Maker but they are hard to resist. Battery life is fairly good and performance too apart from the odd moment. All of this is leading to a whole hearted recommendation, if only Motorola had made the one change we wanted – removing that flat tyre from the display. As much as we like the Moto 360, it's hard to look past this, as small as it may seem.

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