Wednesday, 9 July 2014

LG G Watch - three days of using Android Wear

When Android Wear was announced I basically pre-ordered it the moment new watches appeared on Play Store. First obvious question which everyone has been asking me so far: why LG and not Samsung? Well, few reasons:
  • Battery life on LG should be better – and every single review shows that indeed, it is.
  • Overall looks – I kind of like rectangular unobtrusive look of the G Watch. It should be an accessory, not a Christmas tree light!
So far, I am not at all disappointed (*) – watch performs formidably, doing everything it should and more. Since I used original Pebble and Pebble Steel before G Watch, it had a lot to live up to, so I tried to compare it side by side with the only smartwatch platform I know.
Please note, that I will only use my own impressions and will not even recourse to data sheets to compare these two.

Android Wear vs Pebble

 

Pebble Steel was and is a beautiful piece of technology, which I love a lot. Let's see how G Watch compares against it. First things first though...
  1. Looks – as always, everyone's a critic and everyone's got their own preference. I like the way Steel looks, but big "Pebble" word kind of stands out and attracts attention. To me G Watch is a winner: it's black, it has no visible elements, it shows time.
  2. Weight – without checking the datasheets, roughly the same. Maybe G Watch is a bit lighter, but either way, their weight is largely unnoticeable to me.
  3. Size – G Watch actually is bigger, and it's easy to see on the picture above. However, on my hand it looks very adequate:

So let's go on ... what now? Screen.

It's kind of hard to compare side-by-side an LCD with e-ink screen, but for what it's worth, they both have their own ups and downs for me. e-Ink is very visible in the sunlight, LCD can do colours. Very obviously and perhaps not unexpectedly, e-Ink delivers substantially better battery life time. And since we mentioned it, let's talk about the battery.
With Pebble and Pebble Steel I was easily getting 5 days of watch battery life on a single charge. With G-Watch [after a day of mildly intensive use] I'm roughly at 35-40% at 9pm. G Watch is a looser? Well, not exactly. No one expects LCD to perform as good as e-Ink; with that in mind, you get head and shoulders more functionality on G Watch.

Functionality

Functionality-wise, G Watch, being connected to an Android smartphone, rocks it like a hurricane. Since Google decided that supporting legacy mobile operating systems is not important (and I can hardly blame them), they were able to achieve an extremely high level of integration between the watch and the phone. To me, a killer feature is ability to quickly skim through emails on my watch without even pulling my phone out of the pocket. Some of you might know, that I receive a lot of emails . I am spending very significant chunk of my life just reading them on the phone and clicking "Archive" button if I don't feel like this emails needs my attention anymore. Surprise - with G Watch I can do this without pulling my phone at all!


Swipe right, click "Archive" and get on with your life.

Overall, the whole process – from the watch buzzing on my wrist to the point when I'm done with the email, it takes me about 5-10 seconds. Using phone, this will take at least three times as long. Imagine doing it 100 times a day!
Another feature which I love a lot is a step counter. I used to wear Fitbit for quite some time and in fact, teased few of my friends to use it. Well, guess what - my right wrist is now empty again.

Controlling my music player is hardly something new - we had it on Pebble, we have it here. However, showing album art on your watch is a nice touch – hardly achievable on e-Ink screen.




Overall, I am quite happy with my purchase and will continue using and exploring it. In due course, lots of apps supporting it will appear – right now I'm happily using Duo-Lingo quiz mode which is a quick and fun way of recalling everything you've learned.