LG G Watch – review

The LG G Watch, model LG-W100, is a first-generation Android Wear watch from LG. On first impressions the watch looks good to me, although style is personal and others might be waiting for the Motorola 360 before taking the plunge. The G Watch has a smooth rubber strap with a conventional buckle to fasten it, unlike the Samsung Gear Live which has poppers to fasten it. This, in my opinion, is quite a benefit because the conventional watch strap looks nicer, more like a standard watch, and feels less likely to come undone.

LG G Watch

LG G Watch

The LG G Watch is running the Android Wear 4.4W OS. The initial shock, compared to the phone version of Android, is that there are no apps on the home screen. The initial screen is reserved for notifications. Accessing apps is a fiddly task. In order to open a new app you have to tap the screen, scroll down to the ‘start…’ option and then scroll to the app. This might put developers off trying to make apps targeted for just the watch.

Another surprising design decision is the lack of an easily accessible power button. The watch can only be switched on either by placing it in its cradle or by pushing a very small button on the underneath of the watch with something like a paperclip. At first this seems like a big pain if you turn off the watch (to save power perhaps) and then have to turn it on later. However, you’ll find the battery will likely outlast your mobile phone and you’ll naturally fall into a charging cycle of daily topping up both your watch and phone. Just for testing purposes, I did turn it off during the day to see how easy it was to switch back on using the small button. It was very difficult and 90% of the time I didn’t have anything small enough to switch it on with. Ultimately you’ll leave it powered up all the time so it can replace your current watch, probably with one of the plethora of watch displays that are appearing on the Google Play store.

One very important thing to consider before purchasing this watch is the battery life. The battery life of this watch when using it “normally” was about a day. I could comfortably use the watch all day and still have a couple of hours left the next day, but you will need to recharge once a day. You won’t reasonably get two days out of it. This is pretty poor for a watch, but not unusual for a smart watch. However in my experience, fully charging the watch via a standard USB port took roughly 40 minutes (if you can resist playing with it for that long).

The style is very reminiscent of a development product. It certainly doesn’t scream that you just spent £160/$273 (Jul 2014). I would have expected a leather strap with the watch having a smoother look to it.

Overall I am enjoying this new approach to the android platform, making it wearable and easy to check out notifications, but until the battery can be extended to at least five days I won’t be impressed.