Wednesday, October 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Review: Evolutionary advances in new smartwatches

By
From page C6 | July 06, 2014 |

Anick Jesdanun

NEW YORK — New Android wristwatches from Samsung and LG make a few evolutionary advances, though I won’t be rushing out to buy either.

Samsung’s Gear Live and LG’s G Watch are good products and will appeal to those who like to be among the first to own new gadgets.

The watches serve as pedometers and let you catch up on email, texts and Facebook notifications while your phone is in your pocket or charging in the bedroom. Even with the phone in your hand, you can check messages on the watch and keep playing video on the phone.

Both smartwatches try to keep things simple through voice commands rather than touch. They use Google’s Android Wear system, which I reviewed earlier.

Android Wear has a lot of potential but still lacks the functionality of even last year’s smartwatches. Your ability to reply is limited, and there’s not much you can do yet without a companion phone nearby.

The companion phone must run Android 4.3 or later, which covers about a quarter of the Android devices in use. It doesn’t have to be a Samsung or LG phone. Visit http://g.co/WearCheck from your phone to check compatibility. Don’t even bother if you have an iPhone.

Even with its release of the Gear Live, Samsung will continue to sell the Gear 2 line of smartwatches, so I’ll start there.

— Samsung’s Gear 2 ($299, released in April):

I find the Gear 2 most useful for its fitness features. The watch counts the steps you take each day. It estimates distance and calories burned and measures heart rate on your runs, hikes and bike rides. The features are rather basic, so active users might prefer a gadget dedicated to a specific task, such as measuring distance and pace using GPS. But the Gear 2 does offer a good introduction to newcomers.

Shots from the watch’s 2-megapixel camera are mediocre, but that beats missing the shot entirely because your better camera is in your pocket or handbag. If you don’t need the camera, you can save $100 with the Gear 2 Neo, which has similar features otherwise. Both have speakerphones for making phone calls.

The Gear 2 line doesn’t use Android Wear, but a fledging system called Tizen. Samsung says that helps extend battery life to two or three days, instead of the single day on the original, Android-based Galaxy Gear. Unlike the Android Wear watches, the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo both require a Samsung phone.

— Samsung’s Gear Live ($199, starts shipping next week):

Out of the box, the Gear Live looks much like the Gear 2. But once you turn it on, it stays on. The watch face doesn’t go dark as the one on the Gear 2 does after inactivity.

Unfortunately, the promised battery life is back down to a single day, though actual performance varied depending on use. The best I got was a day and a half on a full charge. In the worst case, about half the charge was gone in just five hours.

The Gear Live doesn’t have as many fitness features. You can count steps and measure heart rate, but you can’t measure distance or calories with built-in apps.

In addition, there’s no camera or speakerphone. To make calls, you need a Bluetooth headset paired to your phone.

Because the Gear Live and the G Watch both use Android Wear, they have similar functionality. You control both mostly by voice. There aren’t many icons or buttons on the screen, as you’d find on previous smartwatches.

You do have to get used to swiping left (for more information) or right (to dismiss a notification). But otherwise, the interface is clean and simple. One thing I wish for: a central place to view notifications, including ones I’ve dismissed.

— LG’s G Watch ($229, starts shipping Thursday):

LG is hoping to make its watch easier to use by making it without a physical button. It’s not really needed when voice control is so prominent, and I’ve used the Gear Live’s physical button only as a fallback for when I couldn’t figure out how to do something.

The LG watch has about a third more battery capacity than Samsung’s, but both watches lasted about the same amount of time in my tests.

The resolution and colors on LG’s always-on screen aren’t as good as they are on Samsung’s, though LG’s notifications use larger type and are easier to read.

The G Watch can count steps but doesn’t have a heart rate sensor — the biggest way it differs from the Gear Live. The G Watch doesn’t have a camera or speakerphone either.

The G Watch’s strap feels rubbery, but it’s replaceable with any standard 22-millimeter watch strap. The hard-plastic feel on Samsung’s watches isn’t much better, but you can replace their straps, too.

Motorola plans to come out with the round-faced Moto 360 this summer, while the ones out so far have had square displays. And Apple is widely expected to have its own smartwatch this fall.

I recommend waiting to see what they do. You might still gravitate toward Samsung’s or LG’s watch, but you risk regret if you buy one now.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 42 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 2 Comments | Gallery

Tots can trick-or-treat at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Car washes raising money to fight breast cancer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Fairfield Police Department promotes 2, honors 1

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Families Helping Families preps for holidays

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Charity Tree Auction application deadline nears

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
2 new challenges part of 2014 Solano Turkey Trot

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Solano names new First 5 director

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

 
$1.4M land sale by Fairfield gets OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Action, thriller movies headed to box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
FBI: Denver girls may have tried to join jihadis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
7 arrested in Oakland raid on Black Muslim Temple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Stinky seaweed piling up at upscale Laguna Beach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
California man goes missing during road trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

2nd guilty plea in California tainted beef case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Golden Gate Bridge officials float sidewalk toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

5 Jonestown victims buried in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Pakistani Nobel laureate honored in Philadelphia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Cadaver dog searches in suspected serial killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Schools scoured in search for ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Freed Vietnamese dissident travels to US: official

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

North Korea frees US man; 2 more still detained

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Brown meets with health care experts about Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

US expands Ebola checks; Rwanda to check Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Opinion

Expect voter participation to drop

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11, 12 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

 
‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Is it OK for a business to use its contacts to raise money for a charity?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

Roasted beets can brighten up any holiday table

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Hummus and chocolate together? Deliciously so!

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

Easy slow cooker chili that lives up to the hype

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Argentina demands ‘Top Gear’ apology from BBC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ fans push for Coulson/May romance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
From Kors to DVF, fashion mourns de la Renta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

Local report: Vikings earn 3-0 SCAC volleyball win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SJS releases season’s first wins list

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bumgarner, Giants stop Royals 7-1 in Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bruins hold off Sharks to win 5-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Logano: No worries about retaliation from Patrick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Fighters suing Mayweather over Vegas cable TV bout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
For a young Mexican golf star, seeing helps him believe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shaw shoulders blame for Stanford’s slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Newman dodges penalty for Talladega inspection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WS Game 2 starters Ventura, Peavy study in contrasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hats off! Royals get old-timey with tip o’ the hat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

KC, San Fran mayors announce World Series wager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment

 
Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Buster’s back: Posey tries to add 3rd Series ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kings GM: NHL should educate after Voynov’s arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Broncos are still No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius gets 5 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

5 problems McDonald’s is facing in the US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
New efforts to ban tobacco farm child labor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Total CEO killed in Moscow runway crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Google’s streaming music service adds mood to mix

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Rufina Ferrer Levengood

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6