LG’s take on the fitness band also tries to take the place of a smart watch, including some of the functionality you might want in this new category of wearables, which makes up the other two modes.
There’s the time, date, and battery level that you can swipe through in the second set of modes, and then there’s music controls, which will take over for whatever you’re listening to at the time, whether that includes Pandora, Google Play, or your regular music player.
The information doesn’t offer up a playback listing in text, but you will find basic controls for changing volume, skipping tracks, and pausing and hitting play.
And hey, there’s even a little bit of phone functionality thrown in, for those curious as to what’s happening in the world of wearables.
For instance, when there’s a phone call, the phone number pops up on your wrist with a vibration. When you receive a message, a mail icon pops up with info on who has sent you the message and a bit of the subject. And you can swipe left and right to see more, but that’s it, with basically just a hint of information, which could help you to avoid checking the phone randomly when the phantom ring occurs.
But while the smart wearable stuff is a nice addition, LG’s Lifeband has quite a few concerns going for it, not least of which includes design.
While other fitness bands are thin, light, and take on the design of something you’ll hopefully never notice, LG’s Lifeband, is different, and is thick, chunky, and weighs more than it probably should. In fact, at around 50 grams, it’s 30 or so grams heavier than most of the competition, resembling more a thick bracelet than a thin fitness band.
Not everyone will find this comfortable to wear, and you can count us in this mix. We looked forward to taking ours off daily just to how noticeable it was. It even felt off when we put on some jackets.
It’s also very small around the wrist, and this is even on the largest size, which is also known as large. Testing it around the office, the largest LG Lifeband size couldn’t fit on some of the arms in the GadgetGuy offices, with the “L” band pinching the muscle on the GadgetGuy’s own arms, as well as one of our designers. If you have large wrists, LG’s Lifeband is certainly not accommodating, with a focus on smaller wrists.
The functionality of the Lifeband also feels a little lacklustre, especially in comparison to the other bands out there.
For starters, there’s no sleep tracking, a fact which is probably a good thing given how heavy and clunky the wristband feels, but it’s a feature that every other fitness band supports in some capacity.
But not LG, as the band misses out on what some would say is a necessary part of the fitness wearable revolution. You can track your footsteps, and you can track activities, but when you’re down for the night, you’ll be taking the Lifeband off, as it cannot deal with your sleeping patterns.
That might change, but right now, it’s a daylight only band.
In daylight, the LG required app — which runs on iOS and Android — can tell you how many footsteps you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burned through, and the distance traveled, but it won’t do much else.
You can change your goal, and the fitness band will give you alerts when you’re a quarter of the way, but there’s not a lot more the app is doing, with small graphs.
We’re sure LG will update this in time, too, but right now, it’s pretty barebone.
Moisture is also a concern for this band, and if you wash your hands with the Lifeband or get caught in the rain, you’ll find some water on the inside of the band. It won’t go away for a few days either, no matter what you do, so get used to it, and keep the Lifeband out of contact from water.
We feel compelled to note something else, and that’s durability. We’re used to getting pre-production and prototype gadgets, but the Lifeband wasn’t one of these, which is something we confirmed with LG’s PR.
The reason we’re citing this, however, is that our review unit was the second Lifeband we went through, after the first one met an untimely death not because of water or dropping it, but rather a failed update from LG’s software.
We tried everything we could to revive it, but the LG update application failed at one point and left the first Lifeband speaking only a gibberish made from a combination of text and images that are unrecognisable to anyone.
Our second unit was fine, but the first, well, that’s occupying a drawer somewhere ready to be sent back to LG to be fixed. Our point, though, is that the Lifeband does appear to have some problems, so if you end up with a borked band, call LG, as that’s the only way to fix it.
It does some interesting things, mind you, and we’re sure LG will make the software better over time, but it’s not terribly comfy to wear and just doesn’t do as much as other bands, so unless you desperately need a half measure of a smart watch, you could do much better looking at other wearable choices.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Works as a smart watch, intercepting phone calls, controlling music, and changing volume;
Clunky and heavy; The largest size will feel too tight on large wrists; No sleep tracking; No NFC; Setup could be easier; No social connections; Water seems to get trapped in under the screen easily;