Hands-on with the 2015 Moto 360: The best Android Wear smartwatch gets better

The Moto 360 was arguably the best smartwatch last year and the improved design, Moto Maker customization, and iOS functionality make this year's version even better.

newmoto360.jpg
Last year's Moto 360 was one of the best, if not the best, smartwatch released in 2014. The next generation capitalizes on that successful design with a few tweaks to make it even better.

I thoroughly enjoyed using the Moto 360 last year, but never ended up purchasing my own after sending back the evaluation unit. Motorola just launched the 2nd generation Moto 360 and ZDNet's Kevin Tofel kindly sent along his review unit for me to try out.

Kevin used the Moto Maker site to create a 42mm diameter Moto 360 with stainless steel bezel, black case, and black leather band. If I end up buying one it will likely be a 46mm diameter style with stainless steel bezel and case along with a cognac leather band. There are some great choices available for you to order the watch you like. There are a number of bezel, case, and band styles to choose from with prices ranging from $299.99 to $449.99.

Retail packaging

The Moto 360 2nd generation arrived in a round plastic box. The top cover of the package is clear plastic so you can see your own customized Moto 360 in all its glory.

Just like last year's model, Motorola includes a Qi wireless charging stand and USB cable for your Moto 360. The charging stand is upright with a notch cut out for you to rest the Moto 360 in a vertical manner, making it perfect for a bedside clock.

Hardware

You can order the Moto 360 in either 42mm or 46mm diameter. I'm checking out the 42mm model, but could also comfortably wear the 46mm model. Both diameter sizes are 11.4mm in thickness.

The display on the Moto 360 is 35mm or 40mm in diameter, depending on whether or not you ahve the 42mm or 46mm diameter watch. The display is either 360x325 pixels or 360x330 pixels with Gorilla Glass 3 that protrudes slightly above the bezel.

The new Moto 360 has the same "flat tire" as last year's model. This area is used for the ambient light sensor. I was never bothered by this area last year and still don't find it to be a problem.

The Moto 360 has 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a 300 mAh battery (42mm model) or 400 mAh battery (46mm model), Bluetooth 4.0 LE, 802.11 b/g WiFi, and various sensors. It is also IP67 dust and water resistant. There is no GPS, but this is more of a fashion watch than a workout device so I don't think that's a problem. Unlike the Apple Watch, there is also no speaker onboard.

The heart rate monitor on the back is different than the multi-light model I have seen on other smartwatches. This one has a single opening in the center of the back. When activated, green lights appear in the white circle around the opening and performance has been great so far.

The Horween leather band was one of my favorite features last year and again is a soft, supple, and wonderful band material on the new Moto 360.

One of the major differences compared to last year's Moto 360 is the use of a more standard lug design. The band has quick release pins and this new lug design makes it easier to switch out bands.

Software

Like all new Android Wear devices, the Moto 360 runs Android Wear 1.3.0.xx with Android 5.1.1 at its core. I wrote a post a couple of months ago detailing the new features of this version of Android Wear.

This version of Android Wear also supports the Together app that lets you connect and message directly with other Android Wear users.

The Moto 360 includes the new Moto Body application that shows you your heart rate, steps taken, and active score. There is an Android application that shows you more details of the data collected by the Moto 360.

Daily usage experiences

The new Moto 360 looks and feels great. I barely noticed I was wearing it every day and especially like the soft leather band.

The ability to always see the watch face makes it a more functional watch and even having this enabled every day let me easily go a full, long day with the Moto 360. I had to be careful with last year's model to get through a full day, but didn't limit myself with the new Moto 360.

I will continue to test the Moto 360, but if I decide to pick up a new Android Wear device then the Moto 360 is currently at the top of my list.