LG G Watch: Android Wear, Always On [Review]

LG G Watch
Within the past year we have definitely seen an influx of smartwatches hitting the market. Where it looked to be an area that wasn’t going to be tapped into, now mobile companies have been trying to break the wall and be that watch everyone needs. Pebble was holding it down until we started to see some heavy hitters such as Sony, Samsung, and now LG. What makes LG different from the others(besides Samsung) named is that it’s running with Google’s recent Android Wear OS. We should Android Wear going forward on devices such as Motorola and others. Also LG wants your watch to look like more of an actual watch then a device. Is the G Watch the G you need in this wearable war?

Style

LG G Watch BackThe LG G Watch has a simplistic styling to it. It’s a square-shaped device with two removable rubber straps attached. There are no buttons anywhere on the device and all functions must be done through the screen itself. I mean there is one tinny tiny button if you flip the watch over but that’s really just a reset button if all else fails. Also on that backside you will notice 5 charge spots for attaching to the included charger. I actually like the ability of just placing it on the charger and taking it right off. Just make sure it’s on a stable surface or could easily come off. The LG G Watch is graded IP67 certification for dust and water resistance and I have got caught in the rain with it and been fine.

Quick Tech Specs: The LG G Watch has a 400mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB Storage. I haven’t experienced any lag on this device which is a plus. Also its using Bluetooth 4.0 LE to help take some strain off battery life.

Display

The display is IPS LCD and sized at 1.65in (42mm) with 280×280 pixels in RGB matrix colors. The display itself looks good and has been pretty legible and I have not had issues reading any texts, or viewing any images on it. Unless you’re in the sunlight where the LG G Watch is deemed almost unviewable. LG G Watch WeatherUnfortunately its sunlight viewing doesn’t hold a candle to the Qualcomm Toq. Surprisingly as well Samsung’s smartwatches still have the best looking displays with their AMOLED screens. Just with that you can expect the battery life to last longer on the G Watch then it does on Samsung’s Gear Live. It’s “Always On” display does great in going into a dimming mode when not in use and keeps that battery pushing.

Software/Android Wear

So like the Samsung Gear Live, the LG G Watch uses Android Wear. If you are unfamiliar, Android Wear is supposed to give you all the functionality you’d normally get from Android’s actual OS they use on their mobile devices. If you are used to Google Now’s “Cards” then you will feel right at home. Notifications pop up in a “card” style and you will get it for just about anything. Texts, Tweets, IFTTT, Calendar, you name it you get it. Some have decent options such as Hangouts where you can do actual voice commands and it will send it back in a IM. Even though sometimes it says it sends and actually doesn’t. I just wish the option was available in other message options such as texting for instance. The system is quirky at times as well. You might want to read a message and it will show another message and doesn’t sync probably, or they may even be older messages that didn’t combine with the others.

LG G Watch Twitter

But even with its buggy OS, I’m still a fan of Android Wear. It’s new and will take some getting used to and at least we know since its going to be on a lot of smartwatches we can expect continued support across all boards. It has a slight learning curve and could use some better options to get to some of your apps on it but third-party support has been growing. Some apps to take a stab at would be PixtoCam, Convergence Watch Face, and Wear Mini Launcher. The Wear Mini Launcher is great for getting access to some apps right on the spot which is sorely hard to do on Android Wear unless you keep that card up.

LG G Watch Wear Mini LauncherLG G Watch Notification

Usage


Since getting the LG G Watch I have actually used it a great deal. Actually more than I expected. Its pretty light and doesn’t put too much strain on the wrist. The ability to not have to grab my phone all the time is a plus. It counting steps is highly inaccurate though. I found myself at my desk typing and it was counting just based on my wrist movements.

LG G Watch Netflix

Battery life has been decent with me getting a day off it with the display always on. If I leave the display off I may get a day and a half to two days on it. I don’t expect getting 3-5 days like i did from the Toq based on the constant notifications on the G Watch. I did love how I had been using my Chromecast for Netflix and since I did it through my HTC One M8 phone I was able to pause and play through the G Watch.

Verdict

The LG G Watch is nice addition to the world of wearables. While others have been pretty out there with their styles, LG keeps it simple and to the point with theirs. Depending on the type of consumers though this may help or hurt them. There are those that love flash and that’s something the G Watch doesn’t have. Battery life is on point for what you expect out of a watch rapidly giving you updates just make sure to charge it every night. I am surprised they are charging $29.99 more then the Samsung Gear Live which has a better display and a heart rate monitor. This is LG’s 1st attempt at a smartwatch with a newly created OS so I expect some growing pains and think things will be better whenever the LG G Watch 2 rolls around.

The LG G Watch is available on Google Play for $229.99 in Titan Black or White Gold.