Smartwatches, as it turns out, have been around for years. Microsoft gave it a whirl in 2004 with the SPOT, but much like Windows-based tablets in the early Aughts, SPOT too was far ahead of its time. Dick Tracy is largely credited with massaging the idea of the smartwatch into the American psyche, and most smartwatch makers followed those mocks pretty carefully: initial options were square or rectangular — shrunken smartphone screens with shrunken functionality to boot. Motorola, however, was the first to offer an alternative that showcased both form and function, with the circular Motorola 360 stealing the hearts of design-focused technophiles the world over.
In a world where most smartwatches do little beyond passing along notifications from your phone, the 360 spends its free time looking downright dashing. The metal chassis and beveled edges exude quality, making it quite clear that it’s engineered first and foremost as a timepiece. Even its digital watch faces eschew gimmicks and cartoony animations for elegant representations of actual watches. Perhaps the most impressive feat is the OS underneath; instead of developing a proprietary software stack, Moto figured out how to implement Android Wear on a stunning 1.56-inch round display. That means that Google’s bustling ecosystem will be compatible with the watch, and you won’t have to sacrifice style in order to wear a computer on your wrist. It works best when paired with Android phones, but it’ll play nice with any modern handset.
Moto’s 360 is about more than just looks, though. Frequent travelers will surely appreciate flight updates right on their wrist, and if you’ve become inundated with updates that require you to unlock and peer at your phone every other minute, the 360’s ability to give you those messages at a glance should make your life a wee bit less hectic. The only real weak spot is the battery life: while you’ll probably get through a workday just fine, nightly charging is a must. If you’re planning to transition straight from the office to the nightclub, you’d best pack a charger. The 360 is a wickedly smart smartphone accompaniment, but that’s the easy part — it’s also the only one in its class that you’d wear on a date.
Sensors: gyro, accelerometer, compass, pedometer, optical heart rate
Processor: Texas Instruments OMAP 3
Display: 320 x 290 1.56-inch Backlit LCD IPS
Size: 46 millimeter diameter