It was the big story of CES 2009, but only now has LG put the finishing touches to its first watch phone and put it on sale, if you know where to look. You can only buy the LG GD910 through one Orange shop in the UK -- in Bond Street, London -- at the moment, on pay as you go tariff £500, although there will be a limited number available online later this month (register your interest here).
We had the chance to try one out briefly earlier today, and what struck us was that it's actually a pretty basic device. We're so used to seeing phones packed with features, apps and a hundred ways to access your Twitter feed on the toilet, this felt like a let-down.
LG is making a big deal of the fact this isn't just a phone, it's a 3G phone, and a super-fast HSDPA one at that. But before you get carried away thinking that you'll be able to access the Internet, check your emails and so forth, be warned -- the 3G is just for video calls. (Does anyone know anyone who actually makes these?) To be fair, there's no way you would want something like a browser on this thing, as the screen is just 36mm (1.4 inches), but it still seemed weird to us.
There are just three buttons on the whole of the device, at the edge, which you use for bringing up contextual menus and the like. You use the touchscreen for everything else.
Calling people, video or otherwise, is easy enough. If they're in your phone book already, you simply select their name. If not, typing numbers on the touchscreen is much more straightforward than you might think -- the soft keys on the touchscreen have enough space between them so you can type speedily without errors.
Video and voice calls are all piped through the internal speaker, turning the watch into a normal speakerphone. You might feel rather foolish and cause much irritation around you, but you don't have to bring the watch up to your mouth to be heard, unless you're trying out your best Dick Tracy impression.
You'll feel even more of a fool if you use the Bluetooth headset LG provides, though -- ignoring the fact that everyone using headsets should be made to sign a register for the good of society, it has a really long microphone arm, straight from the early naughties. Then again, with the headset, people around you won't be able to hear the other end of your conversation, so it's not all bad.
The menus look simple enough, but are actually a little tricky to get to grips with initially. Getting contextual menus on the screen can be a challenge, and some of the icons don't make much sense the first time you see them. But this is such a straightforward phone, it won't take long to learn how to use it.
The music player supports MP3 and AAC files, although with only 80MB of memory and no headphone jack, you won't be putting many on there.
You write basic memos with the help of T9 predictive text, which turns on when you use the standard phone keyboard that pops up on screen. If you understand T9, you'll have no problem, and you can write a speedy message with ease. There's also a calendar, which we're told syncs with your PC, although we didn't have time to try it. Creating and editing events is tricky on the small screen, so you'll want to be able to sync it with something.
Click continue to see more images and details (warning: hairy arms and girly wrists alert), and watch our video wrists-on at the bottom of the pag.
But in the meantime, whether you buy one or not comes down to just how much of a knob you think you'll look wearing it. With a paltry talktime of just 2.1 hours, it's not especially practical for everyday use, but as a second phone for a certain type of poseur, it takes some beating. Just don't say we didn't warn you if the novelty wears off.