Apple Watch vs Motorola Moto 360: Which is the best smartwatch for you?
Smartwatches aren’t quite the cool and sophisticated devices of the future that science fiction films promised. But even the last couple of years has seen wearable tech come on leaps and bounds.
Smartwatches have evolved from those ’80s Casio calculator watches, to an enticing area where Apple wants a slice of the wearables pie. These devices are no longer gimmicks, but how do you know which smartwatch is worth having?
Worry no more as we have the smartwatch features breakdown to end all smartwatch features breakdowns.
See also: The best smartwatches of 2015
We’ll be updating our comparisons with more smartwatches on a regular basis, but for now it’s the Apple Watch taking on the Motorola Moto 360.
Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Design
You may think that all smartwatches look the same: chunky, rectagular screens with cheap-looking rubber coated plastic wristbands. We hate to break it to you, but 2015 is all about style, and smartwatch design is fast becoming an identifier of success with consumers. But how does the Moto 360 compare to the Apple Watch?
The decision to add a single button and scroll wheel, known as the Digital Crown, to interact with a selection of compatible apps harks back to more traditional watch design – despite its unsatisfying off-centre position.
The Apple Watch benefits from Apple’s eye for design with six different finishes: stainless steel, aluminium, 18-carat yellow gold, space black stainless steel, space gray aluminum and 18-carat rose gold. It also has a multitude of watch strap variations, all designed by international fashion labels. There are 11 watch faces to pick from too.
If the customisation options weren’t enough, Apple’s smartwatch comes in two sizes: 1.5in (38mm) or 1.65in (42mm) in height. Although, according to estimated dimensions on Wikipedia, it could be a little thick at 0.5in (12.6mm).
Comparatively, the Motorola Moto 360 has a more traditional circular watch face that some watch purists may prefer, is a shade thinner at 0.45in (11.5mm) and, thanks to a chunky leather strap, it feels more like a high-end watch than the competition. In fact, in his Moto 360 review for PC Pro reviews editor Jonathan Bray said that “everything about the design of the Moto 360 screams sophistication and high-end charm.”
The Moto 360 comes in two colours, silver and black, and makes use of Android Wear to offer various preinstalled watch faces and user-created faces on Google Play. There’s a button on the side, where a normal watch wheel would be, that turns the screen on or off.
So, while the Apple Watch does have a slightly thicker body it’s undoubtedly still more appealing in terms of design thanks to being incredibly customisable.
Winner: Apple Watch
Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Display
In regards to the Apple Watch screen, only a small amount of information is known. We know that it makes use of a rectangular AMOLED display, and according to iPhone Hacks the device has a pixel density of 322ppi and 332ppi depending on the size you decide to pick up. It also has a Sapphire Crystal display, the same display that was often rumoured to be included on iPhone 6, so the Apple Watch should be able to take the bumps and scratches watches usually have to endure.
As the Apple Watch is available in two different sizes, 1.32in or 1.5in, it’ll be interesting to see if those extra 0.18 inches has a noticeable impact on image quality. While this is certainly unlikely, iPhone Hacks is reporting that Apple has informed developers to use the same assets across both sizes – so, if an image is slightly fuzzy on the smaller watch, it could look worse on the larger screen.
See Also: 5 smartwatch features we’ll see by 2015
While the Motorola Moto 360 may boast circular watch face, peculiarly its display isn’t. This oddity is due to a small black bar running along the bottom cutting the full circle off. Despite that, it has a 1.56in display and a pixel density of 205 ppi. This doesn’t quite match up with that of the Apple Watch, but the screen is bright enough for most conditions and has a built in light sensor, automatically adjusting the brightness according to your surroundings.
Things are a little hard to call until we know more about the Apple Watch. On paper the Apple Watch trumps the Moto 360, and while it’s hard to definitively say how things will look and feel, we already know that AMOLED screens have better contrast and richer colours than IPS LCD screens. However, AMOLED screens can be difficult to read in brighter lighting conditions.
Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Battery
When it comes to wearable tech, battery life is a big issue and smartwatches seem to be suffering the most.
We know from our hands on review of the Moto 360 that it can last around 27 hours on a single charge when receiving basic notifications. Using it regularly every day will certainly bring battery life down, but even so you shouldn’t find yourself needing to charge it any more than once a day.
The reason for the Moto 360’s below-average battery life could probably be attributed to its display and some slightly older internal hardware sucking up power inefficiently.
Thankfully charging the Moto 360 isn’t too much of a chore due to using Qi wireless charging, allowing it to be left on the included cradle or any Qi wireless charge pad to juice up.
