Smartwatches are coming a long way in a short amount of time, and so it's fitting that we had the LG Watch Urbane on our wrist as we went to check out the new (and Tizen-powered) Samsung Gear S2. LG mostly has been our favorite Android Wear manufacturer thus far — thanks in no small part to the excellent P-AMOLED display it's been using — and Samsung's brought something special in the Gear S2.
Let's take a quick look at the two, then.
Now one quick caveat: I wear a metal bracelet on the Urbane that I picked up on Amazon for something like $50. So it makes the watch significantly more heavy than if it had a leather strap. And that weight was immediately noticeable once I strapped on the Gear S2, which almost felt weightless. It's a light watch anyway — 9 or 16 grams lighter than the stock Urbane, depending on if you get the Gear S2 Classic, or the heavier proper model, which is what we're showing here.
I'm more convinced than ever, however, that a round smartwatch is the way to go — at least if you don't want it to look like you're wearing a computer on your wrist. Both Samsung and LG accomplish that well with their watches. But Samsung's watch (in addition to feeling smaller) definitely also looks smaller. And, in fact, it is. The Urbane's body is bigger, and the display is also a tenth of an inch larger than the Gear S2's 1.2-inch face. Add all that up and it makes a pretty big difference.
The Gear S2 also sports a pair of function buttons — back and home — on the side, whereas the Urbane (and other Android Wear options) has just one, with fairly limited functionality. And at this point, we'd almost venture to say that Samsung's Tizen-based OS in the Gear S2 feels more finished and functional to what we've current got from Android Wear. The real question — and this is one we can't answer just yet — is how well the Gear S2 will work with non-Samsung phones.
The short-short version after a short time with the Gear S2? It's a different sort of smartwatch.