We are officially in the midst of smartwatch mania. Pebble made a boat load of money and has become a commonplace name among tech nerds. Samsung has not only released a smartwatch but has already iterated on it. It seems there is not a week that goes by without news of an iWatch. We now have Android Wear from Google with the LG G Watch shipping and the Samsung Gear Live about to ship, not to mention the Moto 360 coming out later this summer. On top of all that there is no shortage of newcomers hoping to follow in the steps of Pebble, be it Kreyos, Agent, or even Kairos targeting the high end market. Today is a good day for people who sit at the intersection of watches and technology.
I have been using a G Watch for a couple of days and though that I would take a few moments to talk about the watch. I will have some thoughts on Android Wear separately.
The LG G Watch is the first Google Wear device to hit the market. It comes in 2 models, Titan Black and White Gold. The G Watch features a black frame made from metal, plastic and glass and comes with a band made from rubber, black on the black titan model I am using and white with the gold model. The band features a standard clasp that is black.
The G Watch is a pretty nondescript device. If you are looking for a watch that is going to turn heads this is not necessarily it. Perhaps it’s a bit different for me because those who might notice have probably already noticed me wearing a Gear or Pebble. It’s just not a device that is going to jump off your wrist. However, I think that the watch is much more attractive than its pictures make it look. The bezels are a little large but not a deal breaker. The watch itself sits a little high off of the wrist and is a bit large but again, not in a way that makes me want to get rid of it. The band feels nicer than other similar bands, namely the one on the original Pebble, but we shouldn’t put too much emphasis on the band as it is easily replaced with any standard 22 millimeter band and is as nondescript as the rest of the watch.
All of that being said, how does this device compare to other devices on the market? The Pebble has sold a lot of units and is well known. This watch is very comparable in size to the Pebble. It is heavier and a little wider but very close in size to the original Pebble. One thing that I found in the time that I was using the Samsung Galaxy Gear was that I did prefer to have a watch with a color screen and expanded functionality. The resolution on the Pebble is decent but there is something about not being able to see straight lines that I find disappointing. The G Watch of course has this color screen but that is not without tradeoffs.
The screen on the G Watch is fairly nice. I find the resolution and the colors to be satisfactory. The problems with the screen have more to do with the problems that we have been accustomed to with the screens on smartphones. The battery life is limited and the visibility is very poor in sunlight. If you can get around the fact that you have to charge the watch every day and that it is practically unusable outdoors, maybe this is the hardware for you.
Outside of all that I really like this watch. After having the Pebble for a day I was picking up scratches on the face. The glass on the G Watch seems to be sturdy and took a blast of something that my son felt needed to crash into the watch, still no scratches. There are no buttons on the device which sets it apart from the Gear Live and Moto 360. The charger is a dock that charges through pins and latches onto the back of the watch securely thanks to magnets.
Looking forward it’s hard to say if you should or should not get this watch. If you feel like you have to have a smartwatch right now and if you are committed to Google’s Android ecosystem, this watch may be a good choice for you but I think it’s still a bit of a hard sell. You still have the Gear Live that is fairly simple but may speak to you in the way the G Watch spoke to me as it is styled a little differently. The Moto 360 is right around the corner and many people think it is a more attractive device (myself included.) Additionally, there is the rumored iWatch (for those not sold on a platform), Kairos, a vast list of OEMs who are signed up for Android Wear, and other independents. We are in the early days of smartwatches, and while I like the G Watch, it is a bit difficult for me to say run out and grab this watch now. There’s just too much potential on the horizon but as I said above, if you really want one now, I don’t feel like you will be filled with regret over the decision.