I was pretty excited when the Moto 360 was announced during Google IO 2014. At the time, it was the only Android Wear device that was round. After a few months, I finally got my hands on one (they were sold out everywhere).
So what is the idea behind Android Wear devices? Well, to put it simply, it’s a device you wear around your wrist that receives notifications from your Android powered smart phone. For the most part, you wouldn’t have to pull out your phone from your pocket. Just look at the watch as if you’re checking the time and the notifications will be displayed. Aside from telling time, the Moto 360 also has a heart monitor and a pedometer built in. These features should work even without the phone in its range. So here are some pics I took during my unboxing.
The package includes a QI charger – wireless charging capability. It can serve as a nice looking desk clock while docked and charging. That’s really about all that it comes with. No additional band. The band it comes with is made of rubber and feels comfortable. I normally have a leather or metal band from the other watches I use – but no big change. Although, this is lighter than my metal band watch, obviously.
I bought the watch on September 2014. During the first couple of days, Motorola released an update –KGW42R. So I will be splitting up this post to include pre-update experiences and post-update experiences.
Before KGW32R Update Experiences
- Android Wear is a bit buggy. There are many inconsistencies like the watch’s display won’t turn on when holding towards my face – it doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough to mention. Another thing I noticed is the notification of answering phone calls. There are times when I would answer a call on the phone, but the watch would continue to vibrate. There were even times after answering the phone, I would answer on the watch as well by swiping it and it would hang up the call.
- Voice recognition is fairly accurate. It’s rare I had to repeat my commands.
- Notifications can pile up if you ignore them. At one point, I had over 10 and I had swipe them away just to check the time. Also, to swipe them away, you have to swipe from left to right – opposite of what you’d normally do on your smart phone. It took some time to get used to but it isn’t an issue now.
- Battery life is fair. My day is about 13 hours long. I get an average of 69% left after 6 hours of use – with ambient mode off. After 12.5 hours, I’m left with 46% battery life. The “short” battery life isn’t of concern to me. I have trained myself to charge my devices when I can. Even if this watch was rated to work for 48 hours on battery, I wouldn’t wait more than 24 hours to charge. It’s pretty much routine to me – when I get in to work, charge my devices; when I get in the car, charge; when I get home, charge. With the watch, it’s more of charging it as soon as I get home. Charging is fast. I would say about 80% worth of battery life can be charged within an hour.
- In the car with my phone connected via bluetooth, the watch really shines. If you commute as much as I do, this is where I feel a huge convenience of owning one. Without the watch, you can use voice commands on your phone to send out messages or make calls. Unfortunately, the phone will have to connect to the car’s audio system before you can say a command. From my experience, this is where it becomes very frustrating. There is a huge lag during this step and commands get misinterpreted. With the watch, you can send commands to your phone before it connects to the car. It ensures that the command is understood correctly before your phone connects to the car (if necessary). This is a more pleasing and efficient experience. I did have to turn the radio down a little bit – it may create interference with background noise.
After KGW32R Update Experiences
- From what I’ve read, this update increases battery life and bluetooth connection changes. Android Wear is still buggy and I’m still experiencing the same inconsistencies.
- I’m not sure what else they changed but I find myself having to repeat more often than before when sending voice commands to the watch.
- Battery life has improved. I noticed about a 20% increase in battery life. But as I mentioned before, it wasn’t an issue to begin with since I’ve implemented charging my devices into my daily schedule. It’s important for me to always have my devices available – hence I make sure the battery life can accommodate my tasks. I also noticed that the charging is as fast as it was before.
- With the bluetooth communication update, it is now back to the old way. As soon as I get my watch to accept a command, it mutes everything in my car and awaits for instructions. But I think it’s more accurate than it was before and I don’t notice a huge lag. I guess it’s an improvement and muting the audio will help reduce background noise.
Other things to mention
- In the Play store, there is no section for Android Wear apps. You can’t really search for specific apps that targets the wearable. Your favorite app may just have an update that now integrates better with wearables. You just have to go to each app one by one and see on the description.
- Not all apps’ notifications can be viewed on the watch. For instance, Facebook and Instagram will have notifications on the watch, but to view it, you will have to open it on the phone. If you have a lock on your phone, you will not see the notification until you unlock your phone.
- Facerepo is a $.99 app that allows you to change the face on the watch. The faces are designed by the community and are free once you install the app. You can also create your own and share. The app supports both round and square faces.
- For me the vibration is subtle. The noise it makes grabs my attention more than feeling the vibration on my wrist. I haven’t found a setting to increase or decrease the vibration.
- Bluetooth connection is versatile. When I found out that the watch synchronizes to my phone via bluetooth, I was concerned at how it would interface while connected to my car. It handles it with no problems.
After a week or so of use, at its current state, I feel wearables are not worth the price tag. I was close to returning it but I want to give it a chance. After all, it’s still in its infancy. Smart phones were at this stage before and look what they’ve become. If you don’t mind spending $250 or so on a platform with growing support, go for it. I can’t wait what wearables will become in the coming months.
I also recorded a video on Youtube. Check it out and subscribe.