Motorola Moto 360 Sport review: A fitness smartwatch that’s fatally flawed

Price when reviewed

Most smartwatch manufacturers have realised by now that it’s not enough for their wearables to simply be smart. They also have to look great or offer killer extra features in order to capture the imagination and persuade consumers to part with their cash. The Motorola Moto 360 Sport falls into the latter camp: launched alongside the Moto 360 2 at the IFA technology show in September 2015, it’s an Android Wear smartwatch fitted with extra, fitness-focused features.

Motorola Moto 360 Sport review: A fitness smartwatch that's fatally flawed

That shouldn’t preclude good looks, but in this case, sadly, it does. As with most sporty wearables, Motorola has gone for the silicone rubber look and, while this seems to make sense from a practical point of view, it doesn’t make for the most attractive device.

The black strap on our review sample quickly picked up unsightly dust and grime, and it can’t be replaced either, so make sure you’re happy with the look before you lay down your £219. The one positive about the design is that it’s considerably better-looking than the similarly sports-themed Sony Smartwatch 3, but that’s not saying much.

Another small disappointment is that, despite the rugged look, the Moto 360 Sport is no more water-resistant than most smartwatches. It’s rated to IP67, meaning it can be submerged in up to a metre of water for up to 30 minutes. However, while this is good enough that you don’t need to worry about leaving it on forgetfully when doing the washing up, it isn’t good enough for swimming.

Motorola Moto 360 Sport vs Moto 360 2: What’s the difference?

That’s surprising, but if you don’t need a tracker for watersports, the Moto 360 would appear to be well-enough equipped. Like many other Android Wear watches, it has an optical heart rate monitor. The difference here, though, is that this one can provide continuous pulse tracking during exercise.

The next difference is built-in GPS, which means the watch can track your pace and distance accurately without you having to take your smartphone out on your run.

The final difference is that the Moto 360 employs transflective screen technology, instead of IPS or AMOLED like most other smartwatches. This is similar to the technology used by Sony in its SmartWatch 3, and operates in two distinct modes, depending on the situation.

When “Always on” mode is engaged and the screen has powered down, the screen goes into black and white reflective mode. With no backlight, this mode is power-efficient, yet the screen is perfectly readable in most situations – and becomes more readable the brighter conditions get, which is perfect for a wearable that’s used largely outdoors.

Raise and twist your wrist, however, and it goes into normal, full-colour (transmissive) mode. The good news is that, while Sony’s smartwatch display suffered from muddy colours in this mode, Motorola’s “Anylight” screen is a big step forward. It’s much more clear and colourful, its 360 x 325 resolution is as crisp as you like, and Motorola has retained the ambient light sensor, so even in this mode, the screen adapts to your surroundings and is perfectly readable, never blinding or too dim.  

The only negative – and it’s a small one – is that you can see the slightly ragged edges of the screen if you look really close.

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