LG G Watch Urbane Second Edition LTE Technical Review

First impressions of the LG Urbane Second Edition LTE smartwatch are highly favorable. Despite being slightly larger than the LG G Watch R I’ve used since its 2014 release, the wrist-feel of the Urbane LTE is OK. The shoulders around the center button help avoid inadvertent presses. Performance is snappier than the LG G Watch R (despite the same CPU??), phone speaker is plenty loud to use in a supermarket or average city sidewalk–the latter if held within a few feet of your face. Using the Video Tube app, it’s possible to watch YouTube videos with sound from the watch speaker, and cast video to Google Cast on your TV.

Wireless Performance

The LG Urbane Second Edition LTE on AT&T uses LTE bands 2 (1900MHz PCS) and 5 (850 MHz, traditional North American cellular band)–making the AT&T G Watch Urbane 2 LTE Project Fi compatible. On Verizon, the LG Urbane Second Edition LTE uses LTE band 13 (700MHz) only–prohibiting the Verizon version from Project Fi.

Informally comparing the dBm signal readout under the Settings/Cellular/SIM status with a Blackberry Priv showed roughly similar readings.

At the time of this writing, it seems that for AT&T in Boston that 1900 MHz is used for 3G and 4G (HSPA and LTE), while 850 MHz is used for 2G EDGE. This educated guess is based on the much stronger signal strength in 2G mode (15-20 dB stronger) when deep indoors. I have not had a problem making calls even when the signal strength is -113 dBm in HSPA when the signal was too weak for LTE. The bands used will change over time and location as AT&T frees up former 2G frequencies at 850 MHz. I am really impressed with the weak signal area performance of the LG Watch Urbane Second Edition LTE.

Note, the transmit power numbers in this table are relative, as they are dependent on the position/orientation of the watch with regard to the wearer, as with most wearables. The data comes from the FCCID database. The cellular/LTE use a PIFA antenna, while the Wifi/BT use an FPCB antenna.

FCCID Carrier Model
ZNFW200V Verizon LG-W200V
ZNFW200A AT&T LG-W200A
Band Mode Watch TX (MHz) Watch Antenna Gain (dBi) Watch EIRP (dBm)
LTE 13 (VZW)  LTE (5 - 10 MHz)  777-787 -0.1  21-23
LTE 2 (ATT) REL99/HSDPA/HSUPA/LTE (1.4 - 20 MHz)  1850-1910 1.3  19.1 - 24.5
LTE 5 (ATT) REL99/HSDPA/HSUPA/LTE (1.4 - 20 MHz)  824-849  -4.9  19.5 - 23.7
802.11b/g/n n: HT20  2412-2462  -1.9 10 - 15
BT 4.1  2MHz BW  2402-2480  -1.9  7
BT LE  1MHz BW  2402-2480  -1.9  7
GSM850  GMSK/GPRS/EGPRS  824-849  -4.9  24 - 28
GSM1900  GMSK/GPRS/EGPRS  1850-1910 1.3  30
NFC  640kHz BW  13.56  N/A  -46.5

So with the LG-W200A (only), the supported Project Fi bands would be:

Band Mode Watch TX (MHz) carrier
LTE 2 LTE (4G) 1850-1910 T-Mobile
UMTS 2 UMTS (3G) HSDPA/HSUPA (3.5G) HSPA+ (~4G) 1850-1910 T-Mobile
GSM 2 GPRS/EDGE (2.5G)  1850-1910 T-Mobile

So there is not 100% overlap between the Project Fi bands and the LG-W200A, but that’s true on AT&T itself as well. Currently T-Mobile is poking fun at ATT for ATT shutting down 2G, while T-Mobile is still providing 2G.

LG G Watch series Specifications

see the Android Wear LTE smartwatch comparision

LG G Watch Urbane 2 LTE Display resolution

The extra screen resolution of the Urbane LTE over the original G Watch R was useful. The reduction of the vertical bezel protrusion greatly helps writing on the screen, though increasing risk of damaging the screen.

Screen protector

Using a good screen protector is a mandatory addition to any smartwatch. I tried two different glass protectors and both protectors shattered in a few weeks. I now use the Skinomi matte protector and it’s been great as it was for my LG G Watch R.

One phone number for watch and smartphone

Provided your carrier supports it, you can have one phone number for the Android Wear LTE smartwatch and your smartphone. AT&T calls this service NumberSync. As these LTE smartwatches get more popular, I feel more carriers will offer a similar service.

Google Voice with Android Wear LTE smartwatch works great

Google Voice forwards calls from one number to your smartwatch and smartphone.

The Google Voice method will leave a different number if you make calls out from your smartwatch, however.