2014-07-03

9 x 56. Android Wear review See all photos 44 Photos when.3 or higher, which means 76 percent of current Android users won’t even be able to use Wear. I’ve already mentioned the problem of excess notifications. The difference in resolution, however, is much more noticeable.

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eng”eng.eng”eng.galleries. Just like the latest Gear watches, the Live comes with a heart rate sensor on its belly, along with some pogo pins to connect a charging cradle.

Finally, you can use the app to pair a different Wear watch if necessary. This watch falls in the latter category, and it’s going to struggle to stand out from the Moto 360 when it launches.com Really Unfortunately, transit directions aren’t supported either. The watches also use Google Now.

You can mute specific apps, as mentioned earlier; turn off the always-on display; silence notifications on your phone when the Wear is connected why get vibrations on your wrist and in your pocket; show calendar events; and keep the top card from showing up when your display is dimmed. Even worse, most of the watches on the market today are what you might call “fashionably challenged” — they simply aren’t attractive enough to entice the masses. That is, as long as you don’t count the miserable wristband that feels like you need five hands and divine intervention to snap together. Even so, there are already some clever things you can do with Android Wear.



The bad news is that while you can filter out certain apps from sending you notifications bye-bye, Candy Crush Saga invites, you can’t pick and choose which notifications you receive from within a particular app — in other words, the watch can’t decide which emails make it to your watch and which ones don’t, so you have to see all of them. The company’s pricing strategy is a little confusing. Take Fossil: It has little to no experience developing software, so the introduction of Wear opens up more doors for the company to produce fashionable smartwatches without pouring quite so much money into R&D.65 inch versus 1.

Cards will pop up with information about stocks, time to my next destination, a friend’s birthday, upcoming hotel reservations and when I need to leave for my upcoming flight.engReviews” 73 Samsung Samsung Gear Live Pros Good Android Wear performance Swappable wrist straps Water-resistant Better display than competition More comfortable than G Watch Cons Horrible battery life Compatible with only newer Android devices Charging cradle is a mess Harder to read in sunlight  Conclusion If you have to get an Android Wear device right now, the Samsung Gear Live is your best option. This is one of those times in which it’s just easier to whip out your phone and read it on the larger screen. Android Wear screenshots: Voice Search and Knowledge Graph See all photos 31 Photos when.

But it’s a first-generation product, and limited battery life, notification anxiety and other issues make it tough to recommend Wear quite just yet. Granted, a lot of apps don’t do much when you access them this way, but it’s still confusing at first; if you’re looking for a specific app, you’re better off searching for it with voice commands e. My to-do list included four navigation routes, at least a hundred emails, hailing a Lyft driver and countless voice commands. The G Watch almost made it a full 24 hours, while the Live came in at roughly 22.

They both smoothly, with only the occasional frame skip. This seems like an oversight.eng”eng. A smartwatch should make life simpler, more productive and more efficient, and at the present time, it’s just as easy — if not more so — to do most things on a phone.

65-inch IPS LCD, 280×280 Battery 300mAh 400mAh Processor/RAM 1. So, let’s say Uber adds the same ability to call a car as Lyft does, and I want to use that service instead; I’d have to select the “call a car” voice action and choose Uber from the list of possible apps, so that Wear doesn’t keep defaulting to Lyft. For a device that you’ll need to charge once a day, it’s not so easy to manage. Admittedly, the white option is a little more aesthetically pleasing than the black one.

If a company wants to build a Wear watch, it’ll need to follow Google’s rules. Because the back of the Gear Live has a slight curve on the top and bottom, it’s more comfortable to wear than the G Watch.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal storage. Throw in voice commands, keyword detection and a tiny battery, and it makes sense: Of course the battery life is going to suffer.

The longer my Context Stream, the more inconvenient the watch experience becomes. That’s if my battery lasts through the day and night, which wasn’t always the case with the early Wear watches I’ve played with. As you’d expect, you’re presented with a clock face. Samsung Gear Live You might confuse the Gear Live for one of its Tizen-based siblings, the Gear 2.

They’re also IP67-certified, which means they have the same water and dust resistance as the Samsung Galaxy S5.95mm, 63g Storage 4GB internal storage 4GB internal storage Both have the same dual-core 1. Some watches act as Android phones with SIM cards and tiny touchscreens, while others try to establish their own platform to entice developers.galleries.

You can choose which app to use for each particular command, which will come in handy as more apps start showing up. There are a few ways to extend your battery life further, but since they significantly reduce how useful the device is, it completely defeats the point of using a smartwatch. Because both watches have the same engine underneath the hood, I didn’t notice any difference in performance.eng”eng.

