LG Watch Style review:

Dismal battery life and not even Android Pay

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The Good The LG Watch Style is slim and has an Apple-like rotating crown for easier navigation. Its Android Wear 2.0 software is more user-friendly than its predecessor.

The Bad Its tiny battery doesn't last a full day. There's a limited number of useful apps, no NFC for mobile payments, no speaker, no heart-rate sensor and no GPS.

The Bottom Line There are better (and longer-lasting) smartwatches available to go with both Android and iPhones.

CNET Editors' Rating

6.4 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Battery 5.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Software 7.0
  • Features 6.0

The LG Watch Style is a thin and light smartwatch built in collaboration with Google. It's also one of the first watches to run Android Wear 2.0, Google's revamped smartwatch operating system. Android Wear 2.0 will arrive on a handful of other watches soon, but the Style and its sibling the LG Watch Sport will be the first watches to get the update.

Android Wear 2.0 makes for a better smartwatch than Google's last efforts, but LG's basic smartwatch isn't the best watch to take advantage of the improvements. There's no heart-rate sensor, no speaker for answering calls and no NFC for mobile payments. Its best feature is an Apple Watch-like rotating digital crown. That shows just how basic this watch really is. If you want a smarter smartwatch, you might consider the LG Watch Sport... but that costs more, and is a lot larger.

The LG Watch Style is available now in silver, rose gold and titanium for $249 or £249 (which converts to about AU$400, although LG hasn't announced Australian pricing or availability yet). I've been wearing it for the past two weeks and look forward to taking it off.

Don't forget your charger

The Style is comfortable on my wrist, but the lack of heft and plastic back give it a cheap feel. I definitely prefer the design of the Huawei Watch ($542.33 at Amazon.com) and Asus ZenWatch 3 ($229.00 at Amazon.com), which I find more stylish.

It's thin, which I appreciate, but this comes with a major sacrifice. The Style has one of the smallest batteries of any smartwatch at only 240mAh. I consistently saw about 20 hours paired to a Samsung Galaxy S7. Believe it or not, it was even worse on the iPhone (about 15 hours). The watch will barely last an entire day, which is simply unacceptable in today's smartwatch market and the Style's greatest drawback.

lg-watch-style-18.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The digital crown is key

The highlight feature is one that LG copied from Apple. The crown on the side of the watch can actually rotate and be used to navigate the interface. It's a lot smoother than using a finger, and helpful for scrolling through notifications when wearing gloves.

A single press on the crown will bring you to the app drawer. Android Wear 2.0 adds an on-watch Play Store for downloading apps. I didn't find many useful ones, but it's still early and that could change down the road.

A long press on the crown will open the Google Assistant. The Style doesn't have a loudspeaker, which means you can't answer calls with it and the Assistant won't speak to you -- it can only show information on the screen. It was easier to scroll around and find what I was looking for myself.

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