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LG recently unveiled its latest smartwatch, the G Watch R. This is the first Android Wear device with a full circle display, because as some of you may know, the Moto 360 has a “flat tire” due to the sensors located at the bottom side of the face. The good news is, the G Watch R is just as premium as the Moto 360, and in my opinion, possibly better…

The G Watch R’s specifications are nearly identical when compared to the squared G Watch including a Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage, but there are a few difference in other areas. First off, the battery is slightly larger at 410mAh (400mAh in the G Watch), the circular display has a resolution of 320 x 320 (up from 280 x 280), and adds a heart rate sensor to its back side.

The G Watch R also includes a side button which will wake/sleep the device, “home” button, and allow you to quickly access the watch’s settings with a long press. I’m sure additional functionality could be added to the button via software, but for the most part it’s on point with what the Gear Live’s side button offers. You’ll also be happy to learn that the G Watch R also comes with a standard 22mm watch strap and can be replaced.

Check out our G Watch R hands-on video below:

Unfortunately, because the G Watch R has a full circle display, (unlike the Moto 360) it’s also lacking a feature that gave the 360 its “flat tire.” The LG G Watch R doesn’t include an ambient light sensor. This means that the brightness will not automatically adjust like you’ll find on a smartphone or the Moto 360. There’s no word on if the lack of this feature will impact battery life, but LG rates the battery to last for up to 2 days, but you’ll probably get the standard 1 to 1 1/2 days found on the other Android Wear smartwatches.

There’s no official release date for the LG G Watch R, but it should make its way to store shelves this year. The price has not been announced at this time, but it’s like that the G Watch R will be priced higher than the $229 LG is asking for the square G Watch. Overall, I’m a fan of the LG G Watch R. It’s just more of my style over the other Android Wear devices on the market, but let us know what you think down in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more details and our full review.

Full press release below:

SEOUL, Aug. 28, 2014 — Following the June release of one of the first-to-market wearable device powered by Android Wear™, LG Electronics (LG) is quickly expanding its wearable product offerings with the unveiling a new Android Wear device — the LG G Watch R at IFA 2014 in Berlin next week. The LG G Watch R is the world’s first watch-style wearable device to feature a circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display and utilizes 100 percent of its watch face.

The most eye-catching feature of the LG G Watch R is its 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display that produces stunning image clarity even under bright sunlight and superb clarity when viewed from any angle. Powered by a powerful 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, the LG G Watch R offers 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and a durable 410mAh battery. This Android Wear device will effortlessly run all compatible apps available in the Google Play Store and with an Ingress Protection Rating of IP67, the LG G Watch R is designed to run for up to 30 minutes in one meter of water.

With Android Wear™ at its core, the LG G Watch R delivers essential and relevant information exactly at the right time and place through voice recognition notifications. With a suite of LG health and fitness apps, users can also monitor their heartbeats with the support of the embedded photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor. And the smart notifications provide users with important reminders of missed calls and messages, upcoming meetings, events, and local weather forecasts.

With an artisanal elegance, the LG G Watch R boasts a refined aesthetic that is reminiscent of traditional timepieces. Replete with a circular watch face, this elegantly crafted Android wearable has classic curves encased in a strong, durable stainless steel frame and carries a suite of watch faces that are accessible with a simple touch of the display. Its interchangeable 22mm calf skin leather strap also complements its overall aesthetic, giving it an air of modern prestige.

“What we’ve noticed in the year of the wearable is that this is a category that can’t be compared to smartphones and tablets,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Wearables are also accessories and consumers will want more than one to choose from. So we wanted to complement the modern design of the original G Watch with the classic look of the G Watch R. Customers can’t go wrong with either device.”

The LG G Watch R will be available in key markets early in the fourth quarter of 2014. Prices and details of availability will be announced locally at the time of launch. Visitors to IFA can see LG G Watch R up close in Hall 11.2 of Messe Berlin from September 5-10.

Key Specifications:
■ Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400
■Ÿ Display: 1.3-inch P-OLED Display (320 x 320)
■ Memory: 4GB eMMC / 512MB RAM
■ Battery: 410mAh
■Ÿ Operating System: Android Wear™
(compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above)
■Ÿ Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro/ Accelerometer/ Compass), Barometer, PPG
■ Color: Black
■Ÿ Other: Dust and Water Resistant (IP67)

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5 Responses to “LG G Watch R: Hands-on and first impressions (Video)”

  1. I waited from the first rumours of the Moto 360 intending to buy on day one, however reports of the terrible battery life have completely put me off, and just as I was about to give up entirely on a wear powered smartwatch along comes the G Watch R, what great timing, and only a month to wait hopefully. This definitely ticks all the boxes for me.

  2. dksmidtx says:

    I just don’t understand the wasted space – either shrink the diameter and thickness by the amount of the analog bezel or blow the screen out to the edges and program the fake analog dial into the clock graphics. I know big analog watches are a trendy fashion statement today in the 20-something category, but for most users, a more traditional size would be welcome.

    • Except for its not actually wasted space. That’s where the display components are housed. On the 360 its in a little black bar at the bottom, on this watch they went for the full 360 display with a large bezel for components.

      • dksmidtx says:

        It seems to me that the components should be BELOW the face of the watch – period. Until we see that, the smartwatch is going to be a non-starter category. These things all make the Gear Fit type design (or those great renders of a single icon wide bracelet with round screen for a mythical iWatch) so attractive.

  3. Looks like a black and white clock is shown when it’s “always on”. Is that correct?