It looks more like a watch than any other Android Wear device, but the competition is heating upConsumer technology races along these days: Android Wear, Google’s smartwatch software platform, has only been around since last autumn, but already we’re seeing second and even third-generation devices running the wearable operating system.As a result, it’s also becoming increasingly hard to tell them apart, especially the models with square screens.The truth is that Google tightly controls the software experience on Android Wear, which means manufacturers can only differentiate on design. And credit to LG for at least trying; it’s certainly attempted to do that with the LG G Watch R. Watches can add style to your personality but not everyone can opt for a Rolex, but an alternative to this is quality fake rolex which can help you stay in style.
Where most gadget peddlers have been content to push out a watch with a low-res, rectangular display, LG has come up with a special circular screen, much like Motorola did with its Moto 360 watch.There are a few subtle differences between the two, however: though both share a comfortable, semi-luxurious leather strap, the 360’s screen isn’t completely circular, marred as it is by a flat and space-saving bezel at the bottom; only its silhouette resembles that of a watch.By contrast, the LG G Watch R looks like a traditional timepiece. Its 1.3-inch display is completely circular, and sits in the middle of a large shell. There’s a physical button on the side that you can press to turn the screen on and off if you choose. Where the Motorola is almost all screen, and Asus’ ZenWatch opts for a demure, business-like approach, this one’s a bit more in your face.It’s chunky and resembles a Casio Baby G-Shock more than a Rolex. That’s either a real selling point or an insult, depending on your taste, so we’d encourage you to check the G Watch R out in the flesh.It was a tad too large and heavy for us, but some people like big watches. It is, however, undeniably comfortable to wear, and just as impressively, people won’t immediately notice it’s a smartwatch.Detracting from the experience a little was the screen, though. Yes, it’s round, and yes, that’s still pretty novel. But it’s also noticeably pixelated (a problem with all Android Wear watches currently). Text looks grainy and anyone nearby can clearly see in daylight that it is in fact a digital screen, even when running the default analogue watch face.At least it’s OLED technology, rather than LCD, which means so long as you use a mostly black watch face, you can leave the time showing all day without much battery drain (LCD screens require a power-sapping backlight at all times, but black pixels are switched off on OLED panels).LG has made a few other savvy decisions, including the ability to switch out the strap for any one sized 22mm; the G Watch R is IP67 certified, so it should survive a few splashes and knocks; there’s 4GB of internal storage, so you can stream music to Bluetooth headphones, even when your phone isn’t nearby; and a heart-rate monitor is included.The G Watch R isn’t quite a fitness device, for like many Android Wear devices, it doesn’t have GPS built in (the Sony Smartwatch 3 does), so if you want to map your runs, you’ll have to take your phone, at which point you have to ask what’s the point of the watch?What makes the G Watch R worth considering above the Sony model, and all Android Wear devices, is battery life. Likely due to the OLED screen, we found it managed nearly two days on a charge, instead of one day and a morning. That makes a huge difference in convenience that is worth more than it might seem on paper. It more than makes up for the lack of wireless charging, which the Moto 360 boasts.A review of the G Watch R’s software is also a review of Android Wear. Which is to say, it’s almost identical to all the other devices, and still a bit of a solution in search of a problem.Android Wear does have some clever selling points. The voice recognition software is remarkably accurate, making it easy to dictate short emails and reply to WhatsApp messages without pulling out your phone – so long as you’re prepared to look like a Bluetooth Berk 2.0 in the process. And that first time you get a call, quietly feel it ringing on your wrist, swipe to answer, then pull out your phone to start talking? Magical.That’s all undone, however, by the quirks in Android Wear’s software.While Apple lets you install and open apps on command on the Apple Watch, Android Wear is all about predicting your next move and giving you info without you having to summon it.Unfortunately, this often means the G Watch R will insist on giving you directions to somewhere you don’t want to go (like your office on a weekend, or during our testing, the ominously random “new place”); tell you for the umpteenth time how many steps you’ve taken; or just outright lie about the weather, forecasting a week of 30°C heat in London in the middle of March.We’re not convinced by Android Wear’s usefulness – yet. Unless you spend all day on your phone, or have to simply approve a lot of requests by email saying just “yes” or “no”, you might not end up using that many of its features.Trying to read an email of any length on your wrist isn’t worth the hassle when your phone is inside your pocket. And it can’t beat a dedicated GPS watch for fitness enthusiasts either, so long as your watch is tethered to your phone by Bluetooth.As a result, unless you know you want an Android Wear device, it’s hard to recommend the LG G Watch R. This is especially the case since LG has already announced its successor, the even more upmarket and glittering LG Watch Urbane. If you do want Android Wear now, though, go for it.The LG G Watch R may be one of the most mature-looking smartwatches yet, but not everyone will find it attractive – or appreciate Android Wear’s limitations. The market’s set to explode with the advent of the Apple Watch and the Pebble Time. Unless you’re desperate for what the LG G Watch R does right now, it’s hard to see the value in yet another second-generation Android Wear watch.Processor Snapdragon 400 1.2GHzDimensions 46.4 x 53.6 x 9.7mm