Review: LG Watch Urbane

91+MPGeqeGL._SL1500_When the Apple Watch was released earlier this year, many critics found several problems that needed to be addressed. Battery life was just one of those issues. But critics also recognized that this was Apple’s first venture into watch technology, and so that future versions of the Apple Watch would correct these issues. Let’s face it, the first generation of iPods and iPads had issues as well but have since been improved upon.

LG, a major player in the Android camp, has already had two versions of its watches in release. Their first watch was the LG G Watch introduced in June of 2014 that had a rectangular display like the Apple Watch. In October of last year LG came out with the LG G Watch R that featured a round face. This year LG introduced its third version, the LG Watch Urbane.

This watch is an Android phone that works only on Google’s Android system format. This exclusivity is just like Apple watches that only work on iPhones 4S or later. So if you like the LG’s features, forget about it if you are using an iPhone.

Pricing

The Urbane is a stainless steel design that comes in silver or pink gold (LG’s term) with a genuine leather strap. The strap is a standard 22mm size and can be easily replaced with a metal band if so desired.

This watch is the most expensive of all the Android models at $350, comparable to Apple’s starting price.   However, you can easily find discounts around $300. Try and get Apple to discount their watches!

Size

One of the most attractive features of the LG Watch Urbane is its size. It’s about the size of a normal watch—46.5mm x 52.2mm. The watch is even thinner than Apple’s. The LG measures at 10.9mm while the Apple Watch measures 11.5mm.

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Calling Capabilities

You can view calls as they come in on your LG Watch Urbane, however you need to then go to your phone to answer the call. LG has created an app, LG Call, software for your phone to perform this function. This is due to one of the phone’s shortcomings—no speaker for the watch.

Features

The LG Watch Urbane offers a beautiful 1.3” P-OLED display comparable to Apple’s Retina display. Even in direct sunlight, the bright colors do not appear washed out. It has a 320 x 320 pixel count. Unlike the Apple Watch, when not fully lit, the watch has an ambient display that displays the time in white on a black background to save battery power.

One of the key benefits of Android Wear is that you can change the watchface display as easily as changing your clothes. The LG Watch Urbane is a perfect example. Just go to Get Watchfaces in Android Wear and you’ll find many faces to choose from. This is as easy as changing the wallpaper on your Mac or iPhone.

The key to the LG Watch Urbane is that it connects to your Android phone via Bluetooth. Installing Android Wear takes care of this function.

Like the Apple Watch, the LG watch has a 3D accelerometer so movement will control certain functions such as turning on the watch’s backlight. It also has a built-in GPS for fitness fans.

If fitness is important to you, the LG Watch Urbane has a built in heart rate monitor and pedometer than tracks your fitness levels. These can be uploaded to various fitness apps for long-term evaluation.

Most smartwatches like Apple’s need to be charged daily. The LG Watch Urbane holds a charge for up to 2 days. Charging is via a magnetic base that attaches to the backside of the watch like Apple’s mechanism.

The LG Watch Urbane is one of the few models that offer Wi-Fi connectivity. If you are not near your phone, you can use Wi-Fi Android Wear offers a myriad of apps that you can load into your watch. These include apps for watch faces, fitness, stopwatches, alarms, music control, etc. to make the right connection.

Android Wear

Android Wear is Google’s watch operating system comparable to Apple’s iOS.

Android Wear offers a myriad of apps that you can load into your watch. These include apps for watch faces, fitness, stopwatches, alarms, music control, etc.

If you own an Android watch, this software permits standardization of controls among all different watch manufacturers. This LG Watch Urbane is one of the first watches to offer Android Wear version 5.1 (aka Lollipop,).

Setup

The installation process is quite simple:

  • Download Android Wear from the Google Play Store – Make sure you have the latest version of the app.
  • Charge Your LG Watch Urbane – Just hook up the included USB cable from your Mac to make sure it is fully charged
  • Open Android Wear on your phone and let Bluetooth find your watch. Just follow the directions within Android Wear.
  • Settings – Make all changes directly from Android Wear on your phone. These changes will automatically appear on your watch.

Evaluation

71LjofUEE7L._SL1500_The LG Watch Urbane performed as expected. It does what it promises. Keep in mind that all smartwatches like other electronics are a mixed bag of pluses and minuses. Do not expect to find the perfect watch on one particular model. They all have shortcomings! You just need to select the watch that is right for you.

What stands out and the main reason to get this watch is its ability to deliver notifications on your wrist. No longer do you need to have to take your phone out of your pocket/purse. At home I do not carry the phone with me.

As indicated above, the phone is quite easy to set up. When you load the app, you will receive steps on how to activate and load your watch with the latest software.

There are a few negatives with this watch. There is no standard metal watchband configuration with this watch. If you want a metal (or other band), you can easily attach it since it uses a standard 22mm size.

For what you are spending on this watch, you would think that LG would offer a speaker to hear calls or music.

Unlike the Apple Watch, the LG Watch Urbane does not offer NFC connectivity. This would help in connecting with ATMs.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a smartphone watch that is truly versatile, there are many watches available to you at substantially higher cost.

But if you were looking for a watch with most of the key apps you would expect with a smartphone connection, the LG Watch Urbane is a serious one to consider. You can still purchase LG’s previous model, the LG G Watch R that has the exact same hardware, but has an oversize bezel that some might find distracting. This older watch retails for $100 less than the Watch Urbane.

However, if you want a stylish watch that has these same functions, the LG Watch Urbane offers much to its users. With a 1.3” P-OLED display and easy to use features, this watch is hard to beat.

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