How the LG G Watch Won Over this Smartwatch Skeptic
The year was 2012. Pebble had just released their smartwatch Kickstarter campaign, and I was dubious. A wristwatch that connects to my phone over Bluetooth to send call, text, and email notifications? The idea certainly intrigued me, but the list of features just didn’t sell me. What’s the point if you just have to pull out your phone to reply anyway? And custom watch faces? Sounds gimmicky. Cartoons for the last 100 years have been promising us watch-based video calls and lasers, so sue me if the tech seemed premature.
Then in 2014, many of my colleagues returned from Google I/O, Google’s developers conference, with shiny new LG G Watches – and still I wasn’t convinced. After all, I’d probably just accidentally bang the watch face into a doorframe and shatter it.
Now, in 2015, I’ve found that I was a complete fool.
As a New Year’s gift, I received the LG G Watch. Of course I was happy just to try out the technology without spending my own money, but after a few hours of playing with it all of my past reservations were blown away. Heck, if I’d known what I know now, I’d have happily forked over the cash myself!
Love at First Wear
My main gripe with smartwatches stemmed from my assuming that they were more of a tech novelty than something practical, but I’ll be honest, there was a style concern too.
I assumed they’d look bulky and ridiculous on my thin, bony wrist. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the LG G Watch fit comfortably, and that I didn’t even need to use the innermost notch on the watchband. The watch face is just about as wide as my wrist and isn’t any more ostentatious than a piece of costume jewelry might be.
As a bonus, wearing it also makes me feel a bit like one of my childhood heroes, Penny Brown. You, know Inspector Gadget’s niece.
Once I had overcome my fashion fears, I was ready to play with the tech. Connecting the watch to my phone (a Moto X) was a snap – requiring a quick download of the Android Wear app and Bluetooth pairing. From there, any pre-existing app on my phone equipped for Wearable tech was automatically installed on my watch. For me, that included Duolingo, Eat24, and Lyft.
The first feature that truly surprised me was the step counter. Honestly, I had never expected step-counting to be so uplifting; apparently the time I spend walking daily accounts for a full hour of exercise! (I’ll never feel bad about not going to the gym again!)
Other neat features include: the ability to pause/play music playing on your phone, check weather, and receive text/email notifications. Much to my surprise, the “Ok Google” voice command is actually incredibly robust; allowing me to ask questions of The Google, find directions, or send messages. I was wary that the voice-recognition software would fall flat, but as it turned out, my fears were completely unfounded – I have yet to say something that’s interpreted incorrectly.
My favorite feature by far is probably one of the simplest: calendar notifications. Working in tech, my days can get pretty busy and I’ll lose track of where I need to be at a given time. No more! Now, 10 minutes before a meeting, my watch gives a small shake. In a flash I know where I need to go, when I need to get there, and what I’ll need to talk about.
As it stands, Android Wear doesn’t boast many more features than what I listed above. There are few things in the pipeline, though: Hyundai is implementing functionality to control their cars from Android Wear and Blackberry is even attempting to remain relevant by introducing Blackberry Messenger for Wear.
It’s only a matter of time before I’ll be smartwatching like Penny Brown – video chatting with my dog and shooting lasers at anyone who gets in my way!