LG’s G Watch and Samsung’s Gear Live Android Wear smartwatches were announced at Google I/O 2014, although Google didn’t introduce the products as we’d expect smartphones to be announced. Rather, Google made the G Watch and Gear Live available at the Google Play Store and said that the Moto 360 “will arrive later this summer,” to the disappointment of the developer audience.
Now that Google has somewhat “officially announced” these smartwatches, and Motorola’s finally revealed its own Android Wear smartwatch, we’ll get down to the smartwatch spec shootout. Which smartwatch wins the title of top spec gadget? Let’s get started.
The LG G Watch comes with a 1.65-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) screen and a 280 x 280 screen resolution, while the Samsung Gear Live features a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a 320 x 320 screen resolution. The Moto 360 features a 1.56-inch Gorilla Glass 3 display with 320 x 290 screen resolution – which equates to less than the 320 x 320 screen resolution on Samsung’s Gear Live. Additionally, the Moto 360 has been said to sport a sapphire crystal display – which will likely make the Moto 360 somewhat more durable in its display than either the LG G Watch or the Samsung Gear Live. In short, the Samsung Gear Live wins here for its crisp and bright Super AMOLED display and brighter screen resolution than its competitors.
Keep in mind, too, that the Moto 360 sports a round watch face (as will LG’s second Android Wear watch, the G Watch R) while the G Watch and the Gear Live sport square watchfaces. Some consumers prefer round faces that are reminiscent of typical watches, but round watchfaces do limit the amount of content that can be displayed on the display at one time.
One requirement of a smartwatch that most consumers consent to is that it be rather thin and rather light. While Omate’s first-generation Omate Truesmart smartwatch is a thing of beauty, the name itself needs some work (who calls a watch “truesmart”?) and the design looks thick and bulky on the wrist. The second-generation Omate smartwatch has made some nice changes in style and feel, but it also sacrifices its standalone Android smartwatch reputation and resorts to simple notifications instead.
This shouldn’t be a problem for the Android Wear smartwatches. The Samsung Gear Live has dimensions of 37.9 x 56.4 x 8.9, while the LG G Watch has dimensions of 37.9 x 46.5 x 10. The Moto 360 has dimensions of 45mm (diameter) x 11.5mm high, weighs 60 grams (without the strap), and appears to have a ginormous watch face but looks to be thin and light on the wrist. The Samsung Gear Live is thinner than the LG G Watch (8.9mm vs. 10mm, respectively), although it has a slightly wider display than the G Watch.
When it comes to weight, however, the Samsung Gear Live is slightly lighter than the LG G Watch, weighing in a 2.1 ounces (59 grams) as opposed to the Moto 360’s 60 grams and the LG G Watch’s 2.2 ounces (63 grams). When it comes to the dimension category, we’re giving this category a draw. While it could be argued that the Samsung Gear Live is slightly lighter and thinner than the G Watch, the G Watch does offer a slightly larger screen. The differences here are likely to be miniscule when it comes to wearing such small displays on your wrist.
Processor, RAM, and Battery
Both the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live include1.2Ghz processors, with LG’s G Watch, will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor that clocks in at 1.2Ghz. Samsung’s Gear Live features a 1.2Ghz processor, though we’re left to wonder whether Samsung utilized a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 like the G Watch or its own Exynos processor. Both devices will feature 512MB of random access memory (RAM), which is rather small (but we’re talking about small wristwatches with small computations). High-end smartphones now come with 2GB and 3GB RAM, but smartphones have more operations to perform than smartwatches – currently.
Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatch features a Ti OMAP 3 processor with 4GB of internal memory storage and 512MB of RAM. The 360 also houses a 320mAh battery, which Motorola says can achieve all-day use if used moderately.
LG’s G Watch wins the day when it comes to battery life, as its battery will be 400mAh, as opposed to the 320mAh battery of the Moto 360 and the 300mAh battery in the Samsung Gear Live. The G Watch’s additional 100mAh may be negligible when it comes to performance; seeing that the G Watch has an LCD screen that requires an additional backlight to power it, the 100mAh may offset the backlight that is necessary to power the display.
Samsung’s Gear Live doesn’t need a backlight and will save on battery because the screen emits enough light already. Motorola notes at Google Play that its 360 smartwatch is a “backlit LCD” screen, so battery life will likely suffer in similar fashion to LG’s first Android Wear smartwatch. Your experience will LCD screens and AMOLEDs may vary, but the on-screen experience here will be approximately the same here.
Smartwatches are meant to be mobile, to go wherever you do. This is why it pleases us here at Inferse to see that the Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360, and LG G Watch all have water resistance. Water resistance is essential to using your smartwatch outdoors in the rain, or anywhere where water is present. While cooking in the kitchen with recipes by the sink, or throwing some secret ingredient into an amazing dish you’re cooking for the first time (while trying to avoid the hot, boiling water in the pan), you’ll need to have your Android Wear smartwatch handy.
