Moto 360 Sport Review (AKA the worst customer support experience I’ve ever had)

I’m an avid runner. And while I’ve run with an Android phone and various apps for quite some time, I’ve been increasingly wanting an Android Wear device that would make my many Garmin wearing running mates covetous. Enter the Moto 360 Sport, one of the first true Android GPS-enabled running smart watches. Considering how much I liked the Moto 360 Gen 2, I was eagerly awaiting the 360 Sport, which was announced at the same time as the Gen 2 but had a later release date.


The 45mm device comes with the same size 1.37″ display (including flat tire) as the Gen 2, but the AnyLight Hybrid display makes it easily readable even in sunny conditions. The silicone strap comes in Black, White, and Flame Orange but as it’s part of a unibody construction it is not changeable. While many reviewers have found the strap to be a lint magnet, after over a month of use I did not find that to be an issue. The device has an optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope and a 300mAh battery. Like the Gen 2, it is IP67 dust and water resistant.

Moving on to using the device, I found the construction to be solid and the watch comfortable to wear even during long runs. Most popular running apps have Android Wear support at this point, although I’ve found most (I regularly use both Strava and Endomondo and extensively tested Runtastic, Runkeeper, Map My Run, and Ghostracer) have at least one annoying issue that needs to be addressed before being a true competitor to dedicated running watches. The platform also seems to be a bit temperamental, which resulted in me missing out on data points for a couple interesting runs. For example, the data for my Boilermaker run (a 15k) shows over an hour of activity but a distance traveled of zero. That particular issue seems to related to a known bug with Endomondo and Wear devices that have GPS. On the note of the GPS, I found it to be roughly as accurate as my phone GPS, although getting a lock takes substantially longer. It’s less useful than I hoped though, as using the GPS and active display means the battery life isn’t sufficient for longer runs. The device has 4GB of internal memory which you can play music from, although I did not test this feature. I found the heart rate monitor to be accurate enough to be useful and a nice addition to my running metrics.

So, what’s the verdict? Although the Moto 360 Sport lacks more advanced features such as cadence and VO2 max, it’s a very capable device. For shorter runs it will allow you to leave the smartphone at home, and for long runs being able to see stats during your run while being able to move your phone from an armband to a pouch makes for a more enjoyable experience. The display really is top notch. With the original MSRP of $299 already marked down to $199 it’s a device I would have tacitly recommended now and as the platform matures I could have seen that turn into a much stronger recommendation. I was definitely looking forward to the second iteration of the device.

Enter Motorola Support

Unfortunately after 47 days of use, the device rebooted while I was running then shut off. Once I got home and put it on the charger it went into a boot loop. I did some research online and found out some other people had a similar issue. While most weren’t able to fix their device, I found one suggestion that involved completely draining the battery then charging it overnight. This worked a single time, but during the next run the device shut off and further research and troubleshooting were not able to resuscitate it. I was a little bummed, but these things happen with electronic devices and I went to the Motorola support site to start the RMA process. This is where the experience gets unfortunate and things did not start out well.

I tried multiple times to begin the process online, but received the following error: “100-02. Oops!!!” After that error persisted for a few days, I finally called support. Unfortunately support was not able to verify the serial number on my device, despite multiple attempts which included me sending them a photo of the sticker affixed to the box which contains both the SKU and serial number. After some back and forth I ask for an RMA despite the serial number issue, as the device comes with a year warranty and has not been out for even close to a year yet. I understand they have legitimate reasons for needing the serial number, but they can get that off the device once they have it. In this context, it’s not needed to validate warranty coverage. The rep said they could not proceed without a “scanned copy of the receipt”, despite me pointing out that 100% of Moto 360 Sports have to be in warranty. I also explained that as this is 2016 I purchased the device online and do not have a receipt to scan. After some additional back and forth, on August 2nd I send them a screenshot of the online order, while also pointing out this is a pretty silly thing to have to do. At this point I just want to get the process moving.

