Smartwatches aren’t the norm yet, still in their infancy and haven’t gained a lot of popularity. The reason is simple; you can go without one and there is no dire need of having one like the smartphone. It is also quite expensive. Still, for the tech-savvy out there, a smartwatch is another incredible gadget with many uses.
Picking the best smartwatch from a lot of brand new devices is immensely difficult. Because there are so many shiny new devices out there now, it can be a difficult task to choose the best. The days of awkward plastic watches are long gone with more and more people wanting to make more out of a watch than just a time telling machine. Smartwatches might even pose a serious challenge to the classic watchmaking companies in terms of design and features in the near future.
While selecting a smartwatch, some important aspects must be taken into consideration. The operating system, battery life, and added features such as voice command and GPS are some aspects to consider. Among the plethora of smartwatches, there are some that stand out more than others. Here is a review:
It comes as no surprise that Apple tops the list. Its Series 2 watch is a water resistant, GPS installed, sleek-body watch that is giving its rivals a run for their money. It has a lightning-fast-dual-core processor, a display that is twice as bright as before with increased visibility even in direct sunlight, and a GPU-enabled fast app performance and smooth animations. Beautiful watch faces that can be changed with a swipe and a choice of bands makes the Apple Watch a great choice. It has great genuine apps, can be used for swimming and has a heart rate monitor. It has an 18 hours battery life.
All that said, it is far from perfect and Android Wear 2.0, which is currently running on the Huawei Watch 2 and LG Watch Sport, has caught up in terms of features, technology, and style. The Apple Watch app selection is still way too small and developers aren’t making use of the GPS and sensors for untethered experiences. Apple’s own fitness services are a bit hit-and-miss and the screen isn’t always-on. On top of all of that, it is quite expensive.
Even with all those glitches, it is still a great smartwatch experience which doesn’t feel bulky and has more than one genuine apps. Apple Pay is a triumph, sports tracking works incredibly and keeping in view Apple’s history of sending great gadgets our way, there is a surety that the best is yet to come.
Pros – GPS enabled, water resistant, bright display, perfect for fitness freaks
Cons – limited apps, screen isn’t always-on, very expensive
Specs – watchOS 3, S2 dual-core processor, 1.53” OLED display, 8GB storage, 18 hours battery life, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity, wireless charging
The first thing you’ll notice about the LG Watch Sport is its size – this is an enormous smartwatch! The Sport would look like a monstrous sundial on most women’s wrists, but for those searching for a substantial and masculine-looking piece of wrist-tech that does everything you would want a 2017 smartwatch to do, it’s a worthy contender for your dollars.
The screen really impresses, and beyond outdoor workouts, it can keep track of reps in the gym, which is a surprising and welcome addition. Most smartwatches simply track your outdoor activities such as steps. The Sport, on the other hand, recognizes the wearer’s activity and offers tracking and personalized coaching. It is also one of the few smartwatches that support an LTE connection. Simply put a SIM card into the back of the watch and it can make and receive calls and data – without your smartphone nearby.
The LG Watch Sport even connects to wireless networks using your primary mobile number thanks to NumberSync. With its Android Pay app, you can make payments on the go.
However, it’s only water resistant to 1.5 meters for 30 mins, which makes it unsuitable for swimming. It’s too bulky. For a sleeker watch, the LG Watch Style is worth a look, but the payoff in size means most of the great features of the Watch Sport have been discarded.
Pros – detects user’s activity and offers tracking, 4G LTE wireless connectivity, GPS enabled, unbeatable design
Cons – unsuitable for swimming, short battery life, apps still being added and upgraded, cannot change bands
Specs – OS Android Wear 2.0, 1.38” P-OLED display, water and dust resistant, Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 4GB storage, 16 hours battery life, wireless charging, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity
This is a purely sports-purpose smartwatch. Although it has other features like weather and calendar, this watch is primarily for the sports folk. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we call it a ‘sports watch’ rather than a smartwatch!
It has dedicated GPS modes for running, cycling, swimming, golf and indoor gym workout sans strength training. The Vivoactive HR reports detailed metrics into Garmin Connect and works with services such as Strava and RunKeeper. It displays smartwatch notifications as well.
If you purely rely on looks, this watch isn’t for you. With its low-resolution screen and a not-so-attractive chunky plastic body, the Garmin Vivoactive HR is no eye candy. But the battery life is unbelievable. It can go on for almost a week, even with all-day use and a few workouts thrown in!
Pros – unbelievably long battery life, heart rate monitor, great for sportsmen even golfers, large number of downloadable apps, always-on display
Cons – design is average (not for those who love pretty stuff), big and bulky, occasional connection and syncing problems, confusing mobile app
Specs – 0.80” x 1.13” display, waterproof up to 50 meters, 2 band sizes (regular and large), resolution 205 x 148 pixels, ANT and Bluetooth Smart wireless connectivity, rechargeable lithium battery
Let’s call it the ‘open minded’ smartwatch owing to its compatibility with both Android and iOS. It is slightly bigger than the excellent Gear S2, but that is not a bad thing. The larger body delivers increased battery life, GPS, and a big screen. This watch is packed with features.
It is water resistant up to 1.5 meters so it survives in the rain or occasional contact with water but is not recommended for swimming. It is not quite the ultimate fitness tracker/sports watch. App selection is not so good and there is a serious lack of versatility on that front. Although some new apps such as MyFitnessPal and Endomondo are good.
It has a strong individual style, an intuitive rotating bezel, and great battery life. The rotating bezel can be used for accepting/rejecting a call, scrolling through your emails, setting the alarm or simply changing the brightness level. The bezel does it all in a simple turn. Samsung’s impressive platforms such as S Health means strong 3rd party apps aren’t essential for a fulfilling experience, as they are on the Apple Watch. The Samsung Pay app makes it possible to pay for anything as you go even if you don’t have your wallet or phone.
Pros – Long battery life, best smartwatch interface, water and dust resistant, always-on display, multiple watch faces to choose from, variety of bands, convenient rotating bezel
Cons – lack of app variety, too big for some people
Specs – Tizen OS, 1.3” super AMOLED display, 1.0 GHz dual-core processor, 2 band sizes (small and large), 4GB storage, wireless charging, 4 days battery life, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/4G connectivity
When it comes to battery life, Pebble is the winner. It runs for a whole week, with an always-on display and loads of functionality packed into one place. It is the cheapest smartwatch with the best battery life.
There are tons of apps to play with and the Timeline interface is pretty useful. Thin, light and durable, it is compatible with both Android and iOS. It is water resistant up to 30 meters and comes in 5 sporty colors; Black Cloud, Charcoal Flame, Charcoal Lime, White Aqua, and White Cloud. Pebble 2 will help track your sleep, activity, and heart-rate, all at an unbeatable price.
All that aside, this smartwatch is not so good for fitness enthusiasts. The fitness tracker is not very good. The heart rate monitor is not reliable either. It doesn’t have a touchscreen. It is though good for simple notifications and messages.
Pros – very cheap (great for beginners in the smartwatches game), durable, best battery life, always-on display, works with both Android and iOS, swim and shower proof up to 30 meters
Cons – The one-size-fits-all strap may not fit everyone, unreliable heart rate monitor, unimpressive fitness tracker, very basic design (nothing special), unattractive watch faces, no GPS, lack of app versatility
Specs – monochrome e-paper display, 144 x 168 resolution screen, Corning Gorilla Glass, compatible with Android 4.3+ and iOS 8+, ambient light sensor, pedometer, backlit screen
To summarize it all, smartwatches are about compromise. None of them has-it-all. The main thing to keep in mind – what is the most compelling reason you are buying your smartwatch for. With that outlined and decided, you can go for one that best fits your needs.