LG G Watch R Review

Introduction


Wearables have now moved past their first-generation, and with a little help from Google and its new Android Wear platform, we're now looking at offerings that are feeling a tad more solid and robust.

The new LG G Watch R is such a product. Unlike most other smartwatches, the Watch R has a circular display, making it more alike to a conventional timepiece. It's also quite obvious that LG has looked at traditional watches for design inspiration, likely in hopes that this will lure in those of us whose inner geek is not quite as pronounced. Is that enough, however? Let's find out.

In the box:

  • Charging cradle with magnetic pins
  • MicroUSB cable
  • 0.85A AC charger
  • Quick start manual

Design


Three types of material are used with the LG G Watch R's body – genuine leather with the removable strap, metal for the watch face, and plastic at the bottom. These mesh together well and give the smartwatch a dignified feel – although we wouldn't go as far as comparing it with some of the more robust conventional time pieces on the market. That's because while the body inspires confidence in terms of its build, the leather strap is a bit of a letdown – it's hard to break in, making the process of unclasping the watch difficult, and it's honestly nothing special in terms of the texture and overall perceived quality. Thankfully, the 22 mm strap is interchangeable, so you could just get something more to you liking.

As we touched on earlier, the Watch R reminds a whole lot of a conventional watch due to its circular display, and the crown on its right further contributes to that. Pressing on it will wake/sleep the watch, a long-press will introduce you to the settings menu, and you can also even twist it – but that won't do anything. The smartwatch is also IP67-certified, meaning that it's dust and water-proof (up to 1 meter for 30 minutes) – so don't worry about running it under the tap or even showering with it.

As for size, we find it reasonable (1.82 x 2.11 x 0.43 in / 46.4 x 53.6 x 11.1 mm), but not exactly unisex. In other words, it'll probably feel too cumbersome on women. We can't complain, though – it's not the most stylish time piece on the planet for sure, but we're more than comfortable being seen with it on our wrist when out and about.


Display


Motorola may have won itself the title of being the first to out a round smartwatch, but we have to say that we were rather disappointed to see that the display itself is not actually a full circle – there's a fat horizontal strip that cuts into it at the bottom. With the G Watch R, however, we don't have this problem, as you get a “Full Circle” (as LG calls it), 1.3'' P-OLED display – a nice breath of fresh air after the many, many square displays we've gone through so far. The resolution of the display sits at 320x320, good for the excellent density of 247 pixels per inch. There are 6 levels of brightness available, but unless it's sunny outside, you likely won't have to set it higher than 2. Unfortunately, unlike the Moto 360, the Watch R doesn't feature an ambient light sensor, so it can't automatically adjust its brightness depending on your surrounding.

Unlike LG's other smartwatch, the G Watch, there seems to be no Gorilla Glass protecting the display from damage, but the raised bezel around the screen should mostly nullify most accidental hits and bumps.

By default, the G Watch R comes with its screen set to be always-on, so that you can use it just like a normal watch. This drains the battery, however – even though the screen becomes monochrome – so we ended up turning it off. You can wake up the display easily by just taping on it, by clicking the crown, or by raising your wrist to your face as you would if you were to check the time on a normal watch – though you sometimes need to make the movement more pronounced for it to be picked up by the sensor, which is a bit irritating.

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