LG has lifted the curtain on its next wearable, Watch Urbane, a high-end Android Wear-powered smartwatch with a serious focus on looks. But is the sleek design enough to tempt smartwatch sceptics? We don’t think so…
What is the LG Watch Urbane?
The LG Watch Urbane is an undeniably smart-looking piece of hardware. That sleek stainless steel body houses the same P-OLED display as we’ve seen in LG’s G Watch R and comes in Gold and Silver finishes, with both options complemented by a sewn leather strap which lends a nice, clean look to the device. LG also let slip that a 22mm wide metal bracelet option will be available, if you prefer an all-metal design.
Internally, the LG Watch Urbane will pack a Snapdragon 400 chip and 512MB RAM, as well as 4GB of storage and a 410mAh battery which, given commonalities with the G Watch R, should give you roughly two days of usage between charges.
The device also features a compass, barometer and PPG sensor, which will allow it to monitor heart rate and pulse – seemingly a necessity with every wearable that’s launched. And of course the LG Watch Urbane will also be IP67 certified, making it resistant to dust and water.
So if the Watch Urbane looks so great, why is it not what Android Wear needs right now?
We already love the gorgeous G Watch R and the Watch Urbane seems to take another step for fashion, with a sleek finish that looks like an actual watch rather than some Dick Tracy slab of tech disguised as a watch. However, while the design is an obvious leap over existing metal watches like Samsung’s Gear Live, it’s unlikely to be enough to sway anyone who might still be sat on the fence over smartwatches.
For one, the Watch Urbane is still a chunky mother. And while LG reckons that it’s suited to men and women, we can’t help but feel that few women will want to rock such a massive watch on their wrist. I’ve got weedy little child wrists, so it’ll almost certainly look ridiculous on my arm too. What we really need is separate men’s and women’s options, preferably both significantly slimmer than what the Urbane offers.
Statistics show that Google’s wearable operating system hasn’t had a great start, with only 720,000 Android Wear devices shipping in 2014, and competition is going to get tough when Apple’s Watch hits the streets in a little over a month.
One of the main reasons for the lack of uptake is the poor battery life of smartwatches. Most wrist rockets barely last the day, needing charging every night just like your humble smartphone. The Urbane is highly unlikely to fix this problem, so anyone who simply wants a fitness tracker will likely opt for something like the Fitbit Charge instead, which lasts almost a fortnight between charges.
Asus is on the case, hoping to pack a full week of life into its ZenWatch 2, and we really hope it succeeds. Combined with a sexy, slender frame, that could be the Android Wear device that we’ve all been waiting for.
So far there’s no mention on a UK price or release date for the LG Watch Urbane, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear. LG will be showcasing the Watch Urbane at MWC 2015, which gets underway this March. Check out our massive MWC 2015 preview for news on all the big launches.