LG G Watch R review

Finally, a smartwatch that actually looks like a watch

LG G Watch R review
A great timepiece that more than looks like your average watch

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Before you can get to grips with your LG G Watch R you'll need to visit Google Play on your smartphone and download the Android Wear app.

You'll then be instructed on the watch face and within the app on pairing the two devices together, once paired you're good to go.

There's nothing particularly ground breaking pre-installed with Android Wear, the standard compatibility with Google's apps (calendar, Gmail, Hangouts, Maps etc) is present along with the likes of Weather and Fit - the latter of which you'll use to monitor your steps and heart rate.

Unlike the Moto 360, LG hasn't provided its own management app for the G Watch R and there's no dedicated heart rate application which monitors your pulse throughout the day.

You have to manually navigate to the app on the watch and have it check your heart rate that way, which is a little clumsy.

LG G Watch R review

If you can't be bothered to navigate with your fingers you can always just say "Okay Google, show me my steps/heart rate" which does make the process easier.

For those of you who want you text messages on the G Watch R your phone's stock SMS client will ping new message notifications to your wrist, but for full functionality including the ability to reply and read message chains you'll need to use Google's Hangouts app.

That's not a huge issue, Hangouts works pretty much the same way as any other SMS app, and you won't have any trouble getting to grips with it.

Being able to read a message stream on your wrist is useful, as is the ability to reply with a pre-determined stock message such as "Yes", "I'm running late" or "I'm in a meeting" - or for a more personal touch you can speak your response.

The Google Maps integration is handy, giving you turn by turn directions on wrist - I found this particularly useful when walking round London looking for an office, as I didn't have to get my phone out and hold it in front of my face as I strolled down the road.

As part of the Android Wear 4.4w.2 update Google enabled a Play Music function which allows you to store music files directly on your smartwatch.

Fire up Play Music on your smartphone and enable 'Download to Android Wear' to get your tunes sent across to the G Watch R.

You can then pair a set of bluetooth headphones with the watch and listen to your tracks without the need for a smartphone.

You've got to keep in mind that G Watch R only has 4GB of internal storage, so it may not be able to store your whole music collection, plus you'll want to keep some space to download other apps.

The number of available apps for Android Wear is increasing, and you can jump to a selection via the Wear app on your phone.

This will take you to a dedicated are of the Play Store where most of the big names who have committed to the platform so far (Facebook, Twitter, RunKeeper etc) can be found.

There are many more ready to go though. Download the Wear Store app and it gives you access to hundreds of apps and games which have been crafted for your wrist wearable.

You'll need to check that the app you're downloading has been built with the G Watch R's circular screen in mind, as a fair few have only been developed for the square screens of the Smartwatch 3, Gear Live and G Watch.

Quality varies wildly, and there's a fair amount of duplication, but expect the selection be become more varied and increase in quality as more and more developers jump aboard the wearable wagon.

LG G Watch R review

When it comes to fitness the LG G Watch R is relatively rudimental in its functionality. The step counter is handy for a quick glance at your daily progress, but the lack of any real analysis makes it difficult to gauge performance over weeks and months.

You can adjust your step goal from 1000 all the way up to 20000 per day and there's a bar chart to show you your weekly steps, but that's it.

LG decided against including GPS in the G Watch R, so Sony's Smartwatch 3 remains the only device with the location function which has just been unlocked in the 4.4w.2 software update.

The heart rate monitor adds another metric to the fitness side of things, but like the pedometer there's little functionality for analysis with a history of readings the only insight you get.

There's certainly the chance to expand these functions and we could always see Google build on them in future software releases, but for now they'll be little use to those serious on tracking their fitness.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.