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I finally found a reason to use Android Wear

We recently had a company-wide summit outside of Atlanta, GA. You've probably seen pictures on social media of the fun stuff — imagine a boat filled with tech bloggers, an open bar and an Xbox — but a good portion of our days were spent in meetings trying to figure stuff out. Many of us have been to similar company retreats.

Of course, we couldn't just drop everything else going on. Android stuff doesn't stop happening just because people are busy doing other things. The skeleton crew at home did a wonderful job, and were lifesavers for the most part. But if you're a slave to your inbox like I am, you know that you can never really get away.

Normally, I sit at a desk all day long and let the email flow and ding and flash tabs and otherwise let me know that a beast needs fed. When I'm not working, I just don't care and never check anything (something everyone needs to try). But that wasn't going to happen while AC was in Atlantis, and we actually had to pay attention to what was happening in front of us during the workday or run the risk of being left behind.

Enter my Huawei Watch and Android Wear.

Huawei Watch

About 15 minutes into our first presentation, I realized how easy it is to triage email from my wrist. Kevin Michaluk, Mobile Nations' commander-in-chief, master of all things BlackBerry and quite the master of the whiteboard, was telling us about a bunch of mostly exciting new things and if I'm there with my face in a laptop or even a phone, I'm going to miss a good bit of it. And be that guy in the front row who wasn't paying attention — never a good position to put yourself in during any company meeting where all the people who decide if you get a paycheck are in attendance. But I could take a look at my wrist when it buzzed at me, and swipe away what's not important or pull out my phone for what was. It worked.

