Buying a smartwatch can be a far more arduous process that buying a phone or a tablet, simply because there are so many available and it’s difficult to tell which ones are actually worth buying or not. Plus a lot of them look rather tacky, which doesn’t help. To ensure you know exactly what to buy, we have compiled a list of the 10 best smartwatches you can buy.
Thanks to its extensive, and record breaking, Kickstarter campaign, the Pebble has become one of the most popular smartwatch choices. Available in a variety of colours, you’ll be able to pick one out that suits you.
One of the major bonuses of owning a Pebble is the black and white e-paper display, which significantly reduces the amount of power it uses and gives the watch a whopping seven day battery life. So no frantically scrambling to find a charger in the middle of the day for this.
Like any other smartwatch the Pebble can receive notifications and calls from your phone, but thanks to its age there is are over 1,000 apps available on the Pebble app store that will expand what your watch can do.
Buy it now for £129.95
2. LG G Watch
One of two smartwatches announced during the Google I/O keynote speech, the G Watch runs on Android Wear, a version of Google’s OS designed specifically for smartwatches and other wearable devices.
The major thing about the G Watch is that unlike other smartwatches which only respond to simple voice commands, the G Watch is fully integrated with Google Now, which is essentially a voice activated search engine on your wrist. Along with the notifications that are sent from your phone, chances are you won’t have to get your phone out of your pocket very often.
It’s not the most elegant of designs,since its rather reminiscent of the square digital watches from days gone buy, but it’s small, unobtrusive, and easy to use.
Buy it now for £159
3. Samsung Gear Live
The latest in the line of Samsung smartwatches, the Gear Live is the other smartwatch that comes with Google’s Android Wear operating system, which means it also comes with the Google Now voice recognition software.
But that’s far from everything it can do. The Gear Live actually comes with more features than any other smartwatch currently available. Not only does it come with Google Now and a multitude of notifications, the Gear Live also comes with Google Fit, which allows it to function as a fitness tracker and heart-rate monitor, and has Google Maps integration so that you can find your way with minimal fuss.
Like the G Watch, it’s still rather blocky and reminiscent of the old digital watches, but the design is much easier to look when you think about everything it can do. The inclusion of an AMOLED screen also means that you’ll be able to see the crisp rich colours clearly, regardless of what the local lighting is like.
Buy it now for £169
4. Martian Victory Smartwatch
If you only caught a brief glimpse of the Martian Victory and you could be forgiven for not realising exactly what it was, and that’s because, unlike other smartwatches, it looks like an ordinary watch.
But don’t let that put you off. By mimicking a “dumbwatch” the Victory manages to capture the best of both worlds: a watch that can be linked to your smartphone and used for notifications, voice commands, and camera control, without sacrificing the smart look and elegance that comes from wearing a watch. You could go to a wedding wearing it and no one would be the wiser.
The downside to this is that the Victory doesn’t function independently, if you want to use the “smart” features you will have to pair it with a smartphone. Otherwise it’s just an ordinary watch that tells the time. But it’s simple to connect since all you need is the Martian Watch Alerts App on iOS or Android.
Buy it now for £300
5. Sony Smartwatch 2
It may not look like much with it’s blocky screen and rubber strap, but gadgets aren’t always about looks — it’s about what they can do. There isn’t an awful lot it can do over any other smartwatch, since it’s primarily focussed on giving you your notifications, but it does what it does rather well.
People who get immensely frustrated because they missed something on their phone will find the Smartwatch 2 invaluable, since it’s virtually impossible to miss anything thanks to the high vibration setting. It also has the added bonus of a five day battery life, and unlike the Pebble it doesn’t achieve this by sacrificing the screen — it’s all in glorious colour.
It might not look like much, but the longevity of the battery and the notifications make it a worthy purchase.
Buy it now for £148
6. Nike+ GPS Sportwatch
Unlike most smartwatches which are based around getting your phone out of your pocket as little as possible, the Nike+ Sportwatch is more about not needing your phone with you when you go out running. Plus it doesn’t look all that shabby either.
How it works is that when you go out for your run, the phone will track you using GPS with a great deal of accuracy, recording all your data along the way. Not only does it record all the data from your run, it also stores your history inside the watch for you to look back at later on, and it can e used to connect with your friends to find routes together, and share your run activity.
It’s not one to be used if you want to keep track of your notifications on your wrist, but it’s an excellent piece to help you with your running activities. Plus, it’s a very good price.
Buy it here for £100.
7. Pebble Steel
There isn’t much difference between this and the regular Pebble in terms of software and day-to-day use, but the Pebble Steel is an option for those of you who want to have something that works well, without strapping a tacky-looking plastic watch to your wrist.
True the Steel is a lot more expensive than a regular Pebble, but if you’re after style over substance then it’s definitely one looking into. Especially seeing as the e-ink display means you can go a considerable amount of time without having to plug the thing in.
Buy it now for £254.
8. Citizen Eco-Drive Proximity
Another watch to have if you’re more interested in having a smartwatch that looks and feels like having a watch, rather than wearing a miniature phone on your wrist. That’s not to say that the Eco-Drive Proximity doesn’t do a lot of the things you can do with a regular smartwatch, because it can.
Connecting via Bluetooth, this one is compatible with the iPhone 5 and 4s and includes functions like updating the time and calendar automatically, email, phone, and schedule notifications, as well as being able to find your iPhone should you happen to unexpectedly lose it.
If you want a watch that runs apps, this isn’t one you should consider. But if you want something that’s almost indistinguishable from a normal watch then this is one for you.
Buy it here for £324.
While the Eco-Drive is indistinguishable from a normal watch, the Cookoo is clearly something different. It’s just not so different that it’s immediately apparent. Again this isn’t a watch that can function on its own with it own apps, it relies on being connected to a phone — otherwise it’s just an ordinary watch.
It does everything you’d expect a smartwatch to do in that it delivers notifications from your phone, and it tells the time. What makes it slightly different is that there is a customisable command button that can do a whole host of things like check-in on Facebook, or control your phone’s camera.
It’s not the most stylish of smartwatches, and it certainly doesn’t have the most extensive functions, but that being said it isn’t completely useless and is rather a good deal for the price.
Buy it here for £99.
10. i’m Watch
While it may not be uncommon for smartwatches to come with apps nowadays, there was a time when they were restricted to being notification-based timepieces. Then the i’m Watch came about and changed all that. It can still be used as a notification device if you want, but that fact is that you can let it do so much more.
The apps themselves come from the i’market and covers most of what you’ll need: Facebook, Twitter, texting, calls, calendars, etc. But it’s not just about the apps, the i’m Watch is still small enough to not look ridiculous and is compatible with all iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices.
It isn’t particularly new, nor is it particularly cheap (the price is a major downside), but if you want something that functions independently from your phone, then this isn’t a bad option to consider. Especially if you can get the price reduced.
Buy it here for £199.
By Tom Pritchard | July 30th, 2014