In his latest review, LIRON SEGEV tries out LG’s Watch R. He finds that not only does it look good, but it also offers a variety of features that make it more than just an extension of a smartphone.
The wearable technology category is evolving. No longer are manufactures taking a cellphone and slapping it on our wrist. It would seem that manufacturers have understood that we wear a watch because it looks good first and secondly it tells the time. So wearable technology must look good first and then have the cool tech to make it an awesome companion to our mobile phones.
LG is clearly showing that it understands this “looks good” principle with its latest wearable smart watch, the LG Watch R.
The Look and Feel
The LG Watch R is stunning. It has a nice round face which means it fits in among traditional timepieces without sticking out. Every element on the watch seems to have come out of a Swiss watchmaker’s shop where quality is a priority. My party-trick while wearing the watch is watching people’s reactions as I swiped away on the regular-looking watch face. This always made people ask about the device. From the genuine leather strap, to the clasp, to the power button that looks like a watch’s winder wheel, LG has created a beautiful timepiece.
For those who are used to large watches like a TAG Huer, the size of the LG Watch R is not an issue. However if you have a small wrist or are not a “big watch” fan, then perhaps you might not like the bulk-look of the device on your wrist.
The screen size of the Watch R is 1.3″ with a resolution of 320 x 320 and the entire screen is used for any application you have running on the device.
In direct sunlight, the P-OLED screen is bright and easily readable even when not facing the watch directly. Sneaking small glances at the watch from virtually any reasonable angle allows you to read the screen which is great to in meetings where you don’t want to be obvious about checking your mail.
The LG Watch R is powered by a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and has a 512 MB of RAM. It runs Android Wear (compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above) which is intuitive to use as you swipe between screens and menus. No lag was experienced while navigating the screens with the watch reacting fast and responsively.
In order to get the most out of the LG Watch R you need to pair it with an Android smartphone. This is done using the Android Wear application, which is downloaded from the Play Store. Once installed, Bluetooth is switched on and the two devices find each other and link up. When this step is complete you can choose which notifications should appear on your watch. Initially I enabled all notification and over time, I disengaged most of them as not everything needed my attention the minute it arrived on my phone. I landed up with only several applications pushing their notification to my phone. E-mail, SMS and WhatsApp being the main ones. These notifications appear at the bottom of the screen.
What I like about the LG Watch R is the ability to choose a watch face to suite the occasion. Out at a formal event then a “suit” watch face could be appropriate, out at a club one of the more funky watch faces could be selected. Even here, LG has taken the time to add practicality into the watch faces. Some simply tell the time, while other offer valuable information like a step counter, altitude and compass (for the hikers) or the time of two additional cities.
There is a 410 mAh battery in the LG watch R which easily lasts the day, even under continual use.
What impressed me is just how neat and tidy the notifications appeared on the screen waiting to be actioned. One tap on the screen and you can say “Ok Google” and issue an instruction such as search for‚Ä¶. or call‚Ä¶ or Navigate to‚Ä¶. This worked surprisingly well in a quiet room, but not so well with too much background noise.
My favourite application was the Navigation. I would enter the destination on my mobile phone and then start to navigate. From that point, the watch took over and the phone was relegated back to its phone holder in the car. All instructions were clear and at a quick glance at my wrist whilst keeping hands on the steering wheel, it was incredibly clear and intuitive way to move around.
Other facilities include a hear rate monitor, stopwatch, step counter and all work without an issue.
I am glad to see that wearables are moving beyond just doing what a cellphone does. The LG Watch R extends the functions of phones and allows those people suffering from FOMO (fear of Missing Out) to untether themselves from the phone when making a cup of coffee or going to the bathroom. Anything super important would display on the watch.
The LG watch R is available from Vodacom at R4 999
* Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog at http://www.thetechieguy.com or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev