Is the New LG Smart Watch for You?


The new LG smart watch has debuted. It’s called the Urbane. Reviews for it are mixed, but mostly positive. Of course, no matter how awesome a product is, there’s almost no way that there won’t be shortcomings and detractors. The Urbane is no exception. It’s god great features and looks, but there are the inevitable shortcomings. Take a stroll with me and let’s see if the plus side of the equation is less than or greater than the minus side.

The First Things You Notice About the LG Urbane

The Urbane is a beautiful watch. Whether you’re hitting the weights at the gym or going to the theater, it fits. It won’t be out of place the way some other smart watches would be. Quite a few of the products on sale today look like they were designed for either active wear or “black tie and tux” events with no in-between. Not the Urbane. Classic styling that is timeless and that goes everywhere with you comfortably.

Part of that classic styling is the “old-fashioned” stitched leather wristband the watch comes with. I don’t know why, but leather just says “take me to the theater” whereas stainless steel feels more comfortable at the track and the gym. My wrist doesn’t like leather bands though. This means that the fact that LG designed with a standard 22 mm band attachment allows you to swap out that band with ease.

However, although it has an absolutely beautiful round OLED display, it’s big at 1.3 inches in diameter. In comparison, my Timex dress watch’s display measures just under an inch in diameter. Personally, it’s too big for me and it’s absolutely huge when compared to anything I’ve seen most women wear, although I will admit that during my recent trip to Brazil, most watches I saw were even bigger than this one, even the ones women were wearing.

About That OLED Display on the New LG Smart Watch

As mentioned above, the new LG smart watch has a beautiful, although large, OLED display. My Timex uses an older style LCD display. I have problems seeing it in bright sunlight. That’s because it isn’t backlit the way and LED/OLED display is. Because of this backlighting, the screen on the Urbane is easily visible even in the brightest outside light.

The Urbane Gives You More Connectivity Options

From what I’ve seen, every smartwatch out there has Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone. Some even have Wi-Fi. However, unless I’ve missed something in the other watches, the Urbane is the only one that connects to your phone across multiple Wi-Fi networks. What this means is that you can go next door (or the next state) to visit your neighbor wearing your watch and not worry about missing that important phone call even if you leave your phone at home. From what I’ve seen, none of the others can do that. Just might be a big enough feature to outweigh the size (pardon the pun).

There are some issues with the Wi-Fi connectivity that you should be aware of before making a buying decision. The Wi-Fi works great as long as you don’t have to authenticate to log on. This means that you can’t leave your phone at your desk and walk across the street to Starbuck’s and expect it to work-Starbuck’s requires a captive login, which requires the phone. Other than that and some slight issues when the battery is low, it works flawlessly.

The Negatives I Can See

The LG Urbane‘s operating system is Android Wear, a minor modification of the Android operating system that phones and tablets use. I’ve had the chance to play around a bit with some of the watches running it, and while I liked it, it still felt clunky. It’s not smooth enough yet. Also, at almost 350 bucks or so, it’s very much at the higher end of the Android-compatible smart watch price spectrum. Lastly, Wi-Fi reception can be spotty if you’re in an area with interference or the battery is running low.

One Design Feature of the Urbane Goes Both Ways

Most smart watches are designed and built with the display flush with the watch bezel. This is because there are apps and commands that require you to swipe across the display. However, the display on the new LG smart watch is recessed slightly. This is great for protecting the display crystal from scratches, but makes accurate swipes a little difficult until you get some practice.

Let’s Get Technical

The Urbane comes with some pretty impressive specs for a smart watch. It weighs less than 67 grams, making it pretty dang light. My Timex weighs closer to 90. It has 512 MB of RAM to run apps in and a whopping four gigs of storage capacity. That’s like a tablet! It also comes with a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor giving it blazing speed. It’s rated at IP67 which means it is completely protected against damage to the internals of the watch from dust, but only waterproof up to about a yard. That means it’s OK to take a shower with or get caught out in the rain, but don’t go swimming with it. The leather band should be somewhat of a hint about that.

Does the LG Urbane smart watch sound like something you’d like to see on your wrist? Drop me a line in the comments below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.