This weekend, I will be running a 10-mile road race. It will be my first in nearly five years. To prepare for it, I've been running regularly for the past few months with an assortment of gadgets: the Garmin Forerunner 235/630, TomTom Spark, Fitbit Surge and Polar M400.
All of these watches include GPS for tracking pace and distance. Some, like the Forerunner 235/630, Polar M400 and Fitbit Surge, even display notifications for text messages and emails from your smartphone, but I wouldn't consider them full-blown smartwatches.
That's where the Moto 360 Sport comes in. It's the activity-centric sibling to the second-generation Moto 360 that debuted in late 2015. The watch runs Android Wear, so it can display notifications from your iPhone or Android device and includes personalized cards with information on the weather, traffic, sports scores and more. It's also one of the few smartwatches to feature GPS (the others being the Sony Smartwatch 3 and Samsung Gear S2 3G).
I compared the Moto 360 Sport to traditional running watches from Garmin, Polar and TomTom, and was a bit surprised how well it did. Motorola's fitness-focused smartwatch includes an optical heart-rate sensor and provides ample amount of post-run data. Best of all, this didn't require a separate app like Runkeeper or Strava. Motorola's built-in MotoBody app handled it all, in addition to daily activity tracking.
But the Moto 360 Sport suffers from poor battery life, and the single-button design isn't ideal for running. It's also too expensive. The Moto 360 Sport costs $299 in the US and £219 in the UK. You're better off buying a dedicated running watch from a company like Garmin or Polar for the same or a little more cash.
- Watch case: 45mm diameter
- 1.37-inch 360x325-pixel resolution display (263ppi)
- 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor
- 4GB of internal storage with 512MB of RAM
- 300mAh battery with wireless charging
- Wi-Fi, optical heart-rate sensor, GPS, dual mics
- Splashproof: IP67 rating (see here for more information)
How is the Sport different from the "regular" Moto 360?
As the name implies, the Moto 360 Sport features a more active design than the standard Moto 360. Gone are the leather straps from the baseline model, replaced instead with a non-removable silicone band. It's comfortable to wear, but the watch still isn't designed to be worn in the shower or the pool. Competing watches from Garmin, TomTom and Polar tend to carry water resistance ratings of 5ATM.
While the normal Moto 360 is capable of tracking steps and distance throughout the day, it's fitness features end there. The Sport, on the other hand, is equipped with GPS, an essential tool for runners to help measure pace and distance in real-time without requiring a smartphone.
Otherwise, the Sport isn't too different from other Android Wear smartwatches. It does, however, utilizes a technology Motorola calls "AnyLight Hybrid Display." It's the first display to combine a traditional backlit LCD screen (like those found on smartphones) with a front-lit reflective one. This helps the display remain visible even in direct sunlight. It's quite impressive: It was bright and vibrant when indoors, while remaining clear when I moved outside. Nice work, Moto.
But the display isn't perfect. There is a weird warping effect along the edges between the display and the casing. This is a problem I mentioned in my review of the earlier Moto 360.
Running with the Moto 360 Sport
I ran more than 100 miles with the watch. It's relatively simple as far as running watches go, and reminds me a little of the Fitbit Surge. I used the preinstalled MotoBody app for my testing, but Android users have the option of downloading apps from RunKeeper, Strava and others. (Android Wear for iOS doesn't support third-party apps).