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New Moto 360 Beats Apple Watch on Style

Has a new smartwatch style king been crowned? Motorola has revealed the new Moto 360, which is even more beautiful than before and more attractive than the square Apple Watch. Starting at $299, this slick circular Android Wear device features a larger display, smarter software and the ability to customize your own Moto 360 online via the Moto Maker design studio, where you can choose from multiple colors, materials and bezels.

Motorola is launching three editions of the Moto 360: one for men, one for women (complete with double wrap band option) and s Sport model with built-in GPS and a display that's easier to read outdoors. I went hands-on with the Moto 360 and Sport and found the improvements to be pretty compelling.

Improved Design

At a glance, the new Moto 360 doesn't look much different than the original. It still has that circular, minimalist watchface, and it still has that unsightly black bar at the bottom of the display. However, Motorola did change the design of the display to allow for 71 percent display-to-body ration, meaning the LCD takes up most of the entire watchface.

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This holds true for both the men's and women's collections, which both also have leather and stainless steel band options. There will be two sizes of the new 360 - 46mm and 42mm - with the smaller version made for smaller wrists. Other than being tinier, the women's collection will see more jewelry-esque band options, including a wrap bracelet style that looks much like the fashionable bracelet for the Swarovski-encrusted Misfit Shine.

Motorola designed the new 360 with a special lug where straps are attached, making it super quick to take bands and attach new ones. Like its predecessor, the new Moto 360 will be completely customizable using the online Moto Maker tool, so you can personalize the watch exactly how you want to wear it, as well as order additional bands.

The new Moto 360 will run Android Wear, letting you receive notifications, alerts and Google Now info cards on your wrist. It's also one of the few Google-powered smartwatches, along with the forthcoming Huawei Watch and LG Watch Urbane, to be compatible with iPhones using the new Android Wear app for iOS. Motorola also claims that with the improved battery in the Moto 360, the smartwatch will get twice as much battery life as the original, putting it at at least 2 to 3 days of use.

Live Dials

Motorola added a few special features that put its own spin on Android Wear, one being Live Dials or digital complications. Inspired by traditional watches, Live Dials appear as small dials underneath the hands on the watchface that show information from different apps. When I went hands-on with the watch, I saw the myFordmobile Android Wear app as a Live Dial, which gives you quick info about your car's battery life and the condition of its tires. I could also tap the dial to open the full app to see the car's location on a map.

Another app available as a digital complication is Moto Body, which is Motorola's version of Google Fit. It tracks your steps, calories, distance, heart rate (using the optical heart rate monitor on the underbelly of the new 360), and can present glanceable stats to you on the watchface through the complication's small circular icon. Not only are these complications nods to classic timepieces, but they also provide quick, digestible pieces of information in the form of an app shortcut on your watchface.

Moto 360 Sport

In addition to the fashion-conscious line of Moto 360 smartwatches, Motorola made sure to include a new product for the athletes among us. The Moto 360 Sport has the same guts as the regular smartwatch, but it's built for sports enthusiasts with its onboard GPS, music controls and storage space to download tracks directly to the watch. That means you can leave your phone with all your music at home if you wish, download the playlists you want to the Moto 360 Sport, connect to your Bluetooth headset and and jam out on your run.

Another useful feature of the Moto 360 Sport is its AnyLight display: it uses a combination of backlit transmissive LCDs with front-lit reflective technology to automatically change the display for better visibility. So when you go outside on a sunny day to run a 10K, the watch will sense the amount of sunlight hitting it and immediately adjust the screen to make it easier to read.

Availability

The Moto 360 is available for preorder today, and will be ready to purchase at Motorola's website, Amazon, Nordstrom and other retailers by mid-September. Pricing will vary by design but will go up to $429, which is pretty reasonable when you consider that the Apple Watch starts at $349 and costs $699 for a model with a leather loop.

Motorola has not released pricing for the Moto 360 Sport, but it will likely be available in late September. Stay tuned to Tom's Guide for more updates and our full review.