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Up close with the sleek, circular LG G Watch R (pictures)

We finally get our hands on the LG G Watch R, LG's stylish new Android Wear smart watch with a completely circular face.

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Andrew Lanxon

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1 of 23 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

BERLIN -- After being announced ahead of the IFA tech show, we have finally been able to get our hands on LG's latest smart watch, the G Watch R, here in Germany.

Although it's not long since LG unveiled its square G Watch at Google's developer conference, LG says that is best seen as a reference device. The G Watch R, with its round screen, properly shows the company's vision for the future of wearables.

There's no word on price yet for the new watch, but LG did say that it will be more expensive than existing smart watches -- expect it to be somewhere north of £200 (which converts to roughly $330 or AU$350) when it goes on sale towards the end of September.

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The standout feature of the G Watch R is of course its display. Although we've seen a round Android Wear device from Motorola -- the Moto 360 -- LG's watch uses a completely round screen, rather than requiring a flat, cut-off bit at the bottom.

LG, therefore, argues that it is in fact the first truly circular display on a smart watch.

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As well as interchangeable watch faces, there are numerous straps too, allowing you to create up to 29 different combinations.

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The body of the watch is made from metal, with stark, angular edges. It's a very macho design so is unlikely to appeal to those who prefer lightweight, elegant designs.

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The 1.3-inch display has a 320x320-pixel resolution, which seemed every bit as sharp as the smartwatches I've seen from Samsung, Sony, LG and Asus.

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It runs Android Wear, Google's operating system specifically designed for smart watches.

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Android Wear connects with the Google accounts on your phone, showing you information in cards, much like Google Now does on your Android phone.

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Underneath is a heart-rate monitor. It can keep track of how intensely you're exercising and if you've opted for one of the sports-watch faces, you can see your heart rate as well as steps and even altitude right on the face.

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The button on the side acts as the home button -- press it to be taken back to the main watch face or to launch voice control.

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LG said this watch has been in development for two years. "The direction we pursue of smartwatches combines high technology with sophisticated design," the company said in a statement. "Our product is functional rather than minimal. It is stylish rather than plain."

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Next to the square Samsung Gear Live, the G Watch R looks much more like a watch, rather than a smart device. If you want to blend in to the crowd then LG's is the one to go for.

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Android Wear will give you weather forecasts for your current locations as well as your pre-set home destination.

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You can use it to control your music and videos too.

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A silver model was wrapped around the wrist of one of LG's executives at my briefing in IFA, but apparently this colour isn't going to be available at launch.

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It's a shame, as I think the silver, with perhaps a light-coloured leather strap, would have wider appeal than the macho black model.

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It felt lightweight to hold so you're unlike to feel dragged down on one side while wearing it.

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The Android Wear software was always designed to work on both square and round displays. So far, most companies have opted for square ones -- presumably because it's much easier to make.

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It's not particularly fat, so it doesn't stick out too much when it's on your wrist. It's not as slim as the newly announced Asus ZenWatch, however.

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Doesn't look too bad, does it?

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The G Watch R doesn't have GPS built-in. LG says this was a decision it made to improve the battery life of the watch. GPS, it says, is provided via your phone.

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There's no USB port built into the watch so charging it requires this little dock.

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Straps will come in real leather, fabric, rubber and metal.

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Take your pick!

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