The battle of the circular Android Wear smartwatch has reached fever pitch, as the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R do battle for supremacy. These two smartwatches have raised the design stakes and, until we see the Apple Watch in 2015, represent the best the new wearable tech the world has to offer.
Essential reading: Moto 360 review and LG G Watch R review
But which of these top smartwatches should you buy? Read on to find out...
LG G Watch R v Moto 360: Design
Poshly-put by its Korean makers, the LG G Watch R‘s design is “refined aesthetic that is reminiscent of traditional timepieces” – which is an elaborate way of saying it looks more like a regular watch than its smartwatch rivals.
The G Watch R is encased in stainless steel and the strap is made of calf-skin leather; it uses the industry standard 22mm size, so you can personalise it. There's the kind of beautiful machining and contours you'd expect to find on a traditional men's piece, and the design cues are certainly taken from the sports chronograph world, rather than a dress watch.
Essential reading: Top Android Wear apps to download
The Moto 360 also pays its dues to traditional watch design with a circular face packed into a stainless steel case with an interchangeable 22mm strap, however there's less detail and Motorola has chosen a plain case, which may seem a little dull. However, simplicity is part of its appeal, and the Moto 360 is a little more gender neutral.
For launch there are three options, you can go for a light stainless steel frame with either a grey or stone coloured strap or a darker stainless steel set on a black strap
However, Motorola has now announced a range of alternative straps for the Moto 360, which you can have in place of the rather uninspiring leather. There's two stainless steel versions on offer, as well as a range of leather ones through DodoCase. Thinner wrists are also now catered for, with a thinner strap option, as well as a champagne coloured watch, which again offers something more traditionally female friendly. The watch itself still remains the same size, however.
While the LG wins out in the design stakes, the new Moto 360 colours and straps look superb. LG only offers the stock black leather strap, which is disappointing.
LG G Watch R v Moto 360: Display
The 1.5-inch backlit round LCD display of the Moto 360, with its 320 x 290 resolution and 205ppi was what originally set the device apart from its Korean rivals at the Android Wear I/O unveiling, but the lack of AMOLED is problematic. The brighter, sharper and more power efficient display on offer from LG leaves the Moto 360 for dead, and doesn't even impact on battery life.
LG's screen packs a 320 x 320 resolution into a 1.3-inch P-OLED display. That’s 246ppi by our calculations.
The final win for LG is how it uses the screen. Moto 360 has a small ‘dead’ area at the bottom of the display that looks like a 'flat tyre', whereas the LG G Watch R uses all of its screen real-estate.
The new Android Wear update adds a plethora of new watch faces, so that's not really a selling point for a particular device any longer.
LG G Watch R v Moto 360: Hardware
The Moto 360 bucks the Android Wear trend by not packing Qualcomm processing power. Instead it runs with a Texas Instruments CPU in the engine room although Motorola isn't spilling the beans on the speed.
The LG G Watch R boasts a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, which is a meatier punch than both the original G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live and we’d be surprised if this doesn’t out-do the Moto 360’s TI processing speed as well.
Both watches offer 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM.
LG G Watch R v Moto 360: Features
The LG G Watch R features a 9-axis (gyro/ accelerometer/ compass) sensor along with a built in barometer and, crucially if you’re planning on using it as a fitness tracker, a photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor for measuring your heart rate.
The Moto 360 has a built-in optical heart rate monitor and pedometer as well.
Both Android Wear smartwatches boast waterproof features; the LG G Watch R is confirmed as being IP67 compliant for both water and dust resistance, the very same rating of the Moto 360, meaning both would be good in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.
Both brands are also moving to proprietary health tracking, too. The LG G Watch R will make use of extra health tracking when the LG G3 gets the Android L update in December, and Motorola has unveiled its own Moto Body, which will analyse stats from the watch and set you personalised goals.
LG G Watch R v Moto 360: Battery
The Moto 360 has a 320mAh battery and offers Qi wireless charging with the included dock – something the LG G Watch R does not.
However, the G Watch R does have a 410mAh battery which was the biggest that we’d seen on an Android smartwatch at launch, but has since been beaten by Sony's SmartWatch 3.
The Moto 360 should last a full day on charge provide you don't head out for too many extra curricular activities after work, and things have improved since its first major update – though we recommend turning the ambient light sensor off.
However, the LG's bigger battery means that it should last even the longest of days.
LG G Watch R v Moto 360: Price
There's only one winner when it comes to the price-tag and that's the Moto 360, which comes in at £199.99 in the UK, $250 in the US.
In comparison, the G Watch R is £225 or $299.99.
LG G Watch R v Moto 360: Verdict
Motorola’s Android Wear smartwatch has been the darling of the wearable tech world for a while now, holding almost mythical status compared to its Android Wear launch comrades the Gear Live and LG G Watch – both of which went on sale and lost some of their allure as a result of mediocre reviews.
However, the LG G Watch has stolen a lot of that thunder and not just because the display blows the 360’s out of the water. It’s a fascinating device because it was somewhat unexpected and it’s also intriguing that it’s LG’s second Android Wear device inside six months.
We can’t give a definitive opinion quite yet on what the best Android Wear smartwatch is; you'll have to wait until we've fully tested the LG G Watch R for that.
But we can categorically state that it’s not a one-horse race any longer.
The Moto 360 is out now in the US, priced at $249 and £199 in the UK. The LG G Watch R is also now on-sale in the UK for £225 and the US for $299 in the states.
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