If you’ve spent the past year or two obsessing over the most popular activity trackers, you’re going to love the next new wearable tech trend, the smartwatch. A smartwatch is the first device to finally add reason to wearing a watch in the digital age. Not only will it tell you the time, but it can also connect to WiFi and has bluetooth functionality so that it can seamlessly pair with your smartphone to relay calls, texts, and more without you ever having to pick up a separate device. It’s like all of the best qualities of your smartphone, on your wrist! (I’m personally excited about the fact that it will be much, much harder for me to ever drop, break, or lose my phone once I have one of these babies.)
Turns out, nearly all of our favorite electronics companies (and many new startups) are betting big on this trend, as there are already several smartwatches on the market (and more to come — hint, hint, Apple). Thus we thought we’d help break down the pros and cons of the top seven most talked about watches on our radar.
1. Pebble ($150): The oldest kid on the smartphone watch block, Pebble is a watch, a smartphone satellite, and a sleek piece of arm candy all in one. It connects to iPhone and Android phones using Bluetooth, alerting you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails, and texts. It also has a whole host of apps ranging from sports and fitness, to music and gaming. Plus, with tons of gorgeous digital watchfaces, the Pebble can be easily customized to your personality, mood, or outfit.
2. MetaWatch FRAME ($229): Put your name on the waiting list—the FRAME is currently out of stock. We’re not surprised. This gadget is the perfect blend of fashion and functionality. It works with iPhones and Android phones and features multiple watch face options in addition to features like caller ID, SMS, email, weather, and calendar notifications. You can control music via Bluetooth and the cycling and running app is on its way. Plus, social media features (!) are coming soon. Facebook and Twitter notifications on your wrist? We’re in. Oh, and did we mention it’s water resistant in up to 100 feet of water? Scuba divers, take note.
3. Martian Passport Watch ($300): Stainless steel, genuine leather, and sporty silicone? Is this a fashion accessory or a piece of technology? The Martian Passport is definitely the most stylish smartwatch we’ve come across. Don’t be fooled—despite its low-tech look, it’s not lacking in the “smart” department. With a noise-cancelling microphone and voice command, you can talk, listen, and receive notifications without ever taking your iPhone or Android phone out of your pocket. You can even take a photo remotely from your watch. What a timepiece!
4. Sony SmartWatch 2 ($200): If you have an Android phone, this is the watch for you. This newly-released gadget connects to your phone via Bluetooth, has NFC connectivity and an army of apps, and vibrates to alert you when new info is received. You can customize your SmartWatch to fit your style with a number of wrist strap options, too. It’s also dust- and waterproof, so feel free to head to the beach with this guy. While the design itself may be a little plain, at $200, it’s one of the more affordable options on the market.
5. Samsung GALAXY Gear ($300): This watch is so chock full of cool features, we don’t even know where to start. Thanks to the “Find My Device” feature, you can use your watch to find your phone when its misplaced. With voice command, you can make calls, write messages, set your alarm, and more without touching a button. And get this—the Gear automatically locks your smartphone whenever it’s more than 5 feet away from your watch and unlocks it when it’s close again. What!? That might be the definition of a “smart” watch. This sleek gadget is compatible across all of the Samsung GALAXY devices. Oh, and there are loads of apps…AND a built-in camera. Wow.
6. Adidas miCoach SMART RUN ($399): Calling all fitness enthusiasts! Mark your calendars for November 1st. Why? Because that’s the day that the new Adidas running watch is scheduled to hit the market. At $399, this is one of the more expensive models out there, however, it’s anticipated to be the most advanced running device on the market. Users will be able to monitor their heart rate (on their wrist—no chest strap needed), track their runs using GPS, play music via Bluetooth, receive audio coaching, and more. We’ve never been so motivated to work out.
7. Fitbit Force ($130): The Force is the newest activity-tracking wristband from Fitbit. This gadget, available in black and slate, uses an accelerometer to track your daily steps, your calories burned, your heart rate, and more. All of the data syncs wirelessly and automatically to your smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac. As a result, you can view and analyze your stats anytime—AKA, it’s great for us data-driven geeks ;) You can view all of your stats through the OLED display, too. At night, the Force tracks your sleep patterns and has a silent vibrating wake alarm. Talk about a peaceful wake up call! Oh, and call notifications are coming soon. We just found our new personal trainer.
All in all, we think this smartwatch trend is definitely one worth watching, and trust us, we’re watching it! Our only wish? That these gizmos would come in a more feminine design. Think about rose gold, white ceramic, or even a playful multi-color print. We’d be all over that. Alas, there are no such options to date, so we’ll have to wait it out or hack our own until then.
Would you wear any of these smartwatches? Talk to us in the comments below!