When I graduated from university last summer, my fiancée and her family were very nice and bought me a smart watch as a graduation present. Knowing that I’m a bit picky about my technology items, instead of buying one directly, they gave me the money to buy the watch I wanted. I had my eyes on the Motorola Moto 360 which meant that I had to wait for a a couple of months since it wasn’t available here in Sweden at the time. As soon as I could, I ordered it and I’ve been wearing it daily since mid-January.
This post is a collection of my thoughts about the watch interspersed with images of it when I unboxed it.
Replacing a Regular Watch
I was wearing a regular watch before buying the Moto 360. The regular watch is actually better at two things: battery life and displaying time (really?). I’ll get to the battery life later in the post but the reason the Moto 360 is worse at displaying time is that the screen is turned off after a while. This is slightly annoying since it takes the Moto 360 a fraction of a second to wake up when I look at it which isn’t a problem the regular watch has.
Even more annoying is that sometimes, the watch face doesn’t wake up at all when I look at it. This happens so infrequent as to be tolerable though, I simply flick my wrist again to wake it up. I also enabled Ambient Screen recently which seems to alleviate the problem completely. I’m hoping it won’t eat too much battery so I can leave it on as my new default. Speaking of battery…
Some early reports on the Moto 360 were complaining that the battery life was terrible. That couldn’t be further from my experience—I often take it off when I get home after a whole day with 60–70% left. That’s with Ambient Screen turned off though. For reasons you’ll see below, I usually sleep with the watch on me as well and usually only charge it in the morning while I do my morning routine. It charges incredibly fast (possible because the battery is small) and is usually fully charged when I leave home.
Most Useful Features
The rest of the article is a list of the most useful features of the watch from my perspective, ordered by their usefulness.
This is by far the most useful feature for my fiancé (and me). I use Sleep as Android as my alarm clock app. It features some nice sleep tracking capabilities which uses the watch’s accelerometer but the real killer feature is the silent alarm. A couple of seconds before my alarm is about to go off, the watch starts to vibrate slightly on my wrist. This wakes me up so I can turn off the alarm just before it makes any sound.
My fiancé is very thankful for this since I’m a heavy sleeper and she’s not. I used to have fairly loud alarm signals which almost woke her up with heart palpitations in the mornings (not a nice way to wake up). Now, she doesn’t even wake up before I (stupidly) step on the creaky floor board as I’m tiptoeing out of the bedroom.
I track my runs with Runkeeper which is an awesome app. However, it’s a bit cumbersome to get the phone out of my pocket every time I want to see how far I’ve run. With the watch, I can see the distance, duration and pace of the run on my wrist. This has been even more useful since I had an accident with my old Nexus 4 and bought a Nexus 6—it’s much harder to get the Nexus 6 into and out of the pocket of my running tights.
I like that Pocket Casts displays a persistent notification on the watch when I’m listening to podcasts. The notification has controls for pausing, skipping and changing volume. Having these controls easily accessible on the wrist is very useful when I’m walking to the train with the phone in my pocket or when I’m out running.
I love my new watch! It took the place of my existing watch effortlessly. If anyone is worrying about the size of the watch, don’t. It’s perfectly sized and looks like a nice, big, regular watch.