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LG Watch Urbane hands-on: An Android Wear smartwatch for the board room

Many smartwatches look too geeky to wear with a coat and tie. LG launched a high quality Android Wear model that looks and functions well.

The LG G4 is an impressive Android smartphone so I looked forward to checking out the new LG Watch Urbane smartwatch. It's definitely one of the classiest Android Wear devices available with a fantastic display that looks great with a suit and tie.

My preferred Android Wear smartwatch has been the Sony SmartWatch 3, primarily because of the integrated GPS, integrated WiFi, waterproof design, and standard microUSB charging port. I've been frustrated by Google's lack of attention to GPS support and terrible on-watch music syncing so my SmartWatch 3 sits in a drawer.

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Check out the full CNET LG Watch Urbane review. The 7.2 rating was driven by a low score for battery life and higher price compared to other Android Wear devices.

Specifications

  • Display: 1.3 inch full circle Plastic OLED with 320x320 pixels resolution
  • Sensors and components: Optical heart rate monitor, microphone, 9-axis sensor, Bluetooh 4.0 LE, WiFi
  • Battery: Rechargeable 410 mAh
  • Internal storage: 4GB
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Water resistance: IP67 rating
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 52.2 x 11 mm and 66.5 grams with leather band

Hardware

LG was one of the first to launch an Android Wear smartwatch and while the first version was pretty basic, the next two models are standout models. One of the primary reasons the LG G Watch R and LG Watch Urbane stand out is the P-OLED display that is vibrant when lit up with an excellent always-on standby mode.

The display on the LG Watch Urbane is my favorite design feature and is the best I have ever seen on an Android Wear smartwatch. When in standby mode, either the watch face or your current open app appear in a smartly designed minimal black and white format.

The LG Watch Urbane is a beefy smartwatch that is definitely not for those with small wrists and is a very masculine accessory. The stainless steel bezel is large with lugs that extend all the way across the full width of my mid to large wrist.

You will not be taking the LG Watch Urbane running with you after or before work. It's not focused on the fitness experience with the metal design and leather strap options. That's OK though, as it is an excellent choice for those looking for a smartwatch to wear to the office or out on the town.

The side button only serves to turn the display backlight on and off, but does it looking good. The leather band is comfortable and secures nicely with the buckle. You can also swap out standard 22mm bands, which is a great benefit. The band hasn't worn in after just over a week, but will likely get a bit better with age. The stitching is a bit large, but I personally like the look of the LG Watch Urbane on my wrist.

There is a heart rate sensor on the back, which probably isn't necessary given you aren't going to go running or biking with this watch, but is fine for daily tracking for other health reasons.

Like the LG G Watch R, you place the LG Watch Urbane onto a magnetic charging cradle to top off the battery. Battery life has been fine, but I personally expected a bit more with a device as large and heavy as this. I get through a full day, but not too far into the next.

Android Wear software

To go along with the best Android Wear display, LG provides some classy professional watch faces on the LG Watch Urbane. The LG Watch Urbane also ships with Android Wear 5.1.1 so you will get all the great functionality with the latest version of the software.

There is an LG Pulse application that you can launch to create heart rate monitoring sessions. LG Call is also preinstalled so that you can manage phone calls and even initiate calls with a dial pad. Unlike the Apple Watch, you can't actually talk to people through the watch as calls are handled on your connected phone.

Android smartphone companion software

The Android Wear app is used to manage the LG Watch Urbane from your smartphone. Given that the LG Watch Urbane has the latest version of Android Wear, you get access to all the functionality of Android Wear on your smartphone too.

You can manage your watch faces (there are some fantastic ones for the LG Watch Urbane), install apps, setup watch actions, choose exactly which calendars appear on your watch, select cloud sync via WiFi, manage other watch settings, view battery and storage status, and capture screenshots from your watch.

Pricing and availability

The LG Watch Urbane is the most expensive Android Wear smartwatch at $349, which is the same as the smaller Apple Watch Sport edition. You can purchase it from the Google Play Store, Best Buy, Verizon Wireless, Newegg.com, Amazon, and from other retailers. The new Android Wear 5.1.1 software improves the functionality and usability quite a bit and the watch looks expensive too.

Daily usage experiences

I was sent the silver LG Watch Urbane to test out, but there is also a gold version available. I loved wearing it every day and using it with the LG G4 because it felt like I was wearing a piece of jewelry like my Citizen Eco-Drive and not like I was compromising my watch experience to have a geeky watch on my wrist.

The LG Watch Urbane display is blows me away and I've really come to enjoy glimpsing the functional standby display even when I am not interacting with the watch. My Apple Watch face sits blank when I'm not using it and it turns out it really is nice to see the time without fully engaging with a smartwatch.

As long as you want a smartwatch to function as a good watch without trying to make it be your fitness device, the LG Watch Urbane fills that role. It's a great companion to the classy leather-backed LG G4 too.