…but, I’m back. And you know, there’s a lot more fails than just car fails. But then there’s another thing: car fails are just getting stale. Or maybe I’m just getting stale. In other news, I figure it’s probably pretty self-centered to just post about how I’m feeling about certain games, I figure I’ll stop. (But for all of you that like it, this is the last time. And by the way: Skyrim: Ok. Been playing recently, though. Watch Dogs: Meh. Gets kinda boring once you complete the story missions. Oh, and there’s no online free roam on PS3 [Oh, right I forgot to tell you: I got it for PS3. Why? My computer’s RAM: 5.9 Gigabytes. RAM needed to run Watch Dogs: 6.0 Gigabytes. The sad, sad truth.] ) Ok, this post is getting lengthy, so I figured I’d stop it here. Wait, what am I doing!?! My hands… they’re going to Google! They… they’re clicking on Images… Oh, no…
It’s terrible!!! Well, I guess I don’t have as much self control as I thought I did. See you next time!
Motorola makes top-notch phones. But at Google I/O they announced the Moto 360 alongside Google’s Android Wear. It’s the world’s first circular smartwatch display, apart from a little notch a the bottom for display drivers and light sensors. It also has the best design of a smartwatch, with a full stainless steel body. I got to use one for a while; here’s what I think.
I’m a huge design freak, and I’m in love with this watch. Besides having a round screen, it’s on of the first wearables that actually looks good. I’ve never been one for gaudy gear, and my black version offers a welcome sleek, minimalist design. The all-metal design, with a Horween leather strap is gorgeous and really sharp. It definitely looks like a gadget as opposed to a watch, and I’m cool with that.
The screen is probably one of the most interesting features of the watch. It’s nearly bezel-less, and interestingly enough, it actually goes past the chamfered edge of the glass, creating a weird effect where you can see distorted pixelation through the edge. Something people won’t like is that the display isn’t totally round. It’s got a little sliver cut out of the bottom for light sensors and display drivers. I really didn’t notice, but you might care. Anyway, the round face creates a device that looks a lot like a real watch.
That being said, the 360 still feels like a gadget as opposed to a watch, but I don’t think as many people will be staring at your wrist as opposed to something like a G Watch or Gear Live. With a circular watch, you have a circular body. There’s a textured crown on one side with a brass ring around it. On the other side is a microphone, but no speaker. Personally, I’d like to have some form of internal audio.
On the bottom of the 360 is an awesome holographic backing with a grille containing a heart rate monitor and the inductive charging receiver. Interestingly enough, the watch never seemed to read my pulse. Believe me, I’ve tried, but it took forever.
The hardware isn’t super-new, but on a watch, specs don’t matter. Us nerds check below to see the specs, but Android Wear is super-smooth and responsive. It brings in notifications, and interactions are all fluid, with no lag.
|SoC||TI OMAP 3|
|Display||1.56-inch 320 x 290 IPS LCD|
|Battery||300 – 320 MaH|
|RAM||512 MB DDR3|
I’ve already done a full review of Android Wear, so I won’t go super in-depth with this bad boy. It’s simple: a single press of the crown takes you to your watch face and notifications and a long press on the crown takes you to settings. But I will say, that after a while, the newness of this system wore off and it began to feel kind of limited. Notifications come in alright, and that’s fine, but I wouldn’t say navigation is fluid, and there aren’t that many apps and watch faces.
Luckily enough, Motorola decided to drop their Motorola Connect software into the mix. It allows you to tweak watch faces provided by Motorola with background and accent colors. My favorite is face is Basic. It’s super simple, and I think it matches the body perfectly.
Also worth noting is that the circular screen offers a far better experience than a square one. For example, the screen actually has more real estate than a square device because screen size is measured in diameter, not diagonal width. Diagonal is the longest measure of a device, but with a circular display, every way is the longest measure. The circular display also just feels fun, magical.
Pure graphics and computing performance was great on the Moto 360, easily handling everything I threw at it. Google Now responds almost instantly (my only gripe being no audio feedback) and launching apps is fluid. There is one problem – the heart rate monitor. It doesn’t actually work, or at least, not quickly. It took about 6 minutes to get a reading out of my unit.
Finally, battery. For most people, this is usually the deal maker or breaker. The battery was definitely iffy on this device. For most people, you’ll be seeing your watch to sleep with about 10% each day. Battery seems to improve over time, though, so whatever you get is going to change. Charging is super fast, and super cool. Just drop it on the bundled Qi charger and see the super slick animation progress toward 100%.
Rating: 8 – Great
The Moto X seems to be alright, but battery has some issues. At first, you’ll be ending the day with about 10% capacity. After a week, it’ll increase to around 25%. The device seems to perform alright; scrolling, swiping, and general interactions are all fast and fluid.
