It doesn’t look like early smartwatch adopters will get all their wishes fulfilled by a single wearable piece anytime soon, as LG’s G Watch R clearly trumps Samsung’s Gear S in software functionality and elegance, falling short of perfection however in the connectivity department.

LG G WATCH R LG G Watch R goes official with full circle display, Android Wear

It took a bit of bitching and moaning, but round wearable devices that actually look like conventional wristwatches are officially a thing. Motorola laid the groundwork, although sadly the sleek Moto 360 is yet to see daylight, and now LG comes out of nowhere to steal Moto’s thunder.

Granted, the Koreans did “warn” us a game-changing smartwatch was headed for next week’s IFA, but we never imagined they were able to raise the bar so drastically so soon after the introduction of the underwhelming, unattractive first-gen G Watch.

True, under the hood the G Watch and G Watch R aren’t all that different. Both pack zippy Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processors, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage space. Further, the battery is only ever so slightly beefed up, from 400 to 410 mAh.

LG G WATCH R 02 LG G Watch R goes official with full circle display, Android Wear

Software-wise, the two are nearly identical as well, running Android Wear with everything that entails, from pre-loaded Google services to Play Store access and a heavy reliance on Google Now information. Unfortunately, the G Watch R preserves its predecessor’s addictedness to smartphone compatibility too, lacking the SIM card slot of the Samsung Gear S.

In other words, the circular gizmo is virtually useless when not synced to a handheld running Android 4.3 and up via Bluetooth. But the sensors department is improved, with a heart rate monitor added in the mix, and the display, oh the display is a beaut.

LG G WATCH R 03 LG G Watch R goes official with full circle display, Android Wear

A “full circle” 320 x 320 pixels P-OLED that may well hit the sweet spot in terms of dimensions, at 1.3 inches. And believe it or not, this thing looks closer to a retro, classy, traditional wristwatch than even the Moto 360, thanks to what LG calls “artisanal elegance” and “classic curves encased in a strong, durable stainless steel frame”.

Stainless steel can only be complemented by interchangeable 22 mm straps, which are made of genuine calf skin leather. Boy, if LG prices the G Watch R sensibly, Apple will be faced with quite the uphill struggle in making the oft-delayed iWatch the blockbuster everyone anticipated. If only there was standalone 3G connectivity on this perfectly round head-turner as well.

Source: LG Newsroom