Home / Android / LG Watch Sport review: Not the watch Android Wear needs right now – Greenbot

LG Watch Sport review: Not the watch Android Wear needs right now – Greenbot


Android Wear has a problem. Sales are slow. Motorola is backing out. Samsung has its own watch platform.

What Google’s watch ecosystem needs is a reboot. New software, new hardware, fresh marketing, the works. Unfortunately, the two LG watches chosen to be the launch partners for the new Android Wear 2.0 platform fall well short of the fresh, forward-looking, “gotta have it” hardware that’s really needed. The LG Style is missing some of Wear 2.0’s best features, and the LG Sport, which showcases everything Wear 2.0 has to offer, is laden with faults.

Way too much watch

Android Wear 2.0 includes a host of welcome improvements. While numerous watches will be upgraded to the new OS, there are only two that have it now, and the LG Watch Sport is the only one that has the entire feature set. The Style doesn’t have a heart rate monitor, support for Android Pay, its own cellular connection or GPS.

The Sport has all that stuff. It’s got a sizable 1.38-inch POLED display with a 480×480 resolution, and it looks great. It’s bright, crisp, and easy to read in sunlight. The 430 mAh battery provides impressive battery life. I was easily able to make it through the day with typical use, including an hour-long gym workout, though those who rely heavily on unethered cellular operation and extended heart-rate tracking may find themselves running out of juice before bedtime. But as with most smartwatches, it’s still a charge-every-night device.

lg watch sport thick2 Jason Cross

Oh my god, Becky. Look at his watch! It’s just so…big!

The problem is that it’s just so big. There’s “men’s watch” big and then there’s “this is a diving watch” big. This is the latter. Even people who like large watches will likely find the case size, thickness, and weight a little bit much. I’m a tall guy at 6’4”, but with relatively thin wrists. The LG Watch Sport was so big that it simply didn’t fit comfortably; the rigid curves of the bands extend too far to the edges of my wrists. It made me feel like a toddler trying to wear daddy’s big watch. If a watch doesn’t even fit me properly, I can’t conceive of the women I work with daring to put it on every day.

lg watch sport crown Jason Cross

The rotating crown is a great addition that meshes nicely with Android Wear 2.0’s interface update.

I have to wonder if the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 is somewhat at fault here. This system-on-chip was expressly designed for wearables, but it’s still built on a 28nm manufacturing process—and that’s two generations behind the process tech that Qualcomm uses for its latest smartphone chips. This makes the 2100 affordable, but also much larger and more power-hungry that it would otherwise be. Would a 14nm version of this chip allow for smaller internal circuitry? Would it get more life out of a smaller battery? These are relevant question if you’re concerned about the size of your monstrous watch.

Excellent for (big-wristed) athletes

We’ve written at length about the new features in Android Wear 2.0, and the LG Watch Sport is effectively a “Nexus” device for the platform, without custom LG features all over the place. That’s just fine. Using Android Pay to buy things with your watch is neat. Tracking runs while leaving your phone at home…very cool. But if you like to work out, the new Wear platform is especially appealing.

lg watch sport weighliftingGreenbot

Google Fit’s new exercize tracking is fantastic. It even auto-recognizes lots of strength training exercises and counts reps!

The new Google Fit in Wear 2.0 is a fantastic workout buddy. It now includes a lot more activities, and tracks them fairly accurately, including continuous heart rate monitoring for cardio activities. But it’s the ability to track strength training exercises that really blew me away.

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