Hands on: Moto 360 (2019) Review

There's a new Moto 360 smartwatch – however it's not actually made by Motorola

First Impressions

After a quick hands-on, the Moto 360 (2019) doesn’t make all that much sense. You can buy better-looking smartwatches for less, its rotating crown is cool, but not game-changing and I am having serious difficulty dealing with the fact the latest Moto 360 isn’t made by Motorola. When we get it in for review, it could have sensational battery and usability, totally blowing our minds… for now, though, it's just a bit confusing.

Key Specifications

  • 1.2-inch 360 x 360 OLED
  • 5ATM waterproofing
  • GPS
  • Wear OS

What is the Moto 360 (2019)?

When I heard that the Moto 360 was returning, I was intrigued, but I really had no idea what to expect – there were no leaks, no murmurs, and in this day and age, that’s unheard of. The lid has, however, been lifted and a shiny new smartwatch has been launched; it’s a new Moto 360… but not a Motorola Moto 360.

Motorola has licensed the Moto 360 name to a company called eBuyNow and it has created a Wear OS watch that looks like a premium smartwatch (from 2015). Honestly, I am still scratching my head after having had a quick play with the thing.

It’s chunky, has a bezel within its bezel, and while it looks premium and runs Wear OS, costing $349.99 when it ships at the end of the year, it’s boldly priced, to put it mildly.

Moto 360 (2019) Design and screen – A blast from the past

In a dark, moody basement bar just off Oxford Street, I spent a brief evening fondling both the black and the rose gold versions of the new Moto 360 and its leather straps. It’s also available in a grey version too, all showcasing a brushed stainless steel body, with a patterned, ribbed plastic back and 3 ATM waterproofing.

There’s no flat tire here, i.e. that horizontal line on the bottom of the original Moto 360’s screen, so, that’s good, but this time around, there’s not one, but two bezels surrounding the display, making this 2019 edition look distinctly dated. In fact, we’d go so far as to say, the 2nd gen Moto 360, which was more edge-to-edge looks fresher.

Don’t get us wrong, this watch’s body feels solid, the two buttons on the right have a gratifying tactility and the top button, which doubles up as a digital crown is seriously smooth when interacting with it, but I can’t help but feel like the fascia itself is a step back in time.

Face-on, the 1.2-inch 360 x 360 OLED screen looks bright and felt responsive, but it is pretty small. Our roughly 1.4-inch Huawei Watch GT 2 display wiped the floor with it side-by-side from a size and resolution perspective, and it also felt less chunky too, despite being bigger.

Moto 360 (2019) everything else

That said, the new Moto 360 can do some things the Watch GT 2 can’t. For example, running Android Wear, Google’s voice assistant is loaded onboard – just swipe to the right-hand screen to fire it up and the world is at your beck and call – provided you’ve got an active internet connection.

Google Pay integration means you can tap and pay from the watch thanks to the Moto 360’s NFC tech, and this even works when you don’t have your phone to hand. 

The reprise also features a 355mAh battery, is powered by a Snapdragon 3100 processor from Qualcomm, and comes bundled with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage. I found swipes to be smooth, and clarity and brightness to be decent, though I used it in a dimly lit London bar, so will have to test it outdoors before nailing our colours to the mast on that front. 

As for fitness tracking, there’s a heart rate monitor on the back and the watch also includes GPS too, while Wear OS plays nicely with third-party apps like Strava, and is integrated with Google Fit. That 3ATM waterproofing means it’s good for a swim as well, though be sure to use the ribbed rubber strap, included in the box, rather than the leather one when training. 

If you’re interested in seeing how this strange tale of licensing unfolds, you can sign up for updates by visiting moto360.com, with shipping in the US expected to commence in December 2019 – just in time for the holidays.

Related: Best smartwatches

Moto 360 (2019) – Early Verdict

After a quick hands-on, the Moto 360 (2019) doesn’t make all that much sense. You can buy better-looking smartwatches for less, its rotating crown is cool, but not game-changing and I am having serious difficulty dealing with the fact the latest Moto 360 isn’t made by Motorola. When I get it in for review, it could have sensational battery and usability, totally blowing my mind… for now, though, it’s just a bit confusing.

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