This year has been big for a new consumer electronics category – smartwatches – and all the big players have entered the market with their offerings. Samsung was one of the first big-name brands to enter the smartwatch space with its Gear smartwatch. After the unexpected popularity of Pebble, the first smartwatch that got sold in good numbers, thanks to an e-ink display, a no-non-sense approach, and long battery life, Google entered the smartwatch space last year with Android Wear. Not long after, Apple introduced its much awaited product, the Apple Watch, late last year, but the smartwatch actually started shipping out to consumers in April 2015.
The first generation of smartwatches, be it from Pebble, Samsung, LG, or Motorola, lacked the charm of an actual watch. Except maybe the Motorola Moto 360, all the other smartwatches looked like cheap toys. Starting this year, brands understood that people like smartwatches that look like analog watches, hence they started releasing some nice looking smartwatches. LG started this trend with the G Watch R, and then perfected it with the Watch Urbane. Samsung introduced the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 smartwatches that resemble sports watch and a classic analog watch respectively. ASUS released a couple of ZenWatch models and Huawei released the Huawei Watch, and all of them resemble proper analog watches.
Coming back to the LG Watch Urbane, which is probably the best equipped Android Wear-based smartwatch on sale right now. I purchased the LG Watch Urbane a few weeks ago after resisting the purchase for a few months now. I have used a bunch of smartwatches till now including the Apple Watch Sport (38mm), the Motorola Moto 360, the Pebble Time Steel, and the LG Watch Urbane. I have been using the LG Watch Urbane for a few weeks now, and here are my first impressions on the smartwatch, but first, have a look at its complete specifications.
LG Watch Urbane Specifications
- 1.3-inch Full Circle P OLED display, 320 x 320 pixels
- Genuine Leather Strap with Stitching
- Android Wear 5.1.1 Lollipop
- Compatibility: Android 4.4 KitKat (and upwards) and Apple iOS 8 (and upwards)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 305 GPU
- 512MB RAM and 4GB eMMC internal storage
- IP67-certified; 9-Axis Gyro; Heart-Rate Monitor
- Bluetooth 4.1 (LE, HS, and A2DP), Wi-Fi b/g/n, Pogo Pin For Charging
- 410 mAh battery; 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9mm; 66.5g
Unboxing & Box Contents
The LG Watch Urbane comes in a nice square package that reminds you of boxes that some relatively expensive non-smartwatches come packed in. The box comes with ‘LG Watch Urbane’, ‘LG’, and ‘Android Wear by Google’ branding on the top and the sides, and specifications on the back. After removing that top lid of the box, you are greeted with the Watch Urbane itself, which is placed in a base which feels like leather. Underneath that base, you’ll find two boxes, one with the charging cradle and the microUSB cable, and the other with some quick start guides.
The first thing you notice after using the LG Watch Urbane is that the company has improved its smartwatch efforts a lot since the LG G Watch. It feels hefty, and it comes with a genuine 22mm leather band with a stitching pattern. My Watch Urbane has a silver dial with black leather strap. LG also offers another variant with a gold dial and a brown leather strap. If you don’t like the supplied watch strap, you can replace it with any other 22mm strap of your choice as it comes with a standard strap connector. There’s a power button on the right hand side, a microphone below the display, and a heart-rate monitor on its rear. Overall, the Watch Urbane feels like a proper watch in terms of design, comfort, and handling.
The 1.3-inch circular P-OLED display on the Watch Urbane is the first thing you’ll notice when you take the device in your hands. It is decently pixel-dense and the display is bright enough for indoor usage without any problem, but once you are under direct sunlight, you’ll have to try hard to figure out what’s being displayed on the screen. I think that content on the Apple Watch’s display is more visible than on this smartwatch. Pebble Time Steel is the best under direct sunlight, as it shines bright due to its colour E-Ink display. Smartwatches need to go a long way when it comes to outdoor screen visibility.
Performance hasn’t been a problem on the LG Watch Urbane. It comes with a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB internal storage. It runs Android Wear 5.1.1 Lollipop, and every software bit on the watch is rendered smoothly, be it menus, watch faces, or notifications. The watch is compatible with devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and upwards with Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity option. Google recently added Android Wear support for iPhones running iOS 8 and upwards. In my time with the Watch Urbane, I never faced any performance issues, be it on the hardware or the software front. However, I will explain in detail in my full review that’s coming soon.
LG has been successfully able to fit in a large 410 mAh battery inside the Watch Urbane, which is larger than any other smartwatch in the market right now. Most of the other smartwatches come with battery capacities ranging from 200 mAh to 300 mAh. The Watch Urbane can be charged using the supplied cradle, but not using the microUSB cable alone, so you’ll have to carry around the cradle. It takes a little less than an hour to charge the devices, and it lasts a complete day even with an always on watch face. Depending upon the screen brightness level, the watch can last anywhere from 18 hours to 34 hours after a full charge.
I have used the watch with Android smartphones as well as with my Apple iPhone 6 Plus. I will keep you posted with on my experiences with both the platforms when used with Android Wear smartwatches in my full in-depth review of the LG Watch Urbane in the next couple of weeks. Till then, keep following out website for the latest and greatest news and reviews in the smartphone and telecom industry.
Computer science engineer turned technology blogger. Following consumer electronics industry closely from 2006, he can now predict pretty much where the market is heading. He has a dream to own Android, Windows Phone and iOS smartphones all at the same time.