LG G Watch: An Affordable Smartwatch
Back in June 2014 at the Google I/O we had the first look at Android Wear; the search giant’s first steps in the wearable industry. The LG G watch and the Samsung Gear Live were the first devices to run Android Wear; which is a subset of Android made for wearables.
Smartwatches like the Pebble have been around for a while, but they were never available in India officially. The LG G watch has a very basic design comprising of a square display and a rubber belt. There are no visible buttons on the watch; simply looking like a screen strapped to your hand. It isn’t made to look like a classic timepiece, it’s a smart watch and it looks like one. And honestly, I like that. It’s definitely not gonna win design awards like the Moto 360 but it gets the job done.
The G watch has a 1.65 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 280×280 pixels that delivers a pixel density of 240 PPI. The screen is crisp and does not appear to be pixellated. It’s neat to have everything at a glance without reaching for the phone in the pocket. The G Watch has an Always-On mode that as the name suggests keeps the Screen on all the time. It brightens up only when it is clicked or when you lift the wrist to look at the time; otherwise it dims the brightness and turns to black and white. This option can be turned off to save some battery life. The LCD is bright and has 6 levels of brightness, it does not have an ambient light sensor like the Moto 360 so you’ll have to manually set the brightness. I’ve been using it at 50%, and I can see content fairly clearly in broad daylight. At night, sometimes I dial the brightness down a bit.
Under the screen ticks a Single Core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor. There is 512MB of RAM to help the processor go through all the tasks which aren’t different than Google Now cards. The cards appear on the Watch when Google thinks they are required. And most of the time Google gets it spot on.
The Watch does a lot more than showing cards, it fetches the notifications from the phone giving different controls based on the app sending it. You can accept or reject calls directly from the watch. Apps like Facebook messenger and Whatsapp gives an option to reply to the message directly or open the conversation on the phone. It offers controls to any media playing on the phone. The watch has a microphone at the bottom that is listening for the “Ok Google” voice command when the screen is on.
The G Watch has a 400mAh battery that keeps the internals ticking. If you’re used to changing the batteries on your typical watch once a year maybe, get ready for some pain, as the G watch needs charging every other day. I use the G Watch regularly to clear notifications, reply to messages, occasionally use navigation and maybe run some voice queries. Based on my usage the watch still has half the battery left at the end of the day. Though I’ve got into the habit of putting my watch for charging the moment I wake up. LG has made a charging cradle on which the watch rests to be charge using pogo pin connectors. There are magnets to ensure that the watch is in place while charging. Charging is quick and takes about an hour to fully juice the watch up.
The G watch is fully compatible with 22mm watch bands and one can change it as per choice. I’ve gone ahead and switched the Rubber strap for a black Metal one. The watch is dust and water-resistant and has an IP67 rating just like the other Android wear devices. It can withstand being submerged into 1 meter deep water for up to 30 minutes. But no Android Wear maker recommends you taking the watch for a swim.
The watch runs on Android Wear 1.0 a software platform that is still evolving. The Wear devices aren’t multi platform like the Pebble. They can only be used with Android 4.3 phones and above. I’ve been using the Watch for a couple of weeks now and it has already got 2 updates. And the update has already made the smartwatch so much better, the initial update was the one from LG to fix the corrosion issue on the initial lot of LG G watches. I am happy to report that the charging pins on my G watch are perfectly fine, I’ll keep you guys updated about their condition. The 2nd update was an Android Wear update that has improved the battery life on the watch by 10% and has added a lot more functionalities. All Android Wear devices have 4GB of internal memory for storage, and after the newest update songs can be saved on the watch directly. But you can listen to them only if you have a bluetooth headset.
The new wear platform is impressive, it enables one to do quite a lot of stuff without pulling the smartphone out. Its vibrates to notify when there is an important notification on the phone. The LG G Watch is not the best smartwatch out there but its good enough to get work done. The Watch has been selling below ten thousand rupees on a couple of online site, for the price there is nothing that out performs it.
If you absolutely want to give Android Wear a try, go ahead and pick this one up.