While I have only had the LG G Watch for less than a week, I have been completely immersed in the experience, wearing it all day, trying different apps, using it to handle my notifications, control my music, track my activities, and more. Below are the best, acceptable, and worst features of the watch itself — I will tackle Android Wear in a following post.
The best features
Build materials and quality
From the many photos I had seen of the LG G Watch in press renders and real images, I had thought it was an unassuming plastic rectangle. I was surprised to find that the watch is actually a lot heavier, and seems to be made from a more metallic substance, probably stainless steel. It gives it a solid feel that I hadn’t anticipated.
Thankfully, the G Watch uses the same watch pins and replaceable band system as any regular watch on the market, with a 22mm size for the bands. And I said “thankfully” because the band it ships with is the most bland and boring piece of rubber I have seen. By ordering a few replaceable bands from eBay (I have listed the 5 best ones here) and opting mostly for the military-style straps that are easily removed and replaced without messing with the pins, I am able to make the G Watch slightly more feminine and more interesting to look at.
The OK features
From earlier reviews and comments, I had expected the screen on the G Watch to be horrible to look at. I haven’t found it to be amazing, nor is it a failure. The screen resolution is adequate for a wrist watch, the size is quite enough, and the outdoor visibility, even in the direct Lebanese summer sunlight, is quite good. That last statement is true when you raise the brightness to level 5 or 6 (out of 6) and don’t try to look at the watch from the weirdest angles — it’s a watch, you’re supposed to raise it and look straight at it.
Given my past experience with smartphones (I am always the person who has half a day of battery life on phones others claim last 2 days of heavy use), I expected to be lugging around the watch’s charger everywhere in fear of it running dry before the day is over. However, so far I am able to get through a full day (16 hours) of use, with the screen always on option turned, at brightness level 5 or 6, constantly fiddling with it, handling most of my notifications from it, controlling music while I walk or run, and podcasts while I drive, with about 20% battery left to spare.
That’s not excellent, but it is better than I anticipated. I plan on testing this more, with a lower brightness level and the screen always on option turned off, to see if I can get 2 days out of it. At least I have confidence in it lasting me a full day. The real benefit, however, is in the fact that I am not fiddling with my phone as often, which is leading to a longer battery life on my LG G2. It’s a fortunate side-effect.
I had the tiniest of wrists and was quite dreading the way the G Watch would fit. It turned out to be not as huge as I expected it to be. Save for the square vs round shape, it almost has the exact dimensions of my regular watch as well as the same thickness. I adjusted to its size almost instantly, but I certainly would have loved it to be smaller, thinner, and rounder.
The worst features
For a company that prides itself in its prowess at making the tiniest of bezels on the G2 and G3, LG sure didn’t make any effort with their G Watch. There are remarkable bezels around the screen, in all directions, and while that doesn’t really affect the watch in its “screensaver” state, it does detract from the experience when you are actively using it. A larger screen in the same body, or smaller bezels around the same screen, would have been a lot more welcomed.
The G Watch is supposed to turn on the screen whenever you raise it and angle it toward your face. I have found that gesture to be erratic at best, triggering when it wasn’t supposed to (mostly while driving), and not working when it should.
The real Achilles Heel of the G Watch (and Gear Live), as explained by Rajesh earlier, is its charging method. It uses a proprietary cradle (with microUSB input) that locks the watch into place magnetically and fills it up thanks to a pogo pin connection.
The first problem is that the watch can lock in the opposite direction, if you don’t pay close attention to how you are placing it, and you’ll think it’s charging but the pins aren’t even aligned to begin with. The second is that this method is proprietary, and you won’t be able to use some of the chargers you have laying around the house to do it. And the third is that, for now, there are no replacement cradles available for sale. If you lose or break your cradle, you have no chance of charging your G Watch, at all.
Did you get a G Watch or Gear Live? If so, what are your most and less favorite features of the watches?