Moto 360 2nd Gen Review

You could argue that smartwatches are a waste of money. They don’t do much and they are typically a drab. For the price, you could just get a fine dumb watch (?) and not worry about the little quirks that it has; you can just wear it. I just bought a Moto 360 2nd Gen last month and let me tell you my inexplicable experience I have with it.

As a gadget, it doesn’t do much. It’s basically like your phone’s status bar on your wrist. It tells the time (obviously), displays notifications, displays an app’s widget, and have a basic control of your phone. Some people say that it’s not worth it to get a smartwatch because it can’t do something that your phone can’t do, and they’re right. It just helps us to do it faster.

Technically, it’s still an open question. Google made it a whole new platform, not just a modified version of Android; there are still developers that are obliged to do wonders to this platform. But the industry is skeptics. After 2 years of development, the best apps that developers have produced aren’t a game changer : a plethora of fitness apps, Shazam, Google Maps, tiny calculator, and remote shutter for your camera. They started to wonder, is there any possibility that this will be the next big thing?

The watch isn’t bad, at all! It’s IP67 rated, has a battery that lasts a day with heavy use, has a charging dock that turns it into a handy bedside clock, and all the little things that I can’t describe compactly. But as a gadget in general, it’s not appealing. It’s just another geek’s toy.

Despite all of that, I want to quote Linus Sebastian in his LG G Watch R video,

“A smartwatch needs to be a functional watch first, before it can get my attention for all the other little tricks that it has”

Stated another way : a smartwatch should be a watch first before it does all of its ‘smart’ stuff. We’ve talked about the watch as a tech gadget but how does it stand as a watch?

Pretty damn interesting, I must say.

This is actually the reason I bought the piece: this is my first wrist watch. I’ve never had a daily worn wrist watch before and I thought it would be interesting to start the adventure with a new breed. Plus, compared to a regular watch, it certainly has a chock-full of more features to play with. In my opinion, a watch has to fulfill 2 basic functions : it should tell the time well and it should look good on my wrist. The Moto 360 is one of a few smartwatches that satisfies that demand.

What I mean by ‘telling the time well’ is it should tell the time reliably. Majority of smartwatches can only display their dial when I flick my wrist and turn off the screen otherwise, to conserve battery. Some other smartwatches have an option to always keep the screen on but they don’t pack enough juice to pull it out til the evening. That means I can’t glance at the watch like its normal counterpart. More recent Android Wear watches have adopted this feature properly but it’s still an exception than a norm, and this Moto 360 is one of them.

And it looks good too. Despite of the very conspicuous ‘flat tire’ display, which is necessary to house the display driver and the sensor, it still manages to be a conversation starter. And they didn’t even realize that this is a smartwatch until they look closer; it actually looks like a watch, not some geeky gadget strapped on your wrist. Motorola created a nice industrial looking watch with its leather band, angular lugs, and brushed aluminum finish. It’s one of, if not, the best looking smartwatch in the market.

In my opinion, the biggest weakness of this piece, as a watch, is longevity. Electronic gadgets don’t age very well. Compared to a fine watch, which _can _lasts decades and be passed to your descendant, a smartwatch is an electronic gadget, just like a smartphone. I wear this everyday with a constant caveat in mind that it will be decommissioned in 2–3 years. Maybe it’s too early to judge a smartwatch life expectancy, but in general, electronics aren’t built to last. That is the word that Dave Hakkens once said when he initiated the Phonebloks concept. Even if it didn’t malfunction, it’ll eventually be obsolete; someday, Motorola won’t give it a further software update and instead, create a new product that replaces it — if smartwatch is still a saleable thing.

All of those premises leave us with a tricky conclusion. It’s a unique product, a totally new and different thing, because it manages to integrate technology into fashion with an astonishing amount of depth. But, is that really a niche in our market today? No! It sets to be the next big thing after the smartphone, but I think we’re over-expecting. Smartphone fills a niche, smartwatch doesn’t. Unless it does something really important that a smartphone can’t, they will only appeal to us, early adopters. And if you’re one of them, you’ll enjoy this unique adventure.