UPDATE: The LG Urbane is now available for $349 in the Google Store. The watch is available in both silver and gold designs, and will begin shipping out on May 8. The watch will include Google's latest Android Wear update, which will enable Wi-Fi, gesture recognition, and a low power mode, among other tweaks.
BARCELONA - The world may be waiting for the Apple Watch come April, but LG already announced its next line of stunning smartwatches. At Mobile World Congress, LG announced the Watch Urbane and Watch Urbane LTE smartwatches. Both are intended to appeal to the "leaders and trendsetters" of the world who don't want to put fashion at risk when they purchase their newest wearable.
The more premium of the two, the LG Watch Urbane LTE, is the first smartwatch to have full 4G LTE capabilities. You can make calls and send messages directly from the watch, and there's a nifty walkie-talkie feature that lets you even more quickly communicate with people anywhere. The smartwatch is fully independent from your smartphone, so while you can connect the two, you do not need your smartphone to use the watch.
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One noticeable difference in the Urbane LTE is the OS -- it's not Android Wear. Details of the smartwatch leaked last week, that revealed LG would not use Android Wear, and we now know it is in fact running on an OS based on webOS.
From the watch's 1.3-inch plastic OLED display you can customize watchfaces to your heart's desire, while the physical buttons on its side bring up the colorful, bubble-filled app menu as well as things like your calendar and notifications. Inside the watch is a 1.2-GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 700mAh battery, which LG claims can "go for days in standby mode."
LG is including apps such as a translation app that currently can identify English, Chinese and Japanese and translate it using voice recognition. The golf app on the Watch Urbane LTE will suggest ways to improve your stroke formation, while also giving you easy access to course information.
You'll be able to make NFC payments from the smartwatch as well, so you won't even have to pull out your phone or wallet to pay for lunch. Thanks to the combination of LTE, GPS and a heart rate monitor, cyclists can see speed, distance, heart rate and directions on their wrists and hikers can use the smartwatch for trail information, waypoint directions, and altitude readings in addition to time and distance tracking.
For those who don't need the convenience of a wrist-bound LTE device, LG has the Watch Urbane, which essentially is a sexier G Watch R. It's an Android Wear device that includes a heart rate monitor embedded into the underside of the watch. The watchface and strap, however, have been given a luxurious upgrade to stainless steel and leather, respectively.
The body of the watch is slimmer and sleeker than the G Watch R, featuring a narrower bezel and a polished metal finish. You'll be able to get the Watch Urbane in either a silver or gold tone, and the stitched leather, interchangeable strap finishes off the device with classic style. Unfortunately, the Watch Urbane LTE that we saw only has a clunky rubber band. Both the Watch Urbane and Watch Urbane LTE have an IP67 rating, meaning these smartwatches can withstand dust and water as deep as one meter.
There's no word yet on the pricing for the LG Watch Urbane, or plan details for the Watch Urbane LTE. However, AT&T has announced that it will be the first carrier to have the Watch Urbane in the US at the end of April. In the short time we had with the devices, they are two of the most stylish smartwatches we've ever seen, and we're particularly intrigued by webOS on the Urbane LTE. Stay tuned for full reviews of both smartwatches in the coming months.