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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Motorola Moto 360 – a smartwatch masquerading as a classic time piece” was written by Samuel Gibbs in Berlin, for theguardian.com on Friday 5th September 2014 06.00 UTC

Motorola’s highly anticipated round Android Wear smartwatch is attempting to move beyond its geek phase and appeal to mainstream watch buyers.

The Moto 360 features a round screen, metal case and leather band that looks more like a large high-end watch than a piece of technology.

“We think the key to getting people to buy smartwatches is to build a watch first, a smartwatch second,” Christoph Jeneba, Motorola’s head of product for Europe, Middle East and Africa, explained to the Guardian. “That’s why we’ve built a time piece, and it had to be round because 85% of normal watches are round.”

Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch
Alerts are properly formatted, filling the round display. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The watch was first shown off at Google’s I/O developer conference in June alongside the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, but will only be released at the end of September costing £199 in the UK, £40 more than the G Watch and £30 more than the Gear Live.

‘Have to get beyond the geek phase’

Motorola believes that its focus on premium materials – the case of the watch is all aluminium and the strap leather – sets the Moto 360 apart from the pack.

Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch
The Moto 360 beside the Samsung Gear Live Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

On the wrist it looks much more like a traditional watch than a smartwatch, about the size of a chunky man’s watch though much lighter and smaller than the Gear Live.

Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch
The smartwatches are about the same thickness and weight. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

“We have to get beyond that geek phase and design a modern day time piece, a modern interpretation of a classic time piece,” Simon Collinson, Motorola’s international general manager told the Guardian. “If you want to go mass market you have to provide a credible alternative to a watch.”

The Moto 360 features a hidden heart rate monitor on the back of the watch, which can measure the wearers heart rate 30 times a day to track heart health using a bespoke Motorola app – something other heart rate sensor-equipped smartwatches do not do – while measuring activity, steps and distance covered.

Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch
The optical heart rate monitor sits at the centre of the back. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

It is waterproof to IP67 standards (immersion to 1m) but the rest of the specifications are very similar to the other Android Wear watches currently available. Motorola quotes a day of battery life; most others, like the G Watch, last around two days.

The round screen has virtually no bezel, meeting the aluminium casing at the edges, but does have a squared-off bottom that resembles a flat tyre, where some of the electronic components are placed to operate the screen.

Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch
A single button on the right hand side turns the watch on and off. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Who knows whether the Moto 360 is enough to convince more than early adopters that smartwatches have a place in the world but it is the best looking smartwatch to date and looks matter more on jewellery than technology.

Google smartwatches review: LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Android Wear

Two months with Android Wear: the best smartwatches yet

LG’s G Watch R: the smartwatch that looks like a watch

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