Google recently launched the Android Wear 2.0 operating system, and with it, two new smartwatches from LG. One of these, the LG Watch Sport, has a lot in common with the Apple Watch Series 2 released last September. Let's take a look.
The Apple Watch Series 2 comes in two sizes; both are smaller than the LG Watch Sport. The 38-mm Apple Watch is one of the daintiest smartwatches around. On the other hand, while the Sport is big, it's still not quite on the level of some behemoths like the Samsung Gear S3.
The LG Watch Sport has a stainless steel watch case with a plastic back. The display is made from Gorilla Glass 3.
The entry-level Apple Watch has an aluminum casing with Ion-X glass display. However, you can pay for an upgrade to a stainless steel or ceramic body. Steel and ceramic editions have sapphire displays.
If a custom appearance is important to you, the Apple Watch has you covered. The four colors shown above are just for the aluminum variants, but there are also two possible stainless steel finishes, metallic or black. The ceramic option is white.
There are just two options for the Sport: all-over color schemes of either titanium or dark blue.
The LG Watch Sport does not have a removable band – the elastomer strap houses essential antennae. On the other hand, Apple Watch straps are interchangeable and are available in many different colors of elastomer, nylon, leather and stainless steel.
The 42 mm Apple Watch does have the largest diagonal measurement, but its rectangular shape and 4:5 aspect ratio translates into less overall display area than the LG Watch Sport. Still, we wonder how well the watch's software maximizes the round display and the space it affords.
At 348 ppi, the LG Watch Sport has the highest resolution. However, we found the 326 ppi displays on the Apple Watch to be amply bright and sharp.
The LG Watch Sport has a convenient always-on display option that can be turned off if you'd like to save battery. This feature is conspicuously absent on the Apple Watch.
Rotating power button
Here, LG took a cue from Apple. The Apple Watch's Digital Crown, which lets you navigate by twisting the power button, is echoed by the Sport's rotating power button. This mechanism provides a navigation option that is often more user-friendly than taps and buttons alone.
The IP68 rating on the LG Watch Sport protects it against dust, splashes and brief accidental immersion (water up to 1.5 meter deep for up to 30 minutes). The Apple Watch is fully swim proof in water up to 50 m deep. That means you can use it to track your swimming workouts.
The LG Watch Sport has a cellular connectivity option. If you add it to your carrier's data plan, you can use it completely independently of your phone. That's not the case for the Apple Watch.
In terms of sensors, the watches are similarly equipped. They both have built-in GPS for tracking workouts and mapping routes without help from your phone.
Heart rate sensor
Both watches also have heart rate sensors.
NFC for mobile payments
...and they're both NFC-equipped, the technology that enables mobile payment options. The LG option has Android Pay; the Apple Watch has (you guessed it) Apple Pay.
The Sport has a hefty battery, but LG has not given any official battery life estimates. Apple has not released a spec, but its "up to 18 hours" claim has several paragraphs worth of qualifiers on the Apple website.
LG Watch Sport is one of the first Android Wear 2.0 flagships. The Apple Watch runs on WatchOS 3. One of the biggest differences? The updated Android Wear operating system has an on-watch version of the Google Play Store, meaning you can download apps directly to your watch without going through your paired smartphone. That's not the case for WatchOS 3, which still requires you to download Apple Watch apps on your iPhone.
The Apple Watch Series 2 beat the LG Watch Sport to market by about five months.
These similar smartwatches are very competitively priced, as long as you're talking about entry-level options. If you shell out extra for an Apple Watch made out of stainless steel or ceramic, you'll pay quite a few extra vanity dollars.
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