Review: LG Watch Sport
- Fariha Khan
- February 9, 2017
Google's Android Wear platform is getting its first major overhaul (finally!) after more than 2 years. Google and LG have joined hands to create 2 smartwatches, the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style, as the flagship Android Wear 2.0 devices. The Style is priced at $250. The smartwatch is designed to be as thin and chic. However, the bigger, classier LG Watch Sport is the more fascinating option.
All Radio options
The Sport priced at $350 offers almost every radio you can find in a smartphone such as Bluetooth, LTE, NFC, GPS as well as Wi-Fi. LTE provides it with independent access to the Internet. It means that messages and notifications arrive regardless of your location. NFC makes this the first watch in order to support Android Pay, allowing you to walk into a store without a smartphone or wallet, tap on the terminal, and be on your way. Having GPS implies that you can leave the house and still have access to Google Maps and run tracking. In addition, a pair of Bluetooth headphones allows you to listen to your favorite music while you are on the go.
You will also find a number of new software as well. Android Wear 2.0 has undergone a complete overhaul with an all-new UI and a new app development strategy that begins with an on-watch Google Play app store. In includes the Google Assistant, an overhaul of Google Fit, as well as a tiny QWERTY keyboard that works great. When paired with Wear 2.0, the Watch Sport signifies a complete reconsideration of Google's smartwatch approach – yes it does not call for your smartphone now.
The Hardware - "Designed with our friends at Google"
While the Watch Sport is branded by LG, Google was greatly engaged in the device development. According to reports, Android Wear Product Manager Jeff Chang associated the partnership to Google’s Nexus smartphone program in regard to collaboration and objectives. This Google/LG partnership is surely there on the box other than being a perfect match for Google's Pixel and Google Home boxes, the box states, "Designed with our friends at Google."
The Watch Sport band doesn't bend where you would think it would. The first inch of the band on both sides is unbending, enabling LG to pack the radio antennas in there. The Watch Sport has a 1.38-inch 480x480 (348 PPI) circular P-OLED display covered with Gorilla Glass 3. There is s a quad-core 1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100 inside with 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, in addition to a 430mAh battery. It's a hefty sport watch having a steel body and a permanently affixed rubbery-plastic watch band. The band doesn't come off as it has the antennas for LTE, Wi-Fi, and the other radios. Due to the embedded antennas, the band isn't completely flexible. There is no center connecting the band to the watch, and the rigid band begins flexing after the antenna section. The 45mm face and 15.5mm thickness fits perfectly in with the jagged sport watches from Timex or Casio. The LG Sport Watch is total tiny compared to many of the G-Shock watches you can find. It doesn't aim for the "luxury" appeal of the Apple Watch, Moto 360, and Huawei Watch.
The top and bottom buttons have configurable actions. On the home screen, you can set them up in order to launch an app. When you are inside an app, developers can program the buttons to do an app-specific action. Considering the side buttons are a new development in the Android Wear world, don't assume numerous apps to make use of them.
Apple Watch users will feel at home with the center crown button which revolves and has a "press in" function. Spinning it will scroll any list you're in, pressing the crown will load the home screen, then the app list. Scrolling with the crown is fun. Other than not obstructing the screen, it's quick and more precise than touch scrolling. You can be at the bottom of any list just with couple of hard spins. It's easy to gently spin the wheel when you need to be more exact. It's great for reading longer messages on the tiny screen as well.
You'll find the normal photoplethysmogram (PPG) heart rate sensor on the plastic back of the device. LG and Google put the sensor on top of a 1mm bump unlike most watches. These heart rate sensors work in a better way always in case the watch has a death grip on your wrist. However, this bump helps the sensor make better contact with your skin, which gives you a solid reading even with a comfy strap stiffness.
The back of the device can be removed. You will find 3 pin holes on the back that make a triangle. There is also a matching plastic pin pull comes with the watch. Simply line up the wrench on the back of the device and wind and the back comes off, showing the nano SIM slot in addition to internal guts.
The Watch Sport will be sold at AT&T and Verizon stores in the US. Both these stores will change you additional fee on monthly basis for of adding another device to your plan.
The charger appears to be similar to the Moto 360 charger. There is a small stand that the watch can sit in that charges the device wirelessly and turns it into a desk clock. You will find a USB-Type C port for power on the back of the dock. These "display" chargers are perfect for a desk-side clock.