A couple of years ago, on a whim, I purchased a Sony Smartwatch II, and for a while I enjoyed the novelty of wearing it, but after four or five months I began drifting back to wearing my old, analogue watch more-often-than-not and in the end the Smartwatch II joined the growing pile of old mobile phones and other obsolete tech in a drawer somewhere. It wasn't that I hated the Smartwatch or that it didn't work as advertised; it's simply that I didn't find it indispensable enough to get past its boxy looks, the constant need for recharging and the sometimes iffy performance when it came to maintaining the link to my phone.
Now to be honest I don't find the Moto 360 indispensable either. Yes, sometimes it's nice to be able to glance at your wrist to see who has emailed you or sent you a text without digging out your phone from a bag or under a pile of papers in another room, but having previously had a smart watch and then stopped using it I know I can happily live without such conveniences.
However, despite this I know that I will continue to use the Moto 360 for a long time to come for two simple reasons; it is a thing of both quality and beauty. Facts I realised almost immediately the first time I picked a display unit up in a store in the US during some idle browsing and why I purchased one about ten minutes later.
Whereas the SWII looked and felt like a digital watch circa-1983, sported an ugly rubber cover over the micro-USB port used to charge it, and boasted indifferent build quality (the black enamelling on the metal strap that my SWII came with began to rub off after about a month), the Moto 360 looks like a classic watch but also feels like a high quality product where due care and attention has been paid to the design.
The Steel band model feels and is solid*. The seals between the back, side and front plates are so tight and flush as to be almost invisible. The crown, when pushed, provides a hint of mechanical resistance that is reassuring. The screen, which apart from the narrow case around it and a small black band at the bottom occupies almost the entire face of the watch, is crystal clear and hard wearing (after one month of continuous wear not even a hint of a scratch or blemish). Add in the wireless charging dock that not only makes charging easy (no fiddly and ugly rubber caps over mini-USB ports to ruin the look of the Moto360) but also more practical by turning the watch into a desk or bedside clock when off your wrist, and you have a device that has been designed to be as robust and user friendly as possible.
Moreover, with its bevelled edges and minimalist design the Moto360 has a tactile quality that just makes you want to stroke it but is also subtle enough to not stand out on your wrist as an obvious piece of technology. When I wore the SWII, with its angular design, people were always asking whether it was a smartwatch. With the Moto360 I have only been asked twice, and in both cases it was when I glanced at it to check an incoming messages.
The bottom line is that I love the Moto360 because it is a beautifully designed and built watch. The fact that it is also a smartwatch, and it is pretty good in that department too, is an undeniable bonus but for me almost a secondary consideration.
*Having played around with the Dark Steel version in-store I can testify that it looks and feels equally well built. My choice of the Steel finish was entirely on aesthetic grounds.
UPDATE 10/04/15 -
Having owned my Moto 360 for several months, and used it continuously over that period, I thought I would add a few additional thoughts to my original review.
Firstly, let me say that my positive opinion of the Moto 360 has grown since I started using it and I now feel able to increase my star rating from four to five. I do genuinely love this device, and can't see myself going back to wearing my old analogue watch for any reason. I like the fact that I no longer feel it necessary to keep glancing at my phone to check for notifications, or hunt it down in the house when an email or text pings in, only to find the message was junk and could safely be ignored. I genuinely like the low key pressure that the heart rate monitor/activity tracker puts on me to exercise more. It doesn't bully you with constant reminders to do more, or blind you with unnecessary data; it just subtly suggests periodically that you might want to do just a little more exercise that day and to my surprise I have reacted to these reminders by trying to do more.
I also like the watch's reliability. In the months since I bought it, and having worn it every day, the software has only fallen over twice and in both cases quickly rebooted. There have also been no issues with the connection with my phone. If I move out of range and then come back reconnection occurs pretty much instantaneously. Battery life has also turned out to be surprisingly good. Yes, you need to charge the watch every night, but the wireless dock makes that easy and I now also use the watch as bedside clock. However, suggestions in various reviews that the Moto360 battery will barely get through a day on a single charge have turned out to be groundless. My watch gets pretty heavy use and yesterday, having taken it off the charger at 6:30 a.m., I put it back at 12:30 a.m. (18hrs later) with 45% charge remaining.
My Moto360 also looks as good now and when I bought it. Despite being worn all day, every day, irrespective of the activity I may be doing (apart from swimming) and travelling overseas with me several times during that period, neither the screen or case have a single scratch or nick on them. This is one hard wearing device.
Bets of all, from my point of view, hardly anyone notices that its a smart watch. In all the time I have worn it only a couple of people have noticed what it is, or commented on it. I believe this is because, with its round face, it looks like a watch rather than some piece of technology. So, if like me you're not one for flashy statements, the Moto360 is probably the smartwatch for you.