Motorola Moto 360 vs. LG G Watch R

by: Lanh NguyenDecember 17, 2014
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We’ve spent a few months with the Android Wear platform now, and out of the six Wear smartwatches on the market today, only two of them have round displays. The first of which is Motorola’s Moto 360, announced way back in March earlier this year. Customers couldn’t actually buy the watch until it was made available alongside the new Moto X in September. Even after the long delay, Moto still managed to get the first round smartwatch to market. Soon after the 360 was made available, LG announced their round smartwatch, the G Watch R, and released it towards the end of October. This gave everyone a big decision to make.

Which is the best round-faced smartwatch on the market? We’ve spent months with both watches, and we’re ready to help you decide which one is better for you. Let’s dive right in.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-8

Design is one of the areas both of these watches really stand out. The 360 and the G Watch R are both water and dust resistant, both feature a heart rate monitor, and are both made out of generally the same type of materials. Both watches feature a metal chassis, though they’re very different in design. The Moto 360 takes more of a minimalistic approach, offering a smooth stainless steel outer shell with only one button on the right side. The screen is almost perfectly round, except for a small cut out on the bottom to house the ambient light sensor.

The G Watch R is a bit more busy when it comes to design, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. LG’s offering features big brackets on the top and bottom where the watchband connects, and a big bezel around the edges, complete with minute markers. The G Watch R’s display is perfectly round, yet smaller, likely because of the bigger overall size of the device.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-9

Both of these watches are available with leather bands, though the 360 can also be purchased with a metal offering. Motorola made a big deal out of the type of leather they used with the watch band, and for good reason. Genuine Horween Leather is used in the 360’s band… the same leather Moto is using on the back of the Moto X. It’s soft, flexible, and so far, has held up overtime. As for the leather on the G Watch R, it’s very nice as well. It’s a bit less soft, a bit more rigid, but nonetheless feels like it will hold up overtime.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-20

When it comes to charging, the Moto 360 uses Qi wireless charging, and ships with a handy dock that can double as a nightstand clock. The G Watch R uses hardware connectors around the back of the device, and fits in a magnetic charging cradle. In terms of charging, we much prefer the wireless charging route Motorola has taken.

As for design, If you want a minimal watch that’s sleek and smooth, the 360 is for you. On the flip side, LG’s offering is more suitable for someone with an active lifestyle. It’s much more rigid and looks like it can survive a bump or two.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-10

So, we’re all aware that these two watches have circular displays. But how do those displays fair in everyday life? Let’s start with the 360. Motorola’s watch has an IPS LCD panel with 320 x 290 resolution. The odd resolution is thanks to the black bar towards the bottom of the display. Many people have made a big deal out of the black bar, but if you own a 360, you’d know that bar is almost unnoticeable after a few days of using it. Also, being that it’s an LCD display, leaving the watch in ambient mode is a huge battery drain. This means the entire display must be lit up, even though it’s in low-power mode.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-14

The G Watch R features a completely round display, and it’s a bit sharper than the 360’s. The P-OLED technology allows for better battery life when using ambient mode. Instead of the entire screen lighting up while in ambient mode, only the active pixels consume power, making for less battery drain.

Both displays are good, but we’d have to say the G Watch R is a bit clearer, and colors are more accurate. It’s smaller, but sharper.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-17

Motorola took an interesting approach when they were building the 360. The 360 has a slightly old TI OMAP processor backed by 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It’s a bit sluggish when swiping away cards, but only every once in awhile. Google pushed out an update that largely fixed many of the lag problems, but we still witness it from time to time.

The G Watch R houses more modern internals, as it uses a Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. We haven’t noticed anything wrong with the LG watch when it comes to performance.

It may have taken the Moto 360 a few software updates to perform as well as the G Watch R, but now the differences between these two are very slim.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-4

Google is taking a slightly different approach when it comes to software on Android Wear. They’re not allowing any OEMs to skin the Wear platform. With that said, the most manufacturers can do is add custom watch faces and a few small software enhancements.

LG offers a few more watch faces than the Moto watch, but Motorola offers a companion app, allowing users to customize each and every watch face. We’re not faulting LG in any way when it comes to software. Google has largely limited the way OEMs can customize Wear, but we would have liked to see LG take a more bold step with their software experience.

Moto 360 vs LG G Watch R-11

The Moto 360 offers a 320mAh battery, while the G Watch R features a 410mAh offering. Both watches have very similar battery life, despite the difference in battery capacity and the 360’s use of an older (less efficient) processing package. If you asked us a few months ago what we thought of the battery life, the G Watch R would have been the clear winner. However, multiple software updates later, and the 360 can perform almost as well as LG’s watch.

Sure, the G Watch R may get a few more hours, but both should be able to provide around 2 days without ambient mode, 1.5 days with it on. Obviously factors like brightness level and how much you check the watch for notifications will make a big difference, and so your mileage may vary.

Both of these smartwatches are available through either Google Play or multiple other retailers. The leather-band Moto 360 is available for $250, while the Moto 360 with the metal band will run you $300. Additional leather bands cost $30, and additional metal bands run $80. The 360 comes in dark, light, or champagne stainless steel casings, with Stone or Black leather bands, dark or light metal bands, as well as two different sized metal variants. The G Watch R is available in black, with only one type of leather band for $300.

