A few months ago, Google announced their plans to unveil an Android smartwatch that had cellular capability — that means being able to receive and make calls on your wrist on top of all other basic smartphone features such as Googling things and tracking fitness.
Before this, such a functionality was only regarded as technology that is the stuff of Charlie’s Angels films. But as LG unveils the Watch Urbane Second Edition, wearable tech enthusiasts will find that untethered connectivity is now actually a reality.
So how does Android Wear’s latest innovation stack up against wearable tech favourites? Let’s take a look.
By far, the look and feel of the LG Watch Urbane 2 is more appealing to fashion conscious tech enthusiasts. A big issue with wearable technology is that it literally looks like you are wearing technology. The Apple Watch for instance, despite its popularity, makes it particularly obvious that you are counting your steps. The Samsung Gear, despite its best efforts for customisability, proves you’re way too focused on tracking phone notifications every passing minute your phone isn’t in your hands.
But the LG Watch Urbane 2, with its stainless steel chassis and analog display, looks and feels like a classic timepiece. By activating its additional smartwatch features, controlled by three buttons on the right for quick access to contacts, health tracking and apps, you have on your wrist an arguably stylish accessory — understated, simple and elegant. Granted, it’s a little chunkier than its predecessor, but not enough to put you off from wearing it. And it’s essentially the price you pay for combining connectivity with style, literally.
As tech companies focus on expanding the usability of smartwatches, most forget about the pressing issue that is the extra battery life needed for powering additional features. The added chunk of this latest model makes up for this, as LG ups the wearable’s battery life to an impressive 570mAh (it was previously at 410mAh).
Strictly speaking, this isn’t the first cellular connected smartwatch to come into the market. Samsung’s Gear S, for instance, had a calling functionality, although it ran on its proprietary software Tizen. But it was only able to do so when the watch was tethered to a user’s phone.
LG’s current offering, in comparison, is the first true Android Wear technology to offer 3G/4G connectivity running on Google’s smartwatch platform. The impressive thing to note here is that thanks to the addition of a SIM card, the watch will shift to its own cellular connection once the user is out of range from his/her smartphone, making it a truly usable, effective extension of your mobile.
Let’s start with the display. The Watch Urbane 2 comes with a 1.38-inch, P-OLED, 480 x 480, 348ppi screen — notably impressive specs for a wearable.
The watch runs on a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, with 768MB of RAM, with the typical Android Wear 4GB storage. An optical heart rate monitor is discreetly built into the device to amp up LG fitness features, which will include stress-level monitoring and guided workout.
It has all attendant smartphone features you’d want — push-to-talk, mp3 player, photo viewer, voice dial and commands, nothing stellar, really — but it does it so well via a device that is truly wearable that it makes standard features stand out.
The watch is already available for pre-order in the US from AT&T and Verizon, but has yet to announce official roll-out dates for Europe and Asia.
|Case||Stainless Steel 316L, Brushed Metal Finish 45.5 mm Diameter; 14.2 mm Thickness|
|Chipset||1.2 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400|
|Display||1.38″ Full Circle P-OLED (480×480, 348 ppi)|
|Memory||768 MB / 4 GB eMMC|
|Connectivity||LTE / 3G, Bluetooth® Version 4.1; Wi-Fi® Connectivity and Offline Music Play|
|Sensor||9-Axis (Gyro/Accelerometer/Compass) / Barometer / PPG (Heart Rate Sensor)|
|Protection||IP67 Certified; Waterproof for up to 1 meter for 30 minutes|