A smartwatch that you would love to wear.
Wearables are everywhere. Just the other day while I was taking the train to work I came across different persons all wearing different smartwatches and fitness trackers. Some may still feel that wearables are like a gimmick, but with the plethora of devices available, pretty soon smartwatches and the like will be on everyone’s wrists.
The launch of Android Wear solidified Google’s stand on making wearables. Earlier smartwatches either ran on Tizen or a modified version of Android. Android Wear is made especially for wearables, which includes various API that let developers take advantage of how data is acquired or shown on the device. The LG G Watch R was one of the first smartwatches that offered a circular design (the other being the Moto 360) – as the smartwatch becomes officially available in the UAE, let’s have a look and see if it is worth buying.
Specifications and Design
I should give special mention to LG for making this smartwatch. The LG G Watch R is absolutely gorgeous where it does not even feel like it is a smartwatch. From the stainless steel watch face to the genuine leather band, this is one smartwatch that would go with any style. One complaint is that the leather strap feels too hard and difficult to put on but good thing you can easily swap the leather strap for another one that you may prefer.
The LG G Watch R comes with a 1.3-inch P-OLED display that makes the smartwatch even more awesome to look at. It manages to show various watch faces that blend seamlessly with the hardware, making it look like you were wearing an actual watch.
The smartwatch also comes with a built-in gyroscope, accelerometer, compass and even an optical heart rate monitor. It is powered by a Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2 GHz along with 4 GB of internal memory and a 410 mAh battery. It is also IP67 certified – meaning that it is waterproof – though like all electronic gadgets, they are never meant to be used in wet environments so exercise some caution when using it near water.
The LG G Watch R runs on Android Wear, which has just recently got a Lollipop-based update that streamlines much of the functions and features.
The LG G Watch R needs to be paired with any Android-based smartphone, but it should be running version 4.3 and up. Along with that, you would need to install the Android Wear app so you can easily manage the smartwatch features from your smartphone, which also needs to be connected through Bluetooth.
I paired the LG G Watch R with an Asus Zenfone 5 and an HTC Desire Eye smartphone, both running Android 4.4 KitKat. It easily paired with both smartphones easily and pretty soon, I was getting notifications (includes calls and messages) regularly on the smartwatch. But that’s that all Android Wear can do.
The LG G Watch R basically managed to count all of my steps along with the ability to measure my heart rate and sync them effortlessly with my smartphone. Along with that, it also instantly responds to the ‘Ok Google’ hot key that is used to bring up the Google Now homescreen. All other cards you can find on Google Now such as weather reports, traffic situations and even reminders all synced perfectly to the device.
Some users may have a hard time adjusting to the swiping gestures on the watch, which is how the notifications are dismissed. There is also an option to answer messages and emails from the watch using dictation – though as you can imagine it does not always work well.
Android Wear somehow feels like it was made for screens with edges, evident when using the LG G Watch R, since most of the cards get cut off from the curve of the display. Hopefully Google can issue an update to Android Wear that would improve the way we see Google Now cards on a circular screen.
The 410 mAh battery was sufficient enough to last the LG G Watch R for about a full day. That is when it is connected via Bluetooth with the screen set at high brightness. If you manage to turn off some of the features, you can easily stretch it to two and a half days. It also uses a magnetic dock (which you can plug using the microUSB port) where you can easily charge the device.
For 1099 AED, the LG G Watch R is expensive – but it is easily one of the best looking smartwatches we have seen to date. Android Wear isn’t perfect, but it is the step towards the right direction. I’d easily give it a 3.5 based on its features and with subsequent updates, it could be a top smartwatch that everyone will happily recommend.