Richard Bolton in Tech & Digital

07/04/2015

At A Glance: Smartwatches

Technology is no longer just in our homes, it’s always with us. Our phones are now smart and our album collections portable, so in this abundant world of tech it only seems right that our watches are next on the agenda for a futuristic facelift. 

With many companies striving for the top spot on customer shopping lists, we take a brief look at some of the products currently on the market...

Pebble Steel

Pebble have a storied history with smart watches, having championed the technology long before anyone else via a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2012. Their latest, the Pebble Steel, has no issues connecting to iOS or Android and offers push notifications direct to your wrist. It’s one of the the few watches that uses button control rather than a (often fiddly) touch screen for navigation and is water resistant to a depth of five metres. Its low-res display has been specifically designed to provide users with a simple, retro look and its battery life is one of the longest compared to its competitors, surviving up to 7 days on just one charge. Find out more about the Pebble Steel here.

Sony Smartwatch 3

Sleek and powerful, the Sony Smartwatch 3 offers numerous features to attract the eye and wallet of today’s tech nuts. The watch itself boasts a reasonable 1.6” display and is available in a variety of colours to suit any style. Its voice command functions allow you to search Google or write texts with ease, push notifications come as standard and its sports features include a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor. In terms of stand alone features, the Sony Smartwatch 3 offers GPS, a compass and light sensors that adjust the screen brightness accordingly to save battery life. Find out more about Sony’s Smartwatch 3 here.

Apple Watch

It wouldn’t be a tech race without an Apple product and the release of the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition could prove to be the most popular offering on our list. Each model boasts similar functions on either a 38mm or 42mm display, complete with the colourful and modern trappings Apple is known for. Each watch has up to 18 hours of battery life, retina display, built-in speakers, microphones, bluetooth and WiFi and is splash and water resistant but (importantly) not waterproof. Although the Apple Watch is not yet available to the general public, the hype and variety offered by Apple, combined with the use of a wheel function alongside a touch screen, is set to make for an interesting user experience. Price is TBC, for more information head here.

LG G Watch R

LG’s SmartWatch is perhaps the most traditional looking of the bunch, with a round digital display that combines familiarity with state-of-the art tech. At £200 though, it’s also one of the priciest models on the market. However, LG justifies this expense with a large array of functions and abilities. Once synced to your phone, the G Watch R allows you to screen calls before answering, check weather reports and even navigate using GPS. Its voice command system is useful when cycling or running to send texts, judge your distance or compare stats against previous activity, however talking to your watch may take a while to get use to. It's both dust and water resistant and, once full of juice, should keep you going for two full days at a time. On the downside however, LG’s Smartwatch is only chargable via its own specific doc system. Read more on this model here.

Motorola Moto 360

Described as ‘The Perfect Circle’, the Moto 360 Smartwatch offers customers the standard Android-powered activity functions such as weather and traffic updates, as well as real-time updates from your smartphone. Its voice control option is a handy way to send texts or set reminders whilst on the go and the Motorola site even allows you to build your own Smartwatch and customise every step of the process. Like most of its competitors, the Moto 360 is water resistant and comes with a built-in pedometer, however its battery life is sadly lacking, with one full charge lasting just 24 hours. Find out more here.  

Samsung Gear S

This watch writes its own rules with a 2” screen and Super AMOLED display - that’s Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode to you non-techy types . Widgets include, as standard, a pedometer and heart rate monitor as well as a turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation to ensure you have a hard time getting lost. The Samsung Gear S also supports a wide range of apps, allowing you to stay up to date on news and current events whenever and wherever you are. Its on-screen keypad allows for more accessibility and its WiFi, 3G and Bluetooth features guarantee that you’re always connected. However at £230, its one of the priciest models out there. Read more about the Samsung Gear S here.

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