Back in March I was given an LG G Watch R, the first Android Wear smartwatch to have a full round display (the Moto 360 was earlier, but has a bit cut off the bottom of the actual display). I d promised I d get round to making some comments about it once I d had it for a while and have failed to do so until now. Note that this is very much comments on the watch from a user point of view; I haven t got to the point of trying to do any development or other hacking of it. Firstly, it s important to note I already was wearing a watch and have been doing so for all of my adult life. Just a basic, unobtrusive analogue watch (I ve had a couple since I was 18, before that it was pretty much every type of calculator watch available at some point), but I can t remember a period where I didn t. The G Watch R is bulkier than what I was previously wearing, but I haven t found it obtrusive. And I love the way it looks; if you don t look closely it doesn t look like a smart watch (and really it s only the screen that gives it away). Secondly, I already would have taken my watch off at night and when I was showering. So while the fact that the battery on the G Watch R will really only last a day and a half is by far and away its most annoying problem, it s not as bad as it could be for me. The supplied charging dock is magnetic, so it lives on my beside table and I just drop the watch in it when I go to bed. With those details out of the way, what have I thought of it? It s certainly a neat gadget. Being able to see my notifications without having to take my phone out of my pocket is more convenient than I expected - especially when it s something like an unimportant email that I can then easily dismiss by swiping the watch face. My agenda being just a flick away, very convenient, particularly when I m still at the stage of trying to remember where my next lecture is. Having walking directions from Google Maps show up on the watch (and be accompanied by a gentle vibration when I need to change direction) is pretty handy too. The ability to take pictures via the phone camera, not so much. Perhaps if it showed me roughly what I was about to photograph, but without that it s no easier than using the phone interface. It s mostly an interface for consuming information - I ve tried the text to SMS interface a few times, but it s just not reliable enough that I d choose to use it. I ve also been pleased to see it get several updates from LG in the time I ve had it. First the upgrade from Wear 4.4 to Wear 5.1 (probably via 5.0 but I forget), but also the enabling of wifi support. The hardware could always support this, but initially Android Wear didn t and then there was some uncertainty about the FCC certification for the G Watch R. I can t say I use it much (mostly the phone is within range) but it s nice to see the improvements in support when they re available. What about the downsides? Battery life, as mentioned above, is definitely the major one. Mostly a day is fine, but the problem comes if I m ever away. There s no way to charge without the charging dock, so that becomes another things I have to pack. And it s really annoying to have your watch go dead on you midday when you forget to do so. I also had a period where I d frequently (at least once a week) find an Android Wear isn t responding. Wait/Restart? error on the watch screen. Not cool, but thankfully seems to have stopped happening. Finally there s the additional resource requirements it puts on the phone. I have a fairly basic Moto G 4G that already struggles with Ingress and Chrome at the same time, so adding yet another thing running all the time doesn t help. I m sure I could make use of a few more apps if I was more comfortable with loading the phone. The notable point for me with the watch was DebConf. I d decided not to bring it, not wanting the hassle of dealing with the daily charging. I switched back to my old analogue watch (a Timex, if you care). And proceeded to spend 3 days looking at it every time my phone vibrated before realising that I couldn t do that. That marked the point where I accepted that I was definitely seeing benefits from having a smart watch. So when I was away for a week at the start of September, I brought the charger with me (at some point I ll get round to a second base for travel). I was glad I d done so. I m not sure I m yet at the point I d replace it in the event it died, but on the whole I m more of a convert that I was expecting to be.