Moto 360 vs. LG G Watch R: Up close with the best round smartwatches
If you're looking for a round-faced smartwatch this holiday season, you have two sharp-looking Android Wear watches to choose from. We have the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R in house right now, and have a few thoughts (and plenty of pictures) to help you decide.
These are two gorgeous watches. And since both of them run the same Android Wear software, much of your decision is going to come down to which style works better for you. For that, I refer you to our image gallery.
But there are a few other things to keep in mind.
The Moto 360's round screen is around 39 percent bigger than the G Watch's. The G Watch R has a wide, raised bezel around its edge, including diver watch-inspired clock markings, while the Moto 360's front face is almost all screen.
The only asterisk attached to the Moto's display is that little sliver cut out of the bottom (the screen is about 97 percent of a full circle). This little black bar isn't a huge deal to me, but if you're looking for a fully round Android Wear watch, then the G Watch R it is.
The Moto 360's huge screen and skimpy bezels make for a striking effect, but look at its side and you'll see a pretty beefy watch: it's 19 percent thicker than the G Watch R. The G Watch doesn't strike me as being any thicker than standard men's designer watches.
The G Watch R also has better battery life, and can easily last a full day – even with its always-on clock face turned on.
The Moto doesn't have an always-on display, but you do have the option of using an ambient display (it shows a dimmed clock face when you hold your wrist within a range of typical viewing angles). If you use ambient display on the Moto 360, though, its battery might be running on fumes – if not completely conked out – by the end of the day.
So if you're leaning towards the Moto 360, and you want it to safely last a full day, then it's probably going to spend most of its day with a black screen.
If you only care about seeing a watch face when you're actively looking at your watch, then there's no need to use the Moto's ambient mode: just lift your wrist and the screen will turn on. But the always-on clock does add to the G Watch R's almost-like-a-regular-watch aesthetic.
If you do want to use the Moto's ambient display all day long, you can always just charge it for a few minutes during the day. The watch juices up quickly, and includes a wireless charging dock.
Performance isn't a concern on either watch, but the G Watch R does seem to run a little smoother. That's probably because it has a Snapdragon 400 processor under the hood (also found in the Moto G smartphone), while the Moto 360 gets by with a dated Texas Instruments CPU.
Another minor difference: the Moto 360 checks your heart rate periodically (in the background) throughout the day. The G Watch R also has a pulse sensor on its backside, but it only fires up when you ask it to.
Apart from these few differences, though, it's going to come down to which stainless steel design you prefer. The Moto probably has more of a wow factor, but the G Watch R is better at passing for a regular watch.
We aren't here to declare a one-size-fits-all winner, but know that both of these are in the top three fashion-meets-function smartwatches you can buy right now (along with the Asus ZenWatch). If I had to pick one to use exclusively for the next year, I'd probably give the slight edge to the G Watch R. As much as I love the Moto 360's design, I love the G Watch's always-on display, slimmer profile and longer battery life just a little bit more.
The Moto 360 and LG G Watch R are both available now. This Moto 360 with leather band rings up for US$250, though you can also pay $300 for a version with a steel band. The G Watch R retails for $300.