I'm still not all-in with wrist computing, and will never understand some people's passion for that tiny screen (don't even come at me with a keyboard or web browser unless you want to see how hard I can laugh), but my Huawei Watch actually helped and made things better for a few days in Atlanta. I'll be sure to wear it the next time I need to be distracted by email while still paying attention.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I'm retired so I (probably) don't even get 10% of the email wave you do. Still I find it intrusive, and having to swipe away multiple notifications "bothersome." So why did I get a (Asus ZenWatch2) smartwatch? Because my eyesight is failing and i needed to design a face with the essentials (Day, Date, DOW, Time) that all larger than normal. I do, however, like that i can view & reply to txt msgs via the watch using my voice.
  • Totally agreed. I got a zenwatch two a few weeks ago, and it's very nice being able to manage all of the email I get between my personal account, my professional account, and my work account. It's insane.
  • Here are a couple of ways I've found my Zenwatch (and very soon my Huawei Watch) to be helpful: 1. Dialing a number while driving. My car has a touchscreen but no voice dialing capability. Dialing a number on a touchscreen while driving is dangerous, so I like being able to OK Google it on the watch. 2. Discreetly seeing who's calling or texting. This is important when I'm talking with a patient. Instead of interrupting the interview by taking my phone out, I can just quickly check my wrist to see if it's a crucial call or message. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just ordered the Asus Zenwatch 2 last night because I think it will keep me from constantly checking my phone at work.
  • Agreed, but I do this with Pebble Time Round instead. Way less bulky for my wrist than any of the current AW watches.
  • I have been looking for a good smart lock Bluetooth device, a smart watch would be a good option. If it's the only reason then I can't justify it, yet. Just wanting one is not enough either. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You will never find a reason to "justify" it. I finally bought one using reward points converted to gift cards, because I also couldn't justify it, and it's great. No more missed messages, no more digging my phone out only to find a one word reply, and countless other things that you didn't know would make your life a tiny bit easier, such as running Trigger tasks from your wrist, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Fingerprint sensor removes that need and makes your phone that much more secure. I ended up turning of that feature with my Mi band once I got the Nexus 6P.
  • I love android wear and have been using it since winning my Gear Live from this website. I wear it every single day, take it on vacations, and use it on my runs. My phone hasn't made a noise or even a buzz from the vibration motor in years. Everything goes through my watch, and it makes it so easy to, like you said, take out my phone for what's important, and ignore what's not. I also work in a lab, so being able to set timers on my wrist while my hands are gloved has been immensely helpful. Or responding to a text from my boss. I wouldn't want to spend much money on it, but now that I've had this watch, I can't see myself Androiding without one.
  • And the really nice part is being able to turn certain app notifications from going to the watch, so the buzzing is already filtered to the most important apps like mail and text. Speaking of text, I have to give a shout out to Coffee, which lets me create and send canned responses based on the individual, like my wife, or the topic, like where to meet for lunch. I don't buy into the keyboard, or browser stuff either; the screen is just too small, but to triage and even dispatch the most important notifications I can't emphasize how much more focused my watch makes me during the workday. ...Joe K.
  • I also use it to control music playback volume, next track, etc. when traveling or doing house work or mowing the lawn. Much easier to not have to pull out my phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're a better man than me Posted via the Android Central App
  • I recently started wearing a Zenwatch 2. I do find it easy and very little of a distraction to quickly glance at while driving to see who and what an email is. You really don't have to take your eyes off the road to see it. I also use it to count steps as a motivator for exercise but I'm finding out it's just showing how lazy I am. ;)
  • I just don't think wrist notifications are worth $200+.
  • I tried dude I bought my OG 360 for 220. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • The Asus zen 2 was only $169 brand new Posted via the Android Central App
  • Reading these comments is like an advert for the ZenWatch2...smh Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just what I thought! Posted via the Android Central App
  • No joke. That said, I miss the hell outta the Huawei Watch I had to give back, but my old 360 is so bug and the font is larger and it's nice to be able to recognize the text from more angles/distances. Posted via the Android Central App
  • OG Moto 360 here. Does that help? :)
  • Zen watch 2 is nice and has a better price tag than other android wear watches. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The whole smartwatch experience can be magnified with using tasker too! Honestly, I control my phone from my watch doing way more than what android wear allows me to do thanks to a few tasker profiles and variables.
  • This is my first Android wear watch, without getting too personal - can you give me a few examples how you use Tasker with your watch? Posted via the Android Central App
  • For sure! I use a custom watch face app that allows me to monitor certain things on my phone (based on variable values from Tasker), like whether or not GPS is on, whether my phone screen is on or off, and what state my wifi is (on and connected, on and not connected, or off). I also have a screen on time widget on my watch that updates every time the phone screen turns on or off to see if I'm on par for my 4hrs of screen time per day.
    Then I have other watch apps that can execute tasker profiles from the watch, so I can toggle the state of my GPS (which is easier said than done with a non-rootable Verizon Note 4), I can toggle airplane mode (again, not as easy without root), I can force my phone to connect with my BLU JAX bluetooth receiver in my car if my phone doesn't automatically pair with the receiver. I can also make my own canned messages for interacting with texts through hangouts, without having to speak to the watch, just a couple of taps and my wife knows I'm in a meeting and will text her once I'm done. I also open up my garage door when coming home from work every day from my watch. This garage door opening profile also takes my phone out of work mode and puts it into home mode (volumes, wifi, gps, etc). All of this is done with my phone in my pocket.
    I also use Tasker and my smartwatch as a form of security. If my phone is either connected to my watch or my home wifi network, the lock screen is disabled. However, if my phone is not on my wifi network, and my watch is far enough away (likely tha the phone is not in my possesion at this time), the phone automatically enables a pin lock code screen. (Which pin lock code changes every day, so someone has to know the algorithm to get into my phone, not just see me enter my code in once, which doesn't have to do with my watch per se, but does have to do with awesome capability of Tasker). Sorry I didn't see your question earlier, hopefully you checked back. Maybe something will trigger an idea for you to implement with tasker and your android wear watch?!
  • This gives me quite a bit to think about.
    I already use Tasker on my phone for forwarding SMS messages based on body or text content from the original SMS from NOAA'S Twitter page for forwarding Tsunami Warnings etc. to family and friends. It's a handy tool.
    Many thanks.
    I'll see if I can wrap my head around this using the watch for various things. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm glad you came back to see the response! I was afraid I took to long. My advice for getting the most out of tasker, whether it's used with a smartwatch or not, is to get familiar with variables. If you start using variables in your profiles, you'll unlock a ton of potential!
