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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.

Bottom line

Comparing the LG G Watch to the Samsung Gear Live is kind of like comparing Burger King to McDonald's: Either one will get the job done, but neither is what you would call a first-class experience. And neither is really that much better than the other.

At a Glance

LG G Watch

LGPrice: $229Pros: Superior dimmed-mode display; comfortable band; nice charging cradleCons: Clunky and uninspired design; poor outdoor visibility; display less vivid than Gear Live's when illuminated

With the classy and beautifully crafted Moto 360 on the horizon, it's hard to recommend either the G Watch or the Gear Live as an ideal Android Wear purchasing option. Each device has its own set of pros and cons, but both watches are very much in the same league — and next to the Moto 360, both look pretty lackluster.

If you asked me to make a choice after I'd spent just a few days with the watches, I probably would have picked the Gear Live. On the surface, it stands out a bit more since its design is more distinctive and its display looks a little better when illuminated.

At a Glance

Samsung Gear Live

SamsungPrice: $199Pros: Better illuminated display; more distinctive design; has heart-rate sensorCons: Clunky and unattractive; poor outdoor visibility; cheap and difficult-to-use charging wedge; awkward band; includes redundant preinstalled applications

Now that I've used the watches for a couple of weeks, though, I'd actually go with the G Watch. The Gear Live's advantages in those aforementioned areas are pretty narrow, and I just can't get past certain other elements of the device — like the low quality of its dimmed-mode display, which is what you see the majority of the time when you glance at its face. I've found I prefer the lower motion sensitivity of the G Watch, too, as the watch isn't constantly flashing on every time I move my arm.

I'm also uncomfortable with Samsung's tendency to bake redundant bloat into its devices, especially with reps going on the record as saying more such material is on the way. Factor in the Gear Live's junky charger and awkward band, and LG's G Watch ends up being the more desirable overall option for me.

But again, we're comparing two okay but unexceptional devices. The best advice I could give would be to hold off a month or two to see how much the Moto 360 ends up costing in comparison.

A fine dining option is on the — and you might be disappointed if you settle for fast food now just because you're hungry.


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