The design is beautiful and slick. The chamfered circular glass, milled steel body, and leather band all make this watch a gorgeous timepeice. Although Android Wear isn’t there yet, this wearable definitely is. The only gripes that I have are the battery and yes, the OS. The little sliver from the display doesn’t bother me, but I can see why it would.
So if you want Android Wear now, the $249 Moto 360 is the best wearable around.
Last year Motorola released the Moto X, and it seemed they were back in the game. Motorola, the company that kickstarted the premium Android, then got lost in an endless swarm of gradual yearly DROID updates, had a pulse. The Moto X sure wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a great start. And now the X has been updated, with a better processor, screen, and camera. It’s amazing.
This phone is straight up beautiful, with an ergonomic swooping backplate and a gorgeous screen. The front face is dominated by the 5.2 inch 1080p display. The side bezels are slim, but there are ample top and bottom bezels. Both the top and bottom have long, slim stereo speakers that rise about 2mm from the body and pump out awesome audio. On top, the phone also sports a 2 MP front facing camera and a variety of sensors. My particular model had a white face.
The backplate swoops more dramatically than ever before, probably to accommodate the enlarged screen. It’s super comfortable to hold, despite its size (I have small hands) and single-handed use was fine. My model had a bamboo back. Anyway, up top is the 13 MP camera surrounded by a dual LED flash, in case you need to add more photons to your shots. Below it is the signature Motorola dimple, now bolder than ever, surrounded by a stainless steel ring.
The phone’s ditched the all-plastic trim, instead going for an aluminum band, reminiscent of a certain iPhone. This was a wise choice; it makes the phone feel dense and high-quality. On top of the band is a headphone jack and to the right of it is a SIM tray. On the right of the band is the volume rocker, with a ridges power button atop. It’s now way easier to tell them apart. On the bottom of the band is a micro USB port.
Although I tested the white-and-bamboo version, the X has a slew of customization options. You can choose from 17 rubbers, 4 woods, 4 leathers, 2 front plate colors, 10 trims, and optional engraving. It’s one of the first phones you can truly make yours.
Well the stuff you can’t see – a 2.5GHz processor, for example, makes this phone truly great. The display uses AMOLED, but it’s now 1080p HD. With its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2 GB RAM, and 32 or 64 GB of storage, there’s nothing separating this phone from an iPhone 6 or GS5. And all these technologies mean that the X will handle anything you throw at it. Battery life’s alright, too, with a 2300 mAh ticker that easily lasts a day.
You can peek at the benchmarks, geeks, but everything boils down to the fact that this phone screams. Apps launch quickly, swiping between webpages is smooth, and the general experience is great. The point is, the Moto X has more than enough horsepower for anything you’ll do. Even so, battery was fine. In a video-loop test, the phone lasted 10 hours 30 minutes.
|3DMark IS Unlimited||19,568|
|SunSpider 1.0.2 (ms)||787|
|GFXBench 3.0 Manhattan Offscreen (fps)||11.9|
I can hear the hallelujah bells here: they are chanting stock Android. Motorola’s version is almost exactly the way Google intended it, except for a couple useful features, and… carrier bloatware. That’s right, my Verizon model had Caller Name ID, Mobile Hotspot, NFL Mobile, QuickOffice, Verizon Tones, Voicemail, Setup, My Verizon, and VZ Navigator. But all is not lost, because what you can’t uninstall, you can disable.
Now back to the useful features. There’s Moto Display, Moto Actions, and Moto Voice. Moto Display shows your notifications at a glance on the dark lock screen. Swipe to get to the app. Moto Actions uses the IR sensors on the phone’s face to enable gesture control. Swipe your hand over the phone (Jedi style) to activate Moto Display. Then tap your notifications to get the information at-a-glance. But the star of the show is Moto Voice. With Google Now you can say “OK Google” to enable it, but with Moto Voice, you can customize it into anything you want. I went with a casual “Hey Moto X”, and it worked flawlessly.
Well, the first X’s camera defintiely wasn’t amazing. But this year, it’s 13 MP, up from 10. In good conditions, the camera will deliver vibrant colors and plenty of detail, but change the conditions, and autofocus becomes painfully slow. It’s really frustrating just waiting for the phone to snap into focus.
The Bottom Line
The Moto X is a gorgeous phone. It combines the signature Motorola curve and dimple, now bolder than ever, with a premium design and a great screen. It feels dense and premium, and it really is a flagship, with a 2.5zGHz CPU and tons of memory. It has gestures and software features that are actually useful. The only shortcoming on the phone is the camera. It is slow to autofocus, and it sometimes comes out grainy. The phone is infinitely customizable, with plenty of great materials, but it’s gonna cost you – the phone goes up to $575. Ultimately, this is undeniably one of the best Android phones ever made.
Apple unveiled the Apple Watch in an event last month, but there’s a few things I’m still wondering about. This long-rumored device has no information about battery, and that feature could be the deciding factor on the wearable. We finally have an answer, and you probably won’t like it.