Review: The Moto 360 Sport

The Moto 360 Sport is Motorola’s casual, fitness-friendly version of the everyday Moto 360; it’s the durable, rough-and-ready athlete to its business casual cousin.

In terms of appearance, the Sport has a very simple design with a silicone band that is lightweight and easy to clean. The watch itself is water resistant, an absolute necessity for those who like a hard workout. (It isn’t entirely waterproof, though — swimmers, be advised.) There are many downloadable screen options for the face as with any Android wearable device, making this easily customizable to personal tastes and needs. I recommend Motorola’s default Sport Watch face; it looks great and has excellent features built in. The watch face is covered in Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3, which is durable enough to handle the sport action and is surrounded by a sleek micro bezel.

The band is currently available in black, white, and flame orange, though it isn’t removable, which would have been a nice feature for further customization. An argument could be made that this isn’t overly important in a fitness device, but then again, this is a handsome watch that I occasionally choose to wear outside the gym. Unlike other sports watches, this doesn’t have a clunky appearance; it’s sleek, comfortable, and perfectly acceptable for the office.

One of the main complaints I’ve heard about the Sport has been the small arc of black at the bottom of the screen, known as the ‘shelf’ — also known, to those who aren’t fans of it, as the ‘flat tire’. Personally, this doesn’t bother me at all or really impact my user experience. So what if there’s a tiny part of the screen that isn’t functional? A smartwatch was never intended as a device for lengthy viewing of videos or web pages. This area houses the watch’s sensors, and these do affect the user experience. Infinitely more important than a visual detail.

Like the Moto 360, the Sport is an Android device that operates on Google software and boasts all of the features an Android watch should have, including—but obviously not limited to—a built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor, an ambient light sensor, a microphone (with dual digital mics), barometric altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, and a pedometer. It has the ability to easily sync with an Android phone, which means you can receive texts, calendar alerts, and navigation alerts during a workout. You can even use it to answer a phone call.  You can’t conduct a call on the watch, but the ability to at least answer incoming calls buys you some time to retrieve your phone.

The Sport offers 4Gs of storage, which is more than enough for a fitness device, although almost 40% of that is used up by the operating system. Its battery life is also impressive; after wearing it throughout the day and using it pretty actively during my workout (which usually lasts just over an hour), I tend to have about 30% battery remaining by the time I charge it in the evening. The watch charges wirelessly with an attractive cradle-like dock. When resting in this cradle, it takes on the appearance and function of a bedside alarm clock. I personally place mine on a bureau across the room and can easily see the time.

The Sport’s main selling feature is, of course, its functions that centre on fitness. The watch records useful stats during a workout. The built in GPS antenna tracks your run without the need for your phone, the LED heart rate monitor continually and accurately tracks your heart rate, and all the other sensors collectively provide plenty of data to help you evaluate your progress.

I’ll preface my main complaint about the Moto 360 Sport by saying that I think this is a great watch. It’s perfect for runners and cyclists; if either is your choice mode of working out, you should run out (or cycle out) and buy one of these little beauties. But my issue is exactly that: for those of us who aren’t runners or cyclists, this device has elements that could definitely be improved upon. As a Crossfitter, I rely on certain apps and data recorders to track my varied fitness regime. My favorite app, Map My Fitness, isn’t compatible with the Moto 360 Sport. I have to share my information into that app through the Moto Body App. The watch doesn’t cooperate well with many third party apps, period, and its own apps are, in my experience, a little limiting for anything outside of running and cycling.

For Apple users curious about alternatives to the Apple Watch, the Moto 360 Sport will work with an iOS device. However, notifications and interactions will be limited. Motorola is meant for Android, and pairs best with devices that run on Google software.

Ultimately, Motorola has built a great platform with the Moto 360 Sport on which to expand. Hopefully future models will cater better to the multitude of fitness regimens out there, making the Sport an inclusive and attractive smartwatch.