Motorola’s Moto 360 was the star of the Android wearables last year but the latest model will have to battle it out in a crowded market, says Tushar Kanwar
Motorola’s Moto 360 made a big entry when it was launched last year, and it fast became the poster-child for Android wearables. It looked great, worked well and appealed to many, mostly because it looked like an actual watch and didn’t make you feel like a nerd when you wore one. With the second generation Moto 360, can Motorola one-up itself to stay on top of the Android Wear hill?
On the face of it, not much has changed with the 2015 Moto 360’s design, and it’s only if you’re familiar with the original that you’ll notice the sole button has moved from the three to the two o’clock position, making it easier to press. This, and many other tweaks make the 360 a lot more refined this time around, so it will appeal to normal people rather than purely tech enthusiasts. And finally, there’s even a 42mm version with a thinner strap that’s designed exclusively for women. The screen runs a higher resolution than last year’s model and is noticeably sharper — but it does retain the flat-tyre shape rather than being completely circular. That said, you only ever notice this the first few times and, over time, it stops mattering.
It’s in the everyday usage that you notice the big differences between the 360 and its 2014 predecessor. No more intermittent stutters in the animations, thanks to Motorola replacing the ageing TI OMAP processor with the modern Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor found in almost every other Android Wear watch. Battery life is much improved, and you no longer have to eye the battery level anxiously if you’re out late one day. The heart rate sensor, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and activity tracking features are pretty much the same, and the watch still lacks GPS (should you want to track your runs without your phone).
Using the 360 for a week, you get the feeling that this is what the original really should have been last year. While the performance and battery boost and the new sizes and bands are welcome, there’s no standout feature that sets the 360 apart from its competition this time around.
Price: Rs 19,999 onwards
Gionee’s been around in India for a number of years, operating largely in the budget and mid-range segments, but with the Elife E8, the Chinese brand has entered into the dangerous waters of the Rs 30,000+ phones. Has it bitten off too much?
In true Gionee style, you are getting a heck of a lot for the money. A vivid 6-inch 2K resolution display, 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage with microSD card expansion. Performance is top notch, and MediaTek’s 2.0GHz Helio X10 delivers a fluid experience on Gionee’s custom Amigo UI (based on Android Lollipop 5.1) that I’m happy to report has improved a fair bit since I saw it last. It looks stylish to boot, with its metallic frame and curved corners. But what I really liked about the E8 was the impressive 24MP camera that is capable of delivering 120MP pictures! Yep, you read that right — the E8 combines multiple shots to produce picture quality and detail equivalent to a 120MP camera.
What holds the phone back is its massive size — six inches is a bit too big for most. And the brand may have an uphill task convincing customers to pay near top dollar for a Gionee over, say, a Samsung or a Motorola — no matter how good a phone the E8 may be.
Price: Rs 34,999
Hi-tech rope trick
Tech in a skipping rope? You’d better believe it, with the Tangram Smart Rope. It has 23 LEDs embedded in the rope, which display in mid-air the number of jumps you have made — and future software updates will also allow you to display the number of calories burned or other training data! Such a great gift for the exercise enthusiast!