A Pebble User Tries the Moto 360 Watch

September 22, 2014

I’ve been a Pebble Watch user for the past year. I love it. The idea behind the Pebble — and really most smart watches — is to bring your phone’s notifications to your wrist.

The Problem I Was Trying to Solve

I found my phone buzzing in my pocket all day. Important work e-mail or company newsletter? Take your phone out of your pocket, unlock it, see it’s the newsletter… oh, wait, this looks interesting. And all of the sudden I’m sucked into my phone.

Instead, selected notifications are sent to my watch. Oh, it’s just a newsletter. Phone stays in my pocket. My phone no longer buzzes. I only pull my phone out of my pocket when I actually need to read or respond to the e-mail. I’m less distracted (although my wife would argue that point).

The allure of a visually beautiful version led me to try the Moto 360.

My First Three Days With The Moto 360

I hated it. Within an hour, I was thinking about whether I could return the watch. I was such an ingrained Pebble user that Android Wear and the Moto 360 didn’t feel right. And then I got an e-mail which asked me if I wanted to reply. The Moto 360 and Android Wear is a different use case than the Pebble. The Pebble is really a one-way device for displaying information to the user. Android Wear is an integrated environment with your Google Ecosystem. (I’ll use Android Wear and the Moto 360 interchangeably throughout since makers can’t change too much of Google’s software.)

Android Wear is Google Now

The Moto 360 is really an extension of Google Now. Every bit of information that pops up on your phone from Google starts to appear in a very similar way on your watch. To get the most value out of the watch, you have to be familiar with the Google Now commands. When I started talking to my watch instead of trying to interact with buttons and swipes, I really started enjoying the watch.

I love Evernote. I try to keep everything in Evernote. Even with widgets on my phone, it’s hard to get a new note into Evernote on my phone without giving up. With the Moto 360 (and the Evernote Android Wear plugin), I say “Take a note” to the watch and I dictate a note directly into Evernote.

Likewise, using “Remind Me” to set quick reminders is incredibly easy. I never used it on my phone because at that point, I might as well open my normal todo list manager. With the watch, I can create non-sense reminders to check the oven in 10 minutes.

Seeing emails on the watch is easy. You can swipe e-mails away that aren’t interesting, archive an email directly in the watch, or reply via voice. The typeset is crisp and easy to read.

The nice part of the Android ecosystem is that many applications are directly compatible with Android Wear. It’s easy to reply to emails, approve requests from Duo Security, or even request a car from Uber.

And It Looks Good

Motorola did a nice job with the watch faces. Wearing the watch feels like a real watch. People don’t say, “oh, is that an Android watch?” I usually get “oh, you got a new watch.” No idea that it’s the Moto 360 or even an Android Wear watch. The watch face to the left is the one that I wear on a regular basis. I’ve seen a bunch of novelty watch faces, but with the classic nature of the physical hardware, I like having a classic watch face.

It’s a little big. But I’ve been surprised by the size of some male watches these days.

And the flat tire. Everyone in advance of the release of the watch talked about how the watch screen isn’t perfectly round. There is a flat tire at the bottom. There is. But it is so small and inconsequential that I rarely notice.

In Summary

I’m not going back to the Pebble. The Moto 360 is a pleasure to use. It just takes a few days to get comfortable with it and figure out how to get the most out of it.

An odd note, if you look at all of the screenshots on the page. They’re square. The Moto 360 is round. All of the screenshots in this post were taken directly from my watch in debug mode. Funny, that images show up square.

More from Jay at jayschulman.com.