Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

LG G Watch

News  Low cost Android smartphones Recommended Links Android

 Samsung Galaxy S4

Tablets with Wacom digitizer and stylus

Sony Smart Watch SW2 for Android Pebble Samsung Gear Live Samsung Gear S
Android gestures Selected Free and Low Cost Android Apps Tips  Humor Etc

Introduction

The LG G Watch currently is the Wear smartwatch with the best price/performance ratio of the current Android Wear lineup. It has the same processor/RAM/memory as Samsung  Gear Live and better processor than the Moto 360. At around $100 it is half the price of Gear Live.  As Brian Vianzon noted in his Amazon review:

At $99, its well worth the Entry Level Smartwatch Feaures, December 13, 2014

Purchased through Verizon on Black Friday for $99. Missed out on the Google Play Store $99 with $50 Google Play Credit. At this price, is does everything I need it to do. It's my only smartwatch, so I can't make a comparison to other platforms (Samsung, Pebble, etc.),

I'm a Systems Administrator and being able to quickly see and respond to communications is important. I'm able to see an Email or Text in its entirety and respond with Voice-to-Text on my watch. Easy access to my smartwatch is great for "Ok Google" to initiate phone calls, opening apps, and Google searches... all hands free!

The only apps I've added to the watch are Calculator and Google Keep, which load a bit slower than my Samsung S3, but it's convenient to use avoiding the need to pull out my phone.

The one complaint I have pertains to Google Hangout chat. I'm not sure if this is a limitation of Android Wear or the watch, but the chat that I reply to disappears, so I don't see the continuous conversation and have to go to my phone. If there was a way to keep that open so I can continue to be engaged in the chat, that would be a great improvement. Same would apply to active text messages.

Keep an eye out during Holiday Sales for $99. I wouldn't have paid more as there seem to be other smartwatches with more features at $150-$200.

Compatible with Android 4.3 or higher. The closest competition Samsung Gear Live is $199 (actually much more capable Samsung Galaxy gear S, which can double as a GSM smartphone, is also $199 so the price  of Samsung Gear Live does not make any sense).

The LG G Watch has a very basic, Spartan appearance. It has an ugly detachable plastic strip which can be replaced with more "upscale" black metallic mesh bracelet (see Tips).  But in reality plastic strip is not as bad as it looks. The rubberized material, while not glamorous is functional and is very similar to a Timex plastic watch bands. The most important thing is that it is detachable.

The watch itself  is a rather large black rectangle,  45mm x 38 mm x 10 mm (1.8" x 1.5" x  0.4"). You need (at least) a medium size man wrist to wear such a big watch. Thickness is OK, but Samsung Gear Live convex shape would be an improvement. But even on a medium size wrist the watch looks large. The case itself is plastic with metal frame (that magnetically attaches to the charger -- a very nice touch).

Battery life is weaker then Pebble -- it lasts just 2-3 full days in basic setup (no new applications installed) with light usage, if you switch them off at night. One day (6 am to 10 pm) takes 30-40% of the full charge). Much depends on how many notifications you get. with large number of notifications battery life is much worse. Recharging is very quick -- from 70% to 100% it takes only 30 min.

In this sense most smartwatches have equivalent functionality and what matter most is the price. As LG G Watch is around $100 while most competitors are around $200. So the winner is evident here. The only real competitor is plastic Pebble watch, which can be bought for $70-$100 in plastic case (they charge $199 for metal case), but quality of the screen is lower, although battery life is much better (a week or so).  Also plastic Pebble to me looks even more bulky and less aesthetically pleasing.  Although longer battery life is an important plus. 

Now you can set a reminder, timer, stopwatch and several other things on the watch itself even if it does not have a connection to the smartphone.

Notifications

The killer application for smart watches are notifications from the phone.

The most important is the notification about voice calls. Ability to see who is calling without getting your phone from the pocket is very nice. Some people not always can pull phone out to check a notification. Also vibration on the wrist in weak but noticeable.

Ability to  glance at the wrist is worth cost of the phone, as for a busy person many calls are not necessary should be taken. 

The problem is that you can't control which notification get to the phone and most of them are spam. This is a major deficiency and Google is actually a software development weakling to make such an obvious blunder.

Level of autonomy

Android Wear, even at its early state, is an voice controlled autonomous OS that is more capable that previous attempts to use VNC "remote display" style solutions that "project" information on the watch screen from the smartphone, but the watch is essentially a dumb terminal and can't function other then to display time without connection to the smartphone.  Still it's still very dependent on smartphone

In autonomous mode LG G Watch is approximately as capable as CASIO Databank + pedometer (it provides timer, stopwatch), even if you do not install any additional applications.

