Fancy some Android on your wrist? At the Google IO Developer Conference the company has taken the wraps off the two Android Wear smartwatches we’ve seen before, and one we had only heard hints about — the LG G Watch, the Moto 360 and the Samsung Gear Live.
The LG and Samsung watches are on sale through Google Play with the Motorola device arriving later this summer.
If you’ve got your cash ready and are wondering how these wrist-based micro-computers stack up against each other, we’ve got all the specs and details you need. Google has promised that more Android Wear-powered smartwatches are on the way, but for now this is your choice.
Screen size and shape
The LG G Watch sports a square 1.65-inch IPS screen with a 280 x 280 pixel resolution. The Samsung Gear Live is smaller but sharper: it has a square 1.63-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 320 x 320 pixel resolution.
If you want a circular smartwatch face, the Moto 360 is your only choice for the time being, though we don’t know the exact measurements or resolution right now.
The rumours are that it uses a special low-power custom-made OLED display, but we’ll have to wait and see.
In terms of screen size there’s not much to choose between the three smartwatches, though the Moto 360′s round face is likely to make it the more attractive offering for the majority of consumers — the groans around the Google IO conference hall when it was announced the Moto 360 would not be available to order seem to bear that out.
The LG G Watch is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU running at 1.2GHz. There’s 512MB of internal RAM and 4GB of storage space packed into the casing. LG has listed the battery as a 400mAh model, so we’ll have to see how well that stands up in day-to-day use.
The Samsung Gear Live brings a very similar set of specifications to the table. We don’t know the model of the processor, but considering it’s listed as a 1.2GHz CPU it’s likely to be the same one powering the LG.
The 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage match up, but the battery is a weedier 300mAh edition. Samsung is promising "all-day battery life" but it may not be much more than that in practice.
Again, there’s not much we can tell you in terms of specifics about the Moto 360. We have been told it will support Qi-compatible wireless charging (found in the Nexus 5 and many Nokia handsets) but as for internal specifications Motorola is playing its cards close to its chest.
Features and design
Both the G Watch and the Gear Live are listed as IP67 dust and water resistant, and both come with the essential Bluetooth 4.0 LE for connecting up with your phone – although only Android phones using version 4.3 and above, and iPhone users are out of luck.
Uniquely, Samsung’s device’s offers a heart rate monitor on the back of the watch, enabling it to plug directly into a whole range of fitness apps.
Measuring 37.9mm x 46.5mm x 9.95mm, the LG smartwatch tips the scales at 63g and comes in either "black titan" or "white gold" colours.
The slightly taller Samsung device has dimensions of 37.9mm x 56.4mm x 8.9mm, weighs 59g and comes in black or red. Both watches use standard 22mm straps, so you can easily replace them if they aren’t to your tastes.
While not as widespread in terms of detail, the Moto 360 looks the slightly bulkier, stockier timepiece of the trio, but with the circular face is impressing many, plus it too is water resistant, according to Google.
The manufacturer has said the watch can be worn on the right or the left wrist, with the digital face flipping to match wherever you have the control knob pointing. It’s also rumoured to be sporting high-strength sapphire glass, which would bump up the price. And that leads us nicely on to…
Availability and pricing
Google says the LG and Samsung smartwatches will be on sale from the Devices section of Google Play sometime today, but you might not get them as soon as you think. The G Watch retails for $229 (roughly AUS$243/£134) with the Gear Live undercutting it at $199 (AUS$212/£117).
The Samsung Gear Live doesn’t ship until the July 7, and we’re hearing a similar shipping date for the LG G Watch. How quickly these devices get beyond the shores of the United States remains to be seen, but we’ll keep you posted on this page when we hear from Google.
The Moto 360 has always been pegged as being released sometime this summer, and Google didn’t offer anything more specific than that in its keynote address. With its unique face design, wireless charging and later launch, we’d expect it to come with a premium price too.
Motorola has earlier inadvertently clued us on the Moto 360 price through the official rules of a contest though, suggesting that its "average retail value" is $249 (about £148, AU$270)
As dictated by the framework of Android Wear, these smartwatches are compatible with Android handsets (as mentioned, running 4.3 or above to allow for the Bluetooth LE).
Standard app notifications and controls (such as playback buttons in a music app) work out of the box, with dedicated smartwatch apps and custom alerts on the way once developers get up to speed with the hardware.
As flagship Android phones grow larger, it’ll be nice to have a wearable to quickly check and dismiss notifications without having to take your phone out of your pocket.
The Moto 360 is a little more fashionable with its circular watch face, but if you want to step into the smartwatch future as quickly as possible you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live look like your best options for a smartwatch right now and Google’s best bet to ward off the inevitable iWatch.
There’s something interesting going on with Google and Samsung though: while only slightly lower in spec compared to the recently-announced Gear 2 range from the South Koreans, the Gear Live is much cheaper. It’s also better specified than the LG G Watch, yet is cheaper too with a better screen.
If you can’t get your hands on a Moto 360 (or the cost of that proves to be too high) then the Gear Live could be the early frontrunner.