Android Wear 2.0 Review – A major update by Google
Android Wear 2.0 is finally here but for now only the LG Watch Sport and the LG Watch Style are running the new OS, but the rest won’t be far behind. This is Google’s most important Wear update and we have tried to provide you with all the features about this latest update.
The new Look
One thing you can immediately notice if you have used previous version is the dramatic facelift that the OS has been given. The Google Now card-inspired UI has been replaced with the new darker Material Design theme. It gives Wear a more serious and sophisticated feel.
The elements and gestures are similar like the older Wear version. Quick launch features like screen brightness, settings and airplane mode can be used by pulling down on the screen; but now for convenience all the icons are bunched together.
Notifications and Messaging
Notifications only show up when you want them to. They no longer cover the screen. Messaging options include smart replies, handwriting responses and using the keyboard. Smart replies are pretty straightforward while handwriting and keyboard responses are good but not perfect.
At times, we can hammer out messages quickly and the predictive text mode is very good. Ultimately, though, you’re still typing on a small screen, and that’s just never going to be ideal.
Google Voice Search is replaced by Google Assistant, which has already popped up the Google Pixel smartphones. The idea is that you can have two-way conversations, but in reality it’s not quite as slick as that. It’s quite good at recognition and can naturally fill in gaps in speech it didn’t pick up, but the results are varied.
After asking one question you can provide a simple follow-up, and Assistant should draw context from the previous exchange, but you’ll need to press the button again to do so. The results in our testing have been varied. Sometimes it recognizes sentences perfectly and delivers the right information; other times it isn’t so helpful.
Working out with Google Fit
Google, much like Apple and Samsung, realizes that fitness is still a big part of what people want from smartwatches. That’s why the Gear S3 went big on it and Apple went from style icon to running and swimming companion with the Series 2. Google Fit is Wear’s answer to S Health and Apple’s Workout software.
It’s now broken into two apps: Fit is where you can glance at daily activity tracking and initiate a tracked workout, whether that’s walking, running, cycling, stationary bike or even a press-up challenge; Fit workout is essentially a shortcut to those sports tracking features. There’s also an option for strength training which tries to detect what type of stationary workout you’re doing, and counts the reps. This may be useful to some, and left untouched by others.
At first it seems a little unnecessary to split Fit into two apps, but if you only care about having something to act like a Fitbit, then it makes more sense. It’s still a much more basic offering than Samsung and Apple provide, but that might be fine if fitness is not your primary concern. It definitely doesn’t feel like a big priority as far as the entire ecosystem is concerned.