“The LG Watch W7 is a neat thought foiled by flawed execution.”
Mechanical fingers ship conventional timepiece design
Daylong battery life (always-off display)
Put on OS is straightforward to navigate
No coronary heart price monitor, NFC, or GPS
Just one, giant dimension
Mechanical fingers block textual content, laborious to learn at evening
For years, LG’s smartphones distinguished themselves from the competitors with the inclusion of a wide-angle secondary lens. It provided a contemporary perspective (pun meant), in addition to a method for the corporate’s telephones to face out from a crowded subject. LG usually likes to strive one thing totally different to make a product stand out, and it has achieved precisely that with its newest Put on OS smartwatch, the LG Watch W7. In contrast to nearly all Put on OS watches, it comes with mechanical fingers layered over the touchscreen. The result’s a traditional-looking watch that offers you the time even after it has run out of juice.
Sounds neat, proper? That’s what we thought at first, however after utilizing the Watch W7 for a number of weeks — and seeing its $450 price ticket — we’re able to take it off our wrist and by no means have a look at it once more. Right here’s why.
A promising however flawed idea
Smartwatches both include an always-on display or an always-off display. The previous makes your watch look extra real looking, permitting you to indicate it off and in addition see the time with out having to boost the watch or faucet on the display. Sadly, conserving the display on on a regular basis significantly impacts battery life. An always-off display, like on the Apple Watch, serves one function: Conserving battery life. Most smartwatches working Google’s Put on OS platform default to an always-off display, however all provide the choice of swapping to an always-on show.
LG’s Watch W7 has an always-on display choice, however you don’t want to make use of it as a result of there are mechanical watch fingers run by a quartz motion (made in collaboration with Soprod SA). The fingers relaxation on prime of the show, and if the watch’s battery dies or the display is off, you’ll nonetheless be capable to inform the time. It’s maintains a touchscreen, so you possibly can swipe across the interface to your coronary heart’s content material.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Developments
The mechanical fingers on the Watch W7 have tangible advantages: The design appears to be like extra like a conventional watch than a smartwatch, which is good for individuals who desire a wearable that’s delicate and doesn’t look “tech-y.” Secondly, you possibly can nonetheless inform the time always, whereas reaping the advantages of an always-off display — longer battery life.
However there are downsides that outweigh these positives. The mechanical watch fingers can block textual content in notifications or different content material on the display, and it makes notifications present much less textual content on the display at any given time. LG knew this could be a problem and has an answer: Press and maintain the highest button on the proper aspect of the watch to shift the display up, and have the mechanical fingers transfer to both the three p.m. or 9 p.m. mark so you possibly can see extra of the show. It helps, however the interface isn’t as glanceable anymore, which type of ruins the purpose of a smartwatch. We don’t need to should press a button to have the ability to learn notifications on the watch.
We don’t need to should press a button to have the ability to learn notifications on the watch.
Nonetheless, this method would have been extra acceptable if we loved carrying or favored the design of the Watch W7. We don’t. It appears to be like like an affordable watch funded on Kickstarter. The lugs don’t slope down as a lot as we’d like, so there’s a small hole between the watch and the wrist. The bezel surrounding the show is suffering from sporty-looking numbers and ticks, and whereas the buttons are clicky, the crown doesn’t rotate as easily because it ought to.
There’s additionally just one coloration and dimension choice — a black bezel combined with a silver case — and it appears to be like boring, very masculine, and it doesn’t assist that the 22mm rubber strap isn’t nice to the contact. The watch faces obtainable on the Watch W7 are disappointing too, as they’re all relatively lackluster. Fortunately, there’s a great deal of customization, and lots to select from on the Google Play Retailer should you don’t discover a type you want.
A lot of that is subjective, so should you dig the sportier design, there’s a very good likelihood you’ll get pleasure from carrying this watch in your wrist. And we do have good issues to say! The Watch W7 isn’t too thick, and it’s comfy to put on. The stainless-steel case feels premium, and the straps are interchangeable, so you possibly can change the default one with one thing flashier or extra nice to the contact.
However we by no means yearned to put on the Watch W7, and we by no means felt pleased with it sitting on our wrist, which is in contrast to our expertise with smartwatches such because the Skagen Falster 2. Like common watches, smartwatches have to make us really feel good, and the Watch W7 fails to ship.
First rate efficiency, LCD display
The Watch W7 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Put on 2100 chipset (with 768MB of RAM), which is an nearly three-year-old processor. Qualcomm unveiled the Put on 3100 chipset a couple of months in the past, and there are a handful of watches utilizing it already. It brings improved battery life and higher health monitoring, and we’d have favored to have seen it within the W7.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Developments
The Put on OS redesign Google pushed out this 12 months helped optimize efficiency on watches powered by the Put on 2100. Whereas we’ve observed occasional stutters or lag on the W7, akin to when a number of apps are updating, we haven’t run into too many points. Most individuals received’t have an issue with how the Watch W7 runs.
