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Hello, Android Wear

I just received both the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Android Wear watches that were released last week. I wanted to take a moment to explain my first impressions of the hardware, packaging, and features of each of the watches. Scroll to the bottom of this page for a gallery of photos…

Packaging:

  • The Samsung watch comes in a larger box compared to the LG watch, and it was packaged in a unique way. The box itself has a wood grain texture as seen in the gallery at the bottom of this post.

Inside the Box:

  • The LG G watch came with a Micro USB charging cable, while the Samsung watch did not.
  • Instead, the Samsung Gear Live watch came with an attached AC Adapter to Micro USB cable. The LG watch also came with an AC Adapter with a slot for a USB cable (similar to what Apple provides with their iPhones).

Charging Hardware:

  • The charging hardware for the Samsung watch “snaps” into place, but it was confusing at first. It requires two hands to remove the watch from the charger.
  • The LG G watch has sticky pads which keep the charging hardware grounded to your desk and the locking mechanism is magnetic. The watch pulls away from the charger with one hand. The LG charger is absolutely a better experience than the Samsung charger.

Screen Protection:

  • The LG watch came with a plastic screen protector that you peel off after you set everything up. The Samsung watch did not have anything protecting its’ screen during transport.

Watch Bands:

  • Both watches have replaceable watch bands that use a standard 22mm connector.
  • The default Samsung band is super easy to remove as there is a knob on the pin that you can use with your fingernail, while the LG band might require a small household tool or push back the spring loaded pin.
  • The Samsung watch has less room for a “thick” band due to the way the edge of the watch is formed, but on the upside, the pins that connect the band to the watch are hidden behind that edge, which gives it a nice appearance.
  • The LG watch is pretty straight forward when it comes to replacing the default watch band, but you can clearly see where the band is attached to the watch, which you may or may not like.
  • The factory watch bands are not that great at all (very plastic-y), I recommend you switch them out with something nicer ASAP.

Screen Brightness:

  • The default brightness on the Samsung watch is brighter and more vivid, however both watches support changing the default brightness level once Android Wear is fully installed.
  • The Samsung screen gets washed out in photos, as you can see below. The LG screen appears much better in photos.

Wrist Fit:

  • The Samsung watch fits my wrist better than the LG watch due to the slightly curved back. It feels quite nice and secure. Once I sized the watchband, it fit like a charm… and is the primary reason why I decided to keep the Samsung Gear Live watch over the LG G watch.
  • The LG watch has a flat back, like the Pebble… it works just like most watches you might pick up at Macy’s, for better or worse.

Screen Size:

  • While the screen width and height is exactly the same, due to the higher resolution of the Samsung Gear Live watch, it appears to be larger when comparing them side-by-side.

Battery Life:

  • The LG G watch has a slightly larger battery, and from what I’ve read… will last about 6 hours longer than the Samsung Gear Live watch. (24 hours vs. 30 hours).

Physical Buttons:

  • The Samsung watch has a home button on the right side while the LG watch has no buttons at all.
  • You can hold down the home button to turn the Samsung watch off, but there’s no way to turn the LG watch off without going through the Android Wear software menu.

Additional Hardware Features:

  • The Samsung Gear Live watch has a heart-rate monitor built into the back. The LG G watch does not. I’ve read that the monitor does not work well (if at all) when your skin is wet (due to sweat), so it’s a toss-up if that feature is that useful.

Alright, well that’s all I can think of to tell you right now without diving into the software… enjoy the gallery of photos below!

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3 thoughts on “Hello, Android Wear

  1. Nice write up! You’re actually the first person I’ve seen with a good looking band on the Gear Live? Which band is it, and where did you get it?

    P.S. The band on the white/gold G Watch ain’t bad either!

    1. The band featured on the Samsung Gear Live watch can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008HNL0HO/ (cost was $120, and the band color matches the watch bezel perfectly).

      The band featured on the LG G watch can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0084C2HJI (currently out of stock, cost was $72).

      I ultimately ended up keeping the Samsung Gear Live watch with the Titanium Band and I’m returning the LG G watch to Google along with the much more heavy Stainless Steel band to Amazon. I felt the Stainless Steel added a bit too much weight to the watch to a point where it was uncomfortable. The Titanium band, of course, is VERY light and quite un-noticeable as far as weight is concerned.

      If you have any other questions or want more photos, please let me know!

      1. Thanks David. I didn’t mention it, but I ordered the white G Watch and the Gear Live also, and I’ve settled on the same decision: Going with a titanium strap for the Gear Live and returning the G Watch. A good friend of mine ordered the black G Watch, so I’ve had access to all 3 over the last week. There’s stuff about the LGs I like but the deal breaker was the unreliable arm motion. On both the white and the and the black G watches, I’d say the arm raise motion worked about 50 – 60% of the time tops. That’s simply too inconsistent for a $230 piece of tech. I’ve heard it can/will probably be corrected in a software update, but not waiting on that.

        Thanks again!

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