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Hands on with the New Moto 360

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Sep 2, 2015, 3:33 PM   by Rich Brome
updated Sep 2, 2015, 3:45 PM

Motorola set the standard for Android Wear watches with the Moto 360. Now they're back with a refresh. It's very similar to the previous model, but with a new strap system that makes it look more like a traditional watch. Following the lead of Apple - and everyone else - it now comes in two sizes. How is it in person? Read on.

The original 360 was a good size, if a bit large for some. With the new models, they've gone a smidgen larger with the large version, and much smaller with the small one. The smaller model is really impressively tiny. If most smart watches are too large for you, you owe it to yourself to check out the new small 360.

Moto 360 Gen 2  

The most obvious visible change are the lugs that stick out for the strap attachment. There's a new mechanism that makes it easier to change straps on a whim. Like a really tiny metal switch, a pin releases each strap. It looks like it would dig into your skin, but it doesn't at all; those pins are right where there's a natural gap between the watch and your skin. Two-part straps — like the leather — have one pin at each end. One-piece straps — like the stainless steel with butterfly clasp — have two pins at each end.

The build quality is mostly as good as the original, which is to say, excellent.

One odd issue detracts: the button. It feels a tiny bit loose, and it rotates. Normally a rotating round button wouldn't be any issue at all, but they've stupidly put the "M" logo on this button, which is then always at some random angle, cheapening the look of the watch. According to Motorola, the rotation is intentional. They claim that making the button position fixed would reduce the reliability of the button.

Otherwise, Motorola nails it. The screen is sharp and goes right to the edge, minus that bottom strip everyone complains about (it doesn't bother me, personally.)

Most critically, it's not too thick. This is the one thing Moto gets right, and too many competitors don't. Huawei's new watch is almost the same exact watch, but it's a mm or two thicker, and each mm makes all the difference in a watch.


The Sport version is an enigma of sorts. With GPS and an outdoor-optimized display, it sounds promising. But Motorola isn't saying when it will be released, and - tellingly - they only had non-funational dummy units to show off here at IFA. It may be a challenge for the to get it to market in time for the holidays.

About the author, Rich Brome:

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

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