While we’re excited that smartwatches are getting water resistance, we wish that LG had gone this route with the LG G3. Perhaps it’s the case that, should LG see how the G Watch will enhance the smartphone experience, it’ll emerge with a water-resistant LG G4 next year. It can’t hurt to hope.
The LG G Watch is priced around $230USD, 159 euros (UK) and AUS $249, while the Samsung Gear Live is priced at $199USD, 169 euros (UK), and AUS$250. The Moto 360 has been priced at $250. The G Watch will likely attract customers in the UK and Australia although the prices are too small to matter. Most consumers will likely select the Android Wear smartwatch that fits their tastes and style. In this case, with the features being rather similar, hardware style will decide.
The pricing is different for US customers, however, and this is where Samsung’s Gear Live will shine. Android Wear customers will save $30 to go with the Gear Live over the G Watch, and there’s really little to commend the G Watch over the Gear Live in the American context. With Samsung’s brighter Super AMOLED screen and better screen resolution, most users will want an illuminated display because of how small Android Wear displays already are. The $30 price difference will seal the deal for most American consumers.
As for the Moto 360, expect it to take the bottom place here in the price category. With its wireless charging, sapphire crystal display, and rather luxury look, the Moto 360 costs around $250. Samsung’s Gear Live will win here because its $199 price tag with minimal luxury materials will provide a sufficient experience. One thing that makes Google’s Android Wear a different ball game with smartwatches is that Android Wear wasn’t designed to make watches high-end or luxurious. What matters most, at least to Google, is the on-screen experience. This also explains why Samsung didn’t throw in a camera with its Gear Live – or the reason why Samsung chose a cheap Qualcomm processor in the Gear Live.
Android Wear is all about promoting Google Now and on-screen experiences. The Moto 360 shakes up pricing, but possibly takes something away from whether or not it is a good buy for users.
Pre-Order and Sale Dates
With both the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live having been announced already, when can you pre-order? Well, on June 25th, immediately after the Google I/O 2014 keynote address, both smartwatches were made available for pre-order at the Google Play Store. Both the G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live went on sale on July 7.
The Moto 360 has taken a long time to arrive, and Google announced at I/O 2014 that the coveted watch would arrive “later this summer.” Motorola announced its 360 Android Wear watch yesterday and made it available from 12 noon EST forward. We’ve been told that the Moto 360 is out of inventory at Google Play and that there’s no definite date as to when 360 smartwatch supplies will be restocked (although here’s to hoping that the restock issue clears up soon).
The Samsung Gear Live will likely win all around, even if LG’s G Watch prices slightly edge out the Gear Live in the UK and Australia markets. When it comes to specs and features with competitive pricing, the Gear Live takes the prize.
The Moto 360 has finally arrived at Google Play, with a price tag that is higher than either Samsung’s Gear Live or LG’s G Watch. There are some features that set the Moto 360 apart from the G Watch and the Gear Live (wireless charging being one of them), but we’re not sure that wireless charging (or a sapphire crystal display) mandates a $50 price tag increase when the software (designed by Google, called Google Now) is the same and there are no standalone texting and calling capabilities. Even now, LG’s new G Watch R that’s been teased in videos has many wondering whether LG will beat Motorola in the Android Wear pricing department or not.
Last but not least, Asus announced its ZenWatch Android Wear watch this week at IFA, so you now have another option from which to choose the Android Wear device that works for you. Asus’s ZenWatch features a 1.63-inch AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 3 and a 320 x 320 screen resolution (278ppi), has a 1.2Ghz, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor to power the device, and also has 4GB of internal memory storage and 512MB of RAM as do the other Android Wear devices. The Asus ZenWatch has a 1.4Wh rechargeable battery and IP55 water and dust resistance rating.
Where the ZenWatch becomes, its own drawback consists of the price. We were told that the Asus watch would only cost $99 when it arrived to the market, but – get this!—Asus is now pricing its ZenWatch at $258USD. We’re not sure if Asus made the right move with pricing it slightly above that of the Moto 360, but the manufacturers are sure competing for your bucks. It’s LG’s move, and the G Watch R will be watched closely to see if LG will keep its price competitively lower than what Motorola and Asus are offering here.
Motorola Moto 360
LG G Watch
Samsung Gear Live
1.56″ 320 x 290, 205ppi, Backlit LCD
1.65” 280 x 280 IPS LCD
1.63” 320 x 320 SuperAMOLED (278 ppi)
TI OMAP 3
512MB of RAM
512MB of RAM
512MB of RAM
USB (pogo pin) on G Watch, Micro USB on Charging Cradle
USB (pogo pin)
Pedometer Optical heart rate monitor
9 Axis (Accelerometer/Compass/Gyro)
Accelerometer, Digital compass, Gyroscope, Heart rate monitor