Smartwatches

Hands-on with the LG G Watch R

Hands-on with the LG G Watch R
The device feels comfortable on the wrist (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The device feels comfortable on the wrist (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The wearable runs on Google's Android Wear platform (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The wearable runs on Google's Android Wear platform (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The device feels comfortable on the wrist (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The device feels comfortable on the wrist (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The G Watch R's standard strap doesn't quite live up to the quality of the watch itself (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The G Watch R's standard strap doesn't quite live up to the quality of the watch itself (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
Past the specially designed watch faces, LG wasn't quite ready to delve into LG G Watch's software (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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Past the specially designed watch faces, LG wasn't quite ready to delve into LG G Watch's software (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The device's traditional looks made it easy to mistake for an analogue watch (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The device's traditional looks made it easy to mistake for an analogue watch (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The silver finish looks great with a stitched leather strap (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The silver finish looks great with a stitched leather strap (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The LG G Watch R with a brown leather strap (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The LG G Watch R with a brown leather strap (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The LG G Watch R with a brown leather strap and simple analogue watch face (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The LG G Watch R with a brown leather strap and simple analogue watch face (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The design of the wearable should be familiar to watch lovers (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The design of the wearable should be familiar to watch lovers (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The smartwatch is available in both silver and black finished (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The smartwatch is available in both silver and black finished (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
LG showed the G Watch R with a range of different straps at IFA 2014 (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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LG showed the G Watch R with a range of different straps at IFA 2014 (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The smartwatch's bezel helps lend it the look of traditional time piece (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The smartwatch's bezel helps lend it the look of traditional time piece (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The LG G Watch (left) and G Watch R (right) (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The LG G Watch (left) and G Watch R (right) (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The back of the LG G Watch and LG G Watch R (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The back of the LG G Watch and LG G Watch R (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The G Watch R features a physical button on the side, which can be long pressed to open the settings menu (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
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The G Watch R features a physical button on the side, which can be long pressed to open the settings menu (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)

LG’s G Watch R follows closely in the footsteps of the Moto 360, opting for a more traditional, circular look rather than the square-faced designs we’ve seen in other early Android Wear smartwatches. The wearable is at the forefront of LG’s offering at IFA, and we took the opportunity to take a closer, hands-on look at the hotly anticipated smartwatch.

We put LG’s existing wearable, the G Watch, next to the new G Watch R, and while they share a title, they’re very different devices. In a nutshell – when using traditional, circular watch faces, the original G Watch looks like a digital watch that’s trying to be analogue, while the newer G Watch R looks like an analogue watch.

The LG G Watch (left) and G Watch R (right) (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The LG G Watch (left) and G Watch R (right) (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)

It also feels like one. While the device is still lightweight, its circular natures makes it a little bulkier than square-faced devices. This may sound like a negative, but it’s actually something that will likely make the device more appealing to traditional watch lovers, with many analogue time pieces fitting a similar design template.

The G Watch R is made from a combination of stainless steel and aluminium, with a plastic back. While the build feels more solid than luxurious, the design is the closest thing we've seen to a traditional watch, and even includes a numbered bezel around the outside of the circular display. Unlike the company's first Android Wear device, the G Watch R features a physical button on the side, which can be long pressed to open the settings menu.

The design of the wearable should be familiar to watch lovers (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The design of the wearable should be familiar to watch lovers (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)

The black strap that will ship with the G Watch R as standard feels a little cheap compared to stitched Italian leather effort on Asus’ ZenWatch, but is significantly more premium than the standard G Watch’s rubber offering.

Like the original G Watch, the circular model is fitted with a standard 22 mm strap, meaning you can easily swap it out for something more premium, or something that better fits your personal tastes. The wearable looked great fitted with a range of different straps in LG’s booth at IFA.

The LG G Watch R with a brown leather strap (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The LG G Watch R with a brown leather strap (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)

LG was keen to emphasize that the G Watch R is in no way a replacement of the G Watch, but rather the two devices are designed to exist alongside one another, catering for different tastes in the same way that consumers have a preference for analogue or digital time pieces.

We weren’t able to see much of the device’s software, with the company claiming that the circular version of Android Wear isn’t yet ready for prime time. Considering today’s launch of the Moto 360, this is a little surprising. At any rate, it’s clear that LG hasn’t ironed out the kinks in its own circular wearable, so we’ll have to wait a little longer to judge the device’s software offering.

The wearable runs on Google's Android Wear platform (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)
The wearable runs on Google's Android Wear platform (Photo: Chris Wood/Gizmag.com)

While we weren’t able to dig into the software, we did get a good look at the many different watch faces available on the G Watch R. Overall, they’re a big improvement over what’s available on the original G Watch, and, like the rest of the smartwatch, they mirror traditional watches. The 1.3-inch display itself, with a resolution of 320 x 320, looks sharp and bright, and it’s easy to mistake the device for an analogue watch from just a short distance away.

Overall, the G Watch R packs a solid, quality build and great, traditional time piece looks. It’s doesn’t quite match the premium feel of Asus’ ZenWatch, but the circular design is makes it feel a little less geeky and a little more stylish. If nothing else, it's enough to make potential Moto 360 buyers think twice.

We’ll have more on the LG G Watch R as it heads towards its (as of yet undisclosed) launch date. For now you can head to the gallery to check out more photos of the G Watch R, including a look at a range of different straps and watch faces.

Fore more on the big smartwatches previewed this week, you can check out our hands-ons with the Asus ZenWatch and Samsung Gear S. And our full Moto 360 review is now live.

4 comments
Robert in Vancouver
Can't see any reason to have a smart watch. Pointless.
Alien
About three years ago I bought a 'phone-watch'. It worked well for a while, until I found that battery contacts had corroded badly, with green verdigris, due to the humid atmosphere and possibly some human perspiration here in my tropical location. Looking at the G Watch R, I wonder whether the row of five metallic contacts on the back of the watch will render it open to a similar fate. I'd love to have some reassurance on this as my previous experience has left me sceptical of smart watches.
bradleydad
Looks like Apple finally came up with a watch that can do something, makes this look pretty worthless.
Julian Singh
@bradleydad - sorry, have to tally disagree with you. Clunky square design of iWatch looks no different to Samsung, Asus or Sony offering. The fact that this LG watch LOOKS like a traditional watch, and that I can download a different watch face to suit my occasion means that this has far more practicality. This is a very smart solution and probably the first wearable smart watch I will go for. now, to await the prices and release date...