Design We wouldn’t call the G Watch R slim or sleek, and dainty-wristed gadgeteers might find it a little on the larger side. LG has attempted to make it look like a ‘normal’ digital timepiece, so you’ll see permanent hour and minute marks on the fairly chunky bezel which, coupled with the digital clock faces. In the hands, the G Watch R feels solid and well made, with a strong metal casing that feels as if it can take its fair share of knocks and bumps. It’s got a fake crown on the side, which actually serves as the power/sleep button, and a long press also throws up the settings. While it can be twisted like a real watch crown, this offers no extra functionality, unlike the Apple Watch’s alternative, which can act as a zoom controller. Flip it over, and you’ll find a plain black, rough plastic back. Embedded in the middle is a heart-rate scanner, while a set of charging pins flanks the left hand side. The watch strap itself is genuine leather, and while it feels nice, it’s very stiff at first. Like most other smartwatches, the G Watch R supports standardsized straps, so you can swap between regular metal, leather and rubber straps. Its IP67 rating also means that you can chuck it in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes, though we obviously wouldn’t advise testing this out. The occasional splash from downpours and hand washing though? No problem.
Main Features The main use for smartwatches at the moment is receiving notifications discretely, and Android Wear goes beyond this by giving you options to mute, reply, or even delete messages and emails. If you receive a text or WhatsApp message for example, you can choose to open it on your phone so you can reply using a proper keyboard instantly. Alternatively, you could reply directly from the G Watch R itself using either a selection of preset messages, or use the voice dictation function. Android Wear’s voice recognition is pretty good for the most part, as long as you stick to easy names and uncomplicated sentences. And no, Singlish won’t work. ‘Ok, Google’ voice commands generally work well too. Android Wear remains a bit of an apps wasteland, with the majority of those available currently consisting of watch faces – most of which look a little tacky in our opinion. As Android Wear is adopted by more people, we expect to see more apps join the roster, offering more functionality and enhancing the Wear experience.
Battery Life LG has gifted the G Watch R with a 410mAh battery and an always-on Ambient Mode, which is a lowpower mode that kicks in after a few seconds of inactivity. The watch face becomes monochrome (which can help extend battery further, thanks to the OLED screen), until a notification comes through or you activate it with a tap. You could further extend battery life by turning ambient mode off: do this and the screen will stay completely blank until the R detects that you’re looking at it, or you interact with it. While you won’t quite get two days out of it in normal use, you probably could if you were careful. Getting one full day out of it should never be a problem - and that’s more than could be said of most Android Wear devices.
Can Be Used With: The G Watch R is useless on its own, meaning you need to pair to an Android device to work. It’s compatible with all Android devices running 4.3 Jelly Bean or higher. $398 / lg.com/sg
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