Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360 comparison review

Motorola and Apple made us wait for what felt like forever to unveil their smartwatches, but both were well worth the wait. In our Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360 comparison review we put two of 2014's most stylish smartwatches head to head. Also see: Best smartwatches 2014.

You can watch our Apple Watch launch live stream today at 5pm. For more details read our Apple Watch UK release date, price and specs, Motorola Moto 360 UK release date, price and specs, and Motorola Moto 360 hands-on review.

Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360: UK price and availability 

The Apple Watch does not yet have a firm UK release date, with Apple merely quoting "early 2015". When it launches prices will start at $349 and likely go sky-high, given the 18-carat rose- and yellow gold options in the Apple Watch Edition collection. A straight conversion to sterling is £216, but don't expect to be able to buy the Apple Watch so cheaply - we reckon it will cost at least £299 in the UK. 

By comparison the Motorola Moto 360 is a far more affordable £199 in the UK, and will be available to buy in early October from O2, Amazon, Tesco and, we presume, Google Play.  (See also: Microsoft Band vs Apple Watch comparison.)

Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360

Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360: Compatibility 

Compatibility is a key point in whether you choose the Motorola Moto 360 or Apple Watch. Unless you're planning on also upgrading your smartphone and potentially switching from iOS to Android or vice versa, Android users will be able to use the Motorola Moto 360 or any other Android Wear-powered smartwatch, while iPhone users will have a choice of the Apple Watch or the Apple Watch. To be fair, there are plenty of Apple Watch options to choose from. Also see: What is Android Wear. 

That's right: the Apple Watch works only with the iPhone (including the 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus), and the Motorola Moto 360 works only with devices running Android 4.3 or later. (Learn more about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.)  

Neither smartwatch works independently of a smartphone, so this is one product type with which you won't get away with dabbling between mobile platforms. 

Apple iWatch vs Motorola Moto 360

Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360: Design 

Part of the reason people got so excited by the Motorola Moto 360 is its design. In essence all smartwatches do the same thing, and all can tell the time; the Moto 360 was the first smartwatch you might actually want to wear on your arm. Traditionally over-sized and bulky, with digital- rather than analogue clock faces, smartwatches had previously been more functional- than good-looking. 

Available in light- or dark stainless steel, with a grey-, black- or stone Horween leather band, the round-faced Motorola Moto 360 looks more like a traditional wristwatch than the square-faced Apple Watch. The LCD itself isn't entirely round, with the 30-pixel chunk that's missing at the bottom used to house the ambient light sensor (the Moto 360 supports auto brightness adjustment). Six digital watch faces are supported, including both digital- and analogue options. But that's nothing compared to what's on offer from Apple. 

The Apple Watch comes in two sizes, for men and women, and in three collections. The Apple Watch collection has a polished silver or black case made from a custom alloy of stainless steel; the Apple Watch Sport collection has a 60 percent stronger anodised aluminium case in silver or space grey, with strengthened Ion-X glass; and the Apple Watch Edition collection uses 18-carat yellow- or rose gold, and features equisitely crafted straps and closures. Then there are six strap options: Link Bracelet, Sport Band, Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle and Milanese Loop. 

In terms of watch faces (or 'complications') the Apple Watch has 11, yet Apple claims to offer more than two million ways to tell the time through various customisation options. There's everything from Astronomy and Solar to Modular, Timelapse, Utility, Motion, Photo and even Mickey Mouse. 

Both watches feature a crown. Apple uses this 'Digital Crown' to let you interact with the watch without obstructing the screen, and it also operates as the Home button. Touch is also supported on the Apple Watch, although you'll primarily use this crown to navigate the device. 

The Motorola Moto 360 will automatically wake when you raise your arm, but for times when this in inconvenient the crown acts as a power button. It can also be used to access the Settings menu. 

Both are very good-looking watches, but with the Apple Watch you're far more likely to find a design that suits your taste. Also see: LG G Watch R hands-on review. 

Apple iWatch vs Motorola Moto 360

Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360: Features 

While the Motorola Moto 360 runs Android Wear, and the Apple Watch runs Apple's own iOS-based software, in essence both do the same thing. On either watch you can install apps, make calls and send texts, call up the voice assistant (Google Now with the Moto 360, or Siri with the Apple Watch), check your email, control-, store- and play back music, display photos, view notifications from social media and more. 

