Guest Post: LG G Watch Review

Alabama attorney, Steven Sciple, gives his review of the LG G Watch running Android Wear. I asked Steven if he’d write about his experience with the LG G Watch, and gratefully he obliged. Personally, I believe smartwatches will be the future of wearables. More people will accept watches over Google Glass, and there are, as Steven discusses, a number of advantages to having a watch as opposed to glasses.

After months of debating, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a “smartwatch.” I had been fighting the impulse to buy a Pebble in hopes of a new and better watch being released (and due to my wife’s comments about the appearance of the watches).

LG G Watch

My great debate

In early June, my wife got a Fitbit Flex and fell in love with it. She had always been negative towards the watches, but now she had become addicted to the fitbit. Using her Droid DNA, she was constantly monitoring her steps, amount of sleep, and religiously adding the food she ate. With her “addiction” to her fitbit, it made it easier for me to get the watch “approved.” Now I questioned whether to buy a Pebble, wait for the 360, or get a Fitbit.

Then Google announced Android Wea,r and the LG G Watch was leaked. The Fitbit did not provide a digital display or notifications, so I ruled that out. I decided to go ahead and get the LG G Watch over the Pebble, and ordered it as soon as the pre-orders went live.

Then came the long 12 day wait. During that time I read every review and watched every video on the watches I could, and quietly began to have buyers remorse. Is it too big? Will I like the square face? How will it look on my arm? Should I have waited for the Moto 360? Should I cancel it? Do I really need it?

The moment of truth

Finally, the watch arrived and I took it out of the box. After syncing it and setting it up, next came the moment of truth, putting it on. Thankfully, the watch was not as big as I had worried about it being. It fit nicely on my wrist and did not look like a big box on my wrist. I also found that the watch didn’t have an obnoxious fit under my dress shirts.

My first day experience

We have 14 judges having civil, criminal, and probate hearings every day. My day included the involuntary commitment docket with 6 cases, two preliminary hearings, and an arraignment — two buildings, 4 judges, and four courtrooms.

I checked in with each courtroom and went to handle to commitment docket. This is when the watch really came in handy. As I was having the commitment hearings, my phone began to continually ring. I couldn’t pull my phone out in the middle of the hearing to check it. A quick glance at my wrist showed me that it was not one of the other judges or courtrooms calling, but rather a client calling from the jail. I could ignore the call.

Some general observations

Notifications

Being able to quickly glance at my watch while in court without having to take out my phone, is one of the biggest advantages of owning a smartwatch. I have had to mute several app’s notifications to keep from having a constant vibration on my arm, but that was simple enough. I opened the Android Wear app on my phone, hit the gears at the top and selected mute app notifications and chose the apps to mute.

Navigation and Music

I like being able to use the watch for navigation purposes and being able to reply to text messages.

Another big plus for me is being able to control the music player. My car does not have Bluetooth audio, I have to use an adapter to play music. With my LG G Watch, I am able to tap the watch and skip to the next song instead of having to pick the phone up.

As for the step tracking, it seems to be as accurate as my wife’s Fitbit Flex. I do wish that the watch has the ability to track sleep habits like the Flex, but I believe that feature will be added to an app soon.

Battery Life

The battery life has been pleasantly surprising. I am able to go two days without charging. Today I realized that I didn’t fully put it on the charger before bed, and the watch still had 5% remaining in the morning. I have the charging dock plugged it into my car on the way to court, and with only 25 minutes of charging, it was at 63%. The LG G Watch charges very quickly if you forget.

Sunlight

One of the complaints I kept seeing online was that you could not read the watch in sunlight. I was a little concerned about this, but I have not had any trouble reading it outside. I leave in Mobile, Alabama with plenty of sun (along with heat and humidity).

My Apps

One of the first apps I sought out was actually a Pebble app, Pebble Locker. This app would keep my phone unlocked as long as I was connected to my watch. I used to have Tasker do this when I was connected to my home wifi, but after resetting my phone I just haven’t taken the time to set it up again. Then I got to thinking, “yes it would be handy,” but thanks to the Riley decision and my work as a criminal defense attorney, I decided not to get this app after all (my lockscreen states “Get a Warrant, Riley v. California 573 U.S. ___(2014)”).

The best “app” I’ve found so far has been Wear Store, it is modeled after the Play Store, listing apps, games, news, devs’ choice, and users’ choice categories. It gives access to all the Wear apps and when you pick one, it sends you to the Play Store to download/purchase it.

So far I have added three apps, 1. “Mini Launcher” swipe from the top left and you get an “app drawer” of the apps on the watch; 2. “Calendar” the free version allows you to see the month, with weekly and daily available in the paid version; and 3. “Wear Calculator.”

Great relief

Overall, I am very happy that I went ahead and made the purchase. It doesn’t stick out and scream, “look at me,” but does make my life a little easier, and that is the point. I have no regrets, and will be sticking with the LG G Watch even after the Moto 360 arrives.

On a side note, I am a USTA and ITA official. It is against the rules for junior and adult players to receive coaching during a match. With these new watches, I guess we will have to watch closer. It will be interesting to see how the USTA addresses this issue.

Steven D. Sciple is a graduate of Mississippi College School of Law. Prior to practicing law, Steven taught school and was a school counselor. Steven’s practice primarily focuses in the areas of criminal defense and probate. Steven also does some contract work for Stokes & Clinton, PC in Mobile, Alabama, focusing on subrogation and debt collection.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.