Review: The Moto360 is back and it’s quite good

The Moto360 was a beloved addition to Android’s original smartwatch lineup. One of the first with a truly round dial, the 360 was a direct assault on Apple Watch hegemony.

After Motorola began its slow sell-off of much of its mobile technology it looked bleak on the Moto360 front. Now, however, a relatively unknown company call eBuyNow has licensed the name and the design and is bring the 360 back.

As the previous sentence suggests, this is not a Motorola product. That’s good and bad. On the whole I was quite impressed by everything associated with this watch, from the clever round box to the fit and finish. The model I tested, a black model with leather and rubber straps, was well made and rugged and it featured nearly everything I was looking for in a smart watch.

I wear smartwatches for exercise. I don’t wear them daily. What I was looking for was heart rate sensing and an always-on display. The Moto360 provided both.

As Gizmodo notes, the watch is basically a Fossil Gen 5 or Skagen Falster 3 clone with Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip. It includes 1GB of ram to power a accelerometer, barometer, continuous heart rate-monitoring, gyroscope, built-in GPS, and NFC payments. It also has quick charging and holds its charge for about 30 hours.

The watch costs $350 – about $50 less than an Apple Watch – and is worth the price of admission if you can ignore many of the device’s limitations. Because eBuyNow isn’t a fitness company many of the fitness features found on similar pieces from Suunto and Polar are missing. Further, the watch is bog standard, eschewing a lot of the added software and features many other watches have had for years. One pet peeve? The sports app – a Wear standard app – didn’t allow for locking during workouts which meant the watch paused itself constantly while I was lifting or moving.

That said, if you’re looking for a smartwatch and you’re not looking for many bells and whistles – or, more precisely, you’re looking for something that isn’t overly complicated – this is your watch. It’s only available online right now and it seems to be sold out, which makes it particularly unique in a world flooded by smartwatches. Whether this means it’s going to be completely unavailable in the next few weeks or it’s quite popular is anyone’s guess, but I definitely enjoyed my time with the watch but its peccadilloes kept me from truly loving it. Maybe your results may vary.

John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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