I knew I liked the Moto 360 Sport when I turned around on my commute and went home to get it. You know that angst you feel when you forget your phone? I had that. For the Moto 360 Sport. After 6 weeks of wearing it every day, my wrist felt empty without it, and I turned around to go and pick it up.
The Moto 360 Sport is my kind of smart watch. It does all the app / sync / mail / alert stuff that smart watches have made their mark on, but it goes a step further – it doesn’t need a smart phone nearby to work.
Most smart watches operate as a secondary screen for the phone they’re paired to. You can get alerts and messaging and use it for fitness, but ONLY if the phone is within bluetooth range. The Moto 360 Sport has its own built GPS functions meaning it doesn’t need the brains of a phone for fitness functions, it’s good to go on its own.
The reason I wanted to test drive the Moto 360 Sport was to use it as a training watch as I got ready with Team Diabetes to run at the Gold Coast Marathon. I wanted a smart training watch I could use to get out and get active without having to have a bulky phone in my pocket or strapped to my arm on the run.
The Moto 360 Sport is that. A smart watch that can pair with a phone to get your work done, and then works on its own to get your workout done. That’s a win. Distance tracking is done by the MotoBody app or you can link to Fitbit, Strava, or Map My Run apps easily too.
Note I’m using an iPod shuffle in my running set-up. The Moto 360 Sport does play music via Bluetooth from Google Play Music. I just don’t have a pair of Bluetooth headphones that I like to run with.
GAMIFYING MY LIFE
Fitness trackers gamify your life. They nudge you, ever so slightly, to get out and be more active. I noticed this with the Moto 360 Sport. By having step counts sitting there each time I glanced at the watch face, I knew exactly how active – or inactive – I’d been that day.
There were days where I knew I needed some extra steps, so after dinner I would grab the kids and announce it was time to play street hockey!
The watch did that to me. It really did. And it got the kids interested too. Charlie would often lean over at dinner and check my wrist to see how many steps I did that day and encourage me to get more or congratulate me on my accomplishments.
I found myself tracking how many steps it would take to do different things. It was about 750 steps to get to school to pick up the kids. I could put almost a thousand walking around the office. My salsa lesson would add 1300 steps each week.
I loved it.
And I could do all of it without a phone in my pocket, just the watch on my wrist could track my distances, heart rate, steps, and all those gamifying things you need to be just that much healthier.
ALL THE OTHER THINGS
I don’t have a busy life. I am a radio announcer. I sit in a little booth each day hosting a radio show. I don’t have a lot of meetings or things to juggle. I don’t need alerts and emails popping up on my wrist to get me through the day.
I actually find them annoying.
BUT .. I’m an outlier in this case. When I talk to people who have smart watches they love being able to easily read and send texts from their wrist (Just say “Okay, Google” and you’re off an running). Android Wear is standard across the watch line and the Moto 360 Sport brings all of those functions to the table.
I actually found it very handy to glance at my watch during the few meetings I have or get a vibrating nudge when I needed to get off and do something else.
If you’re an Apple guy (me), this watch is compatible with iOS (as all new Android Wear smart watches).
BUT THE BATTERY
The biggest drawback on the Moto 360 Sport is battery life. If I do a long run in the morning, it won’t last the day. If I don’t charge it overnight it won’t last the night. In fact, according to some testing by c|net, I likely wouldn’t be able to wear this watch to track a complete 4+ hour marathon.
With a smart charging station, I also had to be careful about how I placed the watch in the cradle. More than a few times, I woke up ready to get on with my day and go for a run only to find the watch dead.
If you want a watch packed with this kind of “do it itself” functionality (like having its own GPS) then battery life is a trade-off. It’s a lot to ask of the watch to be tracking distance, fetching email, monitoring heart rate, counting steps, etc.
CONCLUSION: I’M WEARING A WATCH AGAIN
I honestly didn’t think I would like the Moto 360 Sport. When the smart watch product cycle started, I openly scoffed at the need for Dick Tracy gadgetry on our wrist. With our phones tucked into pockets, do we really need a watch? I can tell the time, read my email, poke around the internet, and engage with apps far easier from the big screen in my pocket.
But then there are the little things. Being able to glance to see the time at your wrist instead of getting ratholed by checking your phone and then getting distracted. You can get beeps and texts and alerts through vibrations and quickly check things, politely and discreetly. You can go for a workout or run without dragging your phone along.
If only the battery life would last longer, this would be a slam dunk. If you can remember to charge it often, perhaps having a charger at work as well as at home for those long run days, then this is a no brainer. If you’re on Android and looking for a smart watch, this one is smart enough to work solo and together with your phone. And it’s got me wearing watches again.
Disclosure: I received a Moto 360 Sport to facilitate my review. This branded content appears in exchange for a donation to Team Diabetes.