Cards that appeared near the top of the list would often sink farther down the next time I checked my watch, even though no new notifications had popped up. Before anything else, you need to know this: You turn on the Wear screen by lifting up your arm. That said, Samsung’s found a loophole by adding its own stopwatch and compass, so you can choose to use either those or the stock versions. The IPS LCD screen is slightly bigger than the Gear Live — 1.

I explained earlier this feature can do, but if you need help figuring out what to say in the heat of the moment, there’s a handy set of examples in a scrollable list. Companion app To pair the watch with your phone, you’ll need to download the Wear companion app through the Play Store. It’s more solid than I expected in a first-gen product, and of the options on the market, it has the most opportunity for growth. It’s ironic, then, that Wear’s reach is limited because of fragmentation — the system is only compatible with devices running Android 4.

I’ve already alluded to battery issues, but let’s get specific.63. I’ll stop there, but you get the point: These are just a few examples from the first wave of Wear-ready apps. I’ll touch briefly on the G Watch and Gear Live; since Google won’t allow custom firmware or user interfaces, you’ll essentially get the same Wear experience on both watches.

engReviews”. That’s why there’s typically only one card per screen, and when you swipe to the left, you’re only presented with one option per screen. I’d love the option to map this button to other actions. That sounds small, and it is small.

Yet now that there are real-life watches that can do even more things, I don’t find myself quite as excited as my 5-year-old self was. A third watch, the Moto 360, was shown off at Google I/O last week and will be released later this summer. The companion app also has a list of settings tucked in the top-right section of the app.init” Why Android Wear Manufacturers don’t have to waste precious resources on developing a watch ecosystem from scratch.

LG G Watch The G Watch has many redeeming qualities, but attractiveness isn’t one of them. You can’t swipe to dismiss individual events, however — just as on your phone, one swipe will dismiss all notifications for that particular app. Of the two watches, the Live is easily the sharpest and most color-saturated, but it’s also a fingerprint magnet and hard to see in direct sunlight.4 x 8.

And when I asked Wear for walking directions from my office to the Golden Gate Bridge, it presented me with a card with Google search results for three unrelated websites. After leaving them on mute overnight — a seven-hour event — I woke up to find the G Watch at 5 percent and the Gear Live at 2 percent. This is through Google Now, but Delta and American Airlines just came out with apps that do the same thing. If you’re going to use your phone, you might as well just whip it out from the start.

When I pull down from the top of the screen, I see a shade with battery percentage and today’s date; I can also mute my notifications if I continue pulling. The Samsung Gear Live comes with a button on the side that lets you turn the display off, but covering the screen with your palm will do the same thing on every Wear device. It’s essential for setting up your watch, but you’ll find little use for it otherwise. Not quite as handy, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

5 x 9., “open Evernote”. when.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400, 512MB RAM Water resistance Yes, IP67-certified Yes, IP67-certified Dimensions 37.

Google Maps is technically compatible with Wear, but it only shows one step at a time. In theory, this should reduce the number of obstacles when pushing updates to the watch which can be done in the About screen deep in the settings menu, and it’ll make for a consistent user experience across the board. Android Wear provides a low-cost launchpad for more companies to come out with a smartwatch of their own. I’d be surprised if this cost doesn’t come down quickly — especially once it has even more competition from the Moto 360 — but in the meantime, LG is facing an uphill battle by selling its premier smartwatch at a higher price.

Their internals are similar too: Samsung Gear Live LG G Watch Display 1. First, there’s the excessive touching. There’s a significant learning curve, and even though there’s a tutorial the first time you use it, it’ll take a while to get accustomed to the layout. Indeed, that’s one of the most exciting parts of the platform: It’s very basic at the moment, but its usefulness will grow as developer interest increases.

Touch this button and you’ll see all six events laid out vertically. By scrolling down through the various cards displayed on my watch, I can see my most recent emails, Facebook messages, Google alerts, missed calls, number of steps I’ve taken today and how much time it’ll take me to commute home. But flooding the market won’t magically make smartwatches a success. Breaking out my trusty pixel-density calculator or cheating by looking at Google’s product page, this translates to 278 ppi, which is actually good for a smartwatch.

Few users will be content charging their watch on a daily basis or wasting time scrolling through endless cards and unwanted notifications. I wouldn’t take either one scuba diving, but you’ll be fine wearing them while washing dishes or taking a shower.63-inch Super AMOLED display, with a resolution of 320 x 320. Unfortunately, the Gear Live and G Watch just don’t have what it takes for Wear to go mainstream, although I’m holding out hope for the Moto 360.

It’s 30 more than the Gear Live, even though it doesn’t add any features or performance benefits aside from a meager increase in battery life.When I was a tiny tot, I watched Knight Rider and pretended I was Michael Knight, talking to KITT on my watch. In my comparisons, apps loaded in the same amount of time, and each one processed voice commands quickly.perm.

eng”eng. Fortunately, fragmentation shouldn’t be as huge an issue with Wear as it’s been on smartphones. Meanwhile, other manufacturers are reportedly attacking the lower end of the market with cheap Android Wear watches. Extra tweaks often distract from the point of the product.

2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400; 512MB RAM 1. Then again, the darks aren’t as dark as the Gear, and the colors aren’t nearly as saturated.63-inch sAMOLED, 320×320 pixels 1. Featuring Gorilla Glass 3, stainless steel on the sides and a polycarbonate back, it’s very solidly built, but it’s also a boring square with no stand-out features.

Given that card-stacking is an option on other apps, it’d make sense to use this style to display upcoming steps along your route so you could plan ahead.init” If you rely heavily on your phone for notifications, be prepared for some good and bad news. This is really a matter of personal preference; the user experience is the same either way. When it comes to firmware, the only differences you’ll see between the two are in the clock faces.

I can also ask Wear random questions: When is the next Giants game How tall is Mark Wahlberg When was Chris Rock born What’s the tallest building in the world Essentially, this is all the same type of stuff you can do with Google Now on the phone; it’s just now accessible hands-free on your watch. The number of potential use cases will expand over time as more developers come out with apps of their own. Additionally, voice commands for navigation will automatically default to driving directions. The main screen shows a link to Wear-compatible apps in the Play Store and a list of eight voice actions.

You can specify if you want biking or walking. Like the Gear Live, the G Watch also requires a separate cradle to charge up, but LG smartly uses a magnetic base that’s much easier to attach the watch to than that of its Korean rival. At 280 x 280, it’s easier to see pixelation without squinting. There’s a huge amount of computing and processing going on behind the scenes, on a colorful, capacitive touchscreen that by default doesn’t turn off.

There also doesn’t seem to be any vision. When I finally got home 12 hours later, the G Watch had 20 percent life remaining, while the Gear Live had 15. Wrap-up Android Wear has me more excited about the future of smartwatches than any other platform or device. All told, LG’s watch lasted around 90 minutes longer than Samsung’s.

galleries. This is handy when I don’t want to be distracted or am trying to sleep, but I wish Wear offered quiet hours during which it would automatically turn off notifications when I go to bed. It’s a tiny cradle that has to be fitted just right onto your watch, and then you have to make sure it’s snapped in securely before plugging the charger in. On weekend days with lighter use, I was able to push the life of both watches another eight hours or so, at best.

There may be certain apps that you barely use on your handset and have no interest in using on your watch; why not give users the option to get rid of the unnecessary clutter Challenges Essentially, Wear is a version 1.eng”eng. This is your vertical-scrolling list of notification cards. It’s sleek, looks decent and performs well, but you’ll want to get a new wristband for it right away.

0 product, which means there’s still a lot of work to be done. Wear treats your watch as a wrist-worn version of your phone’s notification bar. Perhaps it’s because Wear-compatible apps automatically get installed on your watch once you’ve downloaded them onto your phone. But if you’re constantly worrying about battery life, you’re basically chained to yet another device.

The magnets do a great job of holding the watch in place. If it can’t find the answer, it’ll pull up the top three search results for you to look up on your phone. After the ride was over, I got a card showing me how much it cost and asking me to rate my driver. If a notification has more information than a single card can manage, its corresponding card can be expanded.

If you need to take action on one of them, you’ll have to tap the individual event again before scrolling. So what will They have to look good and make life easier. The problem is, users aren’t going to want to plug in their watch as often as their phone. It has a 1.

You can turn off the always-on display setting so you’re just staring at a black screen whenever the watch sits idle. Android Wear Screenshots: Context Stream See all photos 55 Photos when. The good news is that you have access to all of those notifications on your wrist, so you don’t have to take your phone out. In fact, though, this was very much done on purpose: According to LG’s design team, the G Watch is designed to help content look like it’s floating above the screen.