On August 4th I get a response saying: “In regards the replacement/repair process, we get an error from the system, in that case we opened a VHD ticket which is going to have a resolution within 24 to 48 business hours”

On August 8th, I get an update: “I wanted to let you know that I am following up your case, and that I have not received confirmation that the VHD ticket has been solved, but I already verified with the team in charge of it, they told me they are working on it.”

At this point I reach out to @Moto_support, but am told: “Please follow up with us via email”. I also now note that I am using this device to write a review for a site that gets quite a bit of traffic, hoping that will help expedite things. It does not.

On August 10th, I get an additional update: “I am contacting you to provide you updates about the VHD ticket submitted, it is still being worked by the team in charge.” It’s now been over a week since I initially opened a ticket with the support rep.

On August 11th the VHD issue is solved. They want me to ship them the device so they can evaluate it and then either repair or replace it, or give them $25 for the “Advanced Exchange program”. I explain that after over a week of waiting, the fee on the AE program should be waived and a device should be sent ASAP. They eventually agree. Via the email ticket I give them all contact information as requested. Shortly after I get a voice mail from Motorola with no callback number and no email contact info that ends with “just email us back, okay”. I guess this means reply to the ticket, which I do.

On the 12th, I get a call from Motorola. They now say the fee cannot be waived because the system will not let this happen, but it can be refunded after the fact. I point out that this directly contradicts what was previous said by them. They persist. I eventually capitulate and give them my credit card information. The experience at this point is getting really frustrating and taking up far too much time (believe it or not, this is just an overview of the event which included quite a few calls and back-and-forth emails over trivial issue and re-re-re-confirming information). I get an RMA email while I am still on the phone with the rep, which is encouraging. I just want to run and I now think a new device is on the way. I am sorely mistaken.

A short time later I get an email saying the credit card is “invalid”. We confirmed the number on the phone three times; it is not invalid. During the next call I note that it’s odd that the card would be invalid as I received an RMA. I am told: “even though you received shipping labels or tracking numbers, the system sends the emails automatically, that is why you received them, but in the system they did not go through”. This makes no sense, but I give my credit card details again. I get another RMA while on the phone, but notice that it’s for the incorrect device (a Moto 360 Gen 2, not a Moto 360 Sport). Looking back, the first RMA was also for the incorrect device. It is explained to me that this is normal and not an issue. A couple hours later I am told that my credit card was now declined. I have used this exact card before and after the RMA and the card is nowhere near its limit. I call the credit card company. There have been zero attempts from Motorola and zero declined transactions for the day. I am now starting to lose my patience.

On the next call I explain that the number is correct and the card has not been declined. They suggest I try to submit the request online again. I get the same “100-02. Oops!!!” error. I point out how ridiculous this is getting. The rep now suggests that I use a different serial number than the one that is on the box. This does not seem normal. Using the new serial number does get me past the previous error, however, and may explain the incorrect device issue. I now get a credit card error. I point out that it’s odd that the system never asks for a CVV, but they don’t seem to know what I am referring to. I try the online system again with a new card. One that has a zero balance and that I rarely use. This time I am met with success. They double check the system and everything looks good. Hooray!

Except, no. On the 15th I get an email: “I am contacting you to provide you updates about your case, I was checking it, and I found that unfortunately the order is cancel for invalid or missing Credit Card number”. I explain that this is odd even for this increasingly odd situation as I now not only have a 3rd RMA, which has been confirmed by Motorola, but a tracking number from FedEx. Surely the tracking number means a replacement device is on the way. I am told: “You have received FedEx shipping confirmation because shipping information and credit card information are being processed by a different systems.” I check my credit card statement and I have two pending transactions for different amounts:

Aug 12, 2016 MOTOROLA MOBILITY LLC $244.68
Aug 12, 2016 MOTOROLA MOBILITY LLC $250.86

They now ask for a “bank statement”. I tell them in no uncertain terms that they are not getting one and am now starting to lose my temper. They ask me to submit the request again from scratch. I point out how absurd this entire interaction has been and also note that the Fed Ex tracking number they gave shows that something has actually shipped. Between that and the pending charges, I think their system is incorrect and the third RMA has been processed. They do not agree. They also do not have an explanation for the multiple charges for different amounts, neither of which they see on their end.

