Android smartwatches may be about as dead of a form factor as Android tablets, but that isn’t stopping OEMs from continuing to pump out these little packages of wrist-mounted sadness. The latest is LG’s “hybrid” smartwatch, the Watch W7, which one-ups the usual Wear OS hardware package by slapping physical, analog watch hands on top of the display.
The watch hands look great in LG’s press renders, which only ever show the watch face, but if you try to use any of the “smart” capabilities of your smartwatch, you’ll quickly realize how bad of an idea this is. The physical watch hands constantly obscure the display, making it difficult to see the text and buttons on your smartwatch. To make matters worse, the watch hands need to connect to the requisite gearing in the body of the watch, so there’s also a sizable hole in the center of your tiny 1.2-inch display. To make matters even more worse, the layout has the display, then the watch hands, then the glass cover, so there’s a large air gap between the display and the display cover. As we learned in early smartphone designs, not bonding the display to the cover negatively affects display brightness and contrast.