Android Wear 2.0 tips and tricksThe update was first rolled out for LG Watch Sport/Style and Huawei Watch 2, while most of the latest smartwatches are just now beginning to receive Android Wear 2.0. Whether you’re a pro smartwatch user who knows their way around Android Wear or just bagged one of the new smartwatches, there are plenty of new elements packed with Android Wear 2.0 that you need to know about.
1. Android Wear now has Google Play StoreOne of the biggest caveats of having an Android Wear watch was that you always had to be connected to an Android phone to use it. However, Android Wear 2.0 brings along the ability to set up your smartwatch as an individual device by adding your Google account when you set up the device. If you don’t know already, the biggest feature that the latest update brings is the entire Google Play Store to your smartwatch. This means you can not only access apps directly on your smartwatch, but also download new ones and use them without being chained down to your Android phone.
2. New and improved Quick SettingsThe Quick Settings panel has become an inseparable part of the Android ecosystem, but the same couldn’t be said about Android Wear watch, until now. The latest update brings along a revamped Quick Settings panel which can be accessed right away from the watch face by swiping down on the screen. Instead of sending you to the Settings app and scrolling through the options, Android Wear 2.0 puts all the bare essential toggle options in a single place. Toggle buttons for airplane mode, silence, theater mode, Do Not Disturb, and Settings option have been added to the Quick Settings panel, along with network, battery percentage, and date indicator.
3. Google Assistant comes to Android Wear watchAlready a highly acclaimed part of the Android OS since its release alongside the Google Pixel, Google Assistant replaces the typical voice commands with a smarter alternative. Simply speak out “OK Google” or long-press the power button on your Android smartwatch to launch Assistant and ask away. If you don’t have Google Assistant on your Android phone and don’t know what it can do already, just swipe up on the Assistant screen and you will be greeted with suggestions on how to use your personal voice assistant the right way. You can also head over to Settings > Assistant > Settings to configure and personalize Google Assistant the way you want.
4. Use Android Pay with your smartwatchOne of the coolest Android Wear 2.0 tips and tricks includes the newly added feature of Android Pay smartwatch app, the ultimate mobile payment solution. All you need to do is download the Android Pay smartwatch app to your device, sign in with your Google account and set things up for contactless payments. By adding your credit or debit card to the Android Pay smartwatch app and syncing the details to your Android wearable, you can zap your way through the cash counter without even pulling out your Android phone. Imagine how cool you would seem when you pay for your next coffee with just your app watch!
5. Customize the Android Wear apps menuWhile you can’t really create folders and rearrange the layout of the Android wear apps drawer on your smartwatch yet, there is some customizable that the latest update offers. Instead of scrolling limitlessly through dozens of apps on the tiny screen, Android Wear 2.0 enables you to pin your favorite Android Wear apps to the top of the list. In order to add a certain app to the top of the app list, press and hold the icon and it will automatically have brought up the queue with a star symbol right next to it. Moreover, your recently used apps will always be placed at the top of the Android Wear app list in case you want to access it again right away.
6. Two new keyboards for typingYou probably aren’t looking forward to having long and meaningful conversations while texting from the tiny screen of your smartwatch. However, for all those times when you want to send a one-liner reply, Android 2.0 has two interesting keyboards for you to try out. Instead of seeming like a crazy person while talking to your watch to send a reply, you can now send a text using the tiny keyboard. It might not be perfect, but it gets the job done and you always have the option to use the second keyboard that allows you to jot down your words on the screen and the handwriting recognition tool turns it into texts.
7. Self-configure the hardware buttonsWhen it comes to hardware buttons, not every Android Wear watch follows the same pattern. For instance, the Moto 360 has just one hardware button, whereas LG Watch Sport has three, so Android Wear 2.0 gives you the ability to configure the extra hardware buttons the way you want. Head over to Settings > Personalisation on your Android smartwatch and you’ll find the “Customize hardware button” option hidden in there. Using this feature, you can set up the extra hardware buttons to activate Google Assistant or launch a certain game on your Android Wear watch with just the click of a button.
8. New watch face complicationsTaking inspiration from the always-on display that offers notifications and additional details without turning the screen on, Android 2.0 brings along “complications”. This new feature allows you to add an app or information shortcuts right on the main screen for you to glance at right away. To configure the complications, long press the watch face and add select each app icon that you’d like to add to the watch face. For instance, you can select the Calendar app to add it to your watch face and show up your next marked appointment right on the main screen, or you would select Google Fit and it would highlight your daily steps on the watch face.
Best Android Wear watchesEver since its inception in 2014, Android Wear has been accepted and integrated by major manufacturers in the tech industry. As Google prepared for the release of Android Wear 2.0, so did several top brands, which brings us to this list of the best Android Wear watches available in the market today.
Best Overall - LG Watch SportThis smartwatch is the one Google chose to unveil Android 2.0 to the world, and the device sure lives up to the expectations. Crammed with every feature you could expect from a modern-day smartwatch, LG Watch Sport packs a decent sized AMOLED display, built-in GPS, IP68 rating for water resistance, and support for Android Pay.
Feature packed - Huawei Watch 2A straight-up competition to the LG Watch Sport battery life with an almost similar capacity, Huawei’s second try at the Android watch genre hits all the right spots. Available in Classic and Sport editions, this smartwatch packs a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with the same Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 21000 processor that the LG Watch lineup possesses.
Best design - LG Watch StyleGoogle and LG paired up to release Android Wear 2.0 this time around, and there were two offerings available – LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. Designed with smaller size profile that to support its “Style” quotient, the LG Watch Style packs a 1.2-inch display with lesser RAM capacity of 512MB, compared to the 768MB of the Sport.
Most affordable – Moto 360 SportReleased shortly after the Moto 360 2015 edition, Moto 360 sport packs all of the same firepower as its predecessor, but with an added sporty look. Equipped with the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and an adequate 300 mAh battery capacity, this 1.37-inch smartwatch has enough elements to give you a surreal Android Wear 2.0 experience.
Best for fitness – Polar M600Albeit every Android Wear smartwatch comes with a set of fitness tracking features built into it, but things get a whole lot serious when it comes to Polar M600. Packing a GPS tracker, an IPX8 water resistance rating, and a dual-core MediaTek MT2601 processor, this fitness tracking smartwatch will go the extra mile every time.
Wrapping it upWith Apple Watch continuing ahead as a strong competition and Samsung choosing to power its Gear smartwatches with its in-house Tizen OS, Google is prepping Android Wear 2.0 to go full steam ahead. As LTE smartwatches such as LG Watch grow in popularity and Google Play Store is available as a standalone app for Android Wear, the wearable fever is sure to go viral. Are you among the privileged ones who already have an Android-powered smartwatch in their possession? Which one is your absolute favorite among the Android Wear 2.0 tips and tricks we have listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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