tl;dr The LG G Watch R wins over the other android smart watches in terms of specifications, slimmer, longer battery life, brilliant POLED screen, and a very sporty looking smart watch that looks like an actual watch.
The LG G Watch R follows the classic round watch face, differing from the previous model of a square watch face, which immediately feels a lot more like a watch with a tapered screen framed by a bezel ring with 12 clock markings around it. Several people have mistaken this android smart watch to be a simple watch that just tells time, until I showed them the digital capabilities.
I won’t cover the Android Wear software inside the smart watch because there isn’t much specific customisations from LG except for the additional watch faces provided. I will, however, focus more on the hardware and how it withstands my daily life.
You need an Android Phone (any) to use the LG G Watch R
Before even considering this LG G Watch R, don’t waste your time if you do not have an Android phone running 4.3 and above. Visit g.co/WearCheck on your phone to see if it’s compatible. One of the benefits of buying an Android Wear watch is that you’re not tied to any manufacturer’s Android phone, which makes it very convenient in choosing what kind of watch you’ll like, rather than being locked in. Also, when you get the watch, remember to install the Android Wear app from the Google Play store. This will allow you to connect your LG G Watch R to your phone in order to provide the other “smart” and “connected” capabilities.
Change the leather strap from any watch shop
There won’t be any strap accessories from LG, but as all good watches, the strap by default is changeable from any watch shop. The “premium” leather strap that comes with it was rather stiff and it didn’t feel comfortable around my wrist. So my recommendation is to change the strap to a comfortable more classy strap from any watch shop.
Charging dock is magnetic, but slips out too easily when charging
Compared to the Moto 360 dock which you simply place Moto 360 watch on the side, the LG G Watch R dock requires the entire back of the watch face to be on it. When you plug in the micro-USB cable together with the watch strap on the table, it tends to slip out easily. Just be careful that the dock is actually connected to your watch for charging, else you’ll get a dead watch in the morning.
Lasts around 2.5 days with every charge
Even though the LG G Watch R has a battery life of 2 to 2.5 days, I recommend charging every day in case you forget. The additional battery life beyond 1 day is useful when you forget to charge it over the night, so it can go on for another day of use. Also, the charge time is pretty quick at around 1 to 2 hrs from 0% to 100%. Just remember to bring along your dock if you tend to forget charging your watch every night like me.
The watch dial/crown is just a home button
Guess what I did the first thing when I saw the watch dial? I turned it. Nothing happened. Yes, the watch dial is just a home button that you press it. Turning the dial doesn’t do anything at all, which disappointed me a little as I expected to be able to scroll through the various notifications that came in. Not a deal breaker though, as the watch dial does add characteristic to the LG G Watch R. Just wish they did more with it.
Sturdy and hardy time piece smart watch, but still too big
I must say the LG G Watch R is quite a solid piece of hardware – if you get what I mean when I say “it passes the Justin test”. Just don’t tell anyone what I’ve done with it. It is IP67 certified which means you can take it swimming with you underwater up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. It has a 9-Axis (Gyro, Accelerometer, Compass), PPG(Heart rate monitor), Barometer, and everything you expect a smart watch to have and do. Although the watch is slightly smaller than the Moto 360, however having only one size limits the choices for people who might have smaller wrists like mine.
Conclusion? Smart watches aren’t there yet…
There are many improvements in the design of the smart watch in this LG G Watch R, however I think there needs to be more refinements in both the hardware, software, and the actual use of being a smart watch. The LG G Watch R does come close to being the perfect smart watch, but I can’t find a use for it after the initial wow-factor. I don’t think anyone has figured it out yet, but hopefully next year in 2015, the ultimate smart watch would appear. The LG G Watch R is now available for purchase in Singapore at an SRP of S$398.
+ Sturdy and hardy
+ 2.5 days battery life
+ Very good looking, looks like a watch
– Charging dock slips out easily
– Watch crown is just a home button
– Uncomfortable leather strap