On the 16th they touch base on the ticket. I respond with: “To confirm: All RMA’s have failed in some way and nothing has shipped, despite me receiving a tracking number. Is that correct?”

I received the following response on August 17th: “That is correct all RMA’s have failed, and nothing has been shipped despite the tracking numbers you received.” I also received a package from Motorola. Containing a Motorola DROID phone. A PHONE! I can’t even begin to fathom how that’s even possible, considering the packing list actually says “MOTO3602SPORT – MOTO 360 (2ND GEN)” on it. I called my credit card company again, and at no time were any transactions declined. They do see both pending transactions from “MOTOROLA MOBILITY LLC” but “they are set to fall off your account because they were never finalized by the merchant”. Once they are no longer pending, I figure the phone is a gift and I plan to see if the Moto 360 Sport will blend. The DROID is a Verizon model, if anyone knows a charity in need please contact me. In the mean time, I’m in the market for an Android Wear running watch.


Based on the above experience I must unfortunately recommend avoiding all Motorola products at this time, which is a shame. The outrageously bad support is a large blemish on a company that is putting out solid quality products. I still think the Moto 360 Gen 2 is one of the best Android Wear watches currently available. In fact, I’ve purchased the device for family and friends and it’s been very well received. Quite a few people have told me they purchased one based on my review and the feedback has been positive. I like the Moto 360 Sport and some of the phones look very nice. That said, the support experience above was so terrible, the Motorola internal systems are so broken and the issues so systemic in nature that I would not feel right if one single person had to go through the above based on a recommendation I have made. So, at least for now, keep away. Far.Away. And Motorola Support, please get your act together.

Moto 360 Sport Debacle

Note: Any text in quotes above are a direct copy/paste of the interaction. Luckily I have much of this in writing or on voice mails, but some did take place on the phone. Happy to provide supporting details if so desired. I have reached out and it appears I am not alone in this kind of experience with Motorola Support.

UPDATE: They are now mysteriously able to see that the RMA “went through, and I can see the device arrived to your home”. The rep also added: “I will ask you to send us the device since with the Advance Exchange submitted a hold has been put on the card you used, if you do not send us back the device the hold will become a charge.” which is in direct opposition to the statement I have in writing from the 17th that confirms there are no holds on my card. Let it sink in for a minute that the system they use is so bad, they don’t actually know if they are billing you or not.

UPDATE (August 19th): Someone from the “Executive Customer Relations” team (which based on the email address appears to be part of the office of the CEO) reached out to me. They included a tracking label to overnight the phone to them and said they would overnight me the correct watch as soon as they received the phone. So, progress. I had the phone to FedEx within an hour, and noted it would be a show of good faith for them to overnight me the watch now, since the issue has been going on for roughly three weeks already and we’re getting to the weekend. They responded, and insinuated they could do so but would not as a result of something I said in this post (the comment about the phone being a gift). My response: “Considering the show of good faith I made by having the package at Fed Ex within an hour of receiving your email AND the fact that we are on week three of this absolutely terrible customer experience AND the fact that I provided proof of shipping AND the fact that we’re on a weekend boundary that will cause another delay, I’m hoping you decide to ship something out ASAP”. I also included a photo of the Fed Ex receipt. They never responded, which is pretty disappointing and seems for lack of a better word…vindictive. I guess I’ll now be running at LinuxCon with no Moto 360 Sport. I also made it clear that this is no longer about me getting a working device. The readers, listeners and conference-goers that I have recommended Motorola products to or whom have seen me wear the device on stage and have made a purchase as a result deserve to know the systemic issues I encountered are being addressed. They completely ignored that part of my email but I will work to get it addressed. Stay tuned for further updates.

