Wearables come full circle with G Watch R

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Wearables come full circle with G Watch R

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The G Watch R is a digital watch that resembles a metal wristwatch. The G Watch R receives text messages (pictured second from left) and KakaoTalk messages, and controls a smartphone’s music volume. By Kang Jung-hyun

Breaking away from rectangular devices, LG Electronics has introduced a new metal circular smartwatch - the G Watch R.

“The LG G Watch R is an almost perfect piece of hardware, somewhat hampered by Google’s OS. You will be thrilled with how it looks on your wrist,” Ian Morris, a London-based technology journalist, wrote in Forbes’ “G Watch R Review.”

Its voice recognition, heart rate monitor and volume control are more advanced than other products.

The watch runs on Google’s Android Wear operating system for wearable devices. The R stands for round, as the watch has a 1.3-inch circular OLED display.

Wearable devices often receive sarcastic remarks from users asking whether they are watches or workout gadgets, but the G Watch R was recognized as a watch because of its round face and dial hands. It weighs 62 grams (2.2 ounces) and is 11.1 millimeters (0.43 inches) thick, and goes well with casual or business attire.

When compared to Samsung Electronics’ Gear S, with a screen as large as two inches in diameter and weighing 84 grams, LG’s G Watch R is relatively light and well suited for the wrist.

A fully charged G Watch R can be used for three days, and the “always on” function allows a day and a half of use.

With the function engaged, a JoongAng Ilbo reporter used a fully charged G Watch R from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and had 62 percent of battery remaining.

It also was useful for quickly checking KakaoTalk messages and Facebook notifications. In particular, unlike the previous G Watch, users can scroll up to see all the messages.

Users also don’t have to bother taking out their smartphones when listening to music on the subway or walking. They can adjust the volume or choose songs through the G Watch R.

It also has a pedometer and heart rate monitor. When the user presses the heart rate check button and waits for about 30 seconds, the device shows their pulse.

LG has been selling the G Watch R since early November, targeting the largest shopping day in the United States, Black Friday, which falls on Nov. 28. The device retails for $299.

While the G Watch R is branded as a fashion item, Microsoft’s MS Band, launched last month, is clearly a fitness device that emphasizes health functions.

The MS Band has almost 10 sensors for GPS tracking, UV monitoring, measuring skin temperature and heart rate monitoring, among others.

It collects and analyzes users’ health information in the cloud-based MS Health and Data Center and delivers results to the smart band. The device costs $199.

Samsung Electronics has been testing the wearable market, which has not reached maturity yet, by launching the Gear 2 and Gear Fit, based on its own Tizen operating system, and the Android-based Gear Live and Gear S, with a large two-inch display.

The Gear S uses a USIM chip and is the first wearable device that lets the wearer make and receive calls.

BY KIM YOUNG-MIN, KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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