Hands on: LG Watch Urbane

LG's Watch Urbane adds some needed class to the world of Android Wear

The LG Watch Urbane is a classier version of the G Watch R — one of our favorite Android Wear watches around.

Not everyone wants a sporty-looking smart watch, and while the G Watch R is a good looking piece of wearable tech, the solid black body and chunky bezel wasn’t for everyone. Step forward, the LG Watch Urbane, an all-new design with a slightly tweaked name, and the same G Watch R specs underneath.

The numbered bezel has gone, and the body now comes in classy gold or classic silver. The flattened, polished bezel catches the light very attractively, and there’s no fuss around the edges, or a multitude of buttons to ruin the minimalist and attractive style. Flip the watch over and the rear panel has been smoothed out, and the screw holes removed, adding to the high-class feel. It’s light, and although the body is slightly thicker than the G Watch R, it isn’t awkward or annoyingly large.

Perhaps the main difference between the Watch Urbane and a traditional, expensive wrist watch is weight. It’s especially interesting to compare it to the the LG Watch Urbane LTE, which is (oddly) a completely different watch that has considerably more heft to it, and felt like a pricier piece of equipment. Comparing the two made the Watch Urbane feel a little toy-like against its LTE-equipped, WebOS-based OS cousin. Something different happens when you put it up against the G Watch R, which despite being only a few months old, looks surprisingly dated. It’s not ugly or unusable, just not as modern, design-wise.

LG has stayed with the standard watch band style, meaning it’s easy to swap it out for one of your own choice, but the one which comes attached has been improved over the G Watch R. It’s still made of leather, but is slimmed down and tapered at one end, complete with a contrasting stitch running down either side. The watch we tried was brand-new, and the leather was very stiff, but it should soften down after a few days.

The Watch Urbane looks more mature, and that’s a big step forward in the smart watch world.

The spec sheet reads the same as the G Watch R. That means a 1.3-inch P-OLED color touchscreen, a Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage memory, and Google’s Android Wear operating system. The battery will last a couple of days, there’s a heart rate sensor on the back, and the body’s waterproof. You may have noticed LG has dropped the “G” from the name, leaving us with simply the LG Watch, a decision made apparently to keep give the wearable range more identity, and not directly link it with LG’s smartphones.

It’s difficult to get over excited about the Watch Urbane, because it’s technically the same as the G Watch R, and not as interesting or noteworthy as the Watch Urbane LTE. However, the Watch Urbane looks more mature. That’s a big step forward in the smart watch world, which is often criticized for producing chunky, clunky, and overly masculine hardware.

The Watch Urbane’s still not a universal watch, but it’ll appeal to a wider range of potential buyers because the design’s edging ever-closer to that of a normal wristwatch. Match it with the right watchface and it’s a striking, stylish timepiece. This means if you saw it on the shelf next to the G Watch R, you’d probably pick it up first — probably before you picked up the Moto 360, too. LG is focusing on the design, and not the features, with the Watch Urbane, and the fact we’d pick it up first shows it’s strategy is working.

Highs:

  • Classic, stylish design
  • Beautiful color screen
  • Decent battery life
  • Waterproof

Lows:

  • Technically the same as the G Watch R
  • Still not truly unisex
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