Hands On With The LG G Watch, Shipping July 7 For $229 U.S.

Today at Google’s I/O developer conference, Android Wear was a central topic of discussion. The LG G Watch was one of the devices on display, and it’s going live for pre-order at around 4:30 p.m. PT today. The Android-powered wearable device is set to retail for $229 and ship to buyers starting July 7, but I got a chance to use it early at a special press event today.

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The G Watch ships with a rubber band and its weight is around the same as you’d expect from an average quartz timepiece. It holds an IPS touchscreen display that runs Android Wear, bringing you notifications and contextually relevant information as they come in.

The G Watch screen is very responsive, bright and easy to read, even in fairly bright light. Resolution on the screen is great, and it renders colors pretty faithfully based on quick impressions. Navigating the UI, which is my first experience with Android Wear at all, is pretty intuitive, despite the lack of buttons and 100 percent touchscreen interaction.

It handles voice input really well, too, translating speech to text accurately and also picking up the sound even in a relatively loud room.

LG is among the first to market, so it’ll take further testing to see if this really is a fully baked device, or something more like a placeholder designed to get their foot in the door before other OEMs (or at the same time as Samsung, of course). But based on first impressions, it’s a solid (if spare) model of what Android Wear could be.