Hands on: LG G Watch R

It’s remarkable how things can quickly fall into place with one small change of design. All of a sudden a rugged round-faced smartwatch enters the frame and LG is a name to be reckoned with in the smartwatch space.

LG G Watch R hands on review

It isn’t only the round face that makes the G Watch R desirable, although that undoubtedly helps. Everything else about this watch seems to work. Its unashamedly thick bezel with traditional quarter-hour number markings look great and lend the G Watch R the feel of a military or diving watch.

While it comes with an IP67 dust/water-resistance rating, it isn’t advisable to treat this too roughly; it will only operate underwater in depths of up to 1.5m. And we’re pretty sure your accompanying smartphone – needed for the smartwatch to work, remember – won’t work in those conditions either.

LG G Watch R hands on review on wrist

The G Watch R is available with a choice of two straps, both of which are attractive options. The standard strap is made from calf leather and is very comfortable and flexible. The more expensive option is a metallic-link strap.

It looks great, but we weren’t able to try one on since the only one on the LG stand at the IFA tech show was in a glass box. Alas, we can’t give you the price difference of these two straps, either; LG hasn’t yet announced any prices yet for the LG G Watch R .

The round watch face is a 1.6in display boasting a resolution of 320 x 320, and is easy on the eye. The colours are bold and bright, and Android Wear looks great. We’re glad, too, that there’s a physical button included for waking the watch up and returning to the main homescreen.

LG G Watch R hands on review flat

Beneath that rugged housing, you’ll find a 410mAh battery that LG claims will provide up to two days of battery life. This is pretty standard for smartwatches and is a lifespan we can’t see improving quickly, since the slim physical requirements of watches don’t allow room for a much larger battery.

Although the LG G Watch R was operating in demo mode, we found flicking through the screens and available features a noticeably speedy affair – more so than other smartwatches on display at IFA. Whether this is because of the impressive performance of the on board Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor paired with 512MB of RAM, or simply because demo mode on the G Watch R is particular good, is impossible to say. Other specs include 4GB storage and a heart-rate monitor.

LG G Watch R hands on review clasp

LG G Watch R hands-on review: initial verdict

From our brief time with the LG G Watch R we’re expecting it to be one of the leading smartwatches this year. It has everything its rivals have in terms of features and specs, looks great and has a slightly larger battery as well. All we’re hoping for now is that LG comes up with a sensible price that undercuts the rather high £199 price Motorola is asking for the Motorola Moto 360.

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