We don't need the entire world on our wrists. But that hasn't stopped some companies from trying.
The ongoing dream of the do-it-all megasmartwatch continues with the LG Watch Sport, an LTE-equipped, GPS-enabled smartwatch running Google's. It's one of two LG watches that will get Google's new version of its watch software first. In that sense, the Watch Sport (and the far more pared-down ) are flagship watches, made by LG but "designed with our friends at Google."
The Sport, at $350, £350 (equivalent to AU$568, with Australian pricing and availability yet to be announced), is the same price as the LTE and GPS-enabled Samsung Gear S3, and has about as many features. The Gear S3 runs on Samsung's own separate app store for its watch, though, while LG's watch runs on Android Wear 2.0 and uses Google Play apps.
We've worn the LG Watch Sport for a couple of weeks, paired with a, and frequently on its own with AT&T service on its included LTE SIM card and antenna. Like the Samsung Gear S3 and LG's previous , it's one of the few rare smartwatches that's also a stand-alone phone. (Yes, you'll need to add another device to your monthly bill; in the US, AT&T charges $10 a month, T-Mobile $5 a month.) The Sport aims to be a better fitness watch, too, largely with its onboard GPS.
But who, really, is it for? That's the problem. It's not great as a fitness watch, or as a super-standalone cell phone watch. And it's not the type of hardware that Android Wear 2.0 desperately needs.
Big, big watch
The Watch Sport is big. Really, really big. Its chunky design is bigger than the Samsung Gear S3, which seems slim in comparison -- and that's not a small watch. Its fixed rubberized wristband is designed in a permacurve, and feels like a gauntlet on almost any wrist. Seen head-on, it's clean-looking and industrial. But it really feels too large for most people to consider. The rubber wristband isn't swappable, either, so you're stuck with what you get. The Sport comes in blue or titanium gray. Our review model was the gray one.
LG Watch Style vs. Sport, compared
|LG Watch Style||LG Watch Sport|
|Display||1.2-inch full circle POLED||1.38-inch full cricle POLED|
|Resolution||360x360 (299 ppi)||480x480 (348 ppi)|
|Protection||Gorilla Glass 3||Gorilla Glass 3|
|Strap size||18mm standard||Integrated|
|Build||Stainless steel, plastic back||Stainless steel|
|Processor||Snapdragon Wear 2100||Snapdragon Wear 2100|
|Operating system||Android Wear 2.0||Android Wear 2.0|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes||Yes|
To be sure, the Sport is designed for runners and for those who want a stand-alone watch for outdoor use. But the Sport seems big and clunky compared to the. Is it worth the size compromise to add the LTE phone functions?
Fitness: Not as deep as expected
The Sport tracks fitness and loads apps just like any other Android Wear 2.0 device, using Google Fit and other third-party apps. Many apps will download directly to the watch now, but during our time with Android Wear 2.0 we haven't found many great apps to try. Google Fit can be launched from one of three buttons on the Watch Sport: starting a walk, run or one of several other activities (biking, treadmill running, stationary biking, aerobics, stair climbing, strength training and "sit-up challenge" and "push-up challenge") is easy.
Google Fit shows three bits of data during a workout, which can be customized (heart rate, distance or elapsed time). But the interface seems clunky, and Google's daily goal metrics are basic: 10,000 steps, or another user-set goal, but nothing like Apple's three-ring motivational system.
The Sport has automatic activity tracking via Google Fit, but not on-watch, nor does it provide healthy reminders like the Samsung Gear S3 does with S-Health, or even like Apple Watch does with reminders to stand or breathe or meditate. It would be nice to get more awareness when going on a long walk or a brisk walk, and maybe some on-watch feedback. The added coaching challenges for sit-ups, push-ups or crunches are a nice plus, though, and stair-climbing recognition is onboard.
Is it really a sport watch?
LG has said the watch is "designed for those who enjoy dynamic, athletic lifestyles." But what does that actually mean? One of us doesn't run much, but the other (Graziano) is an avid runner, cyclist and frequent hiker. Neither of us would buy the LG Watch Sport.
On paper, it would appear more than adequate. The watch is equipped with a wide-range of sensors for measuring movement, altitude and heart rate. This includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometric altimeter, GPS and optical heart-rate sensor.