Review by Sunetra Chakravati,
12/12/2011 3:56:32 PM
It?s a phone in a watch. Every James Bond fan?s fantasy.
Once the novelty wears off, you may feel a bit sorry talking into your wrist.
The name’s Bond, James Bond. OK, as the by-line clearly states – I’m not MI5’s most dependable secret agent, but I did at least feel like I was when I first put on LG’s Watch Phone. That’s right, a watch phone. We were a tad disappointed to discover that it didn’t contain a laser, but we were excited all the same.
When LG first announced the LG Watch Phone GD910, it came with an expected retail price of £1,000. Thankfully, while still on the extortionate side, it actually arrived with a price tag of half that. So what do you get for your buck? Well, we were both surprised and pleased to discover the LG GD910 is rather stylish. It’s not the smallest watch we’ve encountered, but it’s certainty not overbearing and doesn’t feel overly heavy on the wrist. Besides, people far more fashion conscious than ourselves have told us that this is this year’s look. Donning some expensive looking leather straps also gives it a little prestige.LG has taken a minimalist approach to the design of the phone. There’s only three buttons, found on the right of the device; a call, cancel/back and call end key. To press these buttons with any certainty, we needed to hold the other side of the phone in a kind of pincer position. However, the main port of call for controlling the watch, sorry – phone, is via the 1.43-inch touch-display. Our fears of accidental key presses with each finger swipe were placated after we found the screen to be highly responsive and fairly accurate. You’re not going to bang out text messages with the speed and finesse you would a standard touch-screen phone, but we were pleased with the results.
You can swipe your way through five different displays, including a clock face. This in turn can be changed to one of the many different variants by scrolling up and down. It slightly irritated us that when you’re not actively using the watch the screen dims, we assume to save battery. You can just about make out the time, but in low light conditions you will need to wake it up by hitting one of the aforementioned hard keys. You can set the device to give a vibrating response as well as a ringtone each time you receive a call or text – and you’re not likely to miss an important message when you receive a somewhat startling buzz to your wrist. If you’re of a nervous disposition, you can of course turn this setting off.While the LG GD910 is not kitted out with a huge amount of features it does have the basics such as a calendar, organiser, calculator, convertor and a half decent MP3 player though with an internal memory of just 80MB, you will have to choose your tunes selectively. While there’s no internet browser the LG GD910 is fitted with Orange Plus, which entails you requesting information on a whole array of topics from the latest sports news, to your daily horoscope reading. Each segment of info is sent via a text message.
Despite the lack of browser, the LG GD910 Watch Phone does boast 3G data speeds (or to be more specific, HSDPA). Why, we hear you ask? Fitted just above the screen is a front facing camera that enables not only still photography but video calls too. But before you get too excited, we should tell you that this camera is a very basic VGA snapper. To take any stills, you’ll be relying on blindly pointing and shooting as there’s no way of previewing your shot. It’s a very hit and miss method, with the emphasis being on miss. What’s more, video calling has never really taken off in this country and we don’t see the LG GD910 changing that. Being a VGA camera, the quality is not good, but the screen displays both your own face and that of your subject without any difficulty, but would you really be prepared to be seen talking and staring into your watch?And there ultimately lies the problem with the LG GD910 Watch Phone. In the privacy of your own home, the novelty value of taking phone calls on your watch might entertain your friends. Yet outside on the mean streets of the UK, you’re risking at best a total stranger pointing and laughing at you, and at worst being carted off by men in white coats. That’s not the only hindrance with the device. Although the call quality is satisfactory, all and sundry can hear your conversations as they blurt out of the watch face at a loud volume.Thankfully, there is a solution. The LG GD910 Watch Phone is Bluetooth compatible and although LG has not included any headset in the box, we were able to pair up a wide variety of headsets without any trouble. This means that not only will you be able to receive and make calls far more discreetly, as well as listen to your music without disturbing others; you’ll also refrain from looking like the resident weirdo.
LG has produced a device that screams novelty factor. The 10 year old boy in me thinks it’s the best thing since Super Mario Bros on the NES. Unfortunately as the years increase, so does our self-consciousness and we can’t think of many people who would be willing to be seen talking into their wrist. That said, we’re big supporters for advancements in technology – something LG has certainly done with its Watch Phone. Besides, when paired up to a Bluetooth headset you won’t get too many odd looks, and you can still pretend that you’re James Bond with Q’s latest piece of gadget wear.