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LG G Watch R review: The new face of Android Wear

Pricer than other models, LG's second Android Wear smartwatch improves on both the original G Watch and the Moto 360

Although we liked the original G Watch from LG, it seemed a little too basic for the price you had to pay for it. This time around, LG has taken a different path and the G Watch R feels like a totally new project distinct from the original. First and foremost, the metallic design of the G Watch R is fantastic and the build quality is second to none. It’s also circular, a big contrast from the ugly square exterior on the original G Watch, and noticeably more comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time. There’s a handy dial around the edge of the 1.3-inch screen, as well as the charging port around the back.  Although the leather strap that shipped with the G Watch R is comfortable to wear, you’ll almost certainly want to invest in the metal strap to add to the premium feel of this smartwatch.

Connecting to Android Wear is easy enough and, similarly to the Moto 360, it’ll take just a few minutes to get up and running. Users can enjoy the G Watch R’s entire 1.3-inch display without any area of it being cut off and the 320 x 320 resolution leaves everything crystal clear. Notifications appear from the top and bottom of the app and it’s a simple case of dragging them to open them up on the watch. Android Wear isn’t perfectly optimised for circular devices as of yet, with several notifications being cut off in the corners of each screen, but it’s more of a problem on the Moto 360 than on the G Watch R. Thanks to being able to use every pixel of the screen, responding to notifications and generally getting around the watch is a pleasant experience.

Although we still think smartwatches do require at least 1GB of RAM to keep everything running completely smoothly, a decent Snapdragon 400 processor backs up the 512MB of RAM here. The added processing power does affect the battery life to some degree and although the 410mAh offering here can make it through a day without charging, it depends entirely on just how much you use it on a daily basis.

Smartwatches are fast becoming the must-have device for Android users to invest in. There’s still a lot of work to be done and while the LG G Watch R isn’t perfect – it needs a slightly beefier battery – it’s by far the best smartwatch that we’ve tested. We’d say the biggest area of improvement that needs to be looked at is ultimately with how these devices integrate with Android Wear, but that’s more of an emphasis on Google to get it right, rather than the manufacturers.

If you want to be an early adopter of an Android Wear smartwatch, this is the device you need.

Verdict: 5 stars