The way that smartwatches (and wearable tech in general) are hitting the mainstream this year is very exciting. Smartphones have just become our phones and people are looking for a new, exciting gadget to obsess over. But smartwatches represent more than just a fad or a new category or must-have device; they have the potential to revolutionize how we consume content from emails, to texts to other notifications. They also hold the promise of making us healthier and more active (or at least better understanding our habits).
Personally, there are only two smartwatches I would ever consider buying (at this point, at least): the king of all smartwatches, the Apple Watch, and the Pebble Time (in that order). The Apple Watch is going to make me less dependent on pulling out my iPhone a million times a day—and I like that a lot. But you might be a different story. Perhaps you are looking for the best Apple Watch alternatives (or just want to see how it stacks up against the competition) or want something that fits your budget or personality or style in a way that the Apple Watch or Pebble Time do not. Whatever the case may be, these are the best smartwatches currently available.
The Apple Watch is synonymous with smartwatch. It wasn’t the first smartwatch on the planet, but it’s the first one that really matters to mainstream society. With a non-circular, non-traditional design the Apple Watch is very unique. It comes in two sizes, and three models ranging from Sport, to Watch to Edition (and increasing in price with each tier). Get Siri, use the best fitness tracker you can buy and even pay using Apple Pay—right from your wrist. This is the smartwatch to beat. Check out some of the best Apