Have some decent time under my belt with this… some more thoughts:
- The GPS navigation implementation is utterly and completely terrible. It is seriously a hazard and will definitely get someone killed. There is no good way to look at the small display on your wrist while driving safely. I pretty much rely on the spoken instructions from my phone. The vibration on my wrist is somewhat useful tho.
- This leads me directly to my next observation about Android Wear in general… Continue reading
Some more thoughts:
- The apps aren’t as useless as they are on the Pebble. Still waiting for some truly compelling functionality though.
- Navigating a device on a screen that small isn’t easy and it seems Google wants to simply that process by making it voice-centric. Thing is, don’t know if I am in the minority, but I just feel like a huge dork talking into my wrist. Unless I am alone in the car or perhaps at home with my 5 year old (who gets a huge kick out of me talking to my gadgets) I am just NOT going to do this. That being said, there are some really good third party launchers available in the app store which address a lot of this issue. I am actually impressed at how quickly something this polished is in the Play Store.
- The general difficulty in launching apps combined with the limited screen real estate for usable interfaces confirms my thoughts that watches are not going to be good for much more than notifications as the primary value-add. Am sure this will change as the market matures and app developers come up with novel ways of interacting, but in the near term, this is not something likely to change fundamentally.
- The watch looks good indoors but it’s just too damn cold for me to go outside and see how it looks in full sunlight. Am curious about this.
- One really big win this watch has over my Pebble is that in addition to telling me who is calling, it allows me to very easily send a SMS reply instead of answering. I can’t figure out how to customize the messages though. It seems like it should take the auto-messages which I customized on my phone but it doesn’t.
- This brings me to (what seems to be a continuing series), notification hell – oh my god, how many times is it going to tell me the damn weather?? Seriously, it seems to flash me the weather cards every hour! And I’m in Austin, I don’t give a damn what the weather in Round Rock is (or vice versa). Seems like it should be a pretty fix to only show me the weather in the location I am in. On the phone, showing me both all the time is fine as I can easily see and easily scroll past it. Here I have individually swipe each away… constantly. On the phone you can easily scan the small icons at the top to know what new notifications you need to pay attention to, here the card on top peeks out, dying to be selected. You can’t ignore it!
Ok, I definitely slept through the alarm. The vibrate is really weak! So much so that this almost feels like a show stopper for me. The Pebble had an alarm which could wake the dead. I liked being able to set an alarm that wouldn’t bother the wife or 2 year old.
It’s interesting how the watch is able to maintain the claim of “all day battery” and “always on display”. While there are many good looking, slick and shiny watch faces, it goes into a simplified (largely) black and white version of said face most of the time. Only when you touch the face (or supposedly lift it up to look at it – this worked marginally well and was slow when it did) did it give you the full color version. So the net effect is, most of the time you are looking at a monochrome display. While the resolution of the display is obviously better than the Pebble, the overall effect is actually not that much better.
It does charge quickly tho, I can go from 0 to 75% in maybe half an hour.
Ok, these notifications are getting really annoying. Google Now on the phone works really well because you can easily scan many cards quickly and zero in on the important one with relatively little effort. It is a very cool effect delivering you very important/relevant information quickly. Not so much on the watch. There is no easy scanning of multiple notifications quickly, you have to scroll through and swipe away each one separately. This is damn annoying. One of the the key things I liked about my Pebble was that it was strategic to not overwhelm and only show notifications which were actually important (not sure if this was intentional or unintentional due to limited app/OS support – in any case, it was good).
I have always been a “watch guy.” I like the convenience of being able to look at my wrist for the time. Having to pull out my phone for the same task has always seemed like waay too much work for a simple task. I am also a huge nerd so obviously wanting to tech-out my watch is desirable. I tried the Fossil Abacus back in the day (think Palm Pilot in a watch) but the technology wasn’t anywhere near good enough to make this any more than a toy.
(Much) more recently I picked up a Pebble, which I love. It looks good (albeit a little casual) and the battery life rocks. It is all about the notifications, bringing information from your phone to someplace easily accessible. It is a fantastic effect and fundamentally changes the way I interact with my phone. It has gotten to the point where I rarely wear my “normal” watches anymore because I miss the interaction. And while it does have some apps, they are largely useless/cumbersome/hard to use (well, the music controller is nice). The utility does largely come from the notifications.
However, now that Google has stepped into the ring, I have been wanting to try our their new offerings.
The Moto 360 has always caught my eye as a damn fine looking watch but the mediocre reviews (especially at first) put me off a bit. But when the LG G Watch R was announced, it seemed like it had the same good looks and round watch face but fewer drawbacks (bad battery life, could last day with the “always on” screen enabled, no “flat tire”). So I got it… it just arrived… before I get into first impressions, I have to take a brief moment to discuss, the name.
Seriously, WTF is up with that name?? LG G Watch R? I work at Dell and while our model names are bad, this takes it to a new level. What is a “GWatch”? Google Watch? Nobody (including Google) calls it that. And the R… obviously stands for round but completely esoteric and non-sensical out of context. And starting with a company named LG, you would think that they would be even more careful to not make their names sound like alphabet soup. Are they marketing this to robots or people??
In any case, some first impressions:
- I love the display – full color, bright and high resolution. It’s by far the most striking thing about it (especially when coming from a Pebble)
- The face is a little big (wide), but still seems reasonable on my wrist (and i have a pretty spindly wrists)
- It’s also a touch thick – it seems like it will get caught in a shirts with tighter fitting sleeves
- I couldn’t get the damn thing to connect to my phone – it’s getting late and I have little people to tend to so I don’t have time to monkey with this now… will have to play more either tonight or tomorrow