I've been spending the past couple of weeks getting to know the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live -- but there's another horse in the Android Wear race.
I'm talking, of course, about Motorola's Moto 360, which is slated to launch later this summer (though we're still waiting to hear a firm date -- and price). I've had a couple of opportunities to play with the 360, and now that my G Watch and Gear Live reviews are behind me, I wanted to take a few minutes to share some thoughts about the device that'll soon set the Android Wear standard.
The first thing you notice when you hold the Moto 360 in your hand is how classy and beautifully crafted it is. While the G Watch and Gear Live feel like clunky screens that are strapped to your wrist, the Moto 360 feels like an elegant watch that also happens to do cool things.
I was able to get up-close and personal with the silver-accented version of the watch, though there's also a matte black version floating around out there. The watch I used had a real leather strap. Moto has shown a linked metal band, too, as illustrated in the graphic at the top of this story.
To be sure, the face of the Moto 360 is large -- but the watch doesn't feel bulky or at all heavy when you put it on. And it looks far more stylish than the awkward rectangles you get with the other two Wear devices.
It's not just the design that sets the 360 apart, though; it's also the detail. Everything down to the material used in the 360's band has a distinctly premium vibe. From top to bottom, the watch just feels like a thoughtfully made, high-quality product.
The 360's metal body and side-facing button bring to mind a traditional luxury watch. The glass on the display feels slightly raised -- if you look closely on the images on this page, you can actually see the sloped edge at which the glass meets the watch's body -- yet the screen somehow seems to float above the surface. I'm not entirely sure what's going on there, but I'll tell you this: The display on this thing looks really freakin' good.
Speaking of the screen, the Android Wear interface works surprisingly well within the round form. Most of my time with the Moto 360 involved a demo mode of the operating system, which is what you see depicted above, but even that was enough to give me an idea of how smoothly the UI adapts to the circular shape. It's really a nice experience -- and as you can tell by looking through some of the designs Motorola has considered for the watch, the round form lends itself well to both classic- and just plain cool-looking faces.
The back of the Moto 360 has some interesting things going on, too, though we don't know all the details quite yet (and I was asked not to photograph it). What I can tell you is that the watch's underside is a shiny metal surface with two slightly raised circles -- one that's a ring near the outside of the area and one that appears to be fully filled in the center.
There are no regular charging pins, like what we've seen on the back of the G Watch and Gear Live, and Moto's been especially coy when asked about the 360's charging mechanism -- so it seems entirely plausible that whatever's going on on the watch's back may be related to that.
That mystery aside, there's plenty more we have yet to learn about the Moto 360 -- things we won't know until we've had a chance to use it for several days in the real world. But based on the time I've had with the device so far, I'm confident saying it's in a completely different league than the other Android Wear watches. And in all likelihood, it's going to be the one most people are going to want.
Now let's just hope the price doesn't scare us away.
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