You can install tips calculator (small useful application). The notes program that I have found (dNotes) push notes to the smartphone only so this should be discarded unless it represent some value outside smartwatch space.  Only Google Keep can do the trick.  But while it can, to display note you need connectivity with your smartphone. which defeats the idea of autonomy.  But Google Keep produces some annoying notifications for which I would strangulate Google developers.  

Major shortcomings

Even the fist version Wear looks like a promising, albeit very raw platform. Among features that I consider major shortcomings:

OK Google voice search

An interesting and innovative feature is that it is designed to be voice controlled, but such control presupposes the Bluetooth link to your smartphone.

Wear has voice search. Watch has its own mike and saying, "OK Google," or tapping the open space at the top of the Screen will prompt you to give a voice command. You can ask it to do several tasks and as you train yourselg this list of tasks can be gradually expanded to a dozen of popular tasks. Among them.

If a third-party app uses notifications, they wil automatically flow to Wear, but in most case functionality and clarity of such notifications is average and can easily be improved. Developer just need to put some extra effort.

Even in initial version you can do some clever things. You can take and read notes via Evernote or Google Keep.

The number of Wear apps is steadily growing (you can find a comprehensive list here).  Most of them are toys but sometimes you can find read jewels.

Using OK Google voice prompt

Voice control works even for people with strong accent. Probably Google managed to put money provided by NSA to a good use ;-). Several examples are presented in Android Wear walkthrough - YouTube. Here are some potentially useful examples:

Again basic requests works pretty impressively even if you have strong accent. Even better if you are native US speaker:

Sam R. - See all my reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Great watch all around, September 9, 2014

This review is from: LG G Watch Powered by Android Wear - Black Titan (Electronics)

Easy to set up and sync with phone, and performs exactly as expected. The Android Wear interface takes some getting used to (it takes more than a few touches and swipes to get to something like the settings menu), but as it matures, I'm sure that it will get more user-friendly. Until then, there are some useful apps you can install that give you some options for shortcuts.

I didn't expect to use the voice-activation on the watch, as I had never done so on my phone before, but on a whim I decided to try out sending a text to my friend with the voice commands. I was really surprised at how well it understood what I said, and from several tries, it got pretty much everything I said every time, except for the time I tried whispering.

I'm definitely going to use that feature more often in the future.

With complex requrest you are better off using your phone.

Google Keep

The Google Keep mobile app is compatible with Android Wear. It can show the lists on the Wear screen. The current version is 3.0.03. Once the smartwatch is paired with another Android device, the top 10 items in Keep show up automatically. Users can create new notes using voice input, add and tick off items on lists, view reminders and snooze notifications.

Convenient for 2do and shopping lists.

Time listed Google Keep among its 50 Best Android Applications for 2013.

Try Google Keep on the web at http://keep.google.com

Support website is Google Keep Help
 

Tips

Notes on Amazon reviews

Negative reviews summary:

 


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Dec 25, 2014] Customer Reviews Samsung Gear Live Smartwatch for Android Devices

September 5, 2014 | Amazon.com

D. Matheny

Calendar for Android Wear' by Kodeglam Mobile is an awesome little app that lets me access my calendar and daily schedule directly on the watch. It actually works very well - even in the small form factor.

[Dec 19, 2014] [Q] Android wear app that can show your note…

forum.xda-developers.com

use google keep . it does what you asked

===

Evernote also has a really cool integration with Android Wear. You can make a note or search existing notes. If your note is a checklist (for example a shopping list) it will appear very neatly on your watch and you can go through and check off each item. The screen also doesn't dim automatically so you dont have to keep activating your watch to open the list.

I only use Evernote instead of Google Keep because I've used evernote for last 3 years and might as well keep going.

===

Thus reducing the battery reserve significantly. I used Evernote for a couple of days but erased it because of that.

===

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oskar-2
Thus reducing the battery reserve significantly. I used Evernote for a couple of days but erased it because of that.

But just when you use this app on foreground and screen on. I tested and it drain about 12% by hour. Agenda Wear in same condition : screen on and foreground, drain same 12% by hour. So every app in forground with screen on drain about 12%. There are just watchface wich can authorize processor sleep wich drain between 2% and 4% by hour. Shopping list (Tickit and others.....) had also same consumption.

Android wear app that can show your notes on the watch - HPS Help

Android wear app that can show your notes on the watch?

So I want to be able to take notes with my moto 360 and then I want to be able to read my notes through the watch, not the phone.

Does anyone know how to do this?

