Motorola ventured into the smartwatch market back in 2014 with its original Moto 360 that featured Wear OS (known at the time as ‘Android Wear’) and a circular design. The second generation of the watch was released in 2015 that improved significantly on the original Moto 360.
Background: Motorola was acquired by Google in 2012, and the original Moto 360 was developed under its supervision, therefore the name Google’s Original tagged to the watch. It was one of the very first watches that featured Google’s Android Wear (now known as Wear OS). The company was later sold to Lenovo which ultimately decided to discontinue the Moto 360 watches right after the second edition.
As the Apple Watch Series chipped away a major share of the market for itself, Motorola decided to do away with its wearable devices before they were revived by a deal with a rather unknown brand eBuyNow. The latter stroked a deal with Motorola to use the brand name ‘Moto 360’ for its smartwatches, and to become an official manufacturing partner.
The third generation of Moto 360 was released by eBuyNow later in 2019 and it was only available for use in 2020. More on that later.
As the company had a contract until 2024, more smartwatches by eBuyNow are expected to hit the market this year and in the years to come. The latest watches are expected to launch in June and July of this year, and we know a little about them except for their names: Moto G Watch, Moto Watch, and Moto One.
Moto G is expected to compete with the Mobvoi Ticwatch Series known for its relatively cheaper Android Watches. The other two would be premium watches with a hefty price tag.
We have reviewed Moto 360 (3rd Generation) here. It is the best time to buy this smartwatch as with the introduction of the latest watches, the company would try to sell the remaining units of the old Moto 360 at a discounted price (the price has already dropped to about $200 from roughly $350).
Moto 360 (3rd Generation): Two Minute Review
Though not as slick as the smartwatches by Apple and Samsung, Moto 360 (3rd Generation) is one of the best Android Watches compatible with both Apple and Android. To be fair, the watch was initially overpriced for the features and design, but now the major price drop makes it more attractive for people looking for smartwatches with bells and whistles of Wear OS.
The watch has a robust and slightly bulky design. It comes with two straps, silicone and leather, and in a variety of colors. The AMOLED screen makes the display visually appealing. The circular display makes it closer to traditional watches in looks.
The smartwatch features include the latest ones like contactless payment and voice assistant and the standard weather reports, notification alert, and music storage. Plus, you will have access to hundreds of apps on Google’s app store.
The watch doesn’t claim to be a top-notch fitness tracker. There are limited health and fitness features. Heart rate tracking, steps, and calorie tracking are the best they can offer. However, blood saturation, sleep, and ECG tracking that you can find in Fitbit Sense and Apple Watch Series 6 are absent in Moto 360 3rd Generation.
Lastly, the battery life of the watch is a bummer. The watch hardly lasts for one day on a single charge if you frequently use the battery-killer features (GPS, High brightness, Continuous Heart Rate Tracking). However, the watch slips to standard mode once the battery level drops to a certain level. Pretty handy, it would allow extending the battery life to a couple of hours.
Now without further ado, let get straight to the detailed Moto 360 3rd Generation Review.
Moto 360 (3rd Generation) Review: Specs & Features
- Size: 1.68 inches (42.8mm) | Width: 0.46 inches (11.68mm)
- Straps: Silicone and Leather
- Compatibility: Android 6 or above and IOS 10 or above
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
- Graphics adapter: Qualcomm Adreno 304
- Memory: 1024 MB
- Display: 1.20 inch , 390 x 390 pixel 460 PPI, Full touchscreen, AMOLED, glossy: yes
- Storage: 8 GB SSD, 8 GB , 8 GB, 5.5 GB free
- Weight: 52 g ( = 1.83 oz / 0.11 pounds)
- GPS: Built-in, Plus Galileo
- Sensor: Optical Heart Rate Sensor, Gyroscope, Altimeter, Microphone, Ambient Light Sensor
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11n Wi-Fi
Moto 360 (3rd Generation) Review: Pros and Cons
- Wear OS
- Comes with multiple bands
- Always-on display
- Music Storage
- Programmable action button
- Google Assistant
- Connectivity issues
- Short battery life
- Limited Fitness Features
Moto 360 (3rd Generation) Review: Design
The smartwatch is different from its predecessor in many aspects. The improvements are not ground-breaking but significant. Perhaps eBuyNow intended to cash the nostalgia for the original Moto 360 smartwatch or it might be the case the company stuck to the tried-and-tested design for its first smartwatch.
- 1.2 inches screen
- AMOLED Display with a 390 x 390 resolution
- Always-on Display
- Ambient Light Sensor
For its overall casing, the screen is relatively small, about 1.2 inches across. This makes the watch sometimes fiddly to use. For comparison, it is about 0.17 inches smaller than Moto 360 Sport’s display.
