The LG Watch Urbane is the latest offering by the South Korean multinational electronics company. Actually, it’s a dressed up LG G Watch R. Take the G Watch R, replace the plastic case with a stainless steel case, swap out the generic lather band with a nicely stitched one and you get the Urbane.
In other words, the two watches look different on the surface but have the same dimensions as well as innards.
If the name didn’t give away, you’ll realize at first glance that it’s a masculine, fashion-first watch with a relatively high price tag of $349 (£259, AU$459). You can shop around to get a better deal, like Amazon is currently selling the watch for $335 plus free shipping. Yet, it costs the as much as the cheapest version of the Apple Watch.
Currently, LG Watch Urbane is the most expensive Android Wear-based smartwatch, but that’ll change soon when Tag Heuer starts shipping their $1,400 watch.
- Price : $349.99
- Display : 1.3-inch Full Circle P-OLED
- Compatible with : devices running on Android 4.3 and later
- Battery: 410mAh
- Operating system : Android Wear
- Processor : Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400, 1.2GHz
- Dust/Water Resistance: IP67
- Memory : 512 MB RAM
- Storage : 4 GB
- Dimensions/Weight : 46.4 x 53.6 x 9.7 mm (Bezel Ring included 11.1mm)/62g
- Sensors : 9-Axis (Gyro, Accelerometer, Compass), PPG(Hear rate monitor), Barometer
In-depth LG Watch Urbane Review
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the features of the watch.
Finally, there are subtle changes to the user interface of Android Wear. The earlier interface was just a mess, but thankfully the latest interface has been de-cluttered. You can tap on the screen or swipe left to see a cleaned up version of your app list. The three recently used apps will appear on top, while the rest are listed in alphabetic order underneath.
It’s the first smartwatch that comes with the latest Android 5.1.1 preinstalled, which puts it above the other smartwatches, but it’s just a matter of time before others also catch up to the same version. So, there’s nothing too special about the watch apart from its better looks.
Android Wear watches already had an always on feature, but the 5.1.1 has sort of a hybrid mode that shows the basic info in a partial watch face with fewer colors and less detailing. When you hold your wrist up, full watch face with detailed info will appear.
Another nice new feature is hands-free gestures: flick your wrist towards you or away from you to skip Google Now cards or dismiss them. Though the process works just fine, it has its limitations, for example you can’t use gestures to read through emails by scrolling them.
So, we can say that the interface has finally moved up a notch, but yet has a long way to go.
Same old, same old!
The 320 x 320p P-OLED 1.3-inch, 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage – these are the specs that we’ve seen in several recent Android Wear watches.
Display and design
Just like the LG G Watch R, it has a 1.3-in P-OLED full circular display with a resolution of 320 x 320. That boils down to a pixel density of 245 ppi, which isn’t bad, however, sometimes it presents a rather pixelated picture and the display isn’t ideal for reading text in sunlight.
Urbane’s display is slightly smaller than the 1.56-inch display of the arch rival Moto 360. Urbane looks more elegant but has lesser space for swiping and tapping; so, it all comes down to your personal preferences.
As for the design, the LG G Watch R fits best in the world of runners and outdoor enthusiasts, whereas the Urbane is suited for more sophisticated, white-collar users.
The stainless steel body comes with a genuine stitched leather band which can be swapped with any standard 22 mm strap. The watch comes in two colors: rose gold and silver. The color scheme is probably an attempt by LG to attract female users, but because of a bigger dial the watch only looks good on thick, masculine wrists.
The bezel has been slightly thinned down and flattened, unlike the detailed dial of G Watch R. There are no buttons, but just a crown which gives the watch a true traditional look. Unlike the digital crown of the Apple Watch, the crown in Urbane doesn’t do much beyond serving as a back button.
All in all, it’s a thick and heavy watch; two big no-nos when you’re talking about a wristwatch. While the watch does look very elegant and has a touch of professional class, but it will not only look out of place on a thin wrist but might also hurt a bit. The real problem isn’t the thickness or volume but the lugs. They are a little too thick and make it nearly impossible for the watch to remain snugly wrapped around your wrist, there’s always a little gap in between.
Charging and battery life
It packs the same 410mAh battery as the one found in the Watch R. Both watches can outlive the Mot 360, with their two-day battery life. To charge the watch, you’ll need a familiar magnetic cradle that we saw with the G Watch R. The two cradles are so similar, you might think they are interchangeable… but unfortunately they are not.
Dust and water resistance
It’s rated IP67 dust and water resistant. That means it’s virtually dustproof and won’t suffer any damages if submerged up to 1 meter under water for up to 30 minutes (make sure to remove the leather strap if you want to put the watch to the test).
Features and apps
In addition to the standard features of Android Wear, a big new feature is Wi-Fi support. The major benefit of this feature is that your Urbane can receive notifications, send/receive text messages and use any app, even when you don’t have your smartphone nearby. Your phone, however, must be connected to the watch through a Wi-Fi or LTE connection. It can be handy if you don’t want to keep your phone in your pocket all the time (in your house or office) but still don’t want to miss out on the important notifications.
Another interesting, though not as useful, feature is the ability to draw emoticons. Just doodle an outline or a random sketch and the software gives several options that show the emojis that match your drawing. But, unlike the sketchable messages of the Apple Watch, you can draw and send one or more drawings in a message, but can’t send the drawing itself. The process isn’t 100% accurate all the times, but it’s a nice to have feature.
If you’re thinking, “is that all the upgraded software has to offer? There’s nothing really ground-breaking in it”, then you’re absolutely right.
Other features include the standard Google Apps including Play Music, Gmail, Agenda, Stopwatch timer, Flashlight, and Amazon, Find My Phone, LG Pulse, recent calls etc.
The watch doesn’t come with GPS… bummer! The runners and fitness enthusiasts might not like LG’s reasoning that GPS would drain out the battery quickly.
The watch has several sensors including the heart-rate monitor at the backside of the watch. But it isn’t any better than the ones found in other watches; you have to keep your arm still and wait for a while to get a reading – that nearly kills its purpose for gym-goers and runners.
The LG Watch Urbane is a classy and elegant timepiece with the latest software. The only concern is its slightly higher price. But if you consider it a polished rival of the Apple Watch, the price seems fair as it costs as low as the cheapest version of the Apple Watch.
However, if style isn’t your primary concern and you can live with a slightly less pretty smartwatch, we recommend you consider the LG G Watch R which will bring the same features but also saves you a hundred bucks.
LG Watch Urbane
DESIGN & DISPLAY9/10
COMPATIBILITY & CONNECTIVITY6/10
FEATURES & APPS8/10
- Fashionable and stylish
- Android Wear 5.1.1 installed
- Full circular display
- Decent battery life
- Solid build
- No GPS
- Not a unisex design
- Difficult to read in sunlight