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Circuit Breaker

LG’s Watch W7 is a $450 hybrid Wear OS smartwatch with mechanical hands

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Alongside the V40 ThinQ, LG is also announcing its latest smartwatch today. The Watch W7 is easily the company’s most unique wearable yet because of its hybrid design. The W7 has mechanical hands in front of its round, 1.2-inch touch display running Wear OS. It will sell for $450 at Best Buy beginning on October 14th; preorders will be available on October 7th.

The W7 is big. This is not a timepiece for folks with small wrists. Since mechanical watches are a little outside its wheelhouse, LG worked with a company called Soprod in designing the watch’s mechanical functions and movements. “In addition to keeping accurate time, the mechanical hands also display additional information such as altimeter, barometer, stopwatch, timer and compass directions,” LG says.

As a smartwatch, the Watch W7 will last for up to two days. But those mechanical hands can keep turning for up to 100 days on a charge — long after the screen turns off — in watch-only mode. The W7 has a knob and two buttons on its right side. It uses standard 22mm watch bands for easy swapping. Sometimes, the hands might get in the way. When that happens, you can hold the top right button to slide the on-screen content up higher and make the hands go horizontal / flat.

The W7 isn’t a replacement for a fitness tracker; there’s no heart rate sensor inside this hardware. Nor does it have built-in GPS or LTE connectivity. It’s a no-fluff Wear OS device that puts traditional watch form over extended functionality. I could excuse those things, but the W7 also lacks NFC and thus doesn’t even support Google Pay. For $450, that’s an unacceptably long list of things that LG chose to omit. The watch glass isn’t sapphire, if you were wondering.

LG stuck with the old Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset for the Watch W7 and isn’t using the newer 3100 platform that includes a coprocessor to extend battery and standby time. Going with the latter might’ve eked out some more battery life, but considering how barebones the device is from a Wear OS perspective, I’m not surprised that LG didn’t bother.

LG’s new Watch W7 next to a 44mm Apple Watch Series 4.

So with the W7, you’re really spending the money for its hybrid design, traditional aesthetic, and stainless steel body. And remember that Wear OS was recently refreshed with a more straightforward, intuitive software experience. Are those things enough to sway you away from a cheaper Wear OS watch from Fossil, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch, or a Fitbit Versa?