UPDATE (August 20th): After posting the previous update I also sent a very frank email to the Executive Customer Relations team. They had received the phone at this point and responded saying they decided to send me a new Moto 360 Sport via Saturday deliver, which I just received. Hopefully this marks the end of my particular issue. On to the broader issue, they said “We have completed a deep dive on your case and sent off coaching and feedback to ensure this does not occur in the future”, which is encouraging. I’ve responded noting that the technical system they use should really be evaluated, as the number of cascading failures just should not be possible (remember: the system allowed for the creation of an RMA when one doesn’t exist, showed one card as declined when my credit card company confirms it was not, put two holds for different amounts on a second card but then canceled the RMA while somehow still sending out a device, which then ended up being the incorrect device.  The billing issues are especially worrisome and it looks doubly bad when a tech company has this many technical failures). It is my hope based on their response that they will look into the failures and hopefully other people will not have to go through an experience similar to the one I have.

Bad Voltage Episode 70 Has Been Released: Delicious Amorphous Tech Bubble

Jono Bacon, Bryan Lunduke and myself bring you Bad Voltage, in which the wisdom of naming children for your favourite restaurant is debated, Stuart and his daughter Niamh Chipotle write the show notes from a New York cafe, and also:

  • 00:01:58 Is the tech industry in a bubble? is the tech industry ever not in a bubble? More importantly, what shape is the bubble? What can we do about it?
  • 00:17:20 Jeremy and Jono tag-team a further review of Google’s Pixel C laptop. Warning: contains gushing
  • 00:36:50 After discussing Nextcloud in previous episodes, we talk to Frank and Jos from the new project about their plans as a company and where they’re headed
  • 01:01:00 A catch-up on the current status of the Global Learning X-Prize

Listen to 1×70: Delicious Amorphous Tech Bubble


From the Bad Voltage site: Every two weeks Bad Voltage delivers an amusing take on technology, Open Source, politics, music, and anything else we think is interesting, as well as interviews and reviews. Do note that Bad Voltage is in no way related to, and unlike LQ it will be decidedly NSFW. That said, head over to the Bad Voltage website, take a listen and let us know what you think.

Android Version Stats for LQ Mobile (2014)

With the recent news that Google will not patch the WebView vulnerability in versions of Android <= 4.3, I thought it would be a good time to look at the Android version stats for LQ Mobile. You can see stats from seven months ago here. Also, a reminder that is now a part of The Questions Network.

Platform Version
Android 4.4 33.14%
Android 4.1 16.82%
Android 4.2 11.18%
Android 4.0.3 – 4.0.4 10.11%
Android 2.3.3-2.3.7 9.69%
Android 5.0 9.44%
Android 4.3 6.96%
Android 2.2 1.82%

So, how has the Android version landscape changed since the last post and what are the implications of the WebView vulnerability in that context? Android 4.4 is still the most common version, with over a third of the market. Versions 4.2 and 4.3 are still common, but less so than previously. Versions 4.0.3/4.0.3 and 2.3.x are both very old and still fairly popular with roughly 10% each. That’s disappointing. Lollipop adoption among LQ Mobile users is significantly higher than Google is seeing generally (still less than .1%) which isn’t surprising given the technical nature of LQ members. Even with that advantage, however, roughly half of LQ Mobile users are using a version of Android that’s vulnerable. Given that data, it’s easy to understand why Google has broken out quite a bit of functionality/code into Google Play Services, which they can update independently of handset manufacturers and carriers


Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2013

I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year on behalf of the entire LQ team. 2013 has been another great year for LQ and we have quite a few exciting developments in store for 2014, including a major code update that we originally had planned for 2013. This year brought a new ChromeOS related site to The Questions Network, joining and LinuxExchange. In addition, LQ ISO recently surpassed 30,000,000 Linux downloads.

As has become tradition, here are the browser and OS statistics for the main LQ site for all of 2013 (2012 stats for comparison).

Firefox 41.75%
Chrome 40.43%
Internet Explorer 9.63%
Safari 4.13%
Opera 2.02%
Android Browser 0.71%

Firefox usage (as a percentage) continues to decline at LQ, and it appears likely that it will be surpassed by Chrome next year. IE usage has fallen into a single digit percentage for the first time since we’ve posted the annual update.