The AMOLED display has a 390 x 390 resolution, and 326 PPI which makes the watch faces sharp and vibrant in looks. Also, it allows the watch to fit more options on the screen.
The screen is bright enough for clear visibility but not the brightest. It supports Always-on-display that comes very handy when you want to discreetly check the time and workout progress during exercise, or in the middle of a meeting, without having to tap your smartwatch screen or turn/raise your wrist to activate it.
Casing and Straps:
- Stainless Steel casing with two buttons on the right side
- 20mm Leather and Silicone Strap
- Weighs 1.8 ounces (rough 52g) without straps
- Available in three colors: Black, Chrome Stainless Steel, Rose Gold
The Moto 360 3rd Generation comes with a main body and replacement straps, to be exact, two. Unlike Apple Watch Series, you don’t have to buy a $100 leather strap separately with the watch. There is also a standard silicone strap for those who intend to use this watch for exercise. Swapping between the two is effortless.
The color of the strap depends on the color of the casing. The casing comes in black, stainless steel, and rose gold body, the latter two are life-style focused. Similarly, you would have an option to pick between black or white silicone straps. The brown leather strap remains the same for all the models.
The straps have plenty of holes so no matter the size of the wrist, you would find a comfortable fit. Also, the buckle and lugs feel secure so there is no worry of Moto 360 flying off your wrist.
As you can see, the smartwatch has a circular design that makes it appear similar in looks to a traditional watch. It has two buttons on the right side; the knurled one (with Moto Logo) functions as a rotary control to navigate menus and notifications. The other button can be programmed to do a variety of functions.
Unlike previous models, this one is available in one case size that is 42.8mm in diagonal and 11.68mm in thickness (or 13.28mm in the area of the optical heart-rate sensor). So you might find it getting caught in your sleeves more often than not. The brushed stainless steel case is borrowed from previous models.
On the back, there is a Moto Logo and four visible screws. The relatively thick size of the watch makes it stand out, and particularly suitable for a thick wrist.
The casing has a low bezel around it, but there is another black bezel inside around the actual screen of the watch. It blends imperceptibly with the standard watch faces. More on that later.
The case weighs around 1.8 ounces or 52g, not too heavy and yet not too light-weight. You would notice the watch on your wrist.
Whether Moto 360 3rd Gen is waterproof or not is unclear. The company has rated it as 3 ATM water-resistant (which in simple words means it is splash-proof), and yet at the same time claims that it has been tested for 10,000 swim strokes. To further add to the confusion, there is no dedicated swim tracking mode.
In our experience, they pretty much handled the shower and sweaty workout and even casual swimming in the pool. But as is mentioned in the manual, we can’t go any deeper than a few meters, and shouldn’t expose it to high-impact water.
You can take it to the ocean water, but you are instructed to rinse it with fresh water when you are out, and never to charge it before drying it completely. Similarly, you should only take it to a sweaty yoga class or intense workout when it has a silicone strap-on.
Moto 360 (3rd Generation) Review: Smartwatch Features
WearOS is the operating system of Moto 360 3rd Generation like its predecessors. Sticking to Android Wear has hurt many watches including Moto 3rd Gen as the software has not undergone the much-needed overhaul for years.
Nevertheless, you would enjoy access to hundreds of third-party apps, and basics like notifications and weather reports. Also, you can pay for stuff using Google Pay and the Moto’s NFC, and store music to play during phone-free workouts.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor and 1 GB RAM work together to ensure speedier navigation and general operation. Moto 360 doesn’t drag too much when you fill it up a bit.
Moto 360 3rd Gen has 8 GB of internal storage of which about 6GB would be free. You can store music, audiobooks by directly connecting them to the pc or laptop. To listen to music and other audio files, you would have to connect the watch with a Bluetooth headset.
The watch has a Spotify app but it only controls music on the connected smartphone. On the other hand, Google Play Music allows you more than just controlling music. You can download music files, albums, and playlists to the watch. You would have to install the app via the Play Store.
Google Pay, after Apple Pay, has the widest coverage in the US and across the world. The contactless payment would add to your smartwatch experience.
In this department, WearOS is much better than Samsung’s Tizen, Fitbit OS, and Garmin OS. Like the Apple watch store, it has thousands of third-party wearable apps. But unfortunately, the apps are shrinking on the platform.
Popular apps include Google Maps, Google keeps, Google Translate, Calm, Facer, Shazam, and so on.
The onboard Google Assistant is quite handy. The watch won’t have a speaker and just a microphone. You can access the assistant in several ways. You can use the wake words, “OK Google” (as long as you enable “OK Google” detection), long-press the top button until you feel the watch vibrate, or swipe left to right and tap the microphone button.
With Google Assistant, you can set timers, alarms, reminders, find information online, send messages to contacts, control connected , launch apps, and more.
