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2
Oct

Moto 360 review: The watch you’ve been waiting for


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From the time Motorola first announced they were working on a smartwatch, they had everybody watching them. Unlike the LG G Watch or the Samsung Gear Live, the Moto 360 was different, and everyone could see that. It took smartwatch design to a whole new level – not only with the circular screen, but with the great attention to detail.

Since the initial Android Wear announcement, Motorola took a pretty decent amount of time trying to get this thing ready for launch. It’s finally here, and we’ve been using it non-stop for about 3 weeks. So without further adieu, here is our Moto 360 review.

Hardware

To begin with the most obvious differentiator, the Moto 360 offers a round display. It’s what sets it apart from the other Android Wear devices currently on the market, and what makes it look more like a traditional watch than the others.

The casing of the watch is made from stainless steel, and it feels really nice. At 49 grams, it’s not too light and it’s not too heavy. It feels just like a watch should. Around front is a 1.56-inch Corning Gorilla Glass LCD display with a nice chamfered edge around the entire display. It slightly distorts the display on the edge, which takes a little getting used to. However, it does add a slight floating effect to the display, which is quite interesting.

Source: Droid Life

Source: Droid Life

The display comes in at a resolution of 320×290 (205ppi). The ambient light sensor, or the “flat tire”, is the main reason for the out-of-the-ordinary display resolution. It’s the big black bar towards the bottom of the screen, and has been quite the conversation piece throughout the last few weeks.

Some people are really bugged by the ambient light sensor. Others couldn’t care less about it. From personal experience, it all depends on the watch face being used at the time. I’m a big fan of the “Rotate” watch face, mainly because it directs my eyes away from the bar at the bottom. On more circular ones like “Classic”, “Dials”, or “Minimal”, it’s much more easy to spot. If you didn’t want the sensor at the bottom, the other option would be to expand the bezel of the casing, which most would opt against. Moto has commented on their decision to keep the black bar at the bottom, and we’d have to agree with their decision.

Around back is the optical heart rate monitor, used in conjunction with Google Fit. In our experiences, the heart rate monitor works about 70% of the time. It gave skewed results before, during, and after our test workouts. When it does work, though, it’s extremely convenient. We’re unsure whether this is a problem with the hardware, or if it can be fixed with a software update. But I can tell you that we’re sure hoping for the latter.

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Buying a Moto 360 today means getting to choose between two options: a light metal case with Stone leather band, or a dark leather case with a Black leather band. More color options will be available in leather and will eventually run you $29.99 a piece. The straps are made of Horween Leather, and are super good quality. The leather is soft, durable, and feels like it will hold up over time. While only having the watch for a few weeks, we don’t know that it will hold up, but it sure feels like it. If you don’t mind waiting a few months, you can grab one of the metal watch straps for $79.99 in black or silver.

While on the subject of watchbands, the Moto 360 fits (almost) all 22mm straps. That means you can probably put your favorite band on your watch, though it may be a bit difficult. There is a slight opening in the watch where the strap connects, to make the illusion that the strap goes all the way through the casing. But remember: it doesn’t. That means it’s going to be much more difficult for your non-Moto strap to replace the stock one. You can always try it, but just take caution!

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Battery life

Let’s preface this section with a disclaimer. We’ve used the Moto 360 in everyday life for roughly three weeks. There are some sites out there that posted their thoughts on battery life a mere hours after receiving the device. I’m not naming names, but that isn’t an honest review in the slightest. We’ve tested it in real life situations for weeks, and we didn’t get nearly the same results.

With all of that being said, here’s where the watch gets interesting.

Moto 4

The Moto 360 comes with a 320mAh battery – not the worst, but certainly nowhere near the best. But you can’t judge a device’s battery solely based on capacity alone. Probably the biggest factor in whether the watch will last all day is the “Ambient Screen” mode (not to be confused with the ambient light sensor… more on that later). Ambient Screen mode is “Always On” mode – even when you aren’t looking at the watch, the display remains on, but only in a very dim state. Thinking about it a bit more, this is a great feature to have on your wristwatch. Normal watches are always on, so why not have your smartwatch stay on? The answer is simple:

Don’t turn Ambient Screen on if you want your Moto 360 to last all day.

Moto 1Ambient Screen mode is nice, but is a huge battery hog. When you turn the mode on, the watch even warns you that your battery life will suffer dramatically. We had to charge the watch twice in one day with the mode on, and only with light use throughout the day. It really is bad. But there are ways around that. When Ambient Screen mode is turned off, the Moto 360 recognizes when you lift up your wrist to check the time, and immediately turns the screen on. It’s usually pretty good about turning the screen on every time we make this motion, but it would still be nice to have a watch that’s always on.

In the brightness settings on the watch, you can either set it to a certain brightness, or set it to Auto brightness. Auto brightness is possible because of the ambient light sensor (the black bar towards the bottom of the display), and it’s a really nice feature. It gets dim in low light situations, then turns to the brightest setting when you move under a light or go outside. From what we can tell, there isn’t a huge difference in battery life compared to just keeping it at a lower setting. This feature alone is why I’m so willing to put up with the black bar on the display.

As for battery life when Ambient Screen is turned off? It will last you about a day. Personally, I haven’t put it on the charger at night with anything less than about 15% remaining. Sure, that’s cutting it close… but if you can come to terms with the fact that you need to charge it every night, you shouldn’t have any qualms with throwing it on the charger. With the newest Android Wear update (version 4.4w.1), users are seeing much improved battery life on the Moto 360. It’s still a new update, though, so we’ll have to do a bit more testing with this update.

Oh, and Motorola made sure to include Qi wireless charging in the Moto 360, so charging it is as simple as setting it on a dock. When the 360 is charging, it shows a really nice, dimly lit clock, which doubles as a battery percent indicator. We’ve found this is perfect for a small bedside clock or a nice desk clock.

The other nice aspect of the battery is that, while it may be a slight hassle to charge it mid-day, it only takes about 45-50 minutes to charge it from 0-100. That’s pretty impressive, and it definitely helps with the battery situation.

UPDATE: Since the software update rolled out last week we’ve noticed that the battery life is much improved. Bluetooth connection is far more consistent and now we can use Ambient Mode and still end our day with 20% juice. In checking with other members of the team with the Moto 360 we found they, too, were impressed with battery life in wake of the software update.

Performance

Inside the Moto 360 sits a TI OMAP 3 processor. If you’re at all familiar with Motorola’s previous processors, you’ve probably heard the name before. It’s (just about) the same processor, only slightly more optimized for the Moto 360. Unfortunately, the occasional lag is a common theme while swiping away Google Now cards. Android Wear, in its state at the moment, isn’t too graphic-intensive. Sure, it has the occasional animation that requires some processing power, but there is just too much lag while swiping away a simple card.

Of course, the lag isn’t all thanks to the processor, but it’s still unfortunate that it can’t run Android Wear as well as it’s competitors.

Android Wear

The software on the Moto 360 is the same version of Android Wear that we’ve had for awhile now. It’s still based around glance-able information cards that give you info right when you need it. So, it’s basically the same premise of Google Now, if you’re familiar with that. When you leave for work, Android Wear will give you the traffic card for your destination. When a package is shipped from your favorite website, you’ll get a card showing tracking information. You pretty much get the idea… less having to search around for things, more of it just being there when you pick up your watch.

It’s a good thing, too, that Android Wear gives you information when you want it. If you’re in a loud environment and can’t use voice dictation, you’re forced to scroll through a seemingly never-ending list of possible commands. This certainly isn’t the best interface for completing certain tasks, and Google absolutely needs to work on improving on it.

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Probably the best feature of the software is Motorola’s custom watch faces. Out of all of them that we’ve seen, the 360′s stock watch faces are by far the best. What’s more, is that you have the ability to customize the colors of the watch faces with Moto’s new Connect app. Once installed on your phone, you can select each individual watch face and begin choosing which color suits you best. This is a feature we hope every OEM will include on their next Wear watch.

