The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is now out and available for both Verizon and AT&T. The wearable has been the talk of the town since its promotional ad was uploaded, and the LTE connectivity was confirmed. So what can the first LTE-equipped Android smartwatch do?
The second edition Urbane became available through the mentioned carriers last Nov. 13, 2015, and just like other current-generation smartwatches, it comes fitted with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC and 4 GB of internal storage. It sports 768 MB of RAM and a 1.38-inch full circle P-OLED display at 348 ppi, which is decent when compared to some recent smartwatch releases.
"The rich colors and true blacks in combination with the high resolution display actually make this look like it is an actual watch with the display always on," Derrick Miyao elaborates on AndroidGuys. "LG supplies quite a few well designed watch faces, and my personal favorites are the 'Hiking' and 'Sports' watch faces. The 'hiking' watch face has a functioning compass and altimeter and it looks great."
Where it stands out, however, is in its thickness brought about by the SIM slot and the additional battery capacity. LG's latest smartwatch packs 570 mAh, which is quite a boost from the first edition's 410 mAh. While this may not appeal to those who have slim wrists, the thickness is less of an issue in this case than the form factor. The 44.5 mm diameter makes this ideal for medium-sized wrists.
Thanks to the added battery capacity, the smartwatch got beefier by roughly 3 mm. A lot of people got concerned about its thickness but the worries were for naught.
"Real watches feel comfortable as you wear them all day," Miyao adds. "If you've ever worn a G-Shock, the Urbane LTE feels very similar to that. It might look big but it is definitely comfortable."
Others who got their hands on the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition had similar comments.
"I was a little worried about putting it on for the first time. You know what, though? That worry was really for nothing," comments Cameron Summerson of Android Police. "Once it's actually on the wrist, it doesn't really feel any different than any other smartwatch I've owned and/or worn."
Summerson notes that the smartwatch, after 11 hours of getting disconnected from a charger, displayed the remaining battery capacity at 65 percent. However, another reviewer states that after five hours of heavy usage, the LG smartwatch burned through 51 percent of its allotted battery capacity.
The main reason for the additional battery capacity is the Urbane 2's LTE connectivity, which takes away the need to have the wearable tethered to the phone. Thus, phonecalls can now be sent and received directly off of the smartwatch. More apps will also be able to run natively without the need to be in close proximity with the smartphone.
However, the voice calls made natively from the new smartwatch should not be expected to offer the same receiving call experience as a proper smartphone, at least not yet.
"As is the case with every other watch-phone available today, from the perilously precocious Galaxy Gear to the Apple Watch, the Urbane 2nd Edition's speaker just can't deliver a great voice-call experience on the receiving end," John Phillips of Greenbot concludes after making calls through LG's latest smartwatch release.
According to Phillips, the other side of the call reported no problems. In fact, the call was noted to be "extremely clear," which attests to the quality of the built-in microphone. However, dialing through the "OK Google" function has proven to be a pain for the reviewer who remarks that out of ten attempts at using the function to call, only one succeeded. The problem persists even when on Wi-Fi or tethered to a smartphone.
The LTE connectivity existing on the smartwatch is highly attributed to the operating system that it runs on. It may surprise some but this thing is running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
"Specifically, Android Wear 126.96.36.1997376 with Android 6.0," Android Central notes.
With voice call capabilities, the wearable operating system now offers a dialer and a cellular section in the Settings. Permissions, which will prompt the user to confirm an app's attempt at accessing the storage, mic, contacts, connection information and sensors, also come with the new OS version. Some apps will also generate a prompt for confirmation when launched.
Aside from the easily observable features, Google also added several hand gestures. Flicking the wrist away will have the Urbane 2 scroll to the next card while flicking it inwards will prompt the previous card to pop up. Quickly pushing the arm down and bringing it back to the normal position will allow the user to view further details on the selected cards. To go back, the user only needs to rapidly raise it back up and bring it back to the normal position. Google listed the supported gestures on the Android Wear support page.
As previously reported, the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is being offered by AT&T for $199.99 but on a two-year contract. The one without a contract will sell for $299. Verizon lists the wearable device for $449.99 under a two-year contract and $499.99 without one. Since it's already offered in the U.S., the smartwatch will be made available in Asia, Europe and Middle East sometime in the near future.