Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
PaulOBrien

LG G Watch R Review

Recommended Posts

 

 

gwatchrbig.jpg

 

 

LG is having another go at Android Wear, ditching the square screen for a round one this time and tweaking the formula a little bit. So what's it like?

 

Design

 

I've gradually worked my way through the whole Android Wear crop, buying and owning a G Watch, Gear Live, Moto 360 and now the G Watch R. I have to say that unlike some, I actually didn't mind the design of the original G Watch - it felt a bit like a 'Nexus Watch'. Simple, purposeful and well suited to the job in hand. I started off with the black model but then bought (and still own) the gold edged model which has a white back and a white strap.

 

 

 

gwatchfb2.jpg

 

 

The G Watch R takes a very different approach to its predecessor. It shares the same plastic back with contacts for the lovely magnetic charging dock, but that's really where the similarities end! It has a chunky watch-style bezel, raised up from the face. It has a button on the side, in the style of a traditional watch crown, so unlike on the original G Watch you can turn the watch on without the aid of a dock. It still has a 22mm strap, but rather than an underwhelming silicone item, it's made out of high quality leather. The G-Watch R feels like a much better quality product than LG's first attempt, although this is reflected in the price.

 

The screen on the G Watch R is a 1.3" Full Circle P-OLED (Plastic-OLED) item. Yes full circle - there's no cutout at the bottom as seen on the Moto 360, but this has both positives and negatives. It looks better, no question, but it means once again there is no ambient light sensor. It actually doesn't matter as much as you might think, but more on that later.

 

Overall I think the design of the G Watch R is very successful. It's chunky but not too big (it's smaller than my Casio G-Shock for example) and it feels very well made courtesy of its metal construction. Alternative 22mm straps look very nice on the watch, i'm using a black metal mesh one as pictured.

 

 

 

gshocklgr.jpg

G Shock, G Watch R and Moto 360.

 

 

Specifications

 

The G Watch R specifications are as follows:

  • OS: Android Wear
  • Display: 1.3” Full Circle P-OLED
  • Dimensions: 46.4 x 53.6 x 9.7 mm
  • Weight: 62 g
  • Battery: 410 mAh
  • Processor: CPU Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400, 1.2GHz
  • Bluetooth: 4.0
  • Storage: 4GB eMMC* (user available memory up to 3 GB)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro, Accelerometer, Compass), PPG (Heart rate monitor), Barometer
  • Dust / Water Resistance: IP67
  • Strap: Changeable (22mm)

Specifications don't vary massively between Android Wear devices, the main things to note are that the CPU is a current one (*cough* Motorola *cough) and the battery is a good size.

 

Cost

 

The G Watch is available to buy from MobileFun for £218.99, which makes it the most expensive Android Wear you can buy right now, with the G Watch (Square) coming in at £150, the Samsung Gear Live at £169, the Sony Smartwatch 3 at £189.99 and the Moto 360 at £199.99. The pricing on the Asus ZenWatch is still to be confirmed, but I suspect you won't get much change from £200.

 

In Use

 

Your first thoughts on the G Watch R might depend on whether you've used an Android Wear device before and if so, which one. As you take the device out of the box and hit the button on the side to turn it on, you're greeted by the Android boot logo on screen. If you've come from a Moto 360, the screen might feel a little claustrophobic at 1.3" vs 1.5". If you've come from either the 360 or the original G Watch, you'll be immediately struck by that P-OLED screen with it's impressive brightness and ultra dark blacks. If you've come from the Gear Live, then you'll be used to the OLED screen, but you'll be impressed by the general build of the device. Regardless of whether you've used any of the previous Android Wear devices or this is your first, I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

I won't cover the utility of Android Wear in general in this review, but instead talk about how the design and features of the G Watch R impact it. I don't think there's any doubt - the very best experience of Android Wear as a whole is on a square screen. On a round watch notifications are clipped, with text appearing 'off the screen', making them less glanceable until expanded. The flip-side is that the watch faces on the round devices (of which there are a LOT installed out of the box, not to mention some excellent third party offerings like that pictured below) just look better and the watches themselves look more like timepieces and less like gadgets. The aforementioned clipping seems to be more pronounced on the G Watch R than on the Moto 360, which is a bit strange (as if things aren't scaling to the screen size) but for me personally, it's not a huge issue that affects my enjoyment of the watch.

 

 

 

gwatchface.jpg

The impressive 'A45' watchface is downloadable from the Play Store.

 

 

Impressive build quality and attractive design aside (subjective, of course) there are two big selling points on the G Watch R. The first is the battery life compared to its peers - the watch will run for 24 hours no problem in my experience, even with the screen at full brightness. The second is just that screen - it's incredible. It's very bright indoors. Searingly bright. It's perfectly viewable outside. It's high resolution. I honestly can't fault it. Yes, i'd prefer the watch to have auto-brightness built into the case (without compromising the full round screen), but as the endurance and the display itself are so good, it's much less of an issue than on other devices. The main downside to no auto-brightness is that if you are in a darkened room or cinema, when the watch display comes out of ambient mode it's not very subtle. Even IN ambient mode it's pretty bright!

