LG has been working for two years on the development of its circular LG G Watch R. Touted as World’s first full circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display” that utilizes 100 percent of its watch face, the Android Wear powered device certainly features a gorgeous display enclosed in a typical rounded sport watch. We had the opportunity to briefly get our hands on the LG G Watch R to see first-hand how it holds up to the expectations.
- Product size 46.4 x 53.6 x 9.7 mm (1.57 x 2.30 x 0.49 in)
- Product weight unknown, pretty light
- Display Type full circle Plastic OLED (P-OLED)
- Resolution 320 x 320 pixels, (245 ppi)
- Diagonal 1.3 inches (circle)
- Processor 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 (APQ 8026)
- OS Android Wear
- Camera No
- Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0
- Internal storage 4GB eMMC
- RAM 512 MB
- Battery Capacity 410mAh
- Sensors: 9-Axis, PPG (Heart Rate) (Gyro/ Accelerometer/ Compass), PPG (heart rate monitor),
The key feature in the LG G Watch R is definitively the display. LG claims that its team had to work for 2 years to be able to develop a 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display, because the rounded shape produces much more waste of OLED material than a rectangular one, or a circular one made of several pieces of OLED material. The design team had to work on the costs to be able to deliver. I did not get the description of what exactly needed to be done on that side, but this could probably be the topic of a whole other article, if LG wanted to disclose its industrial secrets.
The display is amazing, which is a good surprise after seeing the lower (visual) quality display of the LG G Watch. The P-OLED display consume less on dark background than regular LDCs, that is why the chronograph clock face in the demo software features a black background.
The Plastic OLED display delivers high brightness, and a crisp and clear image quality. I tested the viewing angle and even when watching the face at almost 180 degrees, I could clearly see the numbers and read the time perfectly (see photo below).
The new LG smartwatch is quite large and as it was discussed during our meeting, it is not really targeted to the female audience. Actually, as you can see in the photos, the G Watch R looks like a regular sport watch for men. Despite its large width (46.4mm) the device feels very light on the wrist, LG did not provide the exact weight.
When asked about the large size, LG told us that 2 to 3 mm of additional space was necessary on both sides of the circular P-OLED screen in order to ensure water resistance.
The ring is made of aluminum and the chassis is made of stainless steel. The back is plastic. Out of the box, you will get a calf skin leather standard 22 mm band that can be easily replaced by the starp of your choice from various retailers. Despite the large face, the LG G Watch was comfortable to wear on my small wrist, and the calf skin leather band is very smooth.
On the hardware side, beside the display, nothing was too surprising: the system runs on a 1.2 GhZ Snapdragon 400 with 512 MB RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. The Ingress Protection Rating is IP67, meaning the LG G Watch R is designed to run for up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. This is a hardware platform very similar to what LG used at Google I/O 2014.
Software – Android Wear
All the units we saw during the briefing were set in demo mode, so I was not able to try how Android Wear runs in the LG G Watch R. The main benefits of the Google wearable operating system is the accessibility to the Android notifications right on your wrist. In case that you are not familiar with the software, go to our review of the Samsung Gear Live or the LG G Watch to read a complete description of the majority of the Android Wear’s features.
Battery and charger
Battery life is one of the main concern when it comes to Smartwatches. To date, most of the Smartwatches that provide a color LCD display last one day on a single charge. Knowing that users want more, LG offers a slightly higher capacity than the competition with a 410 mAH battery. As required by Android Wear, the display is always on, however it goes in dim mode, and only the clock hands are visible a black background.
The combination of the dim mode, the use of a black background for the defualt face and the higher capacity has allowed LG to offer an estimated two days of battery life. The charger will be a proprietary cradle, similar to the one (except for the shape) of the LG G Watch. You can see the charging pins on the back of the device in the photo displayed in the Industrial Design paragraph.
The LG G Watch R full circular P-OLED delivers an impressive image quality with wide viewing angles. The traditional sport watch design is not really unique and its large size will certainly be a no-go for the majority of the female audience. LG did not share any information regarding the pricing, and we understood that it will be available as soon as possible in the fourth quarter, LG would like to see this happen certainly before November.
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