The 1.2-inch LCD display is sharp, with a 360 x 360 decision, however colours don’t pop as a lot as on different smartwatches with OLED screens. Fortunately, the display is straightforward to see in most lighting circumstances. Nevertheless, we had bother studying the mechanical fingers at evening. The watch fingers look as if LG has utilized lume to them, however they don’t glow at the hours of darkness. If in case you have a watch face with a darkish background, it may be much more tough to inform the time. It’s a weird omission, and it led us to swapping watch faces at evening simply so we might inform the time.
Naked-bones software program
Software program and feature-wise, the LG Watch W7 runs Google’s Put on OS, and it’s fairly naked. There’s no coronary heart price sensor, no built-in GPS, and no NFC for contactless funds utilizing Google Pay. It’s purely constructed for delivering you notifications out of your iOS or Android smartphone. The one additions from LG are some “Grasp Instruments” you possibly can entry by urgent the underside button (the buttons are customizable). These embrace a compass, altimeter, barometer, stopwatch, and timer, and the mechanical watch fingers can be utilized as pointers as an alternative of telling the time.
For probably the most half, you get the identical Put on OS interface you’ll discover on different watches.
The app drawer appears to be like a tad totally different, however you possibly can change the design again to regular within the settings. For probably the most half, you get the identical Put on OS interface you’ll discover on different watches. The mechanical fingers do block textual content, as we’ve talked about, however the place it makes the most important influence is if you reply to notifications with the keyboard. Swiping the keyboard to sort not works, and it already makes a cramped expertise even worse. You’re higher off utilizing voice replies, should you’re comfy speaking to your watch.
Without having for the always-on display, how lengthy does the Watch W7 final? A passable full working day, in our expertise. We’ve usually arrived house with round 35 % by eight p.m., and the watch has simply reached midnight with out dying. It’s somewhat higher than different smartwatches utilizing the Put on 2100 processor, however watches just like the Fossil Sport will final a tad longer due to the Put on 3100.
With the always-on display turned on, the watch will hit round 20 % by 5 p.m., and wouldn’t be capable to final for much longer if we determined to remain out earlier than heading house.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Developments
Once we forgot to cost the watch and the 240mAh battery did run out, we had been nonetheless capable of inform the time for at the very least a full day extra. That’s the good thing about the mechanical fingers, however the watch is extremely boring to have a look at when it there isn’t any always-on display, or when it’s useless. It’s simply the watch fingers on a black display, and it’s a giant a part of the explanation why we’ve no need to put on this watch.
We like LG’s efforts to strive one thing totally different.
In case you’re on a visit and forgot the charger, there’s a “Watch Mode” you need to use to show off Put on OS and simply use the mechanical watch fingers — LG claims the watch lasts as much as 100 days on this mode between prices. It’s a helpful function, and a number of other Put on OS smartwatches have one thing comparable already.
The Watch W7 must be positioned precisely on a cumbersome puck to be charged, and it takes greater than an hour to go from zero to 100 %.
Worth, availability, and guarantee data
The LG Watch W7 prices $450, and it’s obtainable for buy from Greatest Purchase and B&H. The worth has dropped by half for the reason that watch was launched at B&H, however Greatest Purchase remains to be promoting it for $450 as of publication.
LG gives a normal 1-year guarantee that covers producer defects.
The LG Watch W7 is neat thought foiled by flawed execution. If LG’s planning a follow-up, it’ll want extra options, a lower cost tag, and a much-improved design to outlive.
Is there a greater different?
Sure. The Fossil Sport is the perfect different should you’re searching for a Put on OS smartwatch. It sports activities the most recent Put on 3100 processor, which delivers a full day of battery life with the always-on display, and it has a coronary heart price monitor, GPS, and NFC all for simply $255.
If you need a smartwatch that appears like a conventional watch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is your finest guess. It has a novel rotating bezel you need to use to work together with the Tizen interface, and it simply lasts greater than two to a few days.
In case you’re an iPhone proprietor, we suggest the Apple Watch Sequence four. It’s the perfect smartwatch round, and it has a protracted function listing that places the Watch W7 to disgrace.
How lengthy will it final?
The LG Watch W7 will seemingly final two years. It’s unclear for a way lengthy it’ll obtain software program updates, however it’s the battery that can begin to depreciate over time. The watch is IP68 water-resistant, so it could actually deal with the bathe and survive within the pool, however LG mentioned it’s “not appropriate for swimming or diving.”
Must you purchase it?
No. In case you discover the look ahead to the discounted $230 worth, it’s value buying provided that you just like the design. It’s nowhere well worth the $450 preliminary worth. We like LG’s efforts to strive one thing totally different, however the Watch W7 isn’t a smartwatch most individuals will get pleasure from carrying.