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Moto 360 Sport review - a smartwatch with GPS tracking

Katharine Byrne
22 Jan 2016
Moto 360 Sport
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
219
inc VAT

The Moto 360 Sport has the makings of a great fitness watch hybrid, but its design and inaccurate GPS limit its appeal

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Specifications

Pedometer: Yes, Heart-rate monitor: Yes (optical), Display size: 1.37in, Resolution: 360x325, OS support: Android 4.3+ or iPhone with iOS 8.2+, Battery life: One day

Motorola's had a pretty good track record with its Android Wear devices. Its first Moto 360 smartwatch was one of the best early wearables, and the 2nd Gen model it launched late last year was even better, offering more customisation options and a sleeker, more attractive design that came in two sizes, so you should find one that suits.

Now we have the Moto 360 Sport, which, as its name implies, aims to bridge the gap between smartwatches and fitness trackers. With built-in GPS, optical heart rate monitor, a silicone rubber strap and a new adaptive display for easy reading both indoors and out, it sounds like the perfect combination for those after something a bit more watch-like than your average fitness tracker. In reality, though, it stumbles over a number of hurdles, starting from its basic design right through to its rather limited fitness features.

Looking for something a bit less sporty? Check out our best smartwatches from 2015

Design

For instance, its silicone rubber band is a logical choice when it comes to wiping off sweat and grime after exercise, and it's certainly more comfortable to wear than the metal and leather straps of its non-Sport Moto 360 cousins. However, that doesn't stop it from picking up all manner of dust and dirt on a daily basis, as you can see in these pictures.

It's not easy to clean either, as its soft, spongy finish simply won't let go of whatever's stuck to its surface, regardless of how hard you scrub it. This leaves it looking rather ugly next to its glossier, metal siblings, and the fact you can't replace the strap means you're also stuck with it for the duration of the watch's lifespan.

Moto 360 Sport design

It's amazing just how much dust and lint the 360 Sport picks up

With a 45mm diameter, the Moto 360 Sport errs more toward the size of the larger 2nd Gen Moto 360, but it didn't look too big even on my fairly petite wrists. It also has an IP67 rating, which means it's both dust-tight and water resistant, albeit only up to a metre for a duration of 30 minutes. That makes a quick dip fine but you shouldn't do any serious swimming with it, so you'll need to look elsewhere if you want something for the pool, such as the Misfit Shine or Garmin Vivoactive.

Fitness tracking

Instead, the Moto 360 Sport is aimed almost entirely at runners, and its optical heart rate monitor and built-in GPS go a long way to help separate it from other Android Wear smartwatches. GPS in itself is a rarity among smartwatches, and while we've seen heart rate monitors appear on a number of other Android Wear watches before, the Moto 360 Sport can track your pulse continuously throughout your workout to give you real-time feedback on how your pulse rate's changing and where it falls within Motorola's pre-defined heart rate zones.

These range from warm-up all the way up to vigorous and intense exercise, and are a useful indicator if you're trying to keep your heart rate within certain boundaries. You do have to remember to turn on Motorola's Moto Body app before you see this information, though, as it won't do it automatically. Luckily, Motorola's included a great big Start button in the middle of the display to save you from finding the app in its menus.

Moto 360 Sport screen

Moto Body

Once Moto Body is enabled, you can set specific time, distance or calorie goals, or simply jump into Quick Start mode if you're in a hurry. A simple double tap on the screen will then pause the timer if you want to take a break, and tapping 'End' will save your data to its 4GB of internal storage, after which it will sync to your phone when it's back in range. It can also share this data with other apps and services such as Fitbit, Strava, MapMyRun, UA Record and Google Fit.

Moto 360 Sport Moto Body running app

However, one of the Moto 360 Sport's main downfalls is the lack of customisation options. For instance, you can't set the heart rate boundaries yourself to really help you fine-tune your exercise plan, and its day-to-day non-Moto Body data simply isn't very useful, regardless of whether you're a fitness buff or an occasional gym-goer. For instance, when you don't have Moto Body enabled, the Sport will measure your steps, track your supposed heart activity and record the number of calories you burn each day through exercise in addition to those burned while resting (your basal metabolic rate).

However, I managed to comfortably exceed my heart activity goals simply by walking between the office and my nearest tube stop every day, which takes around ten minutes each way. There's no way to change this goal in the app to require more exercise either, making this particular metric more or less redundant unless you're a real, first class couch potato. Its calorie burn data also seemed to be very generous, and I didn't find its graph data particularly helpful or easy to decipher.

Moto 360 Sport Moto Body screenshot01

^ Moto Body's initial homescreen is reasonably informative, but its graphs are next to useless, as you can't tap on them or zoom in any further to make its intervals more legibile

Admittedly, the proper Moto Body run data is more detailed and therefore more useful, but it's still not completely perfect. It includes graphs showing your pace, heart rate and calorie-burn per minute over the course of your workout, some data on how your distance and pace compares to your current records, as well as how long you spent in each heart rate zone.