With the launch of Android Wear 2.0, LG and Google announced the Watch Sport and the Watch Style. While both of these watches were designed to show off the newest version of the operating system, only the Watch Sport comes packing LTE connectivity, an NFC chip, a heart rate sensor, and more.
This comparison will take an in-depth look at these two new smartwatches so that you can decide if you would rather have a feature-packed smartwatch that tends to be on the bulkier side or an elegant and slim device that doesn’t do much more than the basics…
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First, let’s get the specs out of the way. The LG Watch Style has a 1.2-inch P-OLED 360×360 pixel display, a Snapdragon Wear 2100 CPU, 512MB of RAM, and a 240mAh battery. The Watch Sport — being quite a bit bigger than the Style — has a 1.38-inch P-OLED 480×480 pixel display, the same Snapdragon 2100 processor, 768MB of RAM, and a 430mAh battery. While they share similar specs, the added RAM helps run all of the additional sensors and radios found exclusively in the Sport.
Please note that we have only had these watches in hand for a few days and this is not our full review of either the Sport or the Style (those are coming soon, so stay tuned!). That being said, though, both of these watches fly. The extra time that Google spent preparing Android Wear 2.0 for the world is quite apparent on these devices as everything runs more or less as smooth as butter.
When comparing the Sport to the Style, that extra RAM appears to make things run just a little bit better. While it isn’t much, you can tell from using both side-by-side that the Sport has the edge on performance. Is it enough to deter you from buying and using the Style? Definitely not. If you only used the Style, you would still think it was one of the fastest smartwatches on the market.
Battery life performance will differ from user-to-user and from day-to-day, and this is especially true when talking about the Watch Sport. In addition to the added RAM and larger display with more pixels, the Sport has a handful of other sensors and radios that the Style doesn’t. These include LTE connectivity, NFC, GPS, and a heart rate sensor. Obviously, heavy use with a lot of screen on time of either watch will drain the battery, but so will constant use of the LTE or GPS features.
Without heavy usage of the added functionality found in the Sport (and with only moderate usage of either watch, mainly for checking notifications and opening several applications), they’ll both easily make it through an average 8-hour workday. In our testing, the Style ended the day with a higher battery percentage and could have easily made it into the next morning, while the Sport was closer to being dead and needed to be charged overnight.
GPS / NFC / LTE / Heart Rate Sensor
Besides its physical size, the biggest difference between the watches is that the Sport can just do so much more. If you wanted to go for a run without your phone, download music, and track your exact location, all at the same time, you could thanks to the Watch Sport’s built-in LTE and GPS. And if you’re exercising, there’s a good chance you’ll want to use that heart rate sensor to track your heart rate. You can also pay for things with nothing but your watch and Android Pay. This is the world you could live in with the Sport.
The Style basically lives up to its name of being stylish and not much more. The watch is small, extremely lightweight, supports Google’s MODE watch bands, and just looks beautiful. Its size is so small that you forget you’re even wearing it at times. If notifications are all you want a smartwatch for, then it isn’t even a question that the Style is what you should be looking into. It’s simple, it works, and it won’t break the bank for $250.
If you want everything and more, then you’ll want the Sport. This one will cost you a little bit more, though, at $350. Plus, if you’re going to be using the LTE capabilities, you will have to pay your cell phone carrier $10 to $20 a month for a data plan. In exchange, you’ll have a much bulkier watch that feels premium and runs Android Wear better than any other device out there. The biggest drawbacks include that it’s much bigger in size, and you can’t change out the watchbands because of the LTE and GPS antennas.
So which of these two smartwatches are you interested in picking up? The LG Watch Style is perfect if you love minimalism and just want to get the basic tasks done. But if you’re more hardcore or like having everything built into the wearable on your wrist, then the Watch Sport might be more up your alley. Unfortunately, the ideal watch for most people that fits right between these doesn’t exist. But either way, you will be getting a fantastically built device that runs Android Wear 2.0 beautifully and works like a charm.
Keep an eye on the site as we will be publishing our full reviews of both the LG Watch Sport and Watch Style in the coming days. Also, let us know in the comments below if you’re interested in hearing anything more specific about either of these wearables or if you decided to pick either of them up for yourself.