Operating Systems
Windows 52.24%
Linux 34.77%
Macintosh 9.44%
Android 1.58%
iOS 1.31%

Linux usage is once again down slightly, as is Windows usage. Macintosh is slightly up and both Android and iOS have cracked into the single digit percentages.

I’d also like to take this time to thank each and every LQ member. You are what make the site great; without you, we simply wouldn’t exist. I’d like to once again thank the LQ mod team, whose continued dedication ensures that things run as smoothly as they do. Don’t forget to vote in the 2013 Members Choice Awards , which recently opened.


Google Nexus 5 Review

This review was originally done for Bad Voltage, but I figured it may also be of interest to my general readers.

In this episode I’m going to review the recently released Nexus 5 phone, manufactured by LG. While the 5 in the product name is a reference to the device’s nearly 5 inch screen, it’s also the 5th iteration of the Google Nexus line (the predecessors being the HTC Nexus One, Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the LG Nexus 4). The exterior of the Nexus 5 is made from a polycarbonate shell, unlike the Nexus 4, which used a glass-based construction. At 5.42 inches tall and 2.7 inches wide, it’s a big phone but is shaped to feel smaller than it looks. It’s surprisingly light for its size, at only 4.6oz, and is 8.6 millimeters thick. The phone feels a bit more solid than a Samsung Galaxy S4, but sitting next to an HTC One it looks a bit, well, plain. But being flashy or ostentatious was never Google’s goal with the Nexus line. It was to showcase the unbridled, unadulterated and bloatware free vanilla Google Android experience. And the phone’s 445 pixel per inch, 4.95-inch, 1080p IPS screen helps a great deal in doing that. At the time of this review the Nexus 5 was the only phone officially running Android’s latest version: Kit Kat. And that’s a big part of the Nexus experience and something no other phone is going to offer. Manufacturers often take many months to port new versions of Android to existing handsets and in some cases ports you think will come never do. Even the new Google Play edition of phones will likely never receive updates as quickly as the Nexus line. If that’s important to you, most of this review probably doesn’t matter. Get yourself a Nexus 5. It’s hands down the best Nexus phone to date. On that note, Kit Kat is the best Android version to date as well, and is a fairly significant change from previous versions of the software. It’s sleeker, cleaner, more refined and more modern looking while being considerably more responsive. Google Search and Google Now are integrated much more seamlessly than in previous versions. And while I’m not personally a fan of Hangouts replacing SMS and MMS, one nice thing about Android is that you can easily change that.

Now, back to the phone itself. Some good: The quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 2G of RAM means that the phone is astonishingly fast. By far the fastest phone I’ve used to date. The display is absolutely gorgeous. The battery life has also been better than most Android phones I’ve used. The  overall build quality of the phone is high and the form factor is extremely usable. The Nexus experience is also difficult to beat. Some bad: While battery life has been better, it’s still fairly unpredictable at times. The camera is probably the weakest part of the phone and is considerably worse than other flagship offerings. That said, Google claims that much of the issue is software related so we may see some marked improvement here. The speaker, while fairly loud, is also frustratingly distorted at times. While I like the overall form factor of the phone, it is quizzical that they chose to give it such a large bottom bezel, especially considering the phone has only software buttons. The lack of an SD card slot is also disappointing.

So, what’s the Verdict? If you want the Nexus experience or would like to buy an off contract phone, at $349 for the 16GB model and $399 for the 32GB model I think the Nexus 5 is going to be impossible to beat. I’m certainly extremely happy with the device myself. That said if you’re in a position where you have to buy a phone on contract, the HTC One (which I’ve seen as low as $75 with a 2 year contract) or possibly the Samsung Galaxy S4 are probably better options.


2011 Members Choice Award Winners – Thoughts

The polls are closed and the official results are in. You can view the detailed results here, but I’ll include a list of winners at the end of this post for convenience. We also have a nice visual overview of all categories on a single page, new last year, available here. This was the eleventh annual Members Choice Awards and we’ve set a record for participation each and every year. We once again had some extremely close races, including multiple categories decided by a single vote and our first ever tie. If you have feedback on how we can improve the Members Choice Awards, let us know.

