LG Watch Urbane
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 will set you back £259, although it’s still cheaper than the entry-level Apple Watch, which costs £299.
Looking very much like its predecessor, the G Watch R, the Urbane has been upgraded to a full metal casing, and is available in a silver option and a more blingtastic gold.
A watch like this is supposed to be big and heavy, and if that’s what you’re looking for then great, but some may find this device too bulky and unwieldy for their wrist. Weighing 67g and measuring 46x52x10.9mm, the Urbane is hardly svelte, though it’s 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 option is paired with a brown strap. You can swap them out for any strap with 22mm pins, which is handy. As expected, the leather is stiff at first but softens over time making it more comfortable.
Like its sort of predecessor, the Urbane has an IP67-rated design meaning it’s waterproof. LG warns that you shouldn’t keep it submerged longer than 30 minutes though, or take it to a depth greater than 1m.
The design is the big change here when compared to the G Watch R. The hardware and specs remain the same, so you’ll get a 1.3in (320x320) P-OLED screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 4GB 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 since there’s no ambient light sensor for automatically adjusting brightness.
There’s also 512MB of RAM, the same heart-rate monitor on the underside and other sensors including a barometer, accelerometer and compass. The Watch Urbane lacks GPS, though. 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 on to your skin to help it out.
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 text messages, of course. You can select this option when setting up the watch with the Android Wear app.
The 410mAh battery is the same size as that found in the G Watch R and is charged via a magnetic dock – that’s why there are five circular metal contacts on the rear. In terms of battery life, you’ll get just over a day, but if you turn off the ‘alwayson’ function, then the screen will consume less power and you’ll get a couple of days from the Watch Urbane if your usage is light.
As well as Wi-Fi connectivity, the Watch Urbane has more tricks up its sleeve thanks to the recent Android Wear update. The menu is now split into three sections, which contain apps, contacts and available commands. It’s a welcome change and makes using the operating system 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.
There’s a lot to like about the LG Watch Urbane with it’s Wi-Fi connectivity and the new version of Android Wear. Since in essence, it’s the same device as the G Watch R in terms of hardware, your purchase hinges on the design. It’s expensive and bulky, and we can’t see it appearing to the masses, so the G Watch R is still our recommended choice.