There’s a lot to like about the new Moto 360, from the new size options, to the updated design, to the beefed-up silicon within. One thing we didn’t see change, though, was Motorola’s choice for the tech driving the smartwatch’s display, and just like the original Moto 360, this new model returned with an LCD panel for its circular screen. Was that a mistake for a device that sorely needs to stretch its battery life as long as it can, especially in a world of high-profile OLED-employing competition like the Apple Watch? While we’re still spending some time getting to know the new Moto 360 (following our unboxing the other day – catch up below), some early hands-on experience suggests that the return to an LCD panel isn’t too detrimental to battery life at all.

Mind you, this is all a bit anecdotal, and we’ll want to perform some further tests before making a final call on Moto 360 battery performance, but last night we left our test unit sitting off its charger with the display set to always-on mode while grabbing some Zs – a bit over eight hours’ worth. After waking up fresh and invigorated, we took a look at the smartwatch’s remaining charge – and were a bit shocked at just how small the hit on the battery life was.

After 8.5 hours with its always-on display engaged, our battery had dropped from 53 percent to 50 percent – that’s it. Granted, even with the display on, sitting unused like that the watch drew a lot less power than had we been interacting with it, or even receiving notifications. But for a test like this where the display is going to be the biggest drain on the smatwatch’s battery, that’s still some impressive performance.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on battery life as we continue using the new Moto 360, but from this early impression alone, there might be reason to be optimistic.

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