LG Watch Urbane Review
I’ve been using the LG Watch Urbane for more than a month now, and for a specific set of reasons, the most expensive Android Wear smartwatch has convinced me that the whole smatwatch game isn’t a fad; it’s a revolution in the making.
Design & Construction
The LG Watch Urbane is large, circular and made out of metal, glass and leather. The one we have here is silver, and it looks really classy. It might be gigantic for some, but I like it. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I got this; I didn’t want to settle for a smartwatch that doesn’t look good despite an affordable price.
And trust me, you want to have a good looking smartwatch because you’ll be wearing it most of the time. You don’t want to look like you have a square slab of tech strapped to your wrist in parties, while traveling, or in any similar scenario.
The Urbane also has a heart rate monitor packed on the back, which is hit or miss, but still nice to have. It’s also waterproof, so I don’t have to worry about it in the rain (the leather will smell though).
Despite being a metal smartwatch, the Urbane is only slightly heavy. It still feels natural on your wrists, but I still breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the day when I take it off to charge.
The display of the Urbane is also amazing. Details are crisp for the built-in software (some third party apps aren’t optimized), and I can see what I need to see in daylight. If I can’t, I simply swipe away to turn on the brightness boost which works wonders.
To me, this is an outstanding feat, mainly because it’s an OLED display. Not only does it look good being circular, it also saves battery life by not lighting up black colors at all, and it has a very impressive set of elements from the colors to the brightness.
What I do worry about though is scratching the Urbane. The metal bezels already have a few hairline scratches in my month of use, but gladly the Gorilla Glass still holds up quite well.
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Android Wear is simple, and it’s consistent across other smartwatches running it, so if you know how to use one, there’s no learning curve here, except for a few things that changed with the software update last week.
There is one physical button on the left: 1 press will bring you home, 2 consecutive presses will turn on theater mode, and holding the button down will show you your apps.
Then there’s the watch face, the notifications if you swipe up, apps & shortcuts to the right, and controls and toggles if you swipe down.
The LG Watch Urbane comes with a plethora of watchfaces, most looked pretty rad while some didn’t appeal too much to my taste. There were son many to choose from, in fact, that I didn’t feel the need to download more watchfaces from the Play Store anymore.
Some watchfaces that I enjoyed using include the Gold & Silver Chairman and Chronos for formal events, Increment for times I don’t want my watch stealing attention, and Classic for the times I wanna show off some effects on the watch as it shines when you move the watch in angles.
Google Fit is pretty useful for measuring my steps, but not my heart rate. LG also bundled Pulse and Call apps, but I don’t use them as it doesn’t really add anything new into what Google already offers — I accept or reject calls, I check my notifications, I use Smart Lock and Find my Phone, and I check the time.
Here’s what I don’t use the smartwatch for.
Even if I have a calculator app installed into the Urbane, I don’t use it. I don’t check my heart rate. I don’t use the brightness-dependent Flashlight app. Maybe if I was able to pin the stopwatch, the timer and the alarm into the top, I’d use it but I can’t. And most of all, I don’t use voice control for anything — not for search, not for typing. Gladly, however, I don’t feel bad at all, as these things are still actions I wanna do in a more specialized device — a fitness device or a larger screen perhaps.
The only problem so far? The user base and the ecosystem needs to grow. That’s not even a problem of this watch specifically, but more of Android Wear’s, as this watch is already good in itself, but the potential here is huge: if only more people used Voice Control on their wrists without looking like a jerk or a weirdo. If only there were more quality apps on the Store. If only my friends wore one so I could send messages on the Together app. If only.
Performance & Battery Life
Good news! The Urbane works smooth without lag, and the few rare times that I noticed any lag is when it fetched all of the notifications after a long day of it not being connected to a wireless hotspot. Give it a minute or two and you’ll be back to a buttery-smooth smartwatch.
The battery life is also amazing, especially after the last update. With a short day in school, the battery life remains almost untouched at 70 – 80%, and if I start my day early and end it late, I end up with 15% from 7 AM to 11 PM. That’s nowhere near the battery lives of classic watches, but for a watch that does more, I’m happy that it still has an extra juice at the end of the day. After all, I’ll always remove my watch when I sleep or when I take a bath.
And if you wanna wear it to sleep for your alarms or priority notifications, you can do so (though I don’t wake up to my watch alarms). When you wake up and you decide that you don’t have enough juice, you can charge it in the cradle and have your breakfast, take a bath and all that – when you get back, you’ve probably charged up nearly half or even more.
I have no regrets getting the LG Watch Urbane. When I considered getting a wearable, a part of me knew I would regret it, but this smartwatch didn’t give me reasons to do so. I could have saved the money for some other things or spent it on more affordable smartwatches, but I’m glad I went for no compromise instead – it’s fashionable, it functions and performs quite well, and battery life is outstanding.
LG Watch Urbane specs:
1.3-inch P-OLED touchscreen @ 320×320 pixels, 348ppi
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 ARM Cortex-A7
1.2GHz quad-core Adreno 305
4GB internal storage
WiFi 802.11 b/g/c
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
410mAh Li-ion battery
IP67 certified (dust and water resistant)
LG Wearable Platform
Android Wear 5.1.1
The LG Watch Urbane also comes in a gold variant and is sold in the US at $350. That’s the starting price of the cheapest Apple Watch, and not a lot of users would find that price point very attractive. However, if it does arrive here at around Php20k, I assure you it’s a good buy if you have to spend on both technology and fashion.