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Update on Moto 360 Smart Watch


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I thought I'd post an update on the Moto 360 "smart watch" I bought since this is the most likely aggregation of technophiles on the forum.

 

First of all, I actually like it. It does a pretty good job of being a watch and I think it looks pretty spiffy on my wrist. It came in silver with a brown leather watchband. I changed the band to a metal bracelet (from Amazon for $22) the first night. It's an easy conversion as the watch band came with everything needed to remove the old band and install the new one; including a nifty little tool.

 

No one has asked me if it's an Apple Watch yet, either. Or even noticed it, actually.

 

It has taken me a while to whittle down the notifications to just the ones I want... and that job is not done yet. The Moto vibrates when a notification (or alarm) comes in and that is far more noticeable than my Note 3 is. If someone sends me a text I can see immediately who sent it and either read it or, if I'm wearing a bluetooth earpiece, listen to it. The Note 3 will read it to me anyway but it generally catches me unaware and I missed bits of the text it was reading to me (mostly... who sent it... because that's at the beginning). The distraction is minimal. All I have to do is turn my wrist.

 

Likewise with an email. I use gmail which does a great job of getting rid of junk. At first I was annoyed by all the Facebook notifications but I located the spot to stop all of those from going to the Moto 360. So I get only the emails that I'd be likely to read.

 

The Moto 360 even has a web browser application and it's actually usable. Just not very usable. But I've used it and it works. You just have to push the screen around with your finger to read everything.

 

For Bill Joyce: I downloaded a calculator app for the Moto that works in bin, hex and dec and has trig functions. It looks insanely cool but I haven't been able to do any calculations at all on it yet. So far I revert to either my real HP41 or my HP41 app. Finger size is the issue, I think. But there may be a trick to it I haven't figured out because other guys are making it work.

 

I have found myself simply looking at my watch even with a computer next to me and my smart phone in my shirt pocket; it's just easier and quicker. Working in the shop, my watch vibrates, I turn my wrist to check it. No pulling out the Note 3, entering the pass code, going to the app, etc. Of course, if it's important then you can do that... but most of the time you can save it for later.

 

Now for some of the downsides... there aren't many.

 

First of all, you need good close-up eyesight. Even though the Moto 360 is a big watch (as watches go) the text it displays is small. Most of us on this forum will either need reading glasses or bifocals. But if you need them, you have them.

 

The device is waterproof but you do NOT want to wear it in the shower. The water droplets falling on the touch-sensitive watch face are interpreted by the watch as finger movements and it tries to accommodate whatever instructions it think it's being given.

 

The battery life just barely lasts 16 hours with "normal" use. If you're fiddling with it a lot (such as when you first get it) you'll need to put it on the charger. But it charges very quickly. You can get a five percent charge just changing clothes. It would probably get a 50% charge during lunch. But you can't just plug it into a standard Samsung-type micro USB; you HAVE to put it into a wireless charger. They're not expensive - and they'll work for other devices that accept a Qi charger - and you can buy them at Best Buy or Amazon for around $20 but they're bigger than your average USB charger. I'm definitely going to get one for the motor home.

 

It did suddenly stop turning the face on when I moved my wrist up to look at it (a default setting) and I had to reset it completely twice. This resulted in a scene in which I tried to demonstrate it to a friend and ended up doing a wrist-shaking action reminiscent of Rimmer's salute (from the old "Red Dwarf" BBC tv program).

 

Even though you can load a watch face that mimics almost any other watch face (Rolex, Breitlilng, Bulova, Casio, etc.) they can look a bit cluttered on the Moto 360. The little "chronometer" dials that almost no one uses can display steps, watch charge, smart phone charge, local temperature, and other thing but almost never actually work as chronometer devices. I had to search and experiment in order to find one that displays watch battery, date, outside temp and weather, and has an analog dial. The ones that come with the device are nice but, at least for me, less functional.

 

There are thousands of watch faces out there and this has caused a bit of a ruckus in Switzerland because it turns out that Rolex and Breitling (just to name two) are a bit sensitive about their watch face designs. They put a lot of work into making distinctive designs that are attractive and useful and are just now starting to realize that they could actually sell that design for a smart watch. I have already seen some designs pulled because of copyright issues.

 

One thing a smart watch can do that a regular watch can't (or at least not easily) do is animate. Clouds can move across the dial, the sun can rise, the moon can set, colors can change, etc. Animations, however, can reduce battery life so they are disabled by default and you have to enable them. I have not enabled them.

 

No one really has a handle on how "wearable" devices are going to shake out in the marketplace. I think spending $500 for one is insane. But for $179 it's probably not too bad. It depends upon how much you need to stay connected in a convenient way, I think. I depend upon being able to react quickly to client issues because they pay me to fix them and will find someone else if I am not available. No one is going to just sit around with a server issue until I finally get around to calling back. If a client texts me or emails me with a question and I'm driving my car, I pull over and respond. They like that.

 

Which is why I don't get many vacations.

 

WDR

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