A couple years ago if you mentioned wearables, most people probably thought of something like a Fitbit or a Nike Fuel Band. Smartwatches were still a relatively new idea with only Samsung releasing several models ahead of the competition in order to try and get a jump on everyone, though that didn’t really work out too well for them. Since then, smartwatches like the Pebble, the Apple Watch, and Android Wear models have really helped the whole idea of smartwatches take off.
My first smartwatch was the original Samsung Gear, which frankly did very little to make smartwatches cool. Sure it was a great talking point when people would see it initially, but when trying to explain what it did, there was very little to say. I mainly used it as a a regular old watch and step counter but that changed once I switched over to a Fitbit Surge. While the Fitbit wasn’t really a smartwatch, it did a lot more than the Samsung Gear ever did.
Fast forward to today and I’ve been trying out this new Moto 360 Sport that’s running Android Wear. Now this isn’t going to be an entirely full review because technically, the Moto 360 Sport isn’t even out yet. It’s quite possible there could be some changes before it’s finally released, but for the most part, this is a production unit I’m using.
How does it look?
Unlike the regular Moto 360 2nd Gen, the Moto 360 Sport only comes in 3 flavors of color – black, white, and flame orange. You can’t customize the band like you can with the regular Moto 360 which means you better be sure of the color you want because you’re going to be stuck with it, forever. There are no other design options or sizes other than the 42mm in these 3 colors so if you want something more custom and personal, you’re probably better off with the Moto 360 2nd Gen.
However, for what is supposed to be a purely fitness focused smartwatch, the Moto 360 Sport looks pretty darn good for what it is. I like the large round face and metal trim around the screen. I like how the band is not too wide or too thin and feels quite comfortable when worn. It definitely looks better than my Fitbit Surge. Its a very well made device that feels sturdy and durable and should survive most activities.
The only downside to the design is that the Moto 360 Sport uses a silicone band which quite franky, I dislike. I like the way it looks but I hate that they chose silicone. I know that silicone is a durable material and feels soft and comfortable on the skin, but man, this thing is the biggest lint magnet ever. When you’re working out, it’s fine. You don’t notice the lint. But when you’re just wearing it as an everyday watch, you notice the lint and dust particles that build up and I can’t even tell you how many times I find myself heading to the sink to wipe it down with water. That’s my only real complaint about the hardware.
What was it like the first day?
On the first day, I decided to pair the Moto 360 Sport with my iPhone. That lasted about a good 2 hours before I said screw it and paired with an Android device. You see, on an iPhone, it basically just a glorified notification device that tells time. This is no fault of the Moto 360 Sport and more so a fault with Android Wear and iOS. iOS just doesn’t support many of the features that Android Wear provides. You get notifications, the time, the date, some integration with Google Now, and basic activity tracking.
That last part is a big issue. On iOS, the “sport” on the Moto 360 Sport just isn’t there. There is no Moto Health app on iOS so much of the date collected can only sync to Google Fit. It doesn’t even sync to Apple Health. That means that if you want to check your stats, you’re going to need a PC to bring up the Google Fit website. Needless to say, that kinda sucks.
Secondly, where are all the cool 3rd party watchfaces for it? No where. You basically are stuck with what came on the watch and what little you can download from the Android Wear app, which is very little. That’s sad because I half the fun of owning a smartwatch is downloading badass watchfaces for it. I’m guessing this is a problem with all Android Wear based smartwatches on iOS so if you’re on iOS, you’re probably better off with an Apple Watch.
After not being satisfied with my Android Wear experience on iOS, I hit reset on the watch and started all over on and Android device. Problem solved. The Moto 360 Sport is now the smartwatch it was intended to be.
How is it for fitness?
The only reason to get the Moto 360 Sport over the regular Moto 360 2nd Gen is because you want a smartwatch that is more fitness oriented. As a fitness/activity tracker, the Moto 360 Sport is surprisingly good as long as you use it on Android. You’ll need to download the Moto Body app to make full use of activity tracking which also allows you to export data to other platforms like Google Fit, STRAVA, Under Armor Record, and more. It even says it can export to Fitbit, though it doesn’t seem to be working properly at the moment.
So far I’ve only used it for step counting, tracking calories burned, and heart rate activity. I have not yet tried out to see how accurate the GPS is yet but that will in an upcoming post later.
One of the coolest features however is the ability to download music to the Moto 360 Sport with the available 4gb of memory. Music is synced via the Play Music app and is a fairly simple process. Just scroll to the music section on your watch and you can choose which albums to sync. Then give it a few minutes to download. You will need to pair a Bluetooth headset to the Moto 360 Sport however in order to listen to your tunes. That too is a fairly simple process. Once you do that, you can leave your phone in your car or locker for instance and just listen to your music using your headset and watch. I really like that option because the less you have to carry during a run or workout, the better.
In my case, I paired up my Jabra Sport Pace Wireless headset with the Moto 360 Sport and it worked flawlessly. Music streamed in loud and clear and it was easy to control it with the onscreen menu. I didn’t experience any skipping or lag with this setup so I think it works rather well.
First 2 weeks and counting…
I’m hooked on this thing. Even though the Moto 360 Sport is not connected to my main phone right now (which means I’m mainly not getting phone call and text notifications) I’m still getting notifications for all the various apps I have installed on my Android device. That means I’m getting notifications for all my social networking stuff, game notifications, full Google Now notifications, and whatever else sends notifications on my device. Not only that, I’m now able to download whatever watch faces I want either through the Google Play store or using a third part app like Watchmaker.
Speaking of watch faces, the screen on the Moto 360 Sport is pretty interesting. It’s not the same as what is on the regular Moto 360 2nd Gen and instead utilizes a hybrid screen – Motorola Anylight. It is the world’s first hybrid screen that automatically adapts to the level of natural light. Indoors, enjoy a readable LCD screen. Then when you are out for a run, it reflects natural light, making the screen clear and sharp—and not washed out like on other smartwatches. This helps conserve batter life and seems to work as I’m getting a full days of use on it so far without really a need charge inbetween.
Charging the Moto 360 Sport is a breeze. It uses a wireless charging dock so you basically just drop the watch on it to charge. I do it at night before I go to bed so it’ll be ready when I wake up. Speaking of which, don’t expect to use it as a sleep tracker because it doesn’t work as that for now. I still have to swap to my Fitbit Surge if I want sleep tracking.
With that said, the Moto 360 Sport is currently my full time smartwatch when I’m awake. I love the fact that I can change the watch faces on it depending on my mood and activity and that I can still keep track of my activity goals. For notifications, it’s nice that I can see them on my wrist now instead of pulling my device out and with Android Wear, you can get a brief summary of the notification. The hardware too is really nice and despite my huge dislike for silicone, the Moto 360 Sport is super comfortable because of it. I love the hybrid screen and makes looking at the watch in any kind of lighting a joy.
The Moto 360 Sport is a nearly perfect device. I would love to see more types of activities and tracking options included into the Moto Body app, but I’m sure that if Motorola really wants to take this seriously, they’ll do just that. Only time will tell. For now, I’m quite happy with my experience so far. In fact, I think the Moto 360 Sport will be my device of choice for keeping me motivated in 2016. I picked up some holiday weight so it’s time to lose that again.
The Moto 360 Sport will comes in white, black, and flame orange. It will be available on Motorola.com on 7 January and at select other online retailers, including Best Buy on 10 January for a price of $299.