Inspect the Tech: LG G Watch

(Photo by Kaila Braley)

In an age where smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly more commonplace, companies like Samsung, LG and Apple have started putting some of their focus on a somewhat new mobile category – smart watches.

Essentially an extension of your smart phone, these high-tech fashion statements elicit the kind of futuristic awesomeness only ever seen in sci-fi and spy films like “Star Trek” and “James Bond.” The real question, however, is whether these new devices live up to this ideal. I tested out the LG G Watch for a couple of months, and here is what I think.

Coming in with a 1.65-inch IPS LCD color touch display, this watch certainly does feel like something from the future. The watch comes in two-color options- white and gold or just plain black.  Though it isn’t as sleek as something like the Asus Zen Watch, and doesn’t have a circular display like the LG G Watch R, and the newly announced Huawei Watch, the G Watch still feels like something special.

The software running the show is Android Wear, Google’s software meant to run on the wrist. It gets notifications from your Android phone and uses Google Now to bring you relevant information. Basically, Google keeps track of your Internet activities -Google searches, emails and location data – and send relevant information to your phone.  The watch is pretty much Google Now in a vertical card-like interface and is pretty intuitive.

All one has to do is say, “OK Google,” and ask the watch to search the web, text a friend or create a reminder.

For instance, a user could ask, “OK Google, remind me to take out the trash in 20 minutes,” or  “OK Google, how tall is Mt. Everest?”

The user is sent notifications and will be able to interact by voice or by touch.

While the app selection is currently limited, my personal favorite has to be the Find My Phone app. Since the phone and the watch are connected via Bluetooth, this app is able to determine how far away you are from your phone, and alerts you when it senses you may have misplaced it.  This app has saved me from leaving my phone behind a number of times

Battery life on the watch is decent. I manage to get through the day without any problem, but I do have to charge it every night. Compared to other smart watches like the Pebble Steel with its seven-day battery this watch pales in comparison.

While the square shape doesn’t amount to the most comfortable experience on the wrist, and some may not be partial to its boring design, I think this watch looks and feels OK. Also, the ability to swap out the digital watch face and the watchstrap allows the user to customize it to their liking.  And while there are certainty more attractive watches, this watch did come out all the way back in the summer and was the one of the first of its kind, so I give it a break for not being the most beautiful timepiece I’ve ever seen.

That’s not to say I didn’t find real problems with the LG G Watch. I personally had issues with the strap of the watch when it fell off once when I was looking for something between my couch cushions. Another issue is the price. The LG G watch retails for $229 – but I found an online deal for $150. Also, I wish the battery life was better and more than once I had trouble connecting to my phone via Bluetooth.

While the LG G Watch in the end doesn’t exactly live up to the dream of the idealized smart watch, it does a pretty good job in making me feel like I’m living in the future and gives a solid smart watch experience overall.

Some have argued that smart watches aren’t useful, that they offer no real added value to the mobile lifestyle experience. They argue that smart phones already do all the things the watch does and better. While smart phones are certainly more capable, smart watches do have their place. Smart watches offer up a great marriage of technology and fashion that not only look nice but also offer far more functionality than your typical watch.

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