My thoughts on a few of the categories:

Browser of the Year – I’m fairly surprised how handily Firefox beat Chrome here. It’s significantly more skewed than our actual browser stats are.

Desktop Environment of the Year – After a multi-year run, Gnome has been unseated by KDE. Xfce had a very strong showing, while it’s clear many are still not happy with Unity.

Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu squeaked out another win, but Mint is definitely coming on strong. Note that as LQ is the official Slackware forum, we tend to skew toward that distro more than the general Linux community. I’d say that one of the only places where we’re not indicative of the general community consensus though.

NoSQL Database of the Year – Our first ever tie and the next runner up was right in the race. It’s clear that this nascent category of products is going to be a very competitive landscape for the time being.

Database of the Year – Despite the acquisition by Oracle, MySQL still easily won this category.

Office Suite of the Year – The same can’t be said for, however, which got crushed by LibreOffice in a category it has easily dominated for years.

The complete list of the winners is as follows (percentage of votes received in parentheses):

Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu (21.83%)
Server Distribution of the Year – Debian (31.15%)
Mobile Distribution of the Year – Android (69.43%)
Database of the Year – MySQL (49.54%)
NoSQL Database of the Year – Cassandra and MongoDB (26.23% each) <- first MCA TIE
Office Suite of the Year – LibreOffice (81.01%)
Browser of the Year – Firefox (56.60%)
Desktop Environment of the Year – KDE (33.01%)
Window Manager of the Year – Openbox (15.90%)
Messaging Application of the Year – Pidgin (53.57%)
VoIP Application of the Year – Skype (59.67%)
Virtualization Product of the Year – VirtualBox (61.13%)
Audio Media Player Application of the Year – amaroK (19.52%)
Audio Authoring Application of the Year – Audacity (77.46%)
Video Media Player Application of the Year – VLC (60.92%)
Video Authoring Application of the Year – FFmpeg (34.32%)
Graphics Application of the Year – GIMP (72.08%)
Network Security Application of the Year – Wireshark (24.35%)
Host Security Application of the Year – SELinux (50.42%)
Network Monitoring Application of the Year – Nagios (64.71%)
IDE/Web Development Editor of the Year – Eclipse (22.14%)
Text Editor of the Year – vim (31.21%)
File Manager of the Year – Dolphin (24.63%)
Open Source Game of the Year – Battle for Wesnoth (18.70%)
Programming Language of the Year – Python (29.48%)
Revision Control System of the Year – git (58.73%)
Backup Application of the Year – rsync (37.35%)
Open Source CMS/Blogging Platform of the Year – WordPress (48.62%)
Configuration Management Tool of the Year – Puppet (54.55%)
Open Source Web Framework of the Year – Django (32.38%)
Media Center of the Year – XBMC (47.76%)


Happy New Year & Browser and OS stats for 2011

I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year on behalf of the entire LQ team. 2011 has been another great year for LQ and we have quite a bit of exciting developments in store for 2012, including a major code update. 2011 also marks the year that we expanded on the LQ vision to launch The Questions Network along with LQ’s fist sister site,

I’ve once again posted to this blog far less frequently in 2011 than I’d have liked to, and I’m going to work to change that this year (I do post to twitter fairly often, for those interested).

As has become tradition, here are the browser and OS statistics for the main LQ site for all of 2011 (2010 stats for comparison).

Firefox 53.07%
Chrome 24.79%
Internet Explorer 13.50%
Safari 3.59%
Opera 3.05%
Android Browser 0.26%
Konqueror .23%

The Firefox decline at LQ continues, while one in four now use Chrome to access the site. For the first time, a mobile browser has broken into the top 10.

Operating Systems
Windows 52.68%
Linux 38.55%
Macintosh 6.99%
Android .44%
iPhone .35%

Windows and Macintosh use are slightly up from last year, while Linux use is actually slightly down. While Android and iPhone use are both up, Android surpassed iPhone for the first time.

I’d also like to take this time to thank each and every LQ member. You are what make the site great. Don’t forget to vote in the 2011 Members Choice Awards, which recently opened.