As promised, LG has begun shipping one of two of the world's first smartwatches to run on Google's Android Wear, the other being the Samsung Gear Live. And unlike the flashier Gear Live with its AMOLED display and Motorola's Moto 360 much anticipated for its round-faced design, the LG G Watch takes a subtler, more modest approach to bringing the latest technology to the wrist.

Since Google has left manufacturers with little room for adjustment, the wearable platform works pretty much the same way in both devices, making the battle for Android Wear supremacy between the first two contenders all about hardware. The LG G Watch's design, comfort and battery life are more than adequate for the gadget lover who wants to have first dibs on the newest devices in the market. But then again, with several other products in development, including Apple's hotly rumored iWatch said to be released in October; it could be well worth delaying spending that $229 for a better smartwatch in the future.

Here is what the G Watch's first users have to say.


Unlike the chrome-edged Gear Live, the G Watch is simply a spare, square slab of screen that sits right in the middle of the user's wrist. That could go both ways, depending on the user's tastes. One could see it as being bland and nondescript, while another could say he likes the minimalist design that doesn't attract too much attention to the wrist. For Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch, the stark design in contrast with the Gear Live's keeps Android Wear front and center.  

"That's exactly the scaffolding that Google's new smartwatch OS needs to show off its potential benefit to customers - the entire concept of the OS is to provide users with something that feels organic, and that recedes out of mind when not needed or in use," he writes.

It does, however, take the minimalism a little too far by eliminating the power button altogether. If a user turned off his G Watch, there is no other way to turn it back on but to attach it to its charging dock.


The G Watch is 1.75 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide, which means it is a pretty large screen sitting on the user's wrist. For people with smaller arms, this could mean some serious comfort issues as they would expect even a slight curve on the underside of the watch to fit perfectly into their wrists.

"To a certain extent, I understand why it has to be that big," writes Re/code's Bonnie Cha. "If you were to go too small, it would be difficult to read the contents of the screen, and as it is, you already have to scroll a bunch to read text on the 1.75 touchscreen."

Fortunately, it's not as heavy as some of the high-end luxury wristwatches out there. At 63 grams, the G Watch won't solicit much attention to itself. It also has a black rubber strap that is easy to adjust according to the user's size. It's a little more comfortable than the strap on the Gear Live, which means it's easier for the user to forget that he's wearing a smartwatch instead of one that isn't so smart. Again, for some people, the rubber strap may look a bit too sporty, but there is plenty of room for livening things up because users can replace the standard rubber strap with other 22 millimeter straps.

However, most people gave the G Watch a lower score when it comes to the screen; pretty much nothing can compare with Samsung's AMOLED display technology. One major complaint is that it isn't very easy to see the screen outdoors in sunlight and users have to duck under the shade to look at their watch. Etherington also said he noticed banding issues when the screen is set to dim.

Battery Life

The G Watch easily beats the Gear Live in this department, with the former lasting well into its second day of use while the latter needing a recharge at the end of its first day. Battery life, however, largely depends on usage. For users who use the G Watch mostly to receive notifications from their Android phones, they can expect their smartwatches to last up to 1.5 days. Those who like barking out "Okay Google" voice commands, however, will naturally have shorter battery life.

However, the G Watch is meant to be placed on its charging dock overnight, much like the Gear Live, so that pretty much evens out the playing field.

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