Before this week, comparing the Microsoft Band to Motorola’s customizable Moto 360 watches was in pretty bad taste. The Microsoft Band was designed mainly as a fitness accessory, a device meant to easily track calories, energy exertion and sleep habits. The original Moto 360 had similar features, but it was a smartwatch, a device that’s meant to enhance every part of our life. That stated mission meant that the Moto 360 was made for a different kind of user. This week Motorola unveiled the Moto 360 Sport and everything changed. Motorola has a direct alternative to the Microsoft Band, and in most ways it could be better than most other devices we’ve seen.
The Moto 360 Sport is the perfect competitor to the Microsoft Band. Here’s how the two compare side-by-side for those on the fence about being either.
Moto 360 Sport vs Microsoft Band: Sensors & Hardware
Rather than highlighting the Moto 360 Sport, Motorola choose to put details about it on the back burner. We know that the wireless charging equipped, Moto 360 Sport looks a lot like the metal Moto 360, with colored silicone acting as a replacement for the leather on other versions of the Moto 360. Motorola says that the silicone the band is made up of is for keeping the wrist cool.
A circular screen with a black cut-out at the bottom acts as the primary display on the Moto 360 Sport. Motorola calls this circular LCD display AnyLight, because it’s been conditioned for use in any situation. We’re talking direct sunlight, indoors and overcast. With the display acting as the primary for interaction getting that screen right is crucial.
A look at press photos of the Moto 360 Sport reveals that it’s able to track workout time, calories burned, steps and heart rate. Motorola hasn’t clarified which sensors are built-in, but steps alone hints at a built-in pedometer. The company does confirm that users will be able to leave their smartphone at home and use a built-in GPS sensor to track their rides through its Moto Body app.
The Microsoft Band is just as its name describes it, a band. There’s no circular watch face. There is a display and tons of sensors. An 1.4-inch display acts as the only way to interact with the Microsoft Band. It’s a small rectangle, fitting into the band’s shape instead of sticking out of the sides.
The Microsoft Band doesn’t have wireless charging, but does last two days with regular use, Microsoft says. There’s Bluetooth 40, a microphone, galvanic skin response sensor, Capacitive sensor, UV sensor, ambient light sensor, GPS, gyrometer, 3-axis accelerometer and optical heart rate sensor. The Microsoft Band’s body is a made of a breathable, moisture resistant material too.
Moto 360 Sport vs Microsoft Band: All In
It wasn’t so long ago that using an accessory for a smartphone meant having to carry around a smartphone running that accessory’s same operating system. The Apple Watch only works with iPhones, Android Wear, the software that the Moto 360 runs, was only compatible with other Android phones. All of that has changed. Android Wear received an update this week and a companion app that adds rudimentary support for the Moto 360 Sport to iPhones. The Microsoft Band and it’s companion app are compatible with iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.
The Microsoft Band tracks wearers with its built-in GPS, plus gives guided workouts made by Gold’s Gym and others. Calorie tracking, step monitoring, running and golf swing critiquing are all things that the Microsoft Band can do. Beyond that, Microsoft Band has notifications, email, weather, finance and apps made by companies like Starbucks.
Because the Moto 360 Sport runs Android Wear, users can expect better support from app developers. Android Wear treats the smartwatch as another device that Android developers can add experiences for. Apps for the operating system are available directly from Google Play and include everything from podcast playback remotes to Gmail and music players.
Moto 360 Sport vs Microsoft Band: Who Wins?
Right now, it’s too early to declare a winner between the Moto 360 Sport and the Microsoft Band. We’re missing some very crucial information for the Moto 360 Sport, like pricing and a real launch date instead of just a tease. I’m of the opinion that the Moto 360 Sport will be a clear winner when Motorola is ready to release it, but price will ultimately decide that.
The Microsoft Band’s problems are a little more interesting. The Microsoft Store slashed the price of the Microsoft Band down to $150 fairly recently. The company announced the wearable in October of last year. It’s safe to assume that we’ll get another version from Microsoft very soon. In fact, rumors point to a Microsoft Band 2 reveal in October and a launch soon after.
For now, sign up for Motorola’s email notifications and wait to see what the company announces. I think they have winner, but we need those final details to be sure. We also need to know what Microsoft has planned for its refresh.