The Apple Watch has a few extras, including Glances (swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see at-a-glance information on whatever you choose to have there), and Digital Touch. The latter lets you connect with your friends with a single touch. Pressing the button under the Digital Crown brings up thumbnail images of your friends, which you can use to call or message them. You can also send them your heartbeat (odd), or to let them know you're thinking of them send them a physical tap (odder still), thanks to the unique 'Taptic Engine'. 

Both support haptic feedback, although Apple's Taptic Engine takes things a step further. Not only is the Apple Watch able to distinguish between a tap and a press, allowing it to support a range of gestures, but it can also provide differing amounts of vibration for specific notifications. For example, in the Maps app the amount of vibration differs depending on whether you need to take a left- or right turn. 

Both smartwatches are primed for health- and fitness tracking, with a heart-rate sensor and pedometer inside. The Apple Watch also has an accelerometer to measure body movement. Both will track your daily activity and encourage you to hit exercise goals. 

The Apple Watch is accurate to within +/-50ms; Motorola makes no such claims for its Moto 360. 

Apple iWatch vs Motorola Moto 360

Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360: Hardware 

As always with Apple, it cares more about what a product does and how it looks and behaves than what is inside; it hasn't announced the exact tech specs of its Apple Watch. For once we agree: while we want the battery to last at very least a full day and we don't want a smartwatch to show any lag when scrolling through menus and launching apps, we're hardly about to whip out Geekbench 3. In the case of a smartwatch, looks and functionality - not speed - are key. 

We know the Apple Watch has a single sapphire-crystal retina display, which comes in two sizes: 38- and 42mm height. We also know it houses a custom S1 processor that builds an entire computing solution on a single chip, and a unique Taptic Engine. And there must be some sort of internal storage, since it is possible to store music, but we don't yet know exactly how much. It supports Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, too. 

There's a heart-rate sensor, an accelerometer, a waterproof speaker and support for wireless charging, although the Apple Watch depends on a companion iPhone for GPS. A digital crown is used alongside touch input to interact with the Apple Watch. 

Motorola, by contrast, is more than happy to discuss what's inside the Moto 360. The 49g Moto 360 has a larger 46mm-high, 1.5in-diameter (320x290, 205ppi) backlit LCD display, protected with Gorilla Glass 3. Hidden below this is a 1GHz TI OMAP 3 single-core processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The Moto 360 has a heart-rate sensor, a pedometer, Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-mics. It also has IP67-certified waterproofing, and its 320mAh battery also supports Qi wireless charging, so you can use any compatible wireless charger. 

Apple iWatch vs Motorola Moto 360

Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360: Verdict 

Wristwatches have never been just about telling the time, just as smartwatches are not just about outsmarting the competition. Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, the watch you wear is as much about making a fashion statement as it is about telling the world who you are and how you value yourself. And it has to tell the time. The Motorola Moto 360 is undeniably stylish, but Apple's Watch puts it in the shade. Not only do you get two sizes to suit both men and women, the range of styles and customisation options is unrivalled. But in the end your choice will come down to the phone you choose to carry: the Apple Watch works only with iPhone, while the Motorola Moto 360 works only with Android.

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Motorola Moto 360: Specs

  • Android Wear sOS
  • Circular 1.56in LCD display 290x320 pixels, 205ppi
  • 4 GB internal storage
  • 512 MB RAM
  • TI OMAP 3 processor
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Pedometer
  • 320mAh battery
  • Wireless charging (dock included)
  • IP67 dust and water resistant
  • 11.9 mm
  • 49 g
  • Android Wear sOS
  • Circular 1.56in LCD display 290x320 pixels, 205ppi
  • 4 GB internal storage
  • 512 MB RAM
  • TI OMAP 3 processor
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Optical heart rate monitor
  • Pedometer
  • 320mAh battery
  • Wireless charging (dock included)
  • IP67 dust and water resistant
  • 11.9 mm
  • 49 g

OUR VERDICT

Wristwatches have never been just about telling the time, just as smartwatches are not just about outsmarting the competition. Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, the watch you wear is as much about making a fashion statement as it is about telling the world who you are and how you value yourself. And it has to tell the time. The Motorola Moto 360 is undeniably stylish, but Apple's Watch puts it in the shade. Not only do you get two sizes to suit both men and women, the range of styles and customisation options is unrivalled. But in the end your choice will come down to the phone you choose to carry: the Apple Watch works only with iPhone, while the Motorola Moto 360 works only with Android.

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