LG has released two new Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches. In this video, we unbox and share our first impressions of the LG Watch Style, the cheaper model of the two.
LG has launched two new Android Wear devices running Android Wear 2.0, the largest updates to the platform in its history. This is the $250 LG Watch Style which is packaged in a rather large box. That is the first observation-- that the box appears much larger than the watch itself. It’s certainly one of the largest boxes I’ve seen for a wearable device.
We can start the unboxing process by slicing off the two pieces of tape holding the top of the box together. If we lift off the top, we’ll see the LG Watch Style sprawled out in all of its silver and brown glory. You can buy this watch in silver, which is the model I have in front of me; or you can buy it in rose gold and/or titanium. As for what’s inside the box, we’ll see there is just a US wall wart and a magnetic inductive charging cable below it. Aside from the paperwork, that’s really all that’s in the box. What separates the Style from the Sport model is its slimmer profile and lower end specifications. You’ll see the case is very thin, measuring in at just under 11mm compared to 14mm with the Sport. That doesn’t seem like that much of a difference but those extra 3mm add significant bulk to your wrist. We’ll also see only one knob on the Style compared to three on the Sport or at least three different physical buttons to interact with.
The watch model itself is constructed with stainless steel and the watch band is made of genuine leather. The color of the band is not my favorite but it does pair well with the silver watch module and it can easily be removed since it features an interchangeable mode band. Overall, the watch’s appearance is very conservative in my opinion. It looks very traditional with its rounded display and it doesn’t take too many risks in the design department. It looks like a traditional old watch.
The setup process is extremely straightforward. I’ll be using an iPhone in this video but the process is similar on Android devices as well. Basically, you just boot up the Android Wear app and navigate to the setting that says “Pair With a Wearable”. If your LG Watch is turned on, which it should be, it should show up on the app. If it doesn’t, make sure your Bluetooth is turned on. From there, it’s just a matter of pressing the on-screen pair button and waiting for the watch to update.
The 1.2-inch full circle P-OLED display features a 360x360 resolution with a near 300 ppi index. Content appears to be very crisp and detailed at arm’s length. The only major con I have with it based off first impressions is the fact that there is a noticeable black border around the display. It’s nowhere near as bad as the Pebble Time Round but it is noticeable.
Now what makes this watch so special is the software. This is Android Wear version 2.0, which features a ton of new features over the previous version. Google has taken its time with this update and it is finally here. It’s long overdue in my opinion. It’s the single biggest update to the platform since it launched. We’ll see there is a new darker, more mature design that should help conserve some battery life. There’s a new main menu that can be accessed with a press of the physical button. This lists all of the apps on the watch and you can scroll through them all using the crown that is on the side of the watch. What’s neat about Android Wear 2.0 is that apps will run natively on the watch so you don’t have to be tethered to your phone necessarily to take advantage of the applications. The LG Watch Style does not feature LTE but the LG Watch Sport does so you can literally put a SIM card in your watch and never have to pair it with your smartphone. I do really like how LG has incorporated a digital crown of sorts on the LG Watch Style. It’s a really nice new feature and it’s something that I have grown to love with the digital crown on the Apple Watch. Not having to touch the small display with your finger, none of the limited screen real estate will be obstructed with a finger. You can just use the digital crown on the side to scroll through content.
We will see changes made to the watch faces so you can swipe to the left to change a watch face and long press on one to edit how it looks. There’s a new complications API that will now let third party developers include data from their apps on the watch faces themselves and what that means, depending on the watch face of course, you can essentially add a bunch of widgets to the face to create shortcuts to specific gaps. So right from the watch face itself, you can open up your Google Fit information and view various events from your calendar and all of that good stuff.
A long press of the crown will activate the Google Assistant, which is now found on Android 2.0. It works best when you’re using an Android Wear device with an Android phone but it does also work with an iPhone, just not so well. Android Wear in general doesn’t work very well with iOS but we’re going to save that rant for another video. It just basically comes down to everyday functionality like sending text messages and viewing all of Google’s wonderful search results right from your watch. You can’t really do that when you’re paired with an iPhone unfortunately.
So there’s a lot of little things that haven’t changed and a lot of features that we’ll have to test and practice such as Android Pay Support. My goal is to wear this watch on my wrist for the next couple of weeks and test its features with an iPhone and with an Android device. Then I’ll publish my full review and also post a video covering all the features of Android Wear 2.0 in detail.
The LG Watch Style is $250.