The LG G Watch R already looked good, but the LG Watch Urbane looks even better. That’s important, because appearance is really the thing that sets the two watches aside. The Urbane has a stainless steel finish and a leatherstrap for that expensive, business-chic look. But it’s a tough sell at $349, which is similar price as the bottom style of the Apple Watch, and more than the Pebble ($89.99). And despite the newest 5.1 pc software update, Android Wear still underwhelms.
HARDWARE AND BATTERY LIFE
Because the Urbane is a near-exact match of the G Watch R, it has exactly the same innards, including a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of storage space. In addition contains an accelerometer, a barometer, a compass, a gyroscope, a pedometer, and a heart price monitor. The last was a bit finicky during testing; it jumped from 56 beats each minute to the high 70s in back-to-back readings. Also like the G Watch R, the Urbane uses a 410mAh battery that can last for perhaps two times if you only use it to inform time, or even for fundamental tasks like the stopwatch app or heart price monitor. Otherwise you’ll have to recharge it nightly, which remains a major drawback for nearly all smartwatches currently available, including the recent Apple Watch. Only the Pebble family lasts up to a week on just one charge. The Urbane makes use of a magnetic charging cradle. The connection is pretty good, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting it to stay put provided that it is on a flat surface. It also vibrates slightly therefore you know when the watch is docked, and the display gives you a circular graphic that indicates how much battery energy is restored. Like other Android Wear watches, the Urbane connects to devices that run Android 4.3 and greater via Bluetooth 4.0. For this review I tested it with an HTC One M9.
ANDROID WEAR UPDATES
The Urbane is the first smartwatch to ship with the latest form of Android Wear, 5.1, which includes built-in Wi-Fi support. That means you need to use the watch without a phone or tablet nearby, supplied the watch is linked to a Wi-Fi signal. That’s a plus, but you’re still mostly relegated to indoor environments or general public spaces where Wi-Fi is provided. As well as in order to connect with password-protected networks—which is most of them—you nevertheless need to pull out your phone to type in the rule. This indicates that the smartwatch, no matter how difficult it attempts, just cannot get way from relying on the smartphone. Android Wear 5.1 introduces wrist flick gestures for scrolling through the menu’s “card” interface. It did not work just like numerous times as it reacted precisely to my movements. It may be useful when your other hand is busy holding onto a subway pole, but We can’t think of numerous other real-world scenarios for it. Plus, it just looks and feels awkward. The Android Wear up-date also improves menu navigation. You can swipe left when through the home screen to gain access to a vertical set of apps, twice to view your connections, and three times to list the basic actions the watch is capable of doing. Beyond that, there’s not much else to your update, which will also be available on other Android Wear devices. Yes, you can find some new view faces, but the Urbane is still primarily for delivering notifications and voice commands.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
LG doesn’t exactly go back to the drawing board with the Urbane, but the design refresh is the lone distinguishing factor between it and the G Watch R. The Urbane’s face remains round, but it’s nestled in stainless steel with a silver finish, as opposed to the black plastic of the G Watch R. It’s a far more classic look than its predecessor’s, and it’s definitely more highend than you’ll see on similar Android Wear smartwatches such as the Motorola Moto 360. Screen apart, the Urbane looks similar to a traditional timepiece than some sci-fi device strapped to your wrist. The connected black leather band with whitestitching is a noticable difference over the cheap-looking, rubbery sport straps you get with mostsmartwatches, however it does not feel such as the best qualitygiven the price. The fabric already showed up wrinkledand stressed in particular areas after a few days of good use, andit’s far too rigid for my taste. You are able to switch it out forany 22mm band of your choice, but chances are thatpart of the main reason you’re buying this watch is for theleather musical organization. The view is rated IP67 for dust andwater resistance as much as one meter for half an hour, butyou’ll nevertheless desire to take care to keep that leather bandout for the water. Then there’s the size of the Urbane:the same size as the G Watch R, which measures1.8 by 2.1 by 0.4 ins (HWD). But the Urbaneis slightly heavier, too, coming in at 2.3 ounces.I found it comfortable sufficient to wear, so thebulk didn’t bother me in excess. Still, bewarned that that is a big watch, and if you haveslender wrists (when I do) the Urbane’s size iseven more apparent. The plastic OLED (P-OLED) display lookssharp and vibrant. It’s the exact same 1.3-inch, 320by-320 screen as on the G Watch R, so blacksare rich, whites are bright, and colors look clearand crisp, even in direct sunlight. Overall, thedisplay can be compared with the Apple Watch’sin terms of brightness and quality. Pressing thecrown on the side activates the display;otherwise, the Urbane is locked in a dimmed,always-on state when you’re not actively usingit in order to save lots of battery energy. Tapping italso triggers the screen.