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Samsung Gear Live vs. LG G Watch: A real-world evaluation

JR Raphael | July 10, 2014
The LG G Watch vs. Samsung Gear Live may look similar, but the first two Android Wear watches have some meaningful differences.

The G Watch's charger, in contrast, is a small rectangular cradle that works as it should: The watch fits naturally into its perimeter and is held in place by a gentle magnet. It feels sturdy and well made, and allows the watch to sit flat on a surface when connected.

The two devices' chargers (the Samsung Gear Live is on the left, the LG G Watch on the right).

Speaking of power, the Gear Live has a small button on the lower end of its right side that allows you to turn it on, while the G Watch has only a pin-sized button on its bottom and is more easily turned on via its charger. Given that these devices will usually remain on indefinitely after you power them up for the first time, though, it's really not a big deal either way.

The G Watch comes with 24 face designs that you can choose from; the Gear Live comes with 13. Eight of the faces on each watch are standard Google-made designs, while the rest are custom options added by each manufacturer. The LG device obviously has more variety, but both devices have a decent mix of simple, creative and flashy choices in both analog and digital themes.

Google initially told me it wouldn't be possible for users to add additional face designs beyond what each manufacturer provided, but a few third-party options have already popped up in the Play Store — so it appears there's more flexibility on that front than we were initially led to believe.

Aside from face designs, the only difference in software between the two watches is in the standalone apps each manufacturer has preinstalled. (Manufacturers can't customize the core user interface with Android Wear, but they can add their own applications into the operating system.)

LG has added only one app to its G Watch: A world clock that lets you keep tabs on the time in multiple cities of your choice.

The Samsung Gear Live has a Stopwatch app which duplicates an existing function.

Samsung, meanwhile, has added two apps to the Gear Live: Heart Rate, which allows you to take a heart rate measurement (a function you can also perform within the Fit app that's part of the Wear OS) and Stopwatch, which just duplicates the functionality of Wear's native stopwatch function and adds confusion to the user experience as a result.

Reps from Samsung have also indicated plans to bring more of the company's own apps and services into the watch in the future — which, for anyone bothered by bloatware, is something to keep in mind.


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