These past two weeks with the Moto360 have been everything from exciting to pleasing and of course, at times frustrating. Here's a short reflection on its integration into my daily life.
I seem to have acquired a new found interest in periodically checking my heart rate, especially after any physical activity. It must have something to do with the heart rate monitor... but we'll get to that. Let's begin with the unboxing experience.
As expected, the Moto360 came in a high end rigid box. Keep in mind, this isn't just a tech product packaging, but also a watch package which raises expectations. Watches regularly come in extravagant, original packaging that yell "designer", or luxury. In this case, The Moto360's circular, minimal packaging does a good job reflecting the nature of the product. Edges are crisp, fits are smooth and it feels like quality.
The design is beautifully executed with the watch itself sitting immediately under the image. The two part rigid box comes apart to reveal the product immediately, no buildup. I may be nitpicking here, but the insert holding the watch in place is just a high quality carton. Don't get me wrong, it's professionally molded and feels great... but still for a $250 watch I was expecting more than an egg carton. Overall, it still keeps true to the minimalist feel and experience, letting the main tactile focus be the watch itself.
Simple and beautiful. The top inner section of the cover has a circular foam piece that protects the watch face. And I must say, look at those gleaming chamfered edges. Anyhow, the rest of the accessories were tucked away under the molded pulp insert. Nothing special, but we'll take a closer look at the charger shortly.
I have very small hands and an equally small wrist. The watch itself is gorgeous, but it may come across as awkwardly large to some. Personally, I don't notice the size whatsoever and on a larger individual I'm sure this isn't a problem. The face itself is Gorilla Glass, the body stainless steel and the band, Horween leather. Overall a great combination of quality materials.
I never once cared for pedometers. I go to the gym regularly and I'm a health nut so making it a point to walk was never a concern. However, Google's fancy step counter makes it fun, setting goals and showing you your weekly progress. It's brought to my attention just how sedentary my lifestyle has become. It's lame yes, but I do get a bit of joy watching myself reach those step goals.
Oh yes, and the heart monitor. It's a nifty little feature built in to the device. Google's fighting for the spot on your wrist, not just for a smartwatch, but also for your fitness monitor. It'd be great if it worked more than a third of the time. When I'm at the gym, it'll either give me errors, or read 40bpm. If that reading is accurate, I must be superhuman. It's more frustrating than useful, and Google's still lacking any array of fitness applications.
Facebook messages, texts and emails all relay to the watch. It's actually quite nice being able to peek at your notifications without having to reach for and unlock your phone every time. It's especially nice to leave your phone around the house and not worry about missing a call. As long as it's in the range of bluetooth, your wrist will start buzzing.
I must note however, the functionality is absolute crap. I can't access multiple messages, let alone a full facebook message. If the conversation is too long, it's simply cut off and all you can do is reach for your phone. Responding is limited to speech input, which never works anyways (maybe 10% of the time?).
The selection of time faces is the icing to the watch. So many gorgeous faces to choose from, all carefully crafted by the creators themselves. I'm sure if they opened it up to the public, people would start making and uploading all sorts of tacky, unaesthetic crap. All the faces are elegant, professional and clean, but range in character from fun to serious. This one's a nice classic face.
Another favorite of mine. This one tends to be busy at times, especially when notifications start clogging up the screen. It's pretty embarrassing but someone asked me for the time the other day and it took me a good ten seconds to decipher what I was looking at. Beautiful face nonetheless.
Estimated times to my locations are by far my most favorite use of Google Now. It's pretty well synced up with my schedule and a quick glance will tell me how far home or work is, and whether or not there are any delays. Working my inconsistent startup schedule does confuse it however, but I think it's getting better.
If you swipe right you dive further into the app. In this case my commute time opens up a map showing traffic. It's barely useful though, as you can't pan around and it only shows you a chunk of what fits on the screen. This currently is showing... maybe a fourth of the trip? It's still in need of much improvement.
So here's a serious word of advice. Absolutely do not try to use the watch while driving. It's a terrible idea, unless you're glancing at a call or notification. Having navigation on your wrist makes no sense. Trying to interact with Google Now and constantly glancing to correct its errors is frustrating as is. And to do all this while driving, you're just asking for an accident. If anything it's just another distraction on the road.
One of the most exciting features. Inductive charging. The base is a fun little object with a soft touch matte finish. Compliments the watch nicely. It's incredibly convenient to drop the watch onto the charging base and be done with it. No fiddling with mini USBs in the dark, figuring out what's right side up.
The biggest con to take note of is battery life. It's ridiculously short. We have enough devices that require charging every day and this just adds another. Thank goodness it charges so easily, not to mention, quickly. Within just an hour you can go from empty to nearly topped off. However, if you're on the go it's highly doubtful you'll find an inductive charger, and you can't just plug in a micro USB. I've found myself out and about countless times with a useless little brick around my wrist, battery drained that didn't even tell me the time. If you're just checking time however it's fine... but it's a smartwatch. You'd best be using it for more.