A couple of weeks ago, the Moto 360 went on sale here in Canada. I got up at 5am and hit the internet. My intent was to reserve one in a local store so that I could go and pick it up later that day, but I was out of luck there. Instead I ordered one from Telus.com and it arrived in the mail two days later.
I’m not a tech reviewer – not much of a writer either, for that matter – but I wanted to post to talk about my first impressions during the week and a half I’ve had this thing on my wrist.
When you take the device out of the box and fire it up it takes you through a few brief setup steps, a quick usage tutorial, and then that’s really it. If I had to describe my first 10 minutes with this $280 device in a single word then I’d go with “underwhelming.”
It doesn’t take long, however, to figure out that’s the beauty of the 360 (and, I would assume, all Android Wear devices): this is, first and foremost, a watch. It doesn’t try to be a computer on your wrist, and nor should it.
Aside from telling the time, the functionality my watch provides is more or less just another screen on which to view my Google Now cards and Android notifications, but in practice this is more useful than I ever thought it would be, and I am a huge fan as a result.
When I get a text or an email, or even a Lync message, a quick glance at my wrist is all it takes for me to decide if it’s something important enough for me to take my phone out of my pocket (or maybe even sit down in front of my computer), or if it’s something that can wait. If I want to open the message (or whatever) on my phone then a quick swipe left and a tap is all it takes – when I get my phone out, the relevant content is already on the screen.
If a quick (one or two word) reply is all that’s needed then I can just talk into my watch. I don’t know that I’d do this in public necessarily, but it is actually a useful function despite my knee-jerk initial opinion about it.
The watch face itself is configurable and there are several designs to choose from. I’ve gone for “classic,” a simple watch face that displays free/busy information from my calendar in a subtle, unobtrusive way.
Talking of my calendar, this is yet another killer feature for me. Being able to see details of my next meeting at a glance (and being able to swipe to see the upcoming stuff that follows it) is hugely useful (although again, I didn’t realize how use useful it would be until I had it).
Battery life has been a talking point in early Moto 360 reviews, but I have no concerns in this area. I have ambient mode turned on, and when take my watch off at the end of the day it usually has 30%-40% battery remaining. It certainly requires charging every day, but that’s fine by me.
So should you get one? Well I love mine and I’m glad I bought it. I recognize that this is a first-generation device though. It will be followed, no doubt, by versions with improved functionality, better displays, better battery life… in a year or so there will probably be smartwatches available that make my watch look like a relic of time gone by. If you’re not OK with that then wait until version 2 hits the shelves. For me, I’ll consider upgrading when that happens but the functionality I get from this model is worth the money to me, even if it turns out that I change to a newer model in 18 months time. If you think in the same (geeky) way as me, get your chequebook out and snap one of these things up. I’d recommend it to anybody.
Let me know in the comments if you have questions about it! I’d be happy to answer them.