LG’s Urbane LTE is the coolest standalone smartwatch in town, but it’s super expensive

LG Watch Urbane LTE
Jeffery Van Camp/Digital Trends

You may already know the LG Watch Urbane, a restyled version of the G Watch R, but there is also another version of the Urbane that has an LTE modem built-in, so it can be used to make and receive VoLTE calls, send messages, and take advantage of the fastest data network speeds. Yes, all that on a watch.

Updated on 03-26-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added pricing and availability info for the LG Urbane LTE.

When we tried it out at Mobile World Congress, we fell in love with the Urbane LTE. Its cool interface, classy look, and high-end materials made it our favorite smartwatch of the show. For more of our impressions, read our hands on post.

It’s pretty pricey, and it’s only coming to South Korea

LG finally revealed the pricing for the Urbane LTE, and its high price tag may come as something of a shock. In South Korea, the watch will sell for 650,000 won or $590 — That’s more than the entry-level Apple Watch, and twice that of the standard LG G Watch R. To add insult to injury, it seems that the Urbane LTE will only be available for purchase in Korea. This isn’t much of a surprise. LG is committed to Android Wear, and warned us at the launch it would be a Korean exclusive for now.

A standalone smartwatch with WebOS and lots of features

It’s not the first standalone smartwatch we’ve seen — Samsung released the Gear S late last year, for example — but it is unique in its use of LTE. The voice communication feature isn’t the only similarity between it and the Gear S either, because the Urbane LTE doesn’t run Android Wear. LG is using the watch as a showcase for its own, WebOS-based Wearable Platform, just like Samsung does with Tizen. We really enjoyed using the new interface, and found it much more user-friendly than Android Wear.

Despite its proprietary nature, the Watch Urbane LTE isn’t limited to use with LG’s phones, and we’re told the watch will happily function with all Android smartphones running Android 4.4 or later. There are a few spec changes inside the watch. First, and probably most importantly given the addition of an energy sucking LTE modem, the battery has been increased to one with a 700mAh capacity.

There’s no mention of the expected standby time, but LG’s confident it’ll last a day even when using the voice feature. A special battery-saving mode is entered when the watch is taken off, which could help extend the battery life, plus LG’s made a new charging cradle which holds the watch face at 90 degrees. The Snapdragon processor also gets 1GB of RAM.

NFC has been added to the Urbane 4G, and it can be used for completing mobile payments, but it’s not clear where this feature will be enabled, or which services it supports. The Urbane LTE also has a slightly different design, with three buttons mounted on the right side of the body. These are for accessing a quick settings mode, the clock or menu screen, and returning to a previous screen. Holding one of the buttons can make a fast call to a pre-specified number — handy in an emergency.