Moto 360, the first round Android Wear smartwatch, looks stunning (hands-on)

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/ Updated: August 14, 2014 1:19 PM PDT

Google wants to win your wrist and the Android Wear-powered Moto 360 is still part of the plan.

At Google's I/O 2014 Keynote address Wednesday Google didn't say much about Motorola's smartwatch, originally revealed in March, and Motorola hasn't released an official list of features. And unlike for the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, both of which will be available July 7, we don't have a Moto 360 release date (or even a price). But, we do know that it should make its debut at a Motorola event planned for September 4.

So, despite the Moto 360 still being one of the first watches to arrive running Android Wear OS, there are still many unanswered questions.

Google did, however, demonstrate many of the features that will be available to these devices, including voice commands for sending texts, getting directions, and music playback. With the smartwatch you'll also be able to receive and dismiss notifications, accept or decline calls, and dictate notes and reminders.

What makes the Moto 360 so interesting? For the most part, it's the look.

James Martin/CNET

It's the boldest and most stylish smartwatch of the bunch. According to Google, the round design is meant to appeal to both genders while ditching the sharp corners that can dig into your wrist. Promises aside, the shape is an improvement over the square designs that we normally see and it makes the Moto 360 look like a regular fashion watch from a distance.

And how does it look in person? Very nice, but probably bigger than you'd expect. The round face feels about as large around as a silver dollar, and the steel casing is about as thick as a Pebble Steel. Svelte this is not.

A leather band attaches cleanly to the body and buckles up like a standard watchband; it's comfy and even supple. A single button on the side of the Moto 360 turns the display on and off, but right now it's hard to see how Android Wear will actually work: the few units here at Google I/O were running a set demo reel of rotating notification mock-ups, indicating how they'll look on the screen but not how live interaction will feel.

There's only one button that we can see, plus the touch screen and a microphone. The back of the Moto 360 is mysteriously devoid of standard connectors or charge ports: all signs point to some sort of contactless charging. And leaks point to a heart rate sensor, too.

James Martin/CNET

Southpaws can use it too. The design allows for left- or right-hand use, but we don't know how yet. It's safe to assume the screen will flip depending on orientation.

Yes, you'll be able to change bands. We know of steel and leather bands so far, but hints have been dropped about more detailed Moto Maker-like customization.

It's water-resistant. We don't know how much, or if it's as waterproof as the Pebble. Sounds like it won't be good for swimming.

This won't be the only round Android Wear watch. Android Wear has two standard screen shapes in its SDK: square, and round. Moto 360 adopts the round design that Google is already allowing for. That could mean other round watches, and soon.

James Martin/CNET

There's no camera. According to Motorola, having a camera like the Samsung Gear 2 does didn't mesh with the idea of the watch's contextual-information-gathering design.

Does it have fitness tracking? It'll have a pedometer, and according to the latest rumors it should have heart rate monitoring, too, similar to what Samsung's Gear watches offer.

You can talk to it. Google Now will respond to Moto X-style requests.

You can always tell time with it. Funny, but true: you'll always be able to lift your wrist and see the time. Actually, on many current smartwatches, depending on what app you're in, that's not always the case.

It works with any Android 4.3 phone. Expect that to be true for Android Wear devices across the board, most likely.

What's battery life like? Motorola has been coy about giving an actual number, but claims that battery life has been "made a priority." Motorola claims it's learned from its previous experience with its first watch, the MotoActv, and also the Moto X. And it should have a wireless charging dock, too.

When is will it be available? No firm date has been announced. But, based on the September 4 Motorola event date, it's September (or later).

How much will it cost? Again, we don't know.

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