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Lifewire / Emily Ramirez
Charming analog watch stylings
Snappy for its hardware
Battery struggles to last the workday
No GPS, NFC, or heart rate hardware
Limited fitness tracking
Cheap leather strap
The LG Watch Style has the features of a $50 smartwatch for three times the selling price. There are many equally beautiful, more functional watches to be had for $150.
When it premiered in 2017, the LG Watch Style was the flagship Wear OS smartwatch. In 2019, the Watch Style is a testament to how much the smartwatch market has grown. While the Style is a decent looking watch, its limited hardware and poor battery life have no place in the modern market.
When Google and LG teamed up to make the LG Watch Style a reality, they hoped to make a beautiful accessory. They succeeded: the Style has a brushed metal case and genuine leather straps. We reviewed the silver version, which comes with a tan leather wrist strap. The color palette is very attractive and gender neutral, which is much appreciated by those of us with smaller wrists. The case itself is 42mm, which is not too big on the wrist, but it’s not too small to read off of, either.
While the Style is a decent looking watch, its limited hardware and poor battery life have no place in the modern market.
We were disappointed in its leather straps, however. With little effort, they bend and crinkle, signifying low-quality leather. This would be fine in a cheap smartwatch, but the Style is $150 on average. Elsewhere, the watch also feels cheap. Its thin case feels almost like a toy, and the back is made of plastic. To get the case so thin, LG cut out GPS, NFC, and heart rate sensors from the apparatus. It’s somewhat water-resistant, with a rating of IP68 (meaning it can spend up to 30 minutes in approximately six feet of water), but there’s no reason to take it swimming if the fitness tracking won’t be accurate due to a lack of a heart rate monitor.
To browse the watch’s software, you can use the touchscreen or the rotating crown on the watch’s side. It comes with a few watch faces pre-installed, including analog watch mimics. The OS is standard Wear OS, so you can add any apps that you may deem necessary. Without a heart rate monitor or GPS, however, fitness tracking capabilities are limited.
If LG decides to update the Style, then giving it a respectable battery life should be their top priority.
Setting up the LG Watch Style is the hallmark Wear OS experience: charge the watch, power on the watch by pressing the side crown, and follow the instructions on the watch’s screen. You will need to download the Wear OS app on your phone, have Bluetooth enabled, and connect the watch in the Wear OS app. Then, you may download whichever apps you wish from the Wear OS store onto the Style.
If we were to judge the Style’s performance in comparison to its competition in 2017, it would have been an average smartwatch. However, in 2019, the Style feels completely outdated. It lacks GPS, NFC, and a heart rate monitor. Most mid-tier smartwatches have at least two of these features, and almost every smart wearable has a heart rate monitor. LG decided to exclude these features to cut down the profile of the Style, but there are many smartwatches and fitness trackers today that are just as thin, stylish, and comfortable with these features.
If we were to judge the Style’s performance in comparison to its competition in 2017, it would have been an average smartwatch. However, in 2019, the Style feels completely outdated.
How does the LG Watch Style perform with the functions it does have? Its Qualcomm 2100 wear processor is feeling a little old, but the lag on Wear OS isn’t unbearable—maybe between a quarter and half-second at worst. The 1.2-inch, 360 x 360 P-OLED display also looks crisp, with 299 pixels per inch (ppi).
The Style additionally has active notifications, a pedometer, Google Assistant, automatic text responses, and 4GB of storage. We found it performed reliably, picking up our voice with no problems, playing back music, and tracking our steps within a hundred feet of a Fitbit Charge 2’s reading. There is no speaker, however, so we did need our phones to take phone calls. Overall, we can say that the Style performs its tasks well, but we would expect no less for its asking price and pedigree.
The Style packs 240mAh of charge in its battery, which should have been enough to at least last a day. However, we found that by the end of the day, we were grasping for the charger. On average, the Style gave us about 14 hours of use before giving out. If we had the screen on Always On mode, then the battery didn’t last a full workday. Frankly, the battery does not last long enough to track sleep (not that it would provide very accurate metrics without a heart rate monitor). If LG decides to update the Style, then giving it a respectable battery life should be their top priority.
With so many excellent smartwatches on the market in 2019, there is little reason to give the LG Watch Style a second glance.
If you buy the LG Watch Style now, you’d be overpaying for outdated technology. You can find the Silver version for about $150 on Amazon, but if you’re willing to dig a bit deeper, you can get a refurbished one for $100 or a used one for $70 or less. It’s an okay watch for $80 or so, but you can buy a brand new smartwatch for $80 from another manufacturer.
Amazfit Bip: The Amazfit Bip is a great little marvel you can find for $80. It has all the features of the LG Watch Style plus GPS, a thirty-day battery life, a heart rate monitor, and reasonable fitness tracking. However, you will have to give up a beautiful screen and the Wear OS store.
Fitbit Versa 2: The Fitbit Versa was a huge hit on the smartwatch market, and we expect the Versa 2 to be even better. The Versa 2 costs $199.99 to pre-order, and it comes with NFC pay, GPS, heart rate monitoring, music storage, active notifications, a four-day battery life, and Fitbit’s excellent fitness tracking technology. With the Versa and Versa Lite’s boom in popularity, its proprietary app store is also seeing a lot of new additions.
Fossil Gen 5: If you like the LG Watch Style for its more traditional aesthetic, you should check out Fossil’s line of smartwatches. The Gen 5 has a Qualcomm 3100 processor and all the features you could ever want in a smartwatch. The catch is that it’s a bit steeper in price, costing almost $300. However, the Gen 4 is selling for $179 and is just as formidable.
Too outdated to be worth recommending.
With so many excellent smartwatches on the market in 2019, there is little reason to give the LG Watch Style a second glance. Although it may have once been the hallmark Wear OS watch, its poor battery life, lack of key hardware, and cheap design all keep its legacy tied to the past.