Introduction

LG held a low-key event on which it announced probably the best smartwatch yet (the first with LTE connectivity to boot) and two pairs of Android Lollipop phones - one pair curved and semi-premium, while the other is more traditional.

LG MWC 2015

The LG Magna and LG Spirit are slightly curved - nowhere near the G Flex2 curvature, but enough to look cool and bring you bragging rights. The Magna has a 5" screen and a good 5MP selfie camera, while the Spirit is more compact with a 4.7" screen. Both have optional LTE connectivity.

The LG Leon and LG Joy are straight as a ruler and are smaller, 4.5" and 4" respectively, but both keep the quad-core processors and LTE connectivity of their other two siblings.

LG MWC 2015

The LG Watch Urbane comes in two versions. One has LTE connectivity and NFC-based mobile payments. This one runs on a new LG Wearable Platform. The non-LTE version is thinner and much lighter and while it doesn't support mobile data or payments, it runs the more popular Android Wear OS.

  • LG Magna hands-on
  • LG Spirit hands-on
  • LG Leon hands-on
  • LG Joy hands-on
  • LG Watch Urbane hands-on

LG Magna hands-on

The LG Magna is an mid-range _phone_ with premium aspirations - it's curved like the LG G Flex2 and has a metal-like plastic back, similar to the LG G3. One model has LTE connectivity, while the other offers dual-SIM instead.

The curvature is very slight - not enough to affect usage, but it still earns you some bragging rights. It just looks cool.

LG MWC 2015

The slightly curved LG Magna

The screen is a 5" LCD with 720p resolution, getting it within spitting distance of 300ppi. The screen is sharp-enough, though the overall image quality is fairly average.

LG MWC 2015

5" 720p screen

Above the screen is a 5MP camera that can use the screen to light up your face better. The gesture shot recognizes a hand gesture from 1.5m/3ft distance for hands-off selfies. Gesture view lets you preview the last photo when you move the phone.

The main camera on the back is an 8MP shooter. There's an LED flash next to the camera and G-style volume and power buttons below the camera. The removable back panel is similar to the LG G3. It imitates brushed metal and is quite good quality-wise.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Magna borrows the LG G3 back design and material

The sides of the LG Magna are free from controls since they were moved on the back.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Nothing on the sides

The _phone_ runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's usual customizations, including a fourth on-screen button to switch between SIM cards.

The LG Magna is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It comes with 8GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD cards. The battery has 2,540mAh capacity, comparable to other similarly-sized phones and can easily be swapped out by the user.

LG Spirit hands-on

The LG Spirit is the other premium mid-ranger from LG. It's sort of a mini version of the Magna, with a slightly curved body and a smaller 4.7" IPS screen. The display keeps the 720p resolution, which pushes the pixel density a touch but the difference is hardly noticeable. The image quality is similar to the Magna, which is to say average.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Spirit is a smaller Magna

The handset is coming out in Asia and there it's priced the equivalent of $160. Basically, Moto E (2015) beware.

The LG Spirit is powered by a Snapdragon 410 chipset with a 1.3GHz Cortex-A53 quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM and runs 5.0 Lollipop. It also has 8GB of storage with a microSD card. The battery is smaller though, 2,100mAh.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Nothing on the sides • you can easily pop off the back

The main camera will be 8MP or 5MP, depending on the region, both record 1080p video. The camera will support Gesture shot and Gesture view like its bigger sibling. It also has the screen as selfie light too, but the camera is only 1MP.

The back has the same LG G3-inspired look with the central Volume and Power keys and the pseudo brushed metal plastic.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Leon hands-on

The LG Leon has LTE connectivity and continues the trend of placing the hardware buttons on the back, however, the back uses a regular matte plastic and the phone is flat. It sits lower on the food pyramid than the LG Spirit.

It's slightly smaller than the Spirit and has a 4.5" screen, but with a noticeably lower resolution. At 480 x 854px, it's in the lower 200ppi range and is generally unimpressive.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Leon

It's powered by a quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and runs Lollipop. It comes with 8GB of storage out of the box.

Just like its curved cousin, the LG Leon has either an 8MP or a 5MP main camera, depending on your region, but the selfie camera has been further demoted to VGA.

LG Joy hands-on

The LG Joy is the smallest of the bunch with its 4" screen, but still offers LTE connectivity. This one has a classic design, no curves and no buttons on the back.

The screen has 480 x 800px, making for 233ppi pixel density. Above it is a basic VGA selfie camera, while the main camera is a 5MP shooter.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Joy

The LG Joy has more limited resources and comes in two versions - one with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage and another with just 512MB of RAM and 4GB storage.

LG Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE

LG made one of the best-looking smartwatches, the G Watch R, and quickly improved on it. The LG Watch Urbane has classic looks, complete with three hardware buttons, but is actually the most advanced smartwatch to date. It's the first with LTE connectivity and the first to offer mobile payments via NFC (pre-empting the Apple Watch).

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

A classic analog watch (left), LG Watch Urbane (center) and Urbane LTE (right)

It's important to note that the Urbane LTE is powered by the LG Wearable Platform. LG was trying hard not to call it WebOS (failing a few times). The non-LTE version will run Android Wear though.

Here are some of the pre-installed apps on the LG Watch Urbane LTE. It doesn't have a camera, but it can act as a remote shutter. Also note that the LG Wearable Platform does not support Google Now, it uses GVoice instead.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

A selection of pre-installed apps on the LG Watch Urbane LTE

The main motivation behind a custom OS is that back when LG started working on this smartwatch Wear had no support for NFC payments. LG didn't discount the idea of switching now that the software is ready, but didn't commit to it either.

The thing about the LG Watch Urbane is that it's meant to function independently as well as be hooked up to a smartphone. Only Android phones are supported for now via the Watch Manager app. The Android Wear version will use the standard app instead.

You can place calls with the Urbane LTE or use push-to-talk for walkie-talkie style communication. The watch has a microphone and speaker on board. Sending and receiving texts is supported, of course, though you'll probably want to use voice dictation for that.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Microphone and loudspeaker on the Urbane LTE watch

To further free you from having to carry a phone, the smartwatch has NFC payment technology. Note that this only works on the LTE version.

Putting the LTE and non-LTE versions on the hand is a very different experience. The Urbane LTE weighs 115g and feels like a quality watch, a rather thick one at that. The non-LTE phone is a featherweight 45g, lighter than the LG G Watch R, and people who are used to wearing a watch will probably find it a bit too light.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LTE adds a lot to the weight and thickness

The wristband on the Watch Urbane LTE is made of plastic, while the one on the non-LTE version is genuine leather and is removable. We found the LG Watch Urbane LTE clasp was definitely better though.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Watch Urbane LTE wristband and clasp • Leather strap and simpler clasp on the non-LTE version

Obviously our quick hands-on is not enough to test battery life, but the LTE has a 700mAh battery - the biggest on a watch yet - while the non-LTE version has 400mAh. That's still bigger than the 300mAh that the 3G-enabled Samsung Gear S has.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Watch Urbane (Android Wear) on our hand

The LG Watch Urbane features a 1.3" P-OLED display with 320 x 320px resolution. That makes for 245ppi, not flagship smartphone sharp but good enough for the typical viewing distance for a wristwatch. The display is identical to the LG G Watch R. The screen is not the largest, though the size of the bezels did not bother us.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

A selection of Android Wear watch faces

The Urbane LTE has three hardware buttons on the side. The middle one switches between the watch face and the list of installed apps. The bottom one is a Back button, but can dial an emergency contact when long pressed. Finally, the top button grants quick access to the notifications and settings.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Three hardware buttons on the LTE version

The non-LTE version has just one button, like the other Android Wear smartwatches.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Just one button on the Android Wear version

One situation where people tend to leave their phones is when going for a run. The LG Watch Urbane has a virtual fitness coach GPS to track running and cycling. There's a built-in heartrate sensor to track your exercise and a barometer, which will help the hiking tracking functionality.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Heartrate sensors on both versions (LTE left, non-LTE right)

LG has also included specialized features for golfers that use the built-in motion sensors - accelerometer, gyro and compass.

Additional hardware details include a Snapdragon 400 chipset (the CPU clocked at 1.2GHz), 1GB of RAM (the most on a smartwatch yet), 4GB of built-in storage. In addition to optional LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and NFC there's Wi-Fi b/g/n.

The Android Wear-powered LG Watch Urbane may be best smartwatch we've handled yet even though the MWC is yet to properly start. The Urbane LTE on the other hand is more of a niche product and will originally launch in South Korea only and we're not sure if it will ever go global.

LG Magna hands-on

The LG Magna is an mid-range phone with premium aspirations - it's curved like the LG G Flex2 and has a metal-like plastic back, similar to the LG G3. One model has LTE connectivity, while the other offers dual-SIM instead.

The curvature is very slight - not enough to affect usage, but it still earns you some bragging rights. It just looks cool.

LG MWC 2015

The slightly curved LG Magna

The screen is a 5" LCD with 720p resolution, getting it within spitting distance of 300ppi. The screen is sharp-enough, though the overall image quality is fairly average.

LG MWC 2015

5" 720p screen

Above the screen is a 5MP camera that can use the screen to light up your face better. The gesture shot recognizes a hand gesture from 1.5m/3ft distance for hands-off selfies. Gesture view lets you preview the last photo when you move the phone.

The main camera on the back is an 8MP shooter. There's an LED flash next to the camera and G-style volume and power buttons below the camera. The removable back panel is similar to the LG G3. It imitates brushed metal and is quite good quality-wise.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Magna borrows the LG G3 back design and material

The sides of the LG Magna are free from controls since they were moved on the back.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Nothing on the sides

The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's usual customizations, including a fourth on-screen button to switch between SIM cards.

The LG Magna is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It comes with 8GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD cards. The battery has 2,540mAh capacity, comparable to other similarly-sized phones and can easily be swapped out by the user.

LG Spirit hands-on

The LG Spirit is the other premium mid-ranger from LG. It's sort of a mini version of the Magna, with a slightly curved body and a smaller 4.7" IPS screen. The display keeps the 720p resolution, which pushes the pixel density a touch but the difference is hardly noticeable. The image quality is similar to the Magna, which is to say average.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

LG Spirit is a smaller Magna

The handset is coming out in Asia and there it's priced the equivalent of $160. Basically, Moto E (2015) beware.

The LG Spirit is powered by a Snapdragon 410 chipset with a 1.3GHz Cortex-A53 quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM and runs 5.0 Lollipop. It also has 8GB of storage with a microSD card. The battery is smaller though, 2,100mAh.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

Nothing on the sides • you can easily pop off the back

The main camera will be 8MP or 5MP, depending on the region, both record 1080p video. The camera will support Gesture shot and Gesture view like its bigger sibling. It also has the screen as selfie light too, but the camera is only 1MP.

The back has the same LG G3-inspired look with the central Volume and Power keys and the pseudo brushed metal plastic.

LG MWC 2015
LG MWC 2015

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