  • I find mine most useful during meetings and at tradeshows when I can be discreetly reminded of other appointments or glance at incoming text or email messages without having to use my phone.
  • Zenwatch 2 is a winner
  • I finally found a reason to use underwear.
  • Your doing it wrong Posted via the Android Central App
  • so a little off topic, but every since I got my March security update, it says my ringtone is muted by AW but my phone still rings? notifications are OK just phone calls. tried factory rest on watch and uninstall/install app. no luck. anyone have this problem? N5x on Fi Network here
  • I haven't find the time yet to flash March, but still that happens to me once in a while. I didn't really search for a fix, all I do is toggle that off and back on again. Works until the next time. But yeah it's annoying. Posted via the Android Central App
  • yeah I tried that no luck N5x on Fi Network here
  • Sorry. Maybe look on AC's forum or XDA for a fix. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I work construction and I'd rather destroy my old g watch than my phone. So my phone stays in a toolbox close to me, just in case I have to call back either my wife or my kid's school. But so far the watch is ok, just a very small scratch. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not trying to be a jerk, just wanting to point it out in case you want to fix, though I think it's better this way, plus it would be a good testing ground for the S7, for 30 minutes anyway, but you said Atlantis instead of Atlanta at one point lol "But that wasn't going to happen while AC was in Atlantis, and we actually had to pay attention to what was happening in front of us during the workday or run the risk of being left behind." Posted via the Android Central App
  • :) I know. Atlantis sounds better than Atlanta, and for the first day we thought we were gonna drown with all the rain. Name stuck.
  • When you sit at a desk all day a smart watch is not very useful. But when you are active all day the quick uses are so handy.
  • Not true. I sit at a desk all day and always missed my text messages. With my watch I don't.
  • Exactly. I have to keep my phone either on silent or low but with my pebble steel I don't miss anything.
    Case in point. Family has flu. I was in a meeting today. They needed me and i was able to see the message and call and excuse myself from the meeting to call them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Jerry, I thought you preferred Pebble. Doesn't it do the same thing for your notifications? I'm still happy with my second pebble, but will definitely give Wear a try when the LG G watch LTE rereleases. Can't wait to to have a less janky device with water resistance, GPS, music, and connectivity for jogging without my phone. Currently I use Omate TrueSmart to jog which works, but I would like something a little more polished. Still to be seen if I give up my Pebble for Android wear when I have my phone.
  • I think the pebble with it's timeline and buttons work better for me. But the Huawei Watch looks so much better it's the one I use. Can't help it. Pebble needs to make something expensive and pretty for shallow people like me I reckon :P
  • I agree. I want pebble os on a high end aw watch. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just dropping you a note because I remember talking to you a few months back about this. Turns out none of the peeps who kept their LG watch Urbane 2 LTE (we are about a handful) have had a single issue with it, so if LG re-releases it, I highly recommend it. Battery with cellular, GPS tracking and BT (for music) running in the background is insane. I lose about 17% -19% per hour. Rain, snow, sweat cause no issues.
  • Someone from LG said it was to be rereleased later this year. So I am ready to buy. Hoping they get some competition also to provide some options and drive the price under 300, though I'll buy immediately regardless. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice to see you enjoyed the beauty of Android Wear. It still needs some work, but to stay connected yet keeping the phone out away, it is one of the best solutions out there. Approved by the Z3 Tablet Compact!
  • I use mine to make sure I don't miss text messages from my family. My phone would always be on my desk or in my pocket and I would not feel the slight vibration. I have also found out that most my text replies can be summed up with "okay". :)
  • Even if it continues the theme of "commercial for Asus", the Asus zenwatch2 is a really good Android wear watch for half the price or less of most others.Maybe that is one reason there are a lot of post about it.Speaking of responding to things(see what I did there),it's pretty great that the cheapest(zenwatch2) has a speaker,just as the most expensive mainstream Android wear watch(huawei),does.Same as a another commenter on here,I got mine at an extreme discount at bestbuy.I paid $5.00 after cashing in my reward bucks.The watch is easily worth the asking price,even if I had paid full price.Paying twice the price or more doesn't really seem to add very much to the Android wear experience and functionality, especially without a speaker. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Definitely I didn't even know it had a speaker when I bout it. None of the reviews mentioned that. Then I get a update, swipe right to anwser a call then reach for my phone. Before I got to it someone said hello from the watch. It was crazy lol. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree Amazon has the Zen watch 1&2 at great prices now. I might get one and give my OG Pebble Steel break Posted via the Android Central App
  • I still HAVEN'T found a reason Citizens 4 Constitutional Freedom
  • When I bought my g watch, I didn't really had expectations. I just bought it because... Well because I wanted to. Now, without it, feels like there's something missing. Not to say it's vital, but it grew on me and I think it's really useful. But that's me. And you're you.
    So that may not apply. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I go back and forth using my Moto 360 v2. Sometimes I go weeks without using it and sometimes I use it daily.
  • MacroDroid on your wrist. I have it set up to offer up different actions based on time, location and whatever triggers i find useful. For instance, when my bluetooth headphones connect to my phone, the watch offers actions I commonly do next, like launch the music player, or bring up contacts on the watch to make a call. These macros can eliminate a few steps from your routine, beginning with the "fish phone out from pocket or bag and unlock it" step that every non-wear user has to go through.
  • I switch back and forth between my OG 360 and my Pebble Time. Depends on my mood. I work from home so don't wear a watch all the time but I never leave the house without one of them on. Lately it seems like the battery life on my Moto has gotten worse so I've been wearing the Pebble more but I need to spend some time figuring that out since getting the latest AW update. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The first time I realized how valuable it was was when I was half way through a long meeting and got a notification that my child's school was on look down. I would have never pulled out my phone in that meeting and would have absolutely not seen that text until after the meeting hours later. Sometimes, having glancable notifications is a lifesaver. It's also great for a lot more Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have an LG Urbane. LOVE it. I, too, have noticed a decline in pulling out my phone to do menial tasks that can now all be done from my wrist. Saves a lot and isn't nearly as interrupting as checking the phone during a meeting.
  • And a tech blogger experienced just a little bit of the life of a normal person ;)
  • Android wear is still way too young. It reminds me of the times when android was on gingerbread. Great features [for that time] but horrible overall. I think Google should let OEMs modify the UI instead of keeping it all the same. This is following Windows Phone approach and we all know that was a complete failure. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have the original lg g watch, the most useful thing is to get notifications without having to pull out your phone. Almost all smart watches will do this.
    I use CloudMagic Email and I can read and delete from my wrist.
    I hope the next batch of watches add speakers so you can talk from your watch. Though I only paid $85 for this watch, hard to imagine paying $300+ for a watch when I can buy a new phone for that price Posted via Android Central App on 1+1