Man do we have a good one for you today with two smartwatches running Android Wear – the new LG G Watch R goes up against the Samsung Gear Live. The LG G Watch R comes in full stainless steel with a round face and leather watchband while the Samsung Gear Live uses the more familiar looking rectangle face with metal trim and a rubberized watchband. The LG G Watch R definitely looks like a fine piece of jewelry, although ruggedly masculine in looks. The Gear Live would not be out of place at either a dinner party or pool party, but looks much more like a techno geek device (he says proudly).
Despite these two watches coming from different manufacturers, one round, and the other one a rectangle, they still have many things in common. Both use the OLED technology and they both have a 320 x 320 resolution for their displays. They both use the same Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. They both have Bluetooth 4.0 LE, a Gyro, Accelerometer, Compass, a heart rate monitor, IP67 Dust and Waterproofing, both have a standard 22mm wrist strap, and a microphone. Both devices are running Android Wear and both require ANY Android smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher to function properly.
Please take a look at the detailed Specification table listed below and you can see just how much these two smartwatches are similar internally, though very different externally. After that, we will take a look at each individual device, list some pros and cons regarding each smartwatch, and from there we will try and pick a winner in this smartwatch comparison.
LG G Watch R
The LG G Watch R is a beautifully designed smartwatch that is definitely going after the testosterone crowd. It is large and bulky and looks like a typical aviator/chronograph watch with a large bezel with minute markers. It also has the bulkier connections for third party watchbands, as this watch cries out for a linked, metal band. The display is perfectly round, albeit a little smaller inside its bezel. If the use of the work 'bulk' makes me sound down of the design…au contraire…it is beautiful.
The LG G Watch R comes with a slightly smaller 1.3-inch P-OLED display with 245 pixels-per-inch (PPI) compared to the AMOLED display on the Gear Live with 278 PPI. They both have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset clocked at 1.2GHz with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory. These smartwatches have no room to expand neither their internal memory nor do they have a camera. They both have the usual BT 4.0 LE, a gyro, an accelerometer, a compass and both have a heart rate monitor incased in an IP67 certified dust and water resistance. They both use a standard 22mm wrist strap so almost any third party band should work. Being that they both are running Android Wear, they both need to be connected to ANY Android smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher.
Additional features that the Gear Live does not include would be a Barometer and the fact that it is all stainless steel. It also has a genuine leather watchband and it comes with a charging cradle that attaches to the contacts on the back of the watch. The LG G Watch R can be purchased at the Google Play Store or at AT&T for $299, so the base price with a leather band is about $100 more expensive than the Gear Live.
Samsung Gear Live
The Samsung Gear Live smartwatch has a sleek looking outer metal body that looks sophisticated and adult-like. The Gear Live comes with two straps – a black one for a dinner party and a wine colored one for a pool party and anybody would be comfortable wearing this smartwatch…as long as you do not mind those around you knowing it is a smartwatch.
The Samsung Gear Live does have a nice size 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 320 x 320 and 278 PPI…it not only has a higher PPI than the G Watch R, but the AMOLED technology is easier on the battery. As mentioned before, it has the same Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, along with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory storage. They both have BT 4.0 LE, a gyro, an accelerometer, a compass and a heart rate monitor. It has the same IP67 dust and water protection and still needs ANY Android smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher.
It comes with only a 300mAh battery, but even that size will get you through a full day and then some before needing a charge. The Gear Live comes with its own proprietary clip-on charging adaptor, which is awkward at best. You can purchase the Gear Live in the Google Play Store for $199.99 or $100 cheaper than the LG G Watch R.
…And The Winner Is…
This is really a very tough decision to make and a lot of it is based on pure specs and pricing – and an argument could be made for either smartwatch. Internally, they are so similar in technical specs with probably the major difference being the displays.
I picked the Samsung Gear Live winning out this competition for a couple reasons. When it comes to displays – in this department the Active Matrix OLED (AMOLED) of the Gear Live produces better results and is easier on the battery than the Passive Matrix OLED (P-OLED or PMOLED) found on the LG G Watch R. The other big area is the pricing – the Gear Live is a $100 cheaper than the G Watch R.
That being said, myself, I would buy the LG G Watch R because I like the 'Navy Seal' and chronometer look in a watch – all of my regular watches look like that. Is it worth the extra $100…only you can answer that question? So for pure practicality and value, I am giving the win to the Gear Live, however, if you like the looks of the LG G Watch R better and don't mind paying the extra $100, then you would be very happy with that device as well.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which smartwatch you would pick and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.