:confused:

[Dec 14, 2014] How to turn your Moto 360 Smartwatch into a Designer Watch - YouTube

[Dec 13, 2014] Wear Mini Launcher - App Review for Android Wear! (LG G Watch) by wwjoshdew

YouTube

This video should just be labeled "How to fix a fundamental design flaw in Android Wear". Ha! Great work Josh!

Wear Internet Browser - WIB - YouTube

Web brower running on an Android Wear smartwatch:

Wear Internet Browser - Android Apps on Google Play

Customer Reviews LG G Watch Powered by Android Wear - Black Titan

Amazon.com
David D. Lumsden "Demo" (Cincinnati/Dayton, OH USA) - See all my reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Plainly designed, wildly useful, September 29, 2014

LG's first showing in the newly minted smartwatch product category is a confident one, and despite plain design and a weakly responsive touch screen, the watch excels with its usefulness and battery life. Since the specs are printed above, I won't waste space, but the focal point here is the 1.65" LCD. Bright and colorful, it may not be as much of a feast for the eyes as Samsung's competing offering, but it certainly doesn't fail to impress. Perhaps most disappointing is its apparent lack of responsiveness with touch - something that may be explained perhaps by its size, but also the early version of the Android Wear OS that accompanies the G Watch.

Nothing to fret over short or long term though, as it does work (perhaps only not as well as the average smartphone) and Google remains committed to improving the experience through software updates. The surrounding design of the watch leaves something to be desired, however. Large bezels, a square, box-y finish and a rubbery stock band all announce this to be a prototype device, not a luxury gadget.

But what a prototype it is. Through apps that are carried from the connected smartphone to the watch, the G Watch can do much more than tell the time. Alarms and reminders sit conveniently on your wrist, vibrating gently when needed. SMS and email get pushed to your wrist, to allow for immediate action. Google Now's flawless speech recognition is present as well. Beta testing of apps such as Minuum keyboard further increase functionality.

But where the watch excels most in its functionality and usefulness in daily life is the fact that it ISN'T a smartphone replacement. The apps do not try to do too much here and the functionality is limited in ways that allow it to succeed as a companion to your phone, rather than its replacement.

Would buy again.

J. Haggard (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME)

If you want a basic android wear watch that will get you through the day this is a good one., September 18, 2014

I tried out both the LG G Watch and the Moto 360. When it comes down to it you really need to review the hardware itself, the software running on the device is Google Android Wear. Here is my review on the LG G Watch.

The LG G Watch is a very basic smart watch. It is NOT a premium, top of the line construction, the case itself is plastic [with a screen. There are no sensors to track your heart rate, the only real sensors are a pedometer and a sensor to tell if you have lifted your arm to look at the screen. What you get when you buy this particular watch is what I could consider a good Alpha or Beta product. The wrist strap itself is a rubberized material, it's not glamorous but it is very similar to a Timex watch band (material that is).

The implementation of Android wear is well done. The screen is bright and very responsive. In my testing I took the watch off the charger at 4:30 am and by 9pm I had approx 30% battery life remaining meaning I easily got through the day. Half of the day I had the screen in always on mode (but dim), the rest of the day I had it off so even "always on" you should make it through the day. The charging cradle on this watch is better than that of the Gear live, this particular cradle is one you just lay the watch in and the metal contacts connect and it starts charging. Very basic but very effective.

From a build quality I like this watch, very basic but it doesn't claim to be anything more than basic. If you really want to jump into the android wear arena this is not a bad option at all. I could see using this watch when Kayaking or running because it easily gives you the info you would want if you are using an app like runtastic or the hiking trails app.

If you want a basic android wear watch that will get you through the day this is a good one.

Sam R. - See all my reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Great watch all around, September 9, 2014

This review is from: LG G Watch Powered by Android Wear - Black Titan (Electronics)

Easy to set up and sync with phone, and performs exactly as expected. The Android Wear interface takes some getting used to (it takes more than a few touches and swipes to get to something like the settings menu), but as it matures, I'm sure that it will get more user-friendly. Until then, there are some useful apps you can install that give you some options for shortcuts.

I didn't expect to use the voice-activation on the watch, as I had never done so on my phone before, but on a whim I decided to try out sending a text to my friend with the voice commands. I was really surprised at how well it understood what I said, and from several tries, it got pretty much everything I said every time, except for the time I tried whispering.

I'm definitely going to use that feature more often in the future.

Recommended Links

Google matched content

Softpanorama Recommended

Top articles

Sites

Top articles

Sites

LG G Watch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

YouTube

Google Keep

More LG G Watch Videos: http://bit.ly/1mA8yWe