LG's own smartwatch OS shows promise, but hardware leaves a lot to be desired

The Watch Urbane LTE's cellular connectivity comes at a big price

The inclusion of a larger battery has made the LG's  Watch Urbane LTE a big device.

The inclusion of a larger battery has made the LG's Watch Urbane LTE a big device.

LG Electronics has developed its own OS for the Watch Urbane LTE smartwatch, and while the software impresses the hardware it runs on will prevent the watch from becoming anything but a very niche product.

The watch was announced last week and on Sunday the company gave reporters their first chance to try it out. LG developed its own OS because it wanted to build a smartwatch with cellular connectivity, and that's not possible using Google's Android Wear.

The new LG Wearable Platform operating system started off as WebOS, but LG has made so many changes it didn't want to keep the name. The user interface has a home screen on which all the app icons are shown in a circle on the round 1.3-inch screen.

The current version of the watch was developed for Korea, and has apps for booking movie tickets, making phone calls and voice control. It also has three physical buttons on the right side of the smartwatch, which combined with the touch screen make it easier to navigate than Google' Android Wear.

But if the software feels like a step in the right direction, the hardware makes the Urbane LTE a difficult sell.

Unsurprisingly, the inclusion of LTE has had some repercussions on the design of the watch. For example, the antenna is built into the strap, which means the strap can't be removed or be laid flat on a table. Because the strap doesn't flex, the watch might not be wide enough for everyone.

Also, it's very big, so big that LG doesn't want to reveal its dimensions or weight.

Part of the reason why it's so large is the 700mAh battery LG has had to include to power the LTE connection, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a heart-rate monitor and sports friendly sensors. The battery capacity is almost twice what the company's other new watch, the Android Wear-based Watch Urbane has. A spokesman said the battery should last up to two days with moderate use of LTE.

The only thing that seems not to have been thrown in is a camera, and that's because the company doesn't think people like to take photos with their watch.

One of the problems smartwatches face is that current models are largely developed with parts for smartphones, which have much larger batteries. But with the growing popularity of wearables in general, chip makers are starting to develop more customized components. This will in the foreseeable future result in much better products.

What the future holds for the Urbane LTE and LG's Wearable Platform is very much up in the air.

For now, the watch will only go on sale in South Korea and the company still hasn't decided if it will develop more products running the OS.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MWCconsumer electronicsLG Electronicsaccessories

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?