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Hands on review: LG G Watch R

29 Jan 2015

Critics labelled LG’s first Android Wear smart-watch as being too generic. That’s all changed this time round.

The first G Watch resembled an old school black square digital watch. Not so with the G Watch R which goes for an analog look thanks to a rounded face and stunning P-OLED display.

Look and feel

The build quality of the G Watch R is hard to fault. It sports a black steel body and feels solid. Its sporty design makes it about the same size as an old school Casio G-Shock watch. Adding to its sporty looks is a faux bezel dial.

A lot of early smart watches had more in common with house-arrest bracelets than timepieces. The G Watch R is slim enough to be a comfy fit, consuming about the same amount of wrist real estate as run-of the mill timepiece.

In use

Perhaps the most noticeable thing with the G Watch R is its gorgeous P-OLED display. Colours are super vivid and blacks are deep dark and pitch black. OLED displays also tend to use far uses less power than comparable LCD panels.

Thanks to its 410mAh battery I was able to get the G Watch R to run for two days hours before it demanded quality time with the charger.

The only other smart-watch with a comparable battery life is the Pebble - which has a fraction of the functionality.

Another factor figuring in the G Watch R’s battery life is the 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 baked under the hood. Not only does this make the G Watch R responsive, it also runs on the smell  of an oily rag. 

Another biggie for watch owners is water proofness. The G Watch R is IP67 rated. This translates into it being completely protected against dust as well as immersion in 15cm to 1m of water.

Flipping the G Watch over reveals an optical heart rate sensor. I struggled to get this to work and kept on getting a “tighten the strap and try again”. After several attempts with the watch strap as tight was possible, I was still unable to get it to work. Its pedometer worked a treat and gave me an accurate working step count.

In the comfort department, the G Watch R acquitted itself well. As mentioned above it is pretty much on par with a run-of-the mill dumb-watch form-factor wise.

It comes with a leather strap. If this isn’t to your taste, the good news is that it can be easily swapped out as the G Watch R uses a standard 22mm mount.

Many other smart-watches I’d reviewed lock you into proprietary straps from their manufacturer. This usually translates into extortionate prices and a choice of replacement straps. Not so with the G Watch R, which can take any standard watch strap.

Finally there’s the other biggie - style. The G Watch is sporty yet crosses over into dress watch territory. In other words, you could wear it to the gym without looking like a doofus or you could wear it with a suit.

This said, style is a subjective thing and no two people are ever likely to share the same opinion, especially when it comes to watches.

Verdict

The G Watch R scores big on looks. Its round screen, faux bezel dial combine with a solid design. This all makes for a good looking yet comfy time piece. 

Excellent battery life plus its gorgeous OLED screen make the G Watch R an ideal choice for android smartphone owners looking for a smart-watch.

Tech specs

RRP: $479
Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Display: 1.3” P-OLED Display (320 x 320)
Memory: 4GB storage/512MB RAM
Battery: 410mAh
Operating System:  Android Wear (compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above)
Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro/ Accelerometer/ Compass), Barometer, PPG
Colour: Black
Dust and Water Resistance: IP67

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