This review of the LG G Watch is coming a little bit later than most of the reviews that came out when the device was first released. I figured that I would live with the device for a few weeks before I gave my impressions of it.
It is difficult to give a review of the base watch features because the meat of this device is the android wear OS. It pulls in all of your Google Now and notification information seamlessly. Google does not let manufacturers skin android wear, so the experience is consistent across all devices running it. This should also make it much easier for Google to roll out updates across the entire platform at once.
I was hoping to disagree with the countless reviews that said that the android wear devices were not ready for primetime. I came away with with a very similar opinion, but I do think that the device is ready for primetime. The core android wear features become instantly useful and enjoyable. This isn’t a revolutionary platform yet, but the seeds have been planted for this platform to become infinitely more useful in the near future. This is only the first iteration of the platform and improvements are expected as the platform matures. The seamless integration will become more obvious as android’s new material design UI elements invade the next version of the android OS.
I did find myself reaching for my phone far less than normal. I estimate that my phone handling at work went down by 70%. I normally play music from the stock android music player and the skip track feature wasn’t as useful as just clicking the next track button on the lock screen on android 4.4 phone. The music player functions are not as useful in that case, but they can be incredibly useful if you are listening to music while working out or jogging with your phone in your pocket or pouch. I did find the calendar updates to be very useful because I often neglect looking at my calendar widget. The weather cards are useful too and they normally are location aware, so you will always know the temp and forecast for your location. The time to get a certain location card is a very nice feature. My device gives me an update if the traffic on my way home is delayed and it gives me an estimated time to get home. The card will also let you know if traffic is normal, so you are made aware of any situation. I don’t really use the search by voice feature for anything useful, but I did set a reminder to not forget my food in the office refrigerator before I left work. It doesn’t sound like that feature would be useful until you realize that I had left my lunch in the refrigerator the previous two times I placed it in there. I think I also used the search by voice feature when we were debating how tall Tom Cruise was during a slow period at work. The device instantly gave me the info. He is 5′ 7″ if you are curious. The voice dictation for text, hangouts and email are good, but the lack of a final CONFIRM BEFORE SEND feature makes me a little nervous. The other non-essential, but fun feature is the step tracking. It appears to be fairly accurate and it did not mark false steps when I tried to trick it.
The device comes preloaded with several watch faces that vary in coolness. Some of the watch faces are downright funky looking. If you aren’t happy with the selection of digital and digital made to look like analog faces, you will be happy that several cool watch faces are available to download on the Play Store. One of more cool app titled WatchFaces installs several nice watch faces and also allows you to create your own custom designs.
The design of the LG G watch is fairly plain, but I think that it looks better than the Samsung Gear Live. Several other reviewers have disagreed with me and seem to think that the Samsung device is the better looker of the two. The clean and simple design of the LG G watch isn’t as bad as many people are saying it is. I think that it is good for a watch to just blend in. The lack of a physical on/off button is a little annoying and the battery is not very good when left on always on mode, but it is quite good in the mode that goes to sleep after a few seconds. In that mode, the device comes back to life with a quick flick of the wrist and is ready to take voice commands. The lack of an ambient light sensor is also a bit of a bummer because you will have to adjust the brightness manually when you go outside from being indoors.
All in all, this watch is fun to use and comes in handy quite often. Is it a must have device? I think that you can live without it and I am sure that devices six months down the road with have much nicer design elements and most likely better specs and device specific customizations. This $229 device will most likely be much cheaper if you wait until Thanksgiving to purchase it. As of now the device is only compatible with android devices running version 4.3 and above. This means all of the iOS users won’t be able to use it. If you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket and you love being an early adopter, this is a cool device at a reasonable price point.
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