Samsung Gear S2 vs LG Watch Urbane: first look


Samsung's experience in the smart wearables category is, at this point, second to none, and the company seems to have learned quite a lot in the past year and a half. All this knowledge is now being made good use of with the company's new Gear S2 smartwatch, powered once again by Tizen, not Google's Android Wear platform. And while the smartwatch scene is getting more and more crowded, one of the most obvious competitors of the S2 will be cross-town rival LG's Watch Urbane, which is nevertheless at a distinct disadvantage: it was made official half a year ago.

Can the Urbane compete, or is Samsung's newer and meaner Gear S2 the superior product? While we're not rushing into a final verdict just yet, we're nevertheless taking our first look.

Design


While both the Gear S2 and the Watch Urbane have their own design intricacies, perhaps the first thing you're bound to notice were you to put them side by side is the difference in size: the latter is visibly larger, even though its display is only slightly bigger. Samsung has promised to bring to market a larger model at some point in the near future, though, but that one is still not available for us to play with, so we're going to stick with what we already know about the existing model.

In any case, since we've got the more modernistic, sporty-looking Gear S2 at hand, it should be noted that it'll appeal to a different demographic or fit a particular set of occasions and outfits compared with the Urbane and its classic design. Indeed, while the latter wins points in our mind just because it's such a good attempt to bring together geeky and classy, Samsung still deserves applause for the S2. The new smartwatch is definitely stylish, and it actually goes in a different direction when talking user experience, thanks to that rotating bezel and the two distinct buttons on the right hand side. The top one — alike a power button — can be used to navigate back home, while the smaller piece on the bottom works like an Android device's back button. In comparison, the LG Watch Urbane has no rotating bezel, and makes do with a pronounced, digital crown button on the right used mostly to wake and sleep the screen.

Display


In the display department, the Gear S2 has the upper hand – its 1.2” circular Super AMOLED display has a resolution of 360 by 360 pixels, constituting a very decent pixel density of 302ppi. As it's an AMOLED unit, we get perfect blacks and excellent contrast, but the rest of the recently-exhibited traits of Samsung's AMOLED displays also apply here. Hence, we get very good viewing angles and color reproduction that is surprisingly natural.

In the Watch Urbane's camp we are dealing with a round, 1.3” P-OLED screen that has a resolution of 320 by 320 pixels. While it's not as sharp as the one on the Gear S2, the display of the LG Watch Urbane is rather decent. However, putting the two side by side reveals that the Watch Urbane has a noticeably warmer color temperature.

Interface


While the LG Watch Urbane runs on Android Wear, Samsung continues to develop its own Tizen operating system for its wearables. The Gear S2 runs a visually unique, fully fitted UI, which runs smooth and synergizes with the rotating bezel perfectly.

In terms of apps, the Wear platform is probably the one which will be favored by developers for quite some time. The Gear S2 will still, however, will have more than 1,000 apps available for it at launch, according to Samsung. Additionally, for out-of-the-box experience, especially when synced to a Samsung handset, we find the Gear S2 to be the more software-rich product, while Wear is still in a bit of a skeleton stage.

Now, at the time of writing this, an Android Wear sync app has already become available in the iOS App Store. The Gear S2 was hinted to be available for platforms other than Android, but there's nothing concrete yet. So, right now, the Urbane is a clear winner for iPhone users.

Processor and memory


Under the hood, it’s powered by a dual-core 1GHz Exynos 3250 processor with 512MB of RAM. Its performance is actually better than some Android Wear smartwatches too, which goes to show the kind of optimizations brought on by the processor or software. Internally, the 4GB of internal storage suffices for many folks, as it’s the usual capacity we’re commonly seeing nowadays in high-end smartwatches.

LG is using the same processor and memory chip that it used with the Watch R for the Watch Urbane. We're talking a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset with 512MB of RAM available. Like before, the configuration is capable of pushing the software at very agreeable speeds, save for the aforementioned, occasional slowdowns. If anything, we'd argue that the Urbane even feels somewhat more responsive than the Watch R, despite the identical hardware. As for storage, there are 4 gigs available. In our experience over the past year, that has been more than sufficient. 

Expectations


Two beautiful smartwatches, for sure. We do like the design of the Samsung Galaxy Gear S2 a bit better, however, due to its size, people with larger wrists may want to go with the Urbane. The Gear S2 also has some variety under its belt, as it offers a more sporty look with the “normal” model, and a classy appearance with the “Classic” variation. With the LG Watch Urbane, your main choice is “classy”, while limited editions of the watch launch it into “boutique” territory.

In terms of software, we really can't say that one is better or more promising than the other. The Gear S2's UI certainly looks more appealing and much less boring out-of-the-box, though. It's up to Samsung to find the proper way to encourage developers to build some nifty apps for Tizen, however.

We guess that a final verdict would be easier to make once Samsung announces the prices of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic. For now, we'd say both watches are pretty good, though, we are leaning slightly more towards Samsung's new offering.


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35 Comments

1. danielxxi

Posts: 183; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

LG watch urbane looks much better to me

3. Gadgety

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

Would have been more meaningful to compare with the Gear S2 Classic. The difference, apart from the OS, is the interface, though. The rotating bezel is a no brainer, as are the two buttons for home, and back, to not constantly have to cover up the screen. In addition it adds tactility. Great job, Samsung.

7. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Not sure about the rotating bezel, or Apple's Digital Crown. They both require the other hand for operation. The Android Wear gesture control is better. You can always be quickly updated about your notifications without having to use your other hand, or cover the display with your fingerprints. Sure, it only works for checking notifications, but this is 90% of what you actually usually do with a smartwatch.

8. kyan-

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 25, 2012

"They both require the other hand for operation" All watches including android wear require your other hand dumbass

16. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Read properly, "dumbass". I wrote, gesture control will spare you for using your other hand "while checking notifications", which is what you end up doing most often with your smartwatch. Of course, I know that for other functions you need your other hand even on Android Wear, I have been wearing an Android Wear Watch since December, thank you very much. But I touch it much less since it received the gesture control update. Try to check your notifications without using your other hand in any Samsung Tizen Watch or in the Apple Watch, "dumbass".

12. maherk

Posts: 6877; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Gestures controls are horrendous, ask anyone who has an android wear and he ll tell you that. Had it disabled since the 1st day my Moto 360 got updated to 5.1.1 And even when the feature is switched on, you do need you other hand for the majority of the time.

17. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Funny, I use this feature all the time. I find it perfect. What is there that doesn't work for you?

14. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

even touchscreen require "other hand" o.O did gear S2 dont have gesture control?

15. AlikR

Posts: 45; Member since: Sep 05, 2013

Urbane has a few wrist gestures you can use for viewing and dismissing notifications

25. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Urbane looks ugly to me but I would have no issues wearing the gear S2.

2. JMartin22

Posts: 2370; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

I haven't been up to date. Is there a real reason to invest in these watches other than purposes of a fitness tracker?

4. Gadgety

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

I found 10.000. But it depends. It's more of a want, than a need. I discovered the beauty of smartwatches back in 2009, with the ability to control my music from the phone without having to drag it out, while I was painting windows. It makes even more sense today, as I use a Note 8.0 phablet as my phone. I guess, if you have to ask the question, it's not for you.

11. JMartin22

Posts: 2370; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

How much harder is it to take out a typical 5 inch display phone than to fiddle with a small display on your wrist with one hand? In your unique situation with carrying around a tablet, there's probably more of a justification, but that's not the majority disposition for people.

22. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Just try it and you will become a believer. You already predisposed that it's useless for you but in reality smart watches, tablets, and wireless charging are all awesome despite how useless the detractors say they are.

18. TSMan2

Posts: 363; Member since: Aug 20, 2015

All of those(and more) you can do with nice, sleek, light, thin, wrist band . For around $50 price . Right? Yup Except of the stand-alone 3G version, all those "smartwatches" are pointless. T

27. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Wrist bands are ugly though, everyone can wear a watch and have it match your clothes. Only skinny jeans hipsters can wear a wrist band. Let's not mince things here. Ever since clocks became everywhere, in our car, on our watches, on displays in the mall, the watch in general, smart or analog became useless. So all watches are useless and not just smart watches. The only reason we still wear them is for looks. So if you don't wear a watch right now, don't wear a smart watch. If you do wear one right now as jewelry, you might as well get one that can pair with your phone. It's as simple as that. Nothing more, nothing less. It's just like comparing a suit to arctix goretex jacket. It's obviously which one is more useful. The suit exists just to make you look good and professional but actually doesn't do anything else. The tie is even more useless, it gets in your way more than anything else. A watch is similar,my is either wear one for looks or you don't. Same with a smart watch.

30. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Should say on our smartphones and not watches in the third paragraph.

13. maherk

Posts: 6877; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I got my Moto 360 for it's unique design and mostly to switch between watch faces. After I got it, and start using it, I found that it is a great way to check your notifications when your hands are busy and your phone in your pocket. Now I don't feel the need to take my phone out of my pocket when I am at a restaurant, work, or even driving. Plus fitness tracking is also a great plus. Now they are cheaper than ever, I recommend you to get one, and trust me, you ll find yourself appreciating this technology. I just sold my Moto 360 2 days ago, and went ahead and pre ordered myself the Huawei Watch. My other watch will either be the Gear S2 for sure.

21. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Handier jewelry. Jewelry is strictly for looks. This is strictly for Looks and leaving your smartphone in your pocket when you are too lazy or if it's too Inconvenient to pull your phone out. And too avoid the police pulling you over for using your phone while driving.

35. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Your statements about what the purposes of watches, jewlery, clothing is YOUR opinion and complete idiocy to ram those thoughts down everyone's throat as you are doing. YOU think watches are pointless. I have a smart phone, computer and I see clocks on walls.. yet having a watch is still useful to ME. Sometimes I'm not near those electronics or clocks, so having the time on my wrist is useful. Sometimes I'm not near a clock and it's not convenient to pull out my phone - watch is useful. No no, looks is not the only reason people wear watches. Stop imposing YOUR thoughts on everyone else.

32. alumoyo

Posts: 391; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

They still don't seem to know what direction to take these things. Was looking at an IFA smartwatch comparison sheet on GSM - too many similarities. There should be fitness focused ones, fashion ones, notification focused ones, productivity ones - but seems they just tying to put it all in there. And then they all have same internals. Its only the quality of material/finish that being used to differentiate them. These smartwatches are still going nowhere!

5. surethom

Posts: 1691; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Lg much more watch like &much better looking, but that's the difference in thickness? Smart watches are still too thick.

6. Wolf_Blitza

Posts: 64; Member since: May 30, 2014

I like how the LG has a brushed bezel to distiguish it from the polished case. However, the case and lug design on the Urbane is still very generic and could've used an additional character line or lug angulation like a TAG Heuer Carrera. Perhaps exposed bolts like an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or a Hublot Classic Fusion would help.

9. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Urbane all day. Gear S2 is undoubtebly a great watch but it just looks so generic, even cheap compared to LG.

10. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

That's why they also got the classic mate

19. Ruturaj

Posts: 1484; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

"Samsung has promised to bring to market a larger model at some point in the near future" If this is true, I will wait for slightly bigger watch

24. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

The 3G one, it's bigger but probably not noticeably. The measurements are in a chart somewhere fir you to decide if it's worth waiting for. I am pretty sure screen size is the same though.

20. Godfather

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 31, 2012

Why compare the sport to the Urbane? S2 Classic Vs. Urbane is more of a contender. As an owner of the LG Watch Urbane Rose Gold watch, I am looking forward to buying the Samsung S2 Classic :-)

23. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

The gear S2 Classic looks a lot better. The lugs on the watch urbane are just disgusting. Although the 11.4mm on the Gear S2 does sound thick, it uses a design that makes it look thin as hell. It's weird How the 11.3mm Huawei watch looks like it's 16mm and the 12mm Appke watch looks 14mm easily. While this 11.3 looks like 9mm and Rolex 14mm looks 11mm. I guess Samsung is using some visual tricks or the only one using true measurements while Apple and Huawei are lying out of their teeth.

26. Michael.Parker

Posts: 273; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

The Samsung looks like a cheap plastic toy watch that a kid would wear while the LG actually looks like a real watch an adult would wear.

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