Interestingly Apple hasn’t talked about battery life for its Apple Watch. This leads us to believe that it won’t be a powerhouse in the smartwatch space, probably lasting around the current standard of a day or two between charges.
Charging shouldn’t be too much of an issue either as the Apple Watch uses a wireless charging method similar to the Moto 360. However, it’s safe to assume that Apple has its own proprietary charging method in store, meaning it’s unlikely you can use the industry standard of Qi wireless charging.
Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Features
From Apple’s announcement at WWDC in September, it seems that the Apple Watch is absolutely packed with features that blow most of the competition out of the water.
For starters, its heart rate monitor — which uses infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to continually detect your heart rate — comes with an accompanying suite of health apps built in. It can track your steps, stairs climbed, time spent sitting or standing, running and cycling, and it will update you with live analytics while doing so.
It also makes use of your phone’s GPS, notifying you with vibrations to help steer you towards your destination, and from what we’ve seen thanks to leaked images of the Apple Watch companion app there are extensive notification options allowing you to tailor the information you receive from your phone.
Apple has also provided communication apps that let others know you’re thinking about them. You can use these to send silly drawings, have walkie-talkie conversations and even send another user your heartbeat. These might just be gimmicks, but they’re certainly welcome additions that round off a feature-rich package.
See Also: 8 reasons you’ll be wearing a smartwatch in 2015
The Motorola Moto 360 is powered by Android Wear, this allows it to display notifications, navigate using maps, and make use of OK Google voice commands to send texts, set reminders, or get directions. It’s pretty powerful stuff, but it doesn’t set it apart from other Android Wear watches on the market.
In a testament to its slick design, the Moto 360 also has a near-invisible heart rate monitor on its underside. But, unlike the Apple Watch, this can’t continuously monitor your pulse.
Instead it offers one-off measurements, which — as you can imagine — aren’t too helpful for training and meeting exercise goals. These measurements also can’t be made while moving, so you need to keep still when you do decide to see what your heart rate is.
While the Moto 360 makes an admirable effort to offer something comprehensive in the smartwatch world, Apple’s feature-rich Apple Watch seemingly destroys it.
Winner: Apple Watch
Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Compatibility
You can have the snazziest watch in the world on your wrist, but if it’s not compatible with the devices and apps you use most, what’s the point in having it?
As per usual, the Apple Watch is sticking to the walled garden of Apple, and only works with iPhone devices.
Just because you own an iPhone, it doesn’t mean you’ll actually be able to make use of an Apple Watch as Apple has stated that it’s also only compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, and only if they’re running iOS 8.2 or later. You’ll also need to install a companion app on your iPhone to ensure the Apple Watch works properly.
Apple hasn’t clarified whether or not the Apple Watch will work with iPads, but seeing as all promotional material only makes reference to iPhone, it’s seeming unlikely.
Conversely the Motorola Moto 360 runs on Android Wear, it understandably only works with Android devices. And, like with the Apple Watch, just owning an Android device isn’t enough to make use of the Moto 360. You’ll need to make sure your Android device is running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or above – meaning that almost any smartphone or tablet bought in the last year or so should pair with the Moto 360 easily.
So, it’s rather obvious that the Apple Watch is for Apple users, and the Moto 360 is for Android users, but it’s worth remembering that both devices only work with phones up to a certain point. That said, the Moto 360 can work with a wider array of devices and models, so you’ll have more choice in your preferred mobile phone.
Winner: Moto 360
Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Price
Price certainly plays a big role in snapping up a new product, and Apple devices have never been cheap.
While we have absolutely no concrete UK prices, it seems that the US price point of $349 (roughly £216) will translate to something between £249 and £299.
The Motolola Moto 360 comes in at a competitively priced £199.
In regards to our comparison, there’s no competition, the Moto 360 is potentially £100 cheaper than Apple’s device.
Winner: Moto 360
Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Final Verdict
It’s quite clear from this comparison which watch is for you if you’re already embedded in either the Apple or Android environment.
The question is, if you’re looking to get a new smartphone and the prospect of a smartwatch interests you, which device would you decide to pick up?
Arguably the Apple Watch has far more potential than the Moto 360 and Android Wear technology. But by opting for the Apple Watch over the Moto 360 you will be restricting yourself to a select few handsets and higher price points than if you opted for the Moto 360.
However, neither device currently seems worth jumping ship for. We don’t yet know enough about the Apple Watch to safely say it’s worth moving away from Android for and, as summed up in our review, the Moto 360 certainly isn’t worth leaving Apple’s environment for.