 

The G Watch R includes a heart rate monitor on the back, which can measure your heart rate on demand and also seems to measure periodically throughout the day. To be honest, i'm not sure how useful this actually is (the real utility comes when devices can continuously monitor all day), but it's nice the feature is there, not least because it's also included on the Moto 360 and the Gear Live.

 

Rivals

 

So what of its rivals? Should you buy the G-Watch R? Let's talk first about what you shouldn't buy. Don't buy a Samsung Gear Live. The charger is horribly designed - really, bad enough to put you off. Don't buy a Moto 360. Although I do love the look and feel and the QI charging, the aging processor means battery life is an embarrassment and performance is far from where it should be. The original G Watch is still a great device (particularly at the reduced prices now), but the screen is considerably inferior to the R. Which leaves the rather utilitarian Sony Smartwatch 3 (which i've yet to try, but it adds GPS to the mix) and more significantly. the Asus Zenwatch. With its premium design and materials and a square OLED screen, I suspect the Asus will be very good, but it will have to go some to top the G Watch R.

 

 

 

gwatchr360comp.jpg

G Watch R on the left, Moto 360 on the right.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Before I got my hands on the G Watch R, I was using the Motorola. For all its faults, I just enjoyed having the round watch. The G Watch R made me never want to wear it again, it's that much better. The only sticking point with the R is the design - while I like it, it might not be for everyone and it certainly doesn't cater for female users very well.

 

Should you buy Android Wear at all?As you would expect, the value and utility in Wear is increasing quickly. Not only is Google pushing out updates (to add features such as GPS support and Bluetooth music), the number of Android Wear applications is growing very fast as is the number of watchfaces, despite Google inexplicably failing to release an official watchface API (they say it's coming). Regular readers may know i'm a big fan of the Pebble, but after using Wear for a short while, it feels distinctly low tech. This is the future.

 

Many thanks to MobileFun for the review device. After which I bought one. :)


View full item

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review. I own the watch as well and very happy with it. How do you feel about screen burn in, especially when using custom watchfaces like the one in the review? Do you think it can pose any danger in ambient mode, even with brightness very low?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree completely, apart from the pointless bezel markings (or at least the numerical ones) the hardware is fine, the 48 hours on always on mode means its functional as a watch.  Everything else thats iffy is software (thats mainly because the ideal UX is quite there) and Google will fix/adjust as and when.  Also as apps improve their notifications (FB is a bad offender, little info and few actiosn) wear will just get better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review. I own the watch as well and very happy with it. How do you feel about screen burn in, especially when using custom watchfaces like the one in the review? Do you think it can pose any danger in ambient mode, even with brightness very low?

Not sure really, but I also change watchfaces frequently so that should help!

Agree completely, apart from the pointless bezel markings (or at least the numerical ones) the hardware is fine, the 48 hours on always on mode means its functional as a watch.  Everything else thats iffy is software (thats mainly because the ideal UX is quite there) and Google will fix/adjust as and when.  Also as apps improve their notifications (FB is a bad offender, little info and few actiosn) wear will just get better.

Agreed!

P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was waiting for the LG G Watch R - however have decided to go instead with the Sony SmartWatch 3. Should hopefully be picking one up today.

 

I like the sports look of it, plus the added GPS will be ideal for running. Only downside is that they left out the HR monitor. However, having never used a HR monitor on a phone/watch  - not sure how accurate they are compared to the traditional band.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I manage to snag one of the first in the UK via Clove, and love most of it, I suppose its Wear I am not to sure of yet, my last watch was the Sony Smartwatch 2, tons more apps than Android Wear, and battery life to die for, mine lasted about 4 days, but the low resolution screen was its downfall. I found the Sony so much easier to use, guess I will have to learn Wear... mind you I do fancy the Asus for a going out watch... use this G Watch R for work.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very impressed with the SmartWatch 3 so far. Took a bit of getting used to Android Wear having come from the Pebble, but think im there.Took the SM3 off charge yesterday morning and so far im still on 38%, and thats with pretty heavy use playing around with it - So will easily get 2 days out of it. (That was working a night shift yesterday as well, so watch was constantly used throughout the night)

 

Screen is very bright and easy to read - also very impressed with the high quality.

 

Strap is very comfortable and feels nice and secure, although it is a bit of a fluff/lint magnet.

 

Going to be taking it out on my first run shortly using Runtatsic and GooglePlay Music - however will be using my phones GPS. Will let you know what that does to the battery.

 

Its definitely a thumbs up from me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh darn it! Was about to pull the trigger on the 360, but re-read your review and ended up ordering G Watch R instead! Do you have a link for the metal strap you replaced?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This review definitely impressed me more in getting a G Watch R. I have heard from a friend of mine, for moto 360, it will gets a bit overheat, will G Watch R having this problem? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.