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BARCELONA, Spain — I was excited when I heard that a major smartwatch maker, LG, had finally figured out how to put an LTE radio in a watch. But after some hands-on time with the new device, I realize that there’s quite a bit more to be excited about.

Simply put, the Watch Urbane LTE is the first smartwatch I’ve seen that does what a smartwatch should do, and arranges those functions in a sensible way on the interface.

And, most importantly, the watch can do a lot without the help of a paired smartphone. It has GPS for routing, it has the LTE for calling and data, it has a QWERTY keyboard that works reasonably well. The NFC radio is built into the band for mobile payments. The antenna for the phone is contained in the band, too.

The three buttons on the side of the watch do useful things that couldn’t reasonably be done by a software button.

Here’s the demo:

This is just a quick hands-on. I won’t completely endorse the watch without testing the GPS, the LTE data, and voice calls, and get a little more experience with the keyboard.

But from a design point of view, the LG Watch Urbane LTE hits the mark.


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