A Week with the G Watch – Rather Useful

The LG G watch was one of the first few Android wear watch models. There are a number of newer models coming soon but major differences are more on the aesthetic front, with the internal specs across the various watch models to be the same. LG would also be releasing another Android Wear watch soon, the G Watch R, which is one of the two Android Wear watches with a circular face. The other being the Moto 360. So how’s the basic Android Wear G Watch? Here’s some of my impressions after using it for a week.

The Design is Unabashedly Basic

The original G Watch does not rank high in terms of design flair. If looks are important, you should definitely plonk for the Moto 360 or perhaps the upcoming circular G Watch R. Watch out though, as for the price of aesthetics, the soon to be launched G Watch R is almost double in price as compared to the G Watch, and the Moto 360 is hard to find in Singapore. The Moto 360 also uses an older generation Ti OMAP chip, which is slower than the Snapdragon 400 and comparisons have found it to be sluggish. The first generation G Watch was always more of a reference design, as admitted by LG, a basic smartwatch model to showcase Android Wear capabilities. The bezel is thick, and the band is rubber/silicon. Similar to FitBit. What that means is that it looks every bit as boring, ugly, geekish, etc, as you would expect a smart watch to be.

There aren’t many functions

If you received your watch and was very excited to see what you can do with it, you’ll be very disappointed. It’s very different from a tech gadget where you’ll want to install many apps and start playing with it. The elegance is that when it comes to Android Wear, the idea is that there’s nothing much you should be doing with it. It’s there only to tell you when you have notifications, or when Google thinks it is appropriate, through Google Now.

Google Now has been around for some time now, and while it can be useful, I haven’t found it to be indispensable. Other than the occasional traffic updates and news alert, I find the general quality of the notifications to be missing.

Yet the notification system is surprisingly useful

I don’t know about you, but I take my phone out very frequently to check if I have new messages etc, because my phone is always on vibration and I don’t want to miss out on any notification. Doing it on my watch instead is so much better. It’s easier to check my messages, and the battery life on my phone is much better even with bluetooth on.

Some extra perks. You can leave your phone in one room, and move around your house without missing any phone calls or notification. You can keep your phone on silent and not disturb your family members anymore. If you’re in the SAF, you can keep your camera phone in the HP lockers outside your office, and refer only to your watch for notifications. It’s an easy workaround for those with mobile phones that do not meet the red zone criterion.

Voice recognition works

Typing is tough on the watch. Even though there are keyboards available for use on your G watch, it’s not something you really want to do. Think of it as something to be used only during emergencies. But voice recognition works. Especially for English. Mix Singlish in, and you’ll get weird sentences. If you’re in a room by yourself, replying to messages using the G Watch is something very doable.

Battery life is Good Enough

The battery won’t last 2 days. That’s for sure. But I always end up with about 30% left at the end of the day. That will mean it will definitely last one day, (with buffer even if you use your watch more extensively). But yes, you’ll have to charge your watch every night. I have the watch screen always on. Maybe if you switch it off, you might squeeze 2 days out. Even then, it’s not something I would risk.

Conclusion

The LG G watch (and any other smart watch) is very much a luxury item. It’s useful, but you won’t really call it a need. The LG G watch is currently the cheapest, but also one of the ugliest and with the least functionality. It’s not round, it’s rubber, no heart rate monitor and it has no GPS. At the right price, it’ll be a good purchase (say ~S$170) – which you can get on an import set from time too time. Just don’t have too high an expectation.

tedfox

Zhaolin aka Tedfox owns both Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013), a Nexus 4, iNo Two, and the OnePlus One. He enjoys playing with the latest gadgets as well as software, - like Plex and Waze.

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