9mm, 59g 37.  when. At least when you do dismiss a notification, it disappears from both the watch and the phone. Not only am I wasting time with countless swipes, but my anxiety increases when my wrist is vibrating a hundred times a day this is actually a low estimate for me.

init” Saying, “OK Google,” or tapping the open space at the top of the Context Stream will prompt you to give a voice command. User experience So far, we’ve seen Wear watches that are square think: the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live or circular like the Moto 360, seen above. On the upside, it’s more readable in bright sunlight than the Gear Live, and the screen has brighter whites. The latter case is actually one of the best arguments I’ve heard yet for Android Wear — it’s easier to scan a boarding pass on your watch if your hands are full with luggage and you don’t want to take out your phone.

In any case, those are minor alterations, so the important points of differentiation are in the hardware, with each offering a unique personality.galleries. Smartwatches have been around for over a decade already remember Microsoft SPOT, but the category hasn’t evolved at the same pace as smartphones. You can even tap on each example and Wear will ask follow-up questions; for instance, if you tap the option to send a text, it’ll ask you to whom you want to send it and what you want to say.

It’s a stark contrast to the gorgeous LG G3, which successfully found the middle ground between too flashy and not flashy enough.engReviews” 68 LG LG G Watch Pros Performs well Swappable wristbands Charging cradle is easy to use Water-resistant Easier to read in sunlight than competition Cons More expensive than the Gear Live Display has lower resolution than competition Horrible battery life Limited to newer Android devices Unattractive design Conclusion It’s not much of a looker, but the LG G Watch is a respectable Android Wear device. If Google is trying to encourage developers to create apps for Wear, it sure has a weird way of expressing its gratitude. They each offer interchangeable wrist straps — I especially appreciate this on the Gear Live — and both feature a square shape.

init” As minimal as the UI might be, it’s hard to come up with an intuitive user experience on a touchscreen watch, and Wear doesn’t do much to address that.eng”eng. Android Wear screenshots: Miscellaneous See all photos 20 Photos when. Since most watches will have small screens, Google knows it doesn’t have a lot of real estate to work with; thus, it’s tried to make the user interface as simple as possible.

If you’re going to use your phone, you might as well just whip it out from the start. Saying, “OK Google,” will prompt me to make a voice command. Most activities on Wear eventually point back to your handset anyway: Nearly every card in the Context Stream excepting the step tracker has an option to open on your phone, as if it’s somehow faster to swipe down to the card, swipe across to that button, tap on it and then pull out your phone to access it. You can turn down the brightness I tested the watch at about 60 percent, limit the number of routes you navigate, mute notification-heavy apps and so on.

At least, until the Moto 360 comes out. I get the concept, but unfortunately it also works the other way — the lack of any design whatsoever can often be just as distracting. For now, Wear is the best OS for Android users who are in the market for a smartwatch, but since these devices aren’t necessities, they’ll need to be more stylish and add more convenience to your life if they’re going to attract the average consumer. The number of Wear apps is steadily growing you can find a comprehensive list here, but one of my favorites is Lyft.

Functionality Android Wear wasn’t designed to replace your smartphone; it’s just meant to reduce the number of times you have to pull out your phone. Unfortunately, you’ll also need to charge it every night. Swiping to the left of these cards reveals actionable items replying to emails, marking a text as read, looking at my fitness history and so on, while swiping to the right allows you to dismiss the notification entirely. There is, however, a button on the right-hand side, which powers off the active display with a quick press and brings up the settings menu when you hold it down for a few seconds.

galleries. The app doesn’t have an option to manage watch apps, which seems odd since there isn’t a way to do this on the watch either. It’s possible to mute specific apps, but that’s of little help when you’re getting a flood of messages that don’t require your immediate attention. The Wear display is always on by default, which means you can look at the time whenever you want without activating voice commands by accident.

Some apps, such as Gmail and Calendar, will stack cards on top of each other; if you have six events coming up, Wear will show you the first and then feature a small button underneath that indicates you have five more. OurSausalito. I can ask it to do a variety of tasks — send messages, set alarms and timers, show how many steps I’ve taken, pull up my calendar agenda for any given date, navigate a route and so on. You’ll have to be careful with long emails — touch the card to expand it and you’ll find yourself scrolling down for an eternity before you get to the next card.

I’ll discuss this more in the next section, but battery life is a big challenge here. Navigation is also an issue. The charging cradle is nothing new for Samsung, but it’s just as annoying.9 x 46.

Wear enjoys a universal user experience; it’s backed by a robust operating system with tons of user and developer support; and there’s buy-in from manufacturers. It’s a mere four grams lighter than LG’s watch, but a full millimeter thinner. And yes, scrolling defeats the purpose of being hands-free, but your reliance on this cheat sheet will decrease as you get used to Wear. Still others have even tried to put fitness bands and smartwatches into one device, to limited success.

The Gear Live’s battery is a mere 300mAh, while the G Watch has a capacity of 400mAh. You can’t change the order in which these cards appear, and it seems as though many of them get put in a random order each time you scroll through the list. Swipe to the left to reveal a high-level map of the entire route that’s void of any useful details; my brain comprehends visual maps more quickly than text, so I’d find this screen more useful if I could zoom in closer. What’s more, if you give a voice command that isn’t included in the supported list, or if you ask a question that can’t be found in the Knowledge Graph, the watch provides you with a series of three cards, each one representing a different website that — shocker — you can tap and open up directly on your phone.

init” You’ll first be greeted by the Context Stream. Easy enough, right Android Wear screenshots: Clock Faces See all photos 38 Photos when. There are currently about a dozen faces to choose from; just long-press the face to look at all of your options. Until Google can find a way to extend the battery life by a few days, Android Wear will struggle to be anything more than a niche product.

It’s hard to come up with an intuitive user experience on a touchscreen watch, and Wear doesn’t do much to address that. It’ll even show me my boarding pass. With Wear, you can change your music, send and view emails and texts, dictate notes and reminders, answer or reject calls, keep track of a few fitness stats, look at your calendar appointments and ask a number of different questions. There’s no VIP list and no way to block out unimportant emails.

Excepting some manufacturer-specific clock faces, Google won’t allow the use of custom skins or user interfaces. If users have to go through the effort of tapping or swiping the screen on a regular basis, there’s little incentive to use the watch instead of simply pulling out a phone. The Gear Live is definitely your best looking option. Wear isn’t meant to replace your smartphone.

You can check your finances, share your location with a friend through Glympse, take and read notes via Evernote, respond to tweet mentions with Tweetings, browse through a recipe on Allthecooks, activate your Phillips Hue light setup and get updated on the latest World Cup scores. Google’s solution is to extend its Android platform — which has very strong market share and developer support — to the wearables genre with Android Wear. If a third-party app uses notifications, it’s technically going to show up on Wear, but its functionality will be limited unless the developer puts in some extra effort. Its battery life is slightly better than the Samsung Gear Live, but it’s also more expensive and doesn’t offer as nice a display.

eng”eng. It’s been a good experience thus far, but there are plenty of ways that Wear simply doesn’t fit the bill, and you’ll need to be aware of them if you’re going to plunk down 200-plus for a smartwatch. 75 Google Android Wear Pros Strong manufacturer and developer support Hands-free voice control and Google Voice Search Clean design Google Now cards and Knowledge Graph integration Cons Short battery life on current hardware Excessive notifications Still requires plenty of screen touching Gestures and UI come with learning curves Only compatible with newer Android devices Conclusion Android Wear is the strongest smartwatch platform we’ve seen so far, and it has enough support from manufacturers and developers to thrive. It has a chrome band around all sides of the display, but it’s all for show; you won’t find any cameras or buttons here.

Hardware: Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch LG and Samsung are the first companies to produce Wear watches, and both are available in the Play Store LG’s G Watch is 229 and Samsung’s Gear Live is 199. The problem is that there’s no common platform for third-party apps, which means there’s little potential for growth. when. The platform will blossom as more apps come out, but it still has a long way to go before shoppers will be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on accessories.

Wear also has voice search and Knowledge Graph access built in. In any case, that’s precisely what Wear promises: a wide variety of options in price, form and we hope fashion sense.g. The use of voice commands is a massive improvement for the smartwatch experience because it reduces the amount of times you need to touch it, but it’s still impossible to get around your watch without doing a lot of swiping.

It’s not because there’s a shortage of digital wrist-worn timepieces. Oddly, apps and settings are hidden away at the very bottom of this list. The watch interprets this act as a sure sign that you’re ready to look at something. I strapped both watches on my wrist and used them during a full workday.

perm. I told my watch to “call a cab” and it not only requested a driver for me, it also added a card that told me the driver’s name and estimated time of arrival, and gave me the option to tell the driver my destination before she picked me up. Congratulations, you just wasted a minute by using your watch. Which one is better Suffice to say, the two watches each have trade-offs you’ll need to weigh, but the Gear Live is definitely the best looking at least, until the Moto 360 comes out.

Still, there are plenty of issues that need to be fixed. Oddly, if the phone can’t find a route, it doesn’t bother telling the watch — you simply get taken back to your clock face as if nothing even happened.perm. End of story. Have a great day guys!

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