LG Watch Urbane review

LG announced two new smartwatches at MWC 2015 in Barcelona with a more luxury feel and one can even make phone calls. Here's our LG Watch Urbane review which runs on Android Wear. Updated on 17/7/15 with our video review. Read: The best smartwatches.

Also see: Best Black Friday Smartwatch Deals

As one of the first makers of an Android Wear smartwatch, it's no surprise that we have various models to choose from. The new LG Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE drop the 'G' from the name but look very similar. This is strange but nevertheless what LG has decided to do and what's even more confusing is that the LTE model isn't simply the same watch but with 4G connectivity. It runs on LG's own operating system based on webOS and has a slightly different design.

LG Watch Urbane review: Price

With its design and build superior to most Android Wear smartwatches, the LG Watch Urbane fetches a higher price. While most cost between £150 and £200, the Urbane is £259 so is quite expensive although cheaper than the entry level Apple Watch. It was initially up for pre-order at £299.

Since the Watch Urbane is essentially a G Watch R with a new design, it's worth pointing out that its predecessor is available for £189 making it significantly cheaper.

LG Watch Urbane review

LG Watch Urbane review: Design and build

Looking very much like its predecessor, the LG Watch Urbane has been upgraded to a full metal casing which will be available in a nice silver option and a more blingtastic gold. You'd think that the LTE model is the same but with added mobile connectivity, but it's actually quite different. We'll review it separately when we can get hold of a sample so stay tuned on that front.

A watch like this is supposed to be big and heavy so be warned – if that's what you're looking for then great but some may find this device too bulky and unwieldy for their wrist. It's 67g and 10.9m which is hardly svelte – although thinner than the G Watch R because it doesn't have the dished bezel around the screen.

The silver model comes with a black leather strap while the gold is paired with a brown strap. You can swap them out for any strap with 22mm pins which is a handy option to have. As expected, the leather is stiff at first but softens over time making it more comfortable.

Like its sort of predecessor, the Watch Urbane has an IP67 rated design meaning it's waterproof. LG warns to keep it to 30 minutes, up to a depth of 1 meter in still tap water at room temperature, though.

LG Watch Urbane review

LG Watch Urbane review: Hardware and performance

The design is the big change here when comparing the Urbane to the G Watch R. The hardware and specs remain the same so here you'll still get a 1.3in P-OLED screen (320 x 320), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 4 GB of internal storage.

The screen is crisp and has decent brightness so you can read it easily indoors and out. However, you'll probably want to switch the always on feature to save battery (see below) since there's no ambient light sensor for automatically adjusting brightness.

There's also 512 MB of RAM, the same heart rate monitor on the underside and other sensors including a barometer, accelerometer and compass – there's no GPS if you're looking to track runs or cycles. As with other heart rate monitors on watches, taking a reading is very much hit and miss so you often need to press the watch firmly onto your skin to help it out.

LG Watch Urbane review

A big new addition is built-in Wi-Fi which means you can still use the Watch Urbane even without having it connected to a companion device – minus any phone specific notifications such as calls and txt messages, of course. You can select this option when setting up the watch with the Android Wear app.

The battery inside the Watch Urbane is the same size as the G Watch R which is 410mAh and it still charges via a magnetic dock – that's why there are five circular metal contacts on the backside. In terms of battery life, you'll get just over a day but if you switch the 'always on' function off then the screen will consume less power and you'll get a couple of days from the Watch Urbane, maybe even three if your usage is light.

As well as Wi-Fi connectivity the Watch Urbane has more tricks up its sleeve thanks to the recent update to Android Wear. The menu is now split into three sections which contain apps, contacts and available commands. It's a welcome change and makes using the OS a lot easier than previously.

The apps menu will display recently used ones at the top but don't get too excited about the LG Call apps because the watch doesn't have a speaker so it's just for initiating a call on your connected phone.

LG Watch Urbane: Specs

  • Android Wear
  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • 4GB storage
  • 512MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • 1.3in POLED screen (320x320, 245ppi)
  • Voice mic
  • Stainless steel cover
  • Genuine leather strap
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 410mAh battery
  • IP67
  • 46x52x10.9mm
  • 67g
  • Android Wear
  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • 4GB storage
  • 512MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • 1.3in POLED screen (320x320, 245ppi)
  • Voice mic
  • Stainless steel cover
  • Genuine leather strap
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 410mAh battery
  • IP67
  • 46x52x10.9mm
  • 67g

OUR VERDICT

There's a lot to like about the LG Watch Urbane with its handy Wi-Fi connectivity and the welcome new version of Android Wear. Since it's essentially the same device as the G Watch R in terms of hardware, your purchase really hinges on the design. It is expensive and bulky so we can't see it appearing to the masses so the G Watch R is still our recommended choice.

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