LG has armed the G Watch R with an actual 1.3-inch circular screen that doesn’t have the bottom chopped off. It’s been topped off with Plastic OLED, making for a brighter display that’s also a lot sharper than its predecessor, and it also sports a 320 x 320 resolution. Keeping the screen on all the time and enabling the Power Save Mode lets you keep it ticking without hitting the battery too much, but this is still a smartwatch one will need to charge every night.
The watch chassis itself looks good with a slick, sporty style that’s joined by a proper leather strap. Underneath one will find a heart rate monitor which works well enough, and is quick and accurate once one asks the watch “what’s my pulse?” It’s also water and dust resistant, snapping up an IP67 rating, while its internal 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 and 512MB of RAM matches the original G Watch and keeps Android Wear ticking along at a decent pace.
For all its good looks, there are a few caveats to the G Watch R. Its masculine design might not appeal to everyone, it’s also rather pricey at around Shs600,000, and it also packs in a proprietary charging dock meaning one will be stuffed if they lose it.
Android Wear itself is also still a developing platform, but many of its current features don’t feel quite right yet. Each Android Wear smartwatch feels the same, and although they differ in specs and looks, the core experience doesn’t add much to just taking one’s phone out of your pocket.
The LG G Watch R is easily one of the best looking Android Wear smartwatches out at the moment, sporting a sleek design and it’s a quick and nippy performer too. Android Wear is still a developing platform, but the LG G Watch R is enough proof that smartwatches can both look good and be practical too – the software just needs to catch up.