7 Smart Watches You Can Buy Right Now
What do the iWatch, the Moto X Watch and the Windows Watch all have in common? Thatís right Ė they donít exist. Or, if they do exist, then they are still on the drawing board of some Silicon Valley design lab.
The smart watch Ė once regarded as the next big thing Ė has been slow to move from the concept stage to the shelves of the local retailer. The iWatch, perhaps the tech industryís worst-kept secret, has been conspicuously absent from Apple's recent hardware updates. Meanwhile, several other potential makers of smart watches are struggling to keep pace with constantly changing operating systems, or are having more success crowdfunding than bringing a product to market.
But that doesnít mean the smart watch category is completely moribund. Several high profile devices have been introduced in the last 12 months, joining smaller, less well-known rivals that have generated good reviews from a small but enthusiastic fan base. So, if a smart watch is on your must-have list, donít despair. Here are 7 smart watches that are available right now:
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Launched alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 last September a torrent of publicity, the Samsung Galaxy Gear is perhaps the most advanced of the smart watches currently on the market but also one of the most limited: it only works with Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 4.3 or higher, which at this point in time means the Galaxy Note II, the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy S4.
With the Galaxy Gear you can make and answer calls, receive notifications, shoot photos and video, and even count your steps. It also passes information to your smartphone, creating a seamless experience between the two. The Galaxy Gear features a 1.63-inch touchscreen with 320 x 320 resolution.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear is available in a variety of bright colors and costs $299.99.
Sony SmartWatch 2
The Sony SmartWatch 2 interacts with Android smartphones over Bluetooth and allows users to browse most of phoneís popular functions, such as texts, notifications, Gmail, and more. If you are using a wireless Bluetooth headset, then you can use the SmartWatch 2 as a remote to make or answer calls.
Google Play features a wide range of productivity and entertainment apps for the SmartWatch 2, including Calendar, Smart Note, Music Player, and a variety of games. You can also use SmartWatch 2 as a regular watch (!), choosing from several different watch faces and themes.
The SmartWatch 2 is water resistant and comes with a stylish black leather strap, although other colors are also available as stand-alone extras. The Sony SmartWatch 2 costs $199.99.
Pebble and Pebble Steel
The original Pebble smart watch set a new record for crowdfunding on Kickstarter and has been a darling of the micro-investor community ever since. Unfortunately, the popularity of the Pebble has been somewhat dimmed by its lack of functionality. While the Pebble can pair with both Apple (iOS) and Android devices, the result is a stream of notifications and not much else. Most of the third-party apps that have been developed for Pebble consist of customizable watch faces, although there are a few games and activity apps like RunKeeper and 7-Minute Workout.
The original Pebble smart watch comes with a choice of 5 different colors and costs $150. The recently introduced Pebble Steel is crafted from stainless steel, comes with leather and metal straps, and costs $249.
The Qualcomm Toq smart watch was launched earlier last year but without the same level of fanfare as the Galaxy Gear. The main talking point of the Toq is the special low-power Mirasol screen, which doesnít require a backlight, and instead gathers ambient light to make the display visible even in bright sunlight.
The Toq has a 1.55-inch display and pairs with smartphones featuring Android 4.0.3 or higher. The Toq displays all the usual notifications, along with a limited number of built-in apps. The Toq also pairs with wireless headphones to provide full access to all your music.
The Toq has built-in wireless charging. However, at $350 itís more expensive than the Galaxy Gear and is currently only being produced in limited numbers.
Nike+ SportsWatch GPS
Although not really a smart watch in the sense that it fully integrates with a smartphone, the Nike+ SportsWatch GPS is state-of-the-art when it comes to the growing category of intelligent sports watches. As well as telling the time, the Nike+ SportsWatch GPS keeps track of your location, pace, distance, laps and calories burned. It also stores all your run history and keeps tabs of your personal records.
After your run, you can track your progress against previous runs and compare performance with other runners. You can check out mapped runs, see how elevation affects performance, and even get recommendations on future routes. While the Nike+ SportsWatch GPS wonít give you all your Facebook updates, maybe those can wait until you get back from your healthy workout!
The Nike+ SportsWatch GPS powered by TomTom starts at $119.99 and comes in a choice of 5 different colors.
The curiously-named iím Watch is Italian made, which naturally means that itís one of the best-looking smart watches on the market! The iím Watch connects to iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 devices via Bluetooth, enabling the user to handle phone calls, texts, e-mail, and other notifications.
The iím Watch comes with variety of built-in apps, including weather, stock market news, a fully integrated appointment calendar, and the usual social networking apps. The company behind iím Watch has also created hundreds of additional apps, which can be downloaded from its very own iímarket app store. iímarket apps include games, calendars, games, productivity tools, games, and more games!
The iím Watch comes with a choice of six different colored straps and starts at $349.00.
Martian Smart Watches
The Martian range of smart watches are more of a speaker-phone accessory rather than full-blown stand-alone devices but they offer a stylish alternative to some of the geekier watches such as the Galaxy Gear.
Compatible with both Android and iOS devices, Martian smart watches allow hands-free dialing and a variety of voice commands, as well as relaying most notifications.† Voice recognition includes almost full interaction with Siri when paired with the latest iPhones, including web search, setting reminders, controlling music, and more.
Martian smart watches start at $249 for the G2G line and range up to $299 for the Passport and Victory collections.
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