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Monday, 31 August 2015

My LG G Watch W100

As many of you readers may have known, I owned a Pebble smartwatch for almost a year now. For those that need a reminder, here it is: http://t7j7l.blogspot.com/2015/02/my-pebble-smartwatch.html

Times have changed. Smart watches evolve. Therefore, I decided to give my early 2013 Pebble to my dad, and get myself a mid 2014 LG G Watch. Why not a more recent model? Well, there are barely any changes from last year, other than updated specs I believe. Plus, I got this watch from Craigslist for $80! Yep, another Craigslist deal...

Anyhow, while I will be describing the watch itself; my main focus is its software: the apps. Here I will be listing all of them, and give a brief description of my favourites. Starting in alphabetical order: 2048, Agenda, Alarm, Attopedia, Audio Recorder, Authenticator, Calculator, Camera, Compass, Find my phone, Fit, Google, Hangouts, Keep, Maps, Notification Toggles, Phone Finder, Play Music, Settings, Stopwatch, Timer, Together, Tool Box, Torch, Translate, Wear Battery Stats, WearFaces, Weather, WeChat, World clock.

Do note that many of them aren't in their full names (which I will give in my favourites descriptions), and instead are shortened versions for better viewing on the watch. With 4 GB of internal storage, I can own far more apps than the original Pebble's 8 (Pebble Time doesn't have that limit).

2048 - You guys should know this, except it's 4x4. My highest score is 1436, but the watch suspended before I could take a picture...
Attopedia - Wikipedia on your watch! Don't worry, it's magnified and cut into sections where only the main image and full scrollable text are shown.
Authenticator Plus - Although a paid app, this is the only Google Authenticator alternative with Android Wear support. Shows you the 2-factor authentication codes for you accounts.
Google Now - With voice commands, I can literally Google anything and it will show the results! Includes brief description as normal Google searches does, and opens links on your phone.
Hangouts - View your entire texting history and reply via voice! Although Google Now can also reply via voice commands, this conveniently stores the entire conversation on your watch.
Google Keep - View and add notes which syncs with your phone. Via voice commands of course.
Google Maps - Displays the GPS and map just like your phone! Updates a bit slower, and fades into black & white to save power, but has full navigation support!
Notification Toggles - Choose what to enable/disable on you phone; such as volume, WiFi, etc. With root and companion apps, you can even lock the phone or reboot it!
Wear Aware - Phone Finder - Although I already have "Find my phone", this will buzz me whenever the watch disconnects from the phone.
Google Translate - Speak and translate into pretty much any language that Google supports!
Wear Battery Stats - Monitor your phone's battery life, and notifies when below certain percentage.
WearFaces - Make your own Android Wear watchface. Mine was a custom selected image of course.

Whew that was a lot of writing, much like my Pebble article. And of course you can respond to any message, except you use your voice instead of canned messages. You swipe down to control notifications (silent or not), view the watch's battery, enable/disable cinema mode or brightness boost, and open settings. The settings are pretty much what you expect from a smartwatch, you can control its brightness, watch face, font size, shutdown/reboot/factory reset watch, and whatnot.

Swiping left gives you the app launcher where you can scroll all the apps you own. The last 3 ones you've used will show up on top. Swiping left again gives you contacts, which you can phone, text, or email. Of course it's pretty redundant with voice commands, but that's another option. And swiping left again will give you the Google Now voice control center, which is the same as saying "OK Google" when the watch is on. Swiping right is usually the back button and can exit apps, except some like 2048 which exits by holding a tap. Swiping up does nothing special other than scrolling.

While the LG G Watch definitely has a design and functionality advantage over the original Pebble, there are some disadvantages. The main 2 are battery life (lasts ~24 hours instead of ~4 days), and waterproofing ability (water resistant vs able to completely submerge underwater for 50 meters). And lastly I did not review the music control capabilities this time, because I moved all my music to my Lumia 520 (which I got for $20).

Wearable technology is not only next-gen, but you can own one right now!

*Oh yeah, when you reply to a message, there is a timer of 5 seconds that allows you to cancel it. And the WeChat app isn't working on the watch for some reason.

*Can't believe I forgot this, but watch notifications you haven't taken action on are stored as a banner at the bottom of the watchface. You swipe up to access them. Hangouts is more useful than I thought, you can view chat history with each contact and reply to them. And lastly, I got a better 2048 score, it seems the app remembers unless you manually closed or uninstalled it:

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