Tuesday, July 8, 2014

LG G Watch Initial Review

I just received my LG G Watch from Google Play. This is one of two first watches running the new Android Wear OS. First impressions: light, comfortable, fits my skinny wrists, doesn't seem awkward.

Integration points I love: 
  • pedometer card, 
  • Google Play Music integration (where you at Pandora? Update: Pandora works like this too :-) ), 
  • The allthecooks.com app integration, 
  • Google keep integration and the fact you can pull up check lists and check them off (can anyone say shopping list?), 
  • making +Trello cards, 
  • Overall the intuitive design,
  • It took about 3 minutes to figure out all the bells and whistles. 
  • Oh, and there is a built in compass. Neat!
  • The watch faces, even though I have been going back to simple a lot. I like the first card take over of the background.
  • The running app Runtastic is cool, but I wish it was endomondo :P.

I also like the intuitive design. I have heard people complain about the quickly sending sms. You can click the x button and it lets you review it and still send it when/if you are happy. 

Things that need work: 

Before I list all my nit-picky findings I must claim that this is a very early stage review. I'm sure all of this will be fixed in a week or so, but here is the list.
  • Google Hangouts integration seems broken (need an update?). I can "send a message" and it only gives me an option to send a sms message. I did notice you can't start a google hangout on there docs, but I'm hoping that is fixed in a future release. I had a friend send me a hangout message an it dinged on my phone and on my computer, no watch action... I also noticed text messages were not sent to watch as well. UPDATE: I restarted my phone and now it works. Weird. There was one case where I sent a response and it sent 4 repeating SMS messages.  Another case where I get an error saying "could not send message".
  • Randomly the watch seems to get disconnected from the phone. This might be a phone issue, but still. You are then left with clicking commands that are local to the watch (note voice only works when connected to your phone). Not horrible, but could lead to bad demos.
  • Calendar Agenda was working fine but now its only syncing my default calendar. I would like it to sync all visible calendars. As of this morning it is back to all events, strange.
  • +Trello has integration to make cards, but no way to recall them once you created them. +Trello check out how Keep did it. If you do that, you will be my default "take a note" app. It might also be neat to have a default board option.
  • Not really a fan of the sticky cradle.
Immediate Ideas: 
  • "play mozart on Chromecast". The "... on Chromecast" could be a flag that is set to try to play that on a connected Chromecast. Worst case is it starts playing on your phone because a Chromecast was not found. Note that if you start music on your phone you can enable the cast, and the watch integration is still synced. Your phone pretty much becomes a router of all the things. 
  • Add the ability to add your own commands, that would be neat and interesting. It could be a superuser feature, but could be fun. UPDATE: Checkout https://ifttt.com/ integration. Good first step, but Google needs to own this.
Overall, I'm impressed. Should everyone drop what they are doing and get one of these, maybe? I live on the bleeding edge, and I'm okay with bugs. If bugs annoy you then I would wait 3-4 months.

I'll provide updates to either this post or a follow up post as I use it.

- Tim