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LG G Watch Hands On and First Impressions

It’s been a while since LG announced the Android Wear based G Watch, but the Indian launch happened yesterday where we got to play around with the device for some time, and here’s what we found out. The video is right below, but if you prefer to read, rather than watch, please scroll down.

Along with the Samsung Galaxy Gear Live, the LG G Watch is the first ever wearable to come with the Android Wear OS. The first thing we noticed when we picked up the watch was its weight. It’s not heavy per se, but definitely not on the lighter side (like Pebble).

Let’s get this straight. This isn’t the best design you’d see for a watch. In fact, it’s far from it. To makes their lives easier, LG has gone with a squarish display with thick bezels on top and bottom, providing it a rectangular look. The watch carries a prominent 1.65-inch 280×280 pixel IPS LCD display which looks beautiful from the outset. The display panel is quite thick at 0.39-inch, possibly because it houses a 400 mAh Li-ion battery – pretty huge for a smartwatch. There’s a silicon strap which is attached to the display, which magnifies the ugliness to an extent. Luckily, these straps can be replaced with any regular leather or metallic straps.

lg-g-watch

The G Watch comes in two colors – grey and white. Much like the Nexus 5, the white one still carries black bezels on front with the back & sides being white. Personally, I’d choose the black one over white any day.

Setting up of LG G watch wasn’t straight forward. One needs to pair up the watch with an Android smartphone (requires Android 4.3 and above) using BlueTooth. Once setup, the watch provides a small tutorial on how to operate and navigate through different screens. The home screen (or watchface rather) prominently displays the current time, and can be changed through the settings. There are like 8 different watch faces to choose from, most of them are good in their own way.

Whenever you receive a notification on your smartphone, it gets duplicated onto your wrist. These notifications are card based and mimic Google Now in terms of looks. In fact Google Now is tightly integrated with the watch, and you can use the “OK Google” voice command to get it started. Alternatively you can simply double tap the home screen to open Google Now. You can swipe through the card based notifications or tap on each to conduct an action. What action to perform is dependent on each app. For example, one can tap on a tweet notification and that’d provide you with a Reply action, tapping which you can dictate the tweet and send it, all of which can be done without taking out your smartphone. Pretty neat isn’t it?

In spite of the run-through tutorial, it took us a while to understand the gesture based navigation on the G Watch. Remember our Qualcomm Toq review? The experience was pretty similar with Android Wear. Swiping from left to right is like the Back button, while swiping from top to bottom (or vice versa) will let you navigate through the cards. But how to exit them all and go back to the home screen? That wasn’t clear at all. Definitely not the most intuitive interface we have seen on a small display.

The settings panel lets you adjust the brightness, switch on/off the ‘Always On’ screen, control the airplane mode, power off or restart the watch, change the watch face and reset the device.

So overall, our first impressions of the device were mostly positive. Yes, we would have loved to check the display outdoors and install some third-party apps, but we’d be definitely doing that later in our detailed review. The display and touchscreen experience were top notch, while Android Wear definitely looks like version 1 in most cases. There are possibilities of third-party Android Wear apps plugging the holes left by Google, so we’d keep our eyes on that while we review the device. Do share what you think of the device and our hands on through the comments section below. If you haven’t subscribed to our YouTube channel, do so right now!

About Raju PP

Raju is the co-founder and editor of ConnectedArena. He has been into professional blogging since 2008 with his site Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.