With similar software, performance and battery life, you may be wondering which one you should choose. If you value customization, minimalism and watch band options, the Moto 360 is the one for you. However, if you don’t mind spending a bit more for a watch you can take out to go rock climbing, you may want to consider the G Watch R. Either way, these are both great Android Wear devices, and you’ll likely be happy with whichever you choose.

If you’d like more details on either of these devices, head to our Moto 360 and G Watch R reviews!

  • Bob’s Bilderbergers

    It’s circular: cir·cu·larˈ/sərkyələr/. NOT Circ-a-ller OMG this video drives me nuts! Great video otherwise ;)

    • Lanh Nguyen

      Maybe I hear myself differently but I definitely didn’t say CIRCA.

  • Mystery Man

    Your Air Conditioning Unit is really clean. Do you actively maintain it?

    • Legolas

      I’m so happy that no bricks were harmed during the making of this review. :D

    • Nicolie Harvett

      good spot, it almost looks too clean.

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  • MasterMuffin

    Moto’s design, without the black bar, but with LG’s PMOLED and other internals would be a winner

    • Discuss

      I think moto design is too simple. almost like it’s not finished. I prefer the LG for it’s design, better screen, internals, and battery life. And that nasty black strip is a deal breaker.

  • Yan Qin

    I think pocketnow said the battery life on watch R is so muCH better than 360. What is the truth?

    • Lanh Nguyen

      It is slightly better but only by a few hours in my experience. Again your mileage will vary based on brightness levels/frequency of notifications/ambience mode and such.

  • yep

    Seems to me the LG is the clear winner but the author doesn’t want to put the 360 down completely. The display on the 360 is a deal breaker based on the photos

    • Marc Perrusquia

      The G Watch r is hideous.

  • Gideon Waxfarb

    In regard to the Moto 360, how can you have customization and minimalism at the same time? It’s probably stated in the article, but for those like me who skip to the last couple of paragraphs for the tl;dr version, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Just FYI.

    • Phil A

      I think the answer’s somewhere in the details of actually reading the article

  • The_Firm

    If these watches were not smart watches they would look like cheap analog watches (LG less so). The wrist straps are plain Jane so luckily there is an upgrade option thanks to Apple’s influence or would most likely just stick to these leather straps.

  • bakakun028

    Why do they call it a moto 360?
    Because when you see it you turn 360 degrees and walk away

    • Marc Andrews

      You’d actually have to turn 180 degrees to walk away.

      • hahaha seriously though. I love when people’s jokes fall flat.

    • theguy

      If you turn 360.. you would be walking towards it again lol!!

      • Discuss

        Well, technically, he could be stepping over the phone then walking away after a full 360 lol.

    • John Doe

      Wow.. now that is funny!!

    • Armaggedon16

      If you turn 360° you’ll walk towards the watch again.
      You need to turn 180° to walk away from it

    • Manuel Mendez
    • Manuel Mendez
    • Josh Gilman

      That comment makes no sense.

    • thelastguyX20

      Geez, you make anime watching viewers look bad.

  • John Doe

    I wonder what version of AW this review is covering? It’s always a good idea to add that to the review,
    as it seems to change rather frequently these days …

  • jm

    This comparison/review is terrible… Full of errors and very confuse

  • Hassan Salman Dita

    Great Insight.

    World of Smartphones is all about the latest smartphones with reviews, features, design, technology and get updated inside news buzz about smartphones.

    wos.com.pk

    • Asd

      Gtfo spamming piece od shit

  • Jeff Penver

    If you can’t find much difference between them in this review, choose the design that you like. It’s the deciding factor on any other watch I’ve bought.

  • Cchic

    Can you tell us whats the length of the strap on each. Considering buying it for a bigger guy.

  • Brent Harman

    I just had to make the decision of which of these two watches to buy. I am a Motorola devotee, but I finally decided on the G Watch R for one single reason: the strap is a standard 22 mm band, which meant that I could literally have thousands of choices. The Moto 360 is limited to what I can buy from Motorola. I ended up also purchasing a nice Luminox Diver’s One Piece band from Amazon and it gives me a very nice one-of-a-kind watch. I am very pleased, especially with the resent 5.01 Wear release!

    • Marc Perrusquia

      The moto 360 also has 22 mm bands. I’ve had a pebble steel band on mine since launch.

      • Josh Gilman

        lol I think Brent messed up.

  • Two days on a charge with the Moto360 is a stretch. Even without ambient mode and all the software updates. Still its a worthy competitor, and my choice of wearable device.

  • LeonardoC

    Good Review Lanh , perhaps could be updated after CES2015 where another smart watches players were presented.

  • Bill Reinhardt

    The LG can use any 22mm metal band

  • Lob

    Circalur.

  • Gabriel

    This does not make any sense “If you value customization, minimalism and watch band options, the Moto 360 is the one for you”
    You can customize the heck out of the LG R..what are you referring to? Also wath bands…really? Did you miss the point that the LG uses a 22mm band so you can change it for a lot of 22mm bands in the market until you get sick of switching. Minimalism, I give you that one.
    Also your statement about “but if you own a 360, you’d know that bar is almost unnoticeable after a few days of using it.” its laughably off. The longer I had it the more annoyed I became at it. There is no way around this, it just looks horrible unless you limit yourself to faces that “hide” it.

    I would buy a 360 style with perfectly round display and upgrade hardware (laggy compared to the LG even after updates) as I do like the style and dont mind having two watches but for now, the 360 is a failed attempt…is like they had the right idea then dropped the ball by some odd choices. Oh, and OLED is really a must on a watch..