Unfortunately, Google Assistant was a little hit-or-miss in testing. It worked at times, but often didn’t respond or gave me a variety of error messages, either because the watch lost its connection to Wi-Fi or my phone. On the second day of testing, the Moto 360 wouldn’t reconnect to my phone via Bluetooth, so I factory reset the watch and that fixed the problem.
Calling and Texting:
You can respond to notifications right from your watch. For user’s ease, typing on the tiny keyboard, voice to text, and emoji responses are viable options. Also, the notifications are organized in an intuitive way removing unnecessary hassle.
You cannot pick calls even if your wireless headphones or earbuds are connected to it. Though you can initiate them on the watch contact list, the smartphone needs to be actively connected to the watch, and the earphones to the smartphone.
Moto 360 (3rd Generation) Review: Fitness and Sports features
While the watch doesn’t offer advanced metrics like blood oxygen saturation or sleep tracking at this point, heart rate and activity tracking are quite reliable. You must keep in mind that this smartwatch is meant for casual fitness enthusiasts rather than dedicated athletes.
Google Fit handles the data from the watch and before you track heart rate and steps, you must set the necessary permissions. As you first sign into the app following onscreen instructions, you will have to enter your height and weight.
The watch, in turn, would give you daily goals for Move Minutes, Heart Points, and steps (you can edit them in the app). Move Minutes relates to movement like walking, whereas Heart point relates to vigorous activities like intense workout or jogging.
On the watch, the standard widget has a blue ring that shows how close you are to reaching your daily Move Minutes goal and a green ring indicates your progress toward your Heart Points goal. These rings can help motivate you to get moving.
There is a range of workouts available from the more obvious ones such as walking, running and cycling, to fairly niche activities like stroller walking, sand running, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. And the best part is, the app would record it even if you leave your watch at home.
Given that the Google Fit app fails to impress you, there are other alternatives like Strava or Adidas Running aka Runtastic and Lifesum.
Heart Rate Tracking:
The heart rate tracking is achieved by optical sensors and is shown in the Google fit app.
The watch doesn’t show a wealth of data as you may find in Fitbit App or Apple Watch app.
You can opt to enable background heart rate monitoring, which tracks your heart rate changes throughout the day. You can also manually check your heart rate whenever you want.
Generally, we found that steps and activity time was tracked fairly accurately, and we never felt that we’d done many more or fewer steps than the device suggested.
After a run, you’ll be able to see your distance, time, pace, cadence, heart rate, and other useful pieces of information. The gyroscope and accelerometer accurately track the watch’s movements, working with the GPS and Galileo positioning support for accurate pace tracking without using your phone.
The sports mode available in the watch is pretty overwhelming at almost 100.
You won’t get detailed feedback for all of these (for some it’s just heart rate and time tracking), in some cases, you’re presented with a veritable wealth of information.
Google Fit apps have a guided breathing feature, which offers a two-minute meditation exercise with relaxing on-screen visuals indicating when you should inhale and exhale.
If it senses you’re moving during the exercise, it will instruct you to be still, and at the end shows how the mediation affected your heart rate.
This feature helps you to relax and we found it useful.
As we mentioned earlier, there are no dedicated official apps on the watch for sleep tracking, but you can download third-party apps for it. However, their data is not reliable.
For sleep tracking, Apple Watch is best suited for IOS users, whereas Fitbit Sense is an alternative for Android users.
Moto 360 (3rd Generation) Review: Battery Life and Charging
Wear OS smartwatches are notorious for their poor battery performance and in most cases the software is to blame here. The platform is awaiting a major overhaul for a long time, and until Google diverts some attention to it, the smartwatch featuring Wear OS would always be at a disadvantage.
Moto 360 3rd Gen come packed with a 355 mAh battery which as the manufacturer claim has enough juice to last for a day. In performance, it is a little similar to the Apple Watch battery, though the latest Series 6 can last for 1.5 days. However, if we compare it with the likes of Amazfit, Fitbit, and Samsung, the battery performance is a bit disappointing.
Typical usage drains 3-5% battery per hour. It drains much faster if you use battery-intensive features like GPS. To give you an idea, using GPS for an hour would take around 30% of the battery. There is a battery saver mode that automatically kicks in when the battery drops to a certain level. On this mode, the watch would last for up to 3 days but it will be limited to time-telling features.
Unlike the previous Moto 360 generation, you don’t get a wireless charging option here. Rather, it is charged via a doc that you plug into a USB port. In this price range, the watch should have had wireless charging enabled which is particularly relevant now as most smartphone supports reverse wireless charging.
The watch takes about an hour to charge from 0 to 100% as claimed by eBuyNow which is very handy if you charge the watch as soon as it hits the battery saving mode. However, it is irrelevant if you charge the watch overnight.