One Year With Android Wear

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It was about a year ago that I got my LG G Watch as a birthday present from my parents. In this article, I’m going to tell you about my experience with this device and how it held up all this time.

 

Let’s start with the hardware. To say it is in a good shape, would be an understatement in my opinion. It’s still in a nearly perfect shape. The only thing that can give away the fact that the watch isn’t new is the strap. But hey, it’s a rubber strap, what else did you except? Of course it will wear out in time. Thankfully though, the strap is interchangeable so it isn’t a big problem at all. Other than the strap, the watch looks as if this was the first day of its use. But that also depends on its user. I, for one, am very careful with any device I own so usually they don’t look worn out at all, even after prolonged periods of use.

 

The battery life on the watch is not exactly what I was used to from a “dumb” watch, that is, at least a year until I have to change the battery. I have to recharge my G Watch almost every other day, which is okay, since I do it overnight so it doesn’t affect my use unless I, for whatever reason, might need the watch at 2 am. The battery life still leaves a lot to be desired though, but the technology is improving so I do hope to see at least Pebble like battery life with the future generation Android Wear devices.

 

Now that we got the hardware out of the way, let’s talk about the software. The G Watch is pretty much the first smartwatch to come with Android Wear along Gear Live, although it was announced earlier than the Gear effectively making it the first Android Wear watch. Being the first generation and being meant as more of a testing device than an average consumer device, it does get Android Wear updates pretty early when compared to other Android Wear watches like the highly popular and much better looking Moto 360 or the G Watch R/Urbane. Rest assured you’re always up-to-date when it comes to the software. And the watch performs pretty good given the specs, although there was a period, if I remember correctly, it was during Android Wear 5.0 when the watch lagged very badly until the 5.1 update arrived and fixed things. And the update brought along other things with it as well and paved the way for Interactive Watchfaces, which is probably the best thing to happen to Android Wear since its launch. Talking about watchfaces, I’ll say this to you. To me, at least, it is really hard to find the perfect watchface for my watch. It’s kind of ironic, I felt much more comfortable with a “dumb” watch where I obviously could not change the way it looked except to swap the strap. I have many different watchface choices for my G Watch, but can’t seem to pick one to stick to. Every watchface offers something the others don’t so I’m always stuck between one or two choices or maybe more choices and I keep swapping them the whole time wanting to find a perfect one but not being able to.

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The first two watchfaces are my two favorite ones, and I keep constantly swapping between them for no apparent reason.

 

Maybe it’d be easy for a round watch, given that they looks so much nicer in general which might result in an easier search for a perfect watchface. In the screenshot below you see what I mean, two awesome watchfaces. On the first one it is much easier to read the exact time in minutes and it looks classier, whereas the second one is gorgeously minimalist and shows the weather.

Everything is nice and well with a smartwatch as long as it doesn’t drain your phone’s battery in a couple of hours. In my case, unfortunately, it does exactly that. The thing is, I got a Nexus 5, which is notorious for its horrendous battery life without having Bluetooth turned on constantly. Imagine how the battery life is with Bluetooth on, so that the phone remains connected with my watch. The battery life of my phone gets worse, and is barely enough to get me through a day without charging it, but I’m already used to it so it doesn’t bother me, and I’ll obviously make sure my next phone will have better battery life than this.

 

 

 

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Those four screenshots above show a sneak peak of the interface. Gotta admit, the music control is still my favorite feature of Android Wear. Just turn on some music or podcast on your phone, put your phone anywhere you want, lay on your bed and if you want to change the song no need to grab your phone or anything. Just control it with your watch. Even more useful if you’re having a party and streaming music from your phone to a sound system, you can just control the music via your watch. Your phone can remain in your pocket or wherever you put it. The same for when you are listening to music on a bus or similar. No need to pull your phone out of your pocket or hold it constantly. Just change the track by the controls of your watch. These controls are very simple and you can change the song in a playlist or album only. If you want more advanced controls, there are of course apps for that, like Music Boss. Talking about apps, rest assured there are enough of those in Play Store, for almost any situation. The app selection has been growing since day one and it’s big enough for you to find almost anything you want for your watch to have. Even games have been developed for the platform and browsers as well, whoever might need this kind of apps, Play Store got you covered.

Last but not least, let’s talk about the platform that Android Wear is. In my opinion, it’s still raw, especially after trying out Android Wear and using it for one year I’d suggest you to wait a couple of generations until you make the transition to a smartwatch, of any platform, not only Android Wear, though Android Wear seems to be the best one at the moment. The thing is, this devices don’t replace your watch that good yet. You can pack a 280×280 or 320×320 or whatever resolution display you want, pack an ambient light sensor or let the user control the brightness, but the one thing that, in the current generation, will never be nearly as good as a normal watch, on smartwatches, is their display. You can see the watch, if you have a “dumb” watch no matter how bright the sun gets, and well, if it’s dark, you might have a little problem unless your watch’s hour and minute hands are covered with that glowing thing they usually are, or have a small light diode in there you can light up by a simple press of a button every time you want. Normal watches don’t have resolutions, you never see pixels or color distortions or anything similar. Yes, they might be limited functionally, but they look much better, and watches have evolved to become fashion accessories nowadays or status symbols and less about functionality, although that doesn’t mean there aren’t any “dumb” watches that still have dozens of different functions without being a portable computer like smartwaches are. At the end of the day, unless you are a tech enthusiast like me really wanting to try out smartwatches, I’d recommend you to stay away from the type of the device for at least a couple of generations, until those don’t feel so “raw” anymore.

What’s your opinion on smartwatches? Share your opinions with us in the comments below, and share this article if you found it interesting!

 

Vardan Nazaretyan
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Vardan Nazaretyan

Techie, Trekkie, Human.
Vardan Nazaretyan
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