Conclusion

If you need to buy an Android Wear device, buy this one. It’s the most stylish. It’s the one that looks the least like a computer on your wrist. It’s the one that doesn’t feel like a first generation product. Whether you’re looking for a genuine premium-feeling leather strap or holding out for the solid metal watch band, you’re not going to feel like you’re carrying around a smart device on your wrist. It feels like a watch should, and looks incredible.Header

With all of that being said, if you can wait, then wait. Android Wear is a very young product, and the current OEMs in the space need to figure out what’s important in a wearable device. Battery life and non-voice dictated commands need to be fixed in order for Android Wear devices to be taken seriously.

This is the best Android Wear device out there, and it’s priced relatively well. You can pick one up on Motorola.com, Google Play, or BestBuy (online or in-store) for $250. At least at the time we’re reviewing this watch, it is really difficult to find any in stock. All three of the sellers listed above are constantly sold out, though we’re confident inventory will be replenished sometime soon.

The Moto 360 the most fairly priced, well built smart watch you can buy today. Though the battery and processor are the things we’d like to see improved, it’s a solid smartwatch that, in our eyes, is worth the price tag.


Do you have a Moto 360? How do you like it? Let us know if you disagree or agree with our review. We’d love to hear your voice in the comments below!


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The post Moto 360 review: The watch you’ve been waiting for appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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2
Oct

Deezer’s regular subscription plan arrives in the US as a Bose exclusive


Deezer brought its high-quality streaming option to Sonos systems in the States last month, and now it’s delivering a regular subscription option… but there’s a catch. The outfit’s Premium Plus plan hits the US for the first time — so long as you’re wielding either a Bose SoundLink speaker or SoundTouch WiFi setup. A $10 monthly subscription allows access to Deezer’s catalog of 35 million songs ad-free, with radio, playlists, offline mode and other perks you’ve come to expect from the likes of Spotify, Rdio and Beats Music. Bose owners will get a 50 percent discount for the first year though, and an October 10th software update will ensure SoundTouch systems are properly equipped to access the service.

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2
Oct

Evernote relaunches web client with new distraction-free interface


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At the fourth annual Evernote conference today, CEO Phil Libin announced a brand new web client that promises to be simpler and cleaner. As Libin says, the previous web version was rather clunky and overwhelming, and was really a second-class citizen to the desktop versions. The new web client, however, is much more scaled down and minimalist. Indeed, one of the key features is that you can now write notes in a distraction-free interface. The UI, he says, melts away, so that your words take centerstage. In a demonstration on stage, the second you start typing notes, the navigation bar sort of disappears, leaving just the text that you’re typing in.

Formatting choices only appear when you need them, and when you finish your notes, you can just move on. The navigation bar is also much simpler, even though it’s functionally the same as it was before. The search field is also treated with the same minimalist distraction-free interface, so that you can “quickly find what you’re looking for. “This is the easiest way to get into Evernote,” says Libin, adding that it’s very appealing to new users. “It’s the simplest and most elegant way to take notes.” The new Evernote web client should be available starting today, but it’s opt-in to start, just in case you’re not entirely sure you want to get rid of the old look just yet.

Libin also announced an interesting new feature called Context for its Business and Premium users. It essentially adds a content feed alongside your Evernote interface that surfaces relevant news according to what it’s gleaned from your notes. It’ll pull the content from sources such as the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and Fast Company. Context will be available starting next month.

Other announcements include a new version of Penultimate, its handwriting app for iOS, and a brand new app called Scannable that essentially lets you scan images directly from the Evernote Edition ScanSnap scanner to your Evernote account.

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Source: Evernote

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2
Oct

Samsung’s take on Android L looks very familiar


Samsung's Android L implementation on a Galaxy S5

You’ve probably seen plenty of Google’s stock Android L interface by now, but custom interfaces are another story. What will the OS look like when device makers get hold of it? If SamMobile‘s experience with an early, leaked version of Samsung’s TouchWiz software is any indication, it will be… remarkably familiar. At least on the Galaxy S5, it looks like the current front-end with splashes of Google’s Material Design philosophy thrown in. Core apps and notifications are now full of card-like, colorful elements, but the home screen, app tray and many other elements resemble what you’ve seen on existing Samsung hardware.

