LG's "G Watch," a wearable device that connects to Android phones through Google's new Android Wear operating system, hit the market today. Using AT&T as its first U.S. wireless carrier, the smartwatch sells for $299 and features a 1.65-inch display that delivers notifications for weather forecasts, calendars, and other apps.
Wearable tech may be the Hot Industry Topic, but does LG's early entry set the new standard? Since its debut, the device has met mostly lukewarm reviews, including this "meh" reaction from The Next Web's Roberto Baldwin:
A watch should be an accessory that you’re proud to show off. The LG G Watch is not that accessory. But beyond fashion preferences and industrial design, there are technical shortcomings... [The screen's] not horrible, but after spending the last few years looking at gloriously high resolution displays on smartphones and tablets, the watch’s display feels like it’s from five years ago — unless you’re looking at a photo, then it’s from eight years ago.
The CNET editors gave the watch three out of five stars, noting its "impressive voice recognition, Android phone connectedness, and potential for future app support," while docking points for its "generic design, unimpressive battery life, and unpolished early software."
Jared Newman, reviewing the watch for TIME, echoes this sentiment, but goes on to ask the obvious question:
If most people are happy to whip out their phones, why would they care about a device that spares them from doing so?
The answer: Because watches are lighter, smaller, and less of a hassle to use – just turn your wrist and give it a glance. But, as Newman says, the G Watch is still a "work-in-progress," just a tad too bulky to do the trick.
Not everyone gave the smartwatch a slap on the wrist for its design, however. Phil Nickinson reviewed the watch for Android Central, calling it a "solid buy":
It's a simple device, but a good platform on which to become acquainted with Android Wear... It's a rather unassuming slab of a watch, definitely not destined to win any design awards, but maybe that's the point.
Verdict: The LG G Watch shows off what's possible with Android Wear, but won't replace phones with its chunky design and limited display.