Moto 360 Sport release date and price: before your New Year's Resolutions… and not too costly

Everything a tech-loving runner needs… except longevity

The Moto 360 Sport, an Android Wear smartwatch aimed more toward the fitness crowd than the comparatively executive Moto 360, is hitting store shelves on December 18, priced $299, £219 or about AU$450.

It's debuting in the UK and France, with the US having to wait a few extra weeks until it releases Stateside on January 7. An unusual move for Motorola.

Our off-the-cuff verdict based on what we've seen so far and the spec details: this is a great looking wearable that might just prove to be the ultimate running/fitness watch, but the one-day battery life is not so alluring.

The headline features? Here, have this:

• Built-in GPS joins the built-in, light-based heart rate monitor found on the Moto 360, for tracking runs, cycles, hikes and hoverboard jaunts without the need of a phone.

• A barometric altimeter allows tracking of hill runs, stairs climbed and mountain stages of the Tour de France (other inclines are supported).

• The above plus a music player with up to 4GB of storage means you can soundtrack your workout without needing your phone tethered, with syncing with Google Play Music mentioned specifically. "Leave your hands to more important things," Motorola suggests, cryptically.

• Cosmetically, it's all change, with the Moto 360's leather and stainless steel detailing getting the boot in favour of a dust- and sweat-proof, ventilated silicone band and watch face enclosure. The resultant casing comes in at 1mm thicker than the most recent Moto 360, and is only available in one diameter size: 45mm (Moto 360 offers a choice of 42mm and 46mm).

• As well as Motorola's own Moto Body, you can use Android Wear fitness apps such as MapMyRun, Strava, Fitbit and more. Moto Body records your workout data and syncs directly with the apps mentioned.

• The heart-rate monitor continuously tracks your pulse, with Moto Body showing time spent in different cardio zones – an essential feature for a lot of fitness fanatics.

• And you'll receive "spontaneous [fitness-related] notifications throughout the day that keep you informed, up to date, and inspired." Well, that *could* be useful…

• Techradar's favourite smartwatches to date.

Moto 360 Sport

Elsewhere, the screen has the familiar, not universally-loved "flat tire" bottom, but there's new tech in the form of Motorola AnyLight. This is a transflective-type display that Motorola says acts like normal LCD indoors but reflects sunlight when outside so it's easier to read. That's a big deal when you need to check your lap time, pulse rate and cardio zone at a glance, while running flat out in sunlight.

We'll reserve judgement on AnyLight till we see it, but this type of screen tech can work extremely well on digital watches.

The Moto 360 Sport runs on Android Wear and charges via a wireless dock, just like the Moto 360 and use the same 300mAh battery found inside the 42mm version of the Moto 360.

Motorola says that users should expect even less out of its battery, with "a full day" of "mixed use" compared to the advertised battery life of a day and a half for its more stylish sibling.

Now we all know that, if you're into smartwatches, regular charging is going to be the price you pay for your hobby. But a one-day battery life on a device built specifically for fitness is unusually poor. Even the Microsoft Band 2 manages 2-3 days with mixed use.

Moto 360 Sport

The Moto 360 Sport will come in black, white, or a flame orange option.

Stay tuned for a full review of the Moto 360 Sport and take a look at our initial impressions from this year's IFA conference.