This doesn’t preclude a more conspicuous interface redesign for devices built for Android L from the start, of course. Also, SamMobile is quick to warn that this is very rough code. Many animations are missing, and the performance isn’t up to par just yet. And however unfinished this TouchWiz build may be, its mere existence is good news — it suggests that manufacturers could upgrade your device to the latest Android release comparatively quickly.

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Via: MobileSyrup

Source: SamMobile

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2
Oct

Evernote to add collaborative chat to its note-taking app


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In an effort to make Evernote a more efficient workspace, CEO Phil Libin announced a new chat feature in its note-taking app. Simply called Work Chat, it’s meant as a collaboration tool for the workplace where co-workers can communicate and work together on a document or a project in real time. Not only will you be able to see who’s viewing the note, you can also see if they’re looking at it from the desktop or mobile. “We’re trying to break the tyranny of the inbox,” says Libin. “We want to reduce your dependence on that.” Realistically, he says that we’ll never be free from email, but he would like Work Chat to help alleviate that burden. Work Chat should be available for all platforms — Android, iOS, Mac, PC and web — later this year.

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2
Oct

A Comprehensive Outline of the Security Behind Apple Pay


Apple has described its new Apple Pay payments service, which is designed to be the first step towards the company’s goal of replacing the wallet, as “easy, secure, and private.” Apple Pay includes several different features that offer customers much greater security than a traditional credit card, including Device Account Numbers that replace credit card numbers, dynamic security codes for each transaction, and biometric payment verification through the use of Touch ID.

Ahead of the release of Apple Pay, TUAW‘s Yoni Heisler has taken an in-depth look at the security features built into the payments service, outlining the ways Apple is safeguarding customer information.

While Apple Pay is built on existing NFC technology, Heisler’s research suggests it is the first implementation of the EMVCo tokenization specification, a newly introduced security framework designed to cover emerging payment methods. According to former credit card executive Tom Noyes, this specification is “the most secure payments scheme on the planet.”

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As previously rumored, Apple Pay utilizes a “token,” which the company refers to as a Device Account Number, to replace a user’s existing credit card number on the iPhone. A randomized 16-digit number, the Device Account Number ensures that no merchant is able to obtain a user’s credit card number, protecting consumers from retail security breaches, as TUAW points out, because tokens are randomized numbers that cannot be decrypted back into a credit card number.

Device Account Numbers, or tokens, are paired with a dynamically generated one-time use code that replaces the credit card’s CCV with every transaction.

Providing an additional layer of security, an Apple Pay-equipped iPhone at the time of each transaction also sends a dynamically generated CVV up the chain along with a cryptogram. The CVV is the three-digit string located on the back of your credit card and, in the case of Apple Pay, is a algorithmically-generated dynamic string that’s tied directly to the token. The cryptogram itself “uniquely identifies the device” that created the token and, according to the EMV Payment Spec, is likely composed of encrypted data sourced from the token, the device itself, and transaction data. Note, though, that the precise components of the Apple Pay cryptogram aren’t publicly known.

As noted by Heisler, a Device Account Number can’t be used in a transaction without an accompanying one-time use cryptogram, which verifies that the “token in transit originated from the device being used.” Cryptograms also carry transaction information like the merchant’s identity and the amount of money being charged.

The transaction comprising the Device Account Number and accompanying cryptogram is further verified through the use of Touch ID, which essentially replaces insecure verification methods like passwords and PINs.

According to a credit card executive who spoke to TUAW, token transactions as implemented by Apple “are a new and much higher standard of security for electronic payments.”

The amount of security built into provisioning tokens and supporting transactions is a new standard that I think will definitely shift fraud patterns going forward.

Apple Pay is expected to go live in October, enabled through an update to iOS 8. Hints of Apple Pay have already been found in the iOS 8.1 beta, which was seeded to developers on Monday. TUAW‘s full look at the security behind Apple Pay, which covers tokens, Touch ID, and more, is well worth a read.




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2
Oct

[Deal Alert] SanDisk Ultra 64GB micro SDXC memory card for 43% off



Micro SD cards are not dead. I know you have heard it in the past, and I am sure we will hear it plenty of times in the future. While many would like to believe that there is no need for them anymore, there are plenty of people out there, like myself, that finds them to still be a necessity in life. Especially when you get a fancy new device that offers some rather insane photo resolution and 4K recording ability. Sorry to tell ya, but 16GB internal storage just isn’t going to house a heck of a whole lot. To accommodate your life, there is another deal running on Amazon today for a SanDisk Ultra 64GB Micro SDXC class 10 card.

SanDisk Ultra Micro SD SDXC memory card


There are actually 2 versions of the same card. The old version of the card comes in with a list price of $99.99 and is on sale for $33.99 right now. The old version offers a slightly slower speed of 30MB/s. The newer version of the same card lists for $64.99 and is on sale for $36.99. The big difference is that the newer version of the card offers read speeds of 48MB/s. Shell out the additional $3 for 18MB/s faster read speeds. The difference might seem minimal in text, but in real world use you would notice the difference in a side-by-side comparison, even if it was only minimal.

If you thing 64GB is a little too much space, the 32GB variant is on sale for $17.99. Hit the link below to access all the card sizes and price tags.

Order:  SanDisk 64GB Ultra Class 10 Micro SDXC


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2
Oct

Snake for SmartWatch [‘Watch’ This App]



Smartwatches are amazing things. They have so many amazing functions that can make our lives so much easier, but for far too long the game snake hasn’t been available for smartwatches. The app Snake for SmartWatch changes that. The name says it all it’s the classic game snake that you can play on your smartwatch…. Read more »

The post Snake for SmartWatch [‘Watch’ This App] appeared first on SmarterWatching.


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Read the rest at SmarterWatching.com!

The post Snake for SmartWatch ['Watch' This App] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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2
Oct

SoftBank puts $250 million toward joint movie venture with Legendary


Just days after reports circulated that SoftBank was looking to nab DreamWorks so it could tap into the movie biz, the company is investing elsewhere. Today, the Japanese outfit announced that it’s forming a “strategic partnership” with another film studio: Legendary Entertainment. SoftBank is putting up $250 million to back the endeavor, aiming to push the movie maker’s content over the web and on mobile devices — focusing on the China and India markets in particular. If you’re in need of a refresher, Legendary is the muscle behind films like Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises, and Inception. Variety reports that SoftBank’s talks with DreamWorks stalled during the course of discussing a rumored $3.4 billion acquisition deal.

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Via: Variety

Source: Legendary, SoftBank

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2
Oct

Watch a brave drone get dramatically close to an erupting volcano


DJI has just shown off one of the most spectacular drone videos we’ve ever seen of an erupting volcano so close, it melted a GoPro camera. The pilot, Eric Chang, captured the footage at the Bardabunga volcanic system in Iceland using an off-the-shelf DJI Phantom 2 drone equipped with a GoPro Hero 3+ camera. After an eleven hour journey over nearly impassable terrain, his team arrived to within 2 km of the volcano, which was spewing lava as high as 150m (460 feet) in the air.

To keep contact with the drone at such a distance, Chang used DJI’s 2.4GHz Lightbridge WiFi system with a 1.7km range. Since the Phantom 2 was programmed to return home automatically if it lost contact, Cheng wasn’t quite able to get the extreme close-ups he wanted. He then decided to go all-in and hike an extra kilometer closer, where he was able to pilot the drone nearly inside the rim, despite losing signal due to the intense heat. The memory card was fine, however, and he pulled out stunning shots of the hell-like, churning interior and soaring lava jets.

The drone was so close that one side of the GoPro actually melted from the heat, and the next morning the spot where he stood was covered with lava from a rim breach. The volcano continues to spew fire and ash and still poses a serious danger to the remote Icelandic region. You won’t have to leave your chair, though — check below to see the eruptions and a short documentary explaining how the footage was captured.

[Image credit: Eric Cheng]

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Via: Wired

Source: DJI Feats (YouTube)

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