Wearables

Motorola Moto 360 Sport not quite up to the mark

The Motorola Moto 360 Sport comes in three colours and features a single-piece silicone construction, which is supposedly resistant to fading and staining, and does not absorb perspiration. The Sport also has built-in GPS, something not found in many
The Motorola Moto 360 Sport comes in three colours and features a single-piece silicone construction, which is supposedly resistant to fading and staining, and does not absorb perspiration. The Sport also has built-in GPS, something not found in many other smartwatches.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

Convenient features let down by mediocre looks, short battery life

The Motorola Moto 360 Sport is, well, the sporty version of the second-generation Moto 360 smartwatch. It comes in black, white and orange (version reviewed).

Launched last December in Europe and January this year in the United States, the Sport landed in Singapore only recently when Motorola made its comeback here.

I own both the first- and second-generation Motorola Moto 360 smartwatches and have always loved their build and design.

The Sport is essentially the same Android Wear smartwatch as the second-generation Moto 360, with similar scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, IP67 dust and water resistance and built-in heart rate monitor. It also tracks your daily steps taken and calories burned.

Despite the similarities, it looks and feels different.

The Sport has a single-piece silicone construction, which is supposed to resist fading and staining, and does not absorb perspiration.

It has built-in GPS, something not found in other Moto 360 models and many smartwatches. So you do not need to run with a smartphone to get GPS distance tracking.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $499

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    COMPATIBILITY: Android 4.3 or higher and iOS 8.2 or higher

    WEIGHT: 54g


    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 2/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

Like the second-generation Moto 360, it has a home button at the two o'clock position. But the Sport has a visible microphone at the seven o'clock position.

Its round touchscreen display (360 x 325 pixels) also features a "flat tyre" design found in other Moto 360 models. There is a small black space at the bottom of the display. While many watch purists have dissed it, I find this design to be practical as it ensures alerts and notifications are visible all the time.

The Sport uses the Motorola AnyLight screen that remains visible under most lighting conditions, even under bright sunlight.

It is comfortable to wear, but the single-piece silicone construction means you will not be able to swop watch bands. This means the Sport is stuck with the running watch look, instead of being able to be transformed into a sleek smartwatch, like the second-generation Moto 360.

The default watch face shows the steps taken, calories burned and heart activity in minutes. There is also a virtual start button that you can tap to start a run. After tapping Start, select indoors or outdoors, set a goal like specific timing or distance, and start running.

In my Housing Board estate, it took around 30sec to secure a GPS fix. Distance tracking readings were close to my calibrated TomTom Spark Cardio + Music running watch, with a difference of at most 3 per cent. The differences for indoor runs were around 8 per cent. Fitness tracking readings were also quite accurate, with only a 2 per cent difference compared with my calibrated Fitbit Charge HR.

However, battery life is the Moto 360 Sport's Achilles' heel. Most of the time, during the review, it lasted only one day with notifications turned on. If you go for a long run with GPS on, you might want to charge it immediately after the run.

• Verdict: The Motorola Moto 360 Sport is one of the rare smartwatches that can be used as a GPS running watch. Unfortunately, its mediocre looks and short battery life prevent it from being a true winner.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Motorola Moto 360 Sport not quite up to the mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe