The biggest challenge for smartwatch companies has been persuading people that they need technology on their wrist. Or at the very least creating enough hype to make them forget the question. The other has been defining the target; is it an accessory for you or your phone? The result has been a range of devices with varying degrees of integration. Hereâ€™s our rundown of the top 5 smartwatches out there.
Samsung Gear S: An impressive package, the Samsung Gear S is the first step towards a full standalone product that isnâ€™t an accessory for your smartphone. Complete with its own speakers and microphone, the Gear S is one of the largest smartwatches – a potential problem Samsung has sought to mitigate by creating a curved screen that follows the wrist.
The 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and dual-core processor means it can process a variety of functions on the impressive 2-inch 480×360-pixel AMOLED display. Whilst large, itâ€™s still not large enough to type easily â€“ a perpetual problem for the smartwatch. Voice recognition however is possible. A fun piece of wear tech that holds a promising future, true to form Samsung are once again Appleâ€™s biggest competitor.
Pebble Steel: Compatible with both iPhone and Android, the Pebble steel is a classic looking watch, in the traditional sense that it is both functional and fashionable. With a built in notifications feature and silent alarm clock, plus a variety of enjoyable apps, the Pebble Steel is a long lasting, long wearing smartwatch that blends well with your life. The only downside of this smartwatch is the lack of fitness features, however theyâ€™re made up for in style â€“ which is more important anyway, right?
Microsoft Band: The Microsoft Band is a fitness band and watch; a simple piece of wear tech that doesnâ€™t over complicate things. The straightforward interface is unfussy and unpretentious, and reaffirms the practical nature of this fitness tracker that just happens to be able to take a call. Being so lightweight, one downside is that it isnâ€™t water resistant – which is problematic because itâ€™s so light you may forget itâ€™s on your wrist. Complete with Microsoft Health â€“ the promising new platform by Microsoft, the Band is the ideal fitness companion that allows you to escape the void of your smartphone and get outside.
LG Watch Urbane: Well-proportioned with a 1.3-inch OLED display, the Urbane looks at first glance like a dress watch, which is nice.
One of the newest features is that it connects to your smartphone remotely or over Wi-Fi, putting it above the Apple Watch which needs both devices to be on the same network. With a revamped interface, using apps is easier than past models. The only obvious problem is that the raised bezel makes it difficult to swipe – though it does protect the screen. A nostalgic design, the LG Watch Urbane harks back to these classic analogue watches with iconic and convential styles, whilst incorporating the technologies of today.
Apple Watch: No smartwatch list would be complete without the Apple Watch. The highly anticipated smartwatch hit the market this year. Orders backed-up quickly, with buyers having to wait, in some cases, up to three months for delivery. Appleâ€™s first totally new product since the iPad meant that the stakes were high.
Blending the boundaries between smartphone and smartwatch, the Apple Watch quickly becomes deeply connected with your iPhone. Though you can send and receive texts, it isnâ€™t easy since the retina screen is small. But it does come with an array of charming communication features such as drawing and 3D animated emoticons for those with less patience. Also, in a nod to classic horology, you can customize the Apple Watch with widgets that Apple is calling â€œcomplicationsâ€.
And of course there are the fitness features. Not as robust as others on this list, the Microsoft Band included, it does keep you updated on how much you have, or havenâ€™t, moved. But where Apple usually does lead the way however, is quality. Achieving the perfect balance between luxurious and technological, no other smartwatch on the market can compare to basic construction of the Apple Watch.