UPDATE: I have now written about my experiences since the Android Wear 2.0 update in a separate post, Android Wear 2.0 has changed my mind.
I've always liked the idea of having a computer on my wrist, probably since my days of watching Power Rangers and James Bond as a kid. So I was keenly watching the development and release of Android Wear and the Pebble smart watches.
While I'm an Android user, I was watching Apple to see if they would come up with something innovative in the watch department. I have to say I was particularly disappointed in their contribution. The Apple watch looked nothing more than a small iPhone strapped to your wrist with no amazing technology to compensate for the poor design.
I did really like the concept of the Pebble and the Pebble time, with the simple e-paper displays and long battery life, but one thing I'm quite particular with in my watches is, it has to be round. For starters, I like the shape and also I find it quicker to read the time on an analogue watch face than a digital (and I really don't like the look of an analogue watch face squashed into a square shape, however it's done). Pebble was a little late bringing to market their round watch face, so it was the LG Watch R and the Moto 360 which were the first smart watches to really grab my attention. I had previous to this been waiting for the round smart watches as I knew they had to be on their way. However, it was the LG Urbane which I really liked the look of and eventually invested Christmas and Birthday money in.
2 years on, I'm still wearing my Smart Watch and so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it now.
- It's still working, with no signs of it wearing out. That includes 2 years worth of washing up it has survived. I want my watch to last a long time, and so if it was built like a phone which is clearly reaching the end of it's life at about 20 months then it would be too expensive to justify.
- Music control is great. I can quickly skip a track or adjust the volume when listening to music while washing up, cooking etc.
- Speaking of cooking, it serves as a great assistant by keeping a recipe handy, or list of ingredients which I can tick off as I add them in on Google Keep, or by displaying a list of food I have to prepare for a party. No messing up my phone with flour and having to fumble to unlock it every time I want to check something.
- Setting reminders is a breeze. While I don't talk to my watch in public, in the house I set myself loads of reminders with it. It's just so simple to quickly say "Okay Google, remind me to...". I've used this a lot to remind me things I need to get from the shops on the way home, or remind me to send an email that night etc.
- Google Fit is great at counting my daily exercise. I've set it to track a number of walks and it works brilliantly. However, the tracking it does when I haven't said what I'm doing is a bit dodgy. It thinks I'm running half the time I'm walking and if I push the buggy it thinks I'm cycling.
- And the charging is not normally an issue. Every night I plug it in as I head to bed and it normally never drops below 50% charge.
- Some Apps can be a bit slow sometimes, to the point that I might try checking train times but end up giving up waiting and pull out my phone to check there instead.
- Texting does not work well from the watch, unless you're talking to it to send a quick text. I tried an App that would let me type whole text messages, but even a short one was a pain. "Okay Google, Text..." works well enough, but I'm not going to do that in public.
- I had hoped to use my watch a lot for train and bus times, but this hasn't proved so convenient. I tend to just get my phone out still.
- And the notifications do get annoying sometimes. I clear them all off and 5 mins later there are more. This is possibly half my fault for what notifications I allow.
- One note on the battery. Since I started writing this I have unfortunately had my first experience of my watch running out of battery. I had been tracking my walking with it as I did the 14 mile Marsden March. Unfortunately at about the 9 mile mark I noticed my watch was dead. I hadn't realised the tracking would be such a drain on the battery as I thought it was mostly operating on my phone. It does mean it might struggle if you want to use it for lots of sports activities though.
One thing I did struggle with was finding a watch face I liked. The screen is an OLED display which means that the blacks are darker and do not use power which is why the power saver screen uses a lot of black. I wanted my watch face to look as similar to the power saver version as possible and so have a completely black background. I couldn't find any watch faces that offered this, but luckily I was able to create one using Pujie Black Watch Face app which was really simple to use and had so many options.
So in conclusion, I am thoroughly enjoying my Android Wear watch and as long as it keeps going for a while longer, I would definitely consider buying another in the future. Hopefully it would be a bit cheaper at that point though.