LG announced its brand new gorgeous LG Watch Urbane LTE a few days ago and today we had the opportunity to get our hands on it. Unlike its sibling the LG Watch Urbane, this model does not run Android Wear, in fact, to enable LTE connectivity and NFC payment, the South Korean manufacturer had to develop its own operating system, branded LG Wearable Platform and based on WebOS.
During the briefing, LG executives insisted that the company will still develop mainstream wearable devices with Android Wear, alongside more ambitious experimental projects on the LG Wearable Platform, in order to address a broader range of customers.
The LG Watch Urbane LTE is a stand alone device capable of placing and receiving phone calls and sending sms, and it can be connected to any Android Smartphone. LG mentioned that iOS compatibility could be an option in the future, although it was not confirmed yet. The Audi version of the Urbane is slightly different, an early prototype was spotted during CES and we will make sure to stop by the German car manufacturer to check it out.
Pricing and availability were not confirmed, however we were told that the new LTE Smartwatch will launch first in Sour Korea, probably within the next couple of months.
I spent an hour playing tieh the Urbane LTE, check my complete article to see if you like it as much as I did.
- Product weight 115g
- Display Type 1.3″-inch full circle Plastic OLED (P-OLED)
- Resolution 320 x 320 pixels, (245 ppi)
- Diagonal 1.3-inch (circle)
- Processor 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400
- OS LG Wearable Platform
- Camera No
- Connectivity WiFi 802.11 b, g, n / Bluetooth 4.0LE / NFC
- Network: LTE
- Internal storage 4GB eMMC
- RAM 1GB LPDDR3
- Battery Capacity 700mAh
- Sensors: 9-Axis, (Gyro/ Accelerometer/ Compass), PPG (heart rate monitor), Barometer, GPS
- Dust and Water Resistance IP67
- Color: silver
- Speaker / Microphone
The LG Watch Urbane LTE get a similar hardware than the LG G Watch R. The 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 is the same except for the RAM, the new model gets 1GB instead of 512MB. The 1.3-inch P-OLED display is exactly the same with a 320 x 320 pixels, (245 ppi) resolution.
At 115g, the Urbane LTE is heavier than the The LG G watch R (62g) and the Urbane (66.5g) due to the larger 700mAh battery required by the LTE connectivity.
There is no GPS in the LG G Watch R and the new Urbane LTE gets one.
The major difference between the LG Watch Urbane LTE and the former model G Watch R is the operating system, the Urbane LTE runs the LG Wearable Platform based on WebOS which features quite a different user interface than Android Wear in addition to full phone capabilities. The NFC feature is a new addition as well.
The industrial design is quite different as well s you can see in the various photo gallery, check our LG G watch R review to compare the differences.
As usual the 1.3-inch P-OLED display is excellent, and it uses the full circular surface. LG confirmed that it is the exact same display as the LG G Watch R. There was not a whole lot photos in the gallery to showcase the full range of colors that can be rendered but it was sufficient to get a good impression of the screen technology. Similarly to the Lg G Watch R, the LG Watch Urbane LTE offers an always-on ambient mode.
Industrial design (very good)
The elegant silver metal chassis is slightly bulkier than the LG G watch but it did not bother me at all, since the larger screen surface is more comfortable to use for various functions such as messaging or watching photos.
Two more buttons were added to the central one on the right side, which gives more control over the user interface. As I already pointed out in a previous paragraph, the devices is a little heavier at 115 grams than the LG G Watch R due to the larger battery. The wristband is made of plastic, a choice that is a little disappointing for such an elegant metal design.
Hardware and performance (very good)
The touch interface is very responsive and easy to use, the combination of horizontal swipe and physical button to operate the watch is great and feels more intuitive than the four ways swipe that we know from a competitive Smartwatch.
As previously mentioned, the hardware provides similar features than the LG G watch R, except for the larger battery (700 mAh instead of 400 mAh), the GPS and the increased RAM of 1GB. The 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 and the 1.3″-inchPlastic OLED are the same as the previous model.
Software and user interface – LG Wearable Platform based on WebOS (very good)
The key feature of this new smartwatch is the new operating system a.k.a. LG Wearable Platform, based on a customization of WebOS. The new user interface is very intuitive and responsive, and I enjoyed trying it for the brief time I could hold the device in my hands. Check out the video to see how most of the functions work, please note that we could not connect the LG Watch Urbane LTE to a phone, so emails and contacts were empty.
Basically you operate the Urbane LTE using three buttons on the side, which offer easier access to the multiple menus without the need to swipe.
Back and Favorite number – bottom button
The bottom button acts as a back button and when long pressed becomes a safety feature that automatically dials any preset phone number while sending the location coordinates of the user.
Quick Setting – top button
The button at the top accesses the Quick Setting where you can access twelve functions that you can see on the photo below.
Apps – central button
The main center button switches between the watch face and list of installed apps. To browse the apps you need to swipe vertically on the touch screen. below I have listed some of the application that were available on the demo unit. many functions did not work because they required either to create an account or to connect to a Smartphone.
The LG Watch urbane LTE is a stand alone phone and you can dial a number and place a call directly from the device. The numeric pad was quite easy to use, the keys were large enough to be operated easily with my fingers.
Similarly, you can write and send messages without being connected to a smartphone. Despite the small size, the keyboard was surprisingly easy to use and very responsive.
Thanks to the internal storage you can listen to music directly on your watch, and the speaker is quite good for the tiny size. the re is another application in the list that allows to remote control your music stored in your smartphone from the Urbane LTE.
I really loved the calendar interface, all the dates are displayed around the display and you can swipe circularly to select a day. (see photo)
I could briefly check the email app on one of the LG representatives watch that was connected to his phone, however I could not play with it.
The photo gallery is fun to play with, you can either display the picture in full screen in the circular shape or get the full rectangular picture in a smaller size.
LG puts some effort in the activity tracking features and grouped them in the LG Health application. In addtion there are three dedicated sport applications for Golf
According to the manufacturer, the estimated battery life in continuous use is a full day, which is less than what we have experienced with the LG G Watch (one day and a half sometimes almost two days depending on usage). I am curious to see if this will hold up in the real world, knowing that LTE connectivity is so power hungry, although the watch features the category’s largest 700mAh battery.
The LG Watch urbane is impressive and beautifully crafted. The new user interface based on WebOS is really intuitive with a fully functional keyboard for messaging and placing phone calls. I am eager to know the pricing and when we will be able to get it in the US.