I've been wearing an Android Wear watch since they have been available, replacing the Pebble that was previously on my wrist. Over the past several months I've come to enjoy the ability to clear and act on my notifications from my wrist, cutting down on the amount of stuff I have to deal with when I finally pull my phone out of my pocket.
While every Android Wear watch may be roughly the same in terms of functionality, they certainly aren't all on the same level when it comes to looks, feel and components. I'm wearing both the LG Watch Urbane and Moto 360 (though not at the same time) — let me explain why.
LG Watch Urbane
Looking down at a silver LG Watch Urbane on my wrist, I realize the Android Wear market has come a long way since the original G Watch went on sale. The round P-OLED display is absolutely gorgeous and with some watch faces crosses into the uncanny valley between digital and analog. The internals do their job keeping the watch ticking along with very few slowdowns — I really love the Watch Urbane for its performance. There's not much arguing that from a technical perspective it's one of the best.
What you can argue, however, is whether or not the LG Watch Urbane is actually a nice-looking watch that's acceptable to wear on a daily basis. The sleek silver case and smooth black leather band with tan stitching really look nice in photos, and most importantly for many people make it look like a traditional analog watch. What the store page renderings and photos don't show you is how the Watch Urbane really isn't designed in a way that it can be worn daily. The shiny exterior, dressy band and large size don't lend themselves to fitting in with a casual t-shirt and jeans — but is trying to position itself to be on your wrist every day.
And even if you're a fan of the looks (or perhaps you wear a suit every day), your wrist just may not be compatible with the sheer size of this watch. I have a rather big wrist and regularly wear large watches, but the 52mm height and 11mm thickness together make the Watch Urbane a rather imposing piece of technology on your body. The size of the bezels and thickness of the case are acceptable when you consider how much technology is inside, but the large lugs holding on the strap really make the Watch Urbane cumbersome, and it just makes it a bit too much to wear sometimes. I really wish this thing was 10 or 15 percent smaller, and the flair was toned back about the same amount.
Because of the LG Watch Urbane's design blunders, I still keep my Moto 360 turned on, on its charger and paired with my phone for when I want it. I greatly prefer the 360's design (I have the silver model, this goes for the black one as well) to that of any other Android Wear watch out there today, with its simple circular face and hidden band attachments being the main features that catch my eye. And I just can't say enough about how nice the standard leather bands from Motorola are — they're simple, soft and just get more comfortable over time.
I'm not the biggest fan of the flat spot on the display, nor do I like what the beveled glass edge does to text and colors when viewed from an angle, but those things aren't deal breakers in the way some of the Watch Urbane's flaws can be. The biggest issue with the Moto 360 is performance — that dated processor just can't handle things the way other Android Wear devices can, and it's a really frustrating experience sometimes. The slowdowns usually aren't an issue when I'm just clearing notifications or checking the weather, but as soon as there's visual sluggishness in the card stack or the watch misses a word in my dictated message reply, I just can't handle it.
If I could simply have a Moto 360 with a fully round display and better performance with the exact same external styling and bands, I'd be a happy camper with my LG Watch Urbane stepping down to a secondary device. I have a feeling Motorola has far more than those small changes in store for its next wearable, but I hope that when it makes changes it doesn't leave behind all of the great design bits that make the original 360 so wonderful.
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