Greetings and salutations one and all! Today I take a look at the LG G Watch, which I pre-ordered from Best Buy last week and received yesterday.
Before I get to my thoughts on it I think there's one thing that needs to be stated. I currently feel like a dog suddenly forced to wear a collar. I have not worn a watch in over twenty years, all day I've been randomly shaking my arm trying to shake this one off. I can't help it, it's almost subconscious.
Onward and upward though!
So out of the box there's not much to look at. It's a black watch with a grayish watch band. In addition to which is the gear necessary to charge the device.
The watch itself is probably as thick as my pinky. As you'll see in some additional pics below it dead on the size of my wrist as far as its real estate taken up while worn goes. It's also dust proof and water resistant. WATER RESISTANT. Not waterproof. There is a difference. Waterproof means you can dunk it in the pool and it'll come out fine, water resistant means you can get caught in the rain and you'll be okay but don't go diving into any pools with it on.
You'll note that the charger for the device itself is roughly the same size as the watch itself. It fits perfectly on it and its magnetized and shouldn't come loose much, if at all.
It came with about a 50% charge when I took the device out and got to setting it up using the Android Wear app. As far as charging goes, I plugged it in this morning when I got to work with about 45% battery left. That was at about 7:45 AM. It was fully charged within an hour, likely even before that full hour came and went. I just was kinda busy and didn't notice til I had to leave the office.
The process itself was straight forward. Turn on the watch, which I did by pushing that silver little "button" above the four gold ones you see on the back of the device. I then launched the app on my phone and it found the watch and started the process of first updating the software on the watch and then pushing various app installations to it, notably Hangouts and Gmail. The process itself took no more than fifteen minutes. I should stress that you'll need to have Bluetooth turned on on your phone in order to use Android Wear devices, also to do updates and installs and all of that. I turned it off out of curiosity just to see what would happen and it quickly lost the connection entirely. I enabled it again though and all was peachy.
Once that was done I launched the app and got to muting certain notifications and seeing what was what.
EDIT: umataro42 had a few excellent questions that I'm editing this post to reflect my answers to. Namely, since it uses Bluetooth do you have to disconnect from the watch to use a Bluetooth headset? And does it pull time from the phone and does it still have the correct time if you're disconnected for whatever reason?
No, you don't have to disconnect from the watch to connect to other Bluetooth devices. My car, which you partially see in the pics in the post, has Bluetooth. On my drive to work I now get to listen to and catch up on my podcasts. Don't have to disconnect to do that. It's actually convenient too, because I have to open in the mornings and that includes opening the gate that is at our entrance from the frontage road off the expressway. So I can now pause my podcasts from my wrists as I hop out of the car.
The watch pulls the time from your phone at first boot/setup. After that it's able to keep time on its own while disconnected. Just that when you're disconnected you won't get notifications, the pedometer and time keeping continue to function fine though.
Didn't really get to fiddling with the device until I got to work this morning, I'm just gonna say it's really neat though. Notifications on my wrist! That I can respond to!
The voice input works surprisingly well, the only time it's not gotten what I said correct has been when I've spoken very quietly.
For the most part, you'll see a step count (as in pedometer) and the current weather in your current location. Notifications will appear as they come in and they can be replied to, read or swiped away entirely. Swiping them away also clears them on your phone. Something I really like as I can't stand having notifications in my navbar.
Also, you can do all the fun stuff associated with music from your device. Save listen to it, it has no built-in speaker. But if you want to change tracks on your phone or pause a podcast or what have you then you're set.
But suffice it to say as a secondary device/accessory it works surprisingly well. Responding to Hangout and text messages is a breeze. I could also read my emails on there as I sat around in my boss's office while he finished with a call. For once didn't miss a call from my mom either, felt a vibration on my wrist (which is how you know you've got a call/text/email) on my wrist, looked down and saw it was her calling and I quickly excused myself and went back to my desk to answer on my phone.
The only thing I can't do at present is give a rundown on battery life, I've had this for less than a day and only charged it to 100% this morning. Looking right now though I'm sitting at 77% battery life left, so that's about 23% depleted in a little over 5 hours. I haven't gotten as many messages as I normally do throughout my day, but I've also been amusing myself by changing watch faces randomly and just turning on the screen.
EDIT: I would like to add something, I've pretty much been replying to most notifications from the watch and not checking my phone at all. I have mentioned before I'm a heavy/power user and I can have my phone down to 30% before lunch time. A friend was inquiring about battery life just now on both and I checked my phone just after lunch, I was at 72% at around 1:30 PM. THAT IS INSANE! I've never done that since I got it, minus when I was too busy to check my phone at all. So this thing is a battery saver on my phone. Personal anecdote obviously, since the XDA adage of "your mileage may vary" very much applies. I'll have to see how this goes over the next few days, but the fact that on first day use I got that far... well, that's a fucking good sign.
Something I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere, save for reviews in the Play Store, are the custom watch faces you can install on the device. They do not look the same way the stock ones do, by which I mean that the current card will be overlayed rather significantly over the watch face. Until such time as Google releases the appropriate APIs that's just something that is going to have to be overlooked.
I would love the hell out of that binary watch face were it not for the huge notification card taking up some major screen real estate. But since there's nothing I can do about it and I can't stand the appearance as is I've reverted to the digital watch face shown in a picture above. There are a ton of stock watch faces though, far more than I honestly expected.
Like I mentioned previously, I haven't worn a watch in two decades so it's gonna take a day or two before I'm entirely used to it but I'm liking it so far. Also, I totally tightened the strap like crazy on my wrist in the morning. As is evident in one of the pics below.
I've already had numerous people ask me if I really needed this or should they get one. Can't really answer that. Do I need this? Do we really need anything short of food/liquids, clothing and shelter? Cause the answer is "no" to the latter and the response I'd give if asked if I really need this device. I don't need it, but it's useful to me.
I have to deal with a ridiculous number of calls, text messages and emails throughout my day. The thing is though that I can't always have my phone on me or check it, having this smartwatch though makes it a breeze to see what's happening on my phone and thus saves me the trouble of responding late to things or missing calls. If it's something serious I can just walk/run over to my phone and deal with it.
For the price, it was a no brainer for me as to whether or not I was going to get it. It might be $30 more than Samsung's offering, but Samsung's has a few things going for it. Samsung isn't new to the watch game, but nothing they've done so far has been decent. I'd even go so far as to say everything they've put out until now has been crap. Gimmicky crap. Par for the course with Samsung. Add the fact that numerous people have complained online that Samsung's proprietary method of charging their Android Wear device leads to a failure on the device/charger itself in that you won't be able to charge it ever again once it messes up and that's just a no go for me and for any recommendation I migh have made for the device. LG's offering is the better option of the two, hands down.
So if you're thinking of getting one of these bad boys I'd say get the LG G Watch. You won't regret it. As it is right now though, it's really more of a luxury item than a must have accessory. Unless you're someone like me who needs to know what's going on with their phone but can't always be checking it for one reason or another, in which case it's a must have. Especially at its $229 price point.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions?