The smartwatch world is going round. Confirming earlier rumors, LG announced it will show off a new smartwatch, the LG G Watch R, at IFA next week, featuring a circular 1.3-inch Plastic OLED display. LG's announcement will come right on the heels of the launch of another circular smartwatch, the Moto 360, which will launch in Chicago on September 4.
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The circular G Watch R --the R stands for Round--is the second smartwatch from the company to run Google's Android Wear operating system. Like the Moto 360, LG is going upscale with the G Watch R, as it has an elegant stainless steel frame encasing the 320 x 320-pixel touchscreen.
The resolution of the G Watch R's display is the same as the Samsung Gear Live, but at 1.3 inches versus 1.63 for the Gear Live, LG's smartwatch will have a higher pixel density.
Powered by a 1.2-GHz Snapdragon 500 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage, the G Watch R should have plenty of muscle. In addition to a gyroscope and accelerometer, the G Watch R will also have a photoplethysmograpgy (PPG) sensor, which can detect a wearer's heart rate. Coupled with LG's heath and fitness apps, which we saw when we reviewed the LG LifeBand, this could prove a key differentiator between LG's offering and the Moto 360.
Similar to the Samsung Gear Live and the original G Watch, the G Watch R is IP67 rated, meaning it can last for up to 30 minutes in 30 inches of water. Its 410 mAh battery is slightly larger than the G Watch's 400 mAh battery, and the 300 mAh battery in the Gear Live. We were able to coax about two days out of those two devices; hopefully, the G Watch R will last longer.
The bigger issue, apart from design, is the usefulness of the Android Wear platform. When we first tested Google's smartwatch operating system, we found that it involved way too much swiping, and didn't like that you couldn't customize which notifications were sent to your wrist. If Google makes Android Wear more intuitive, smartwatches such as the G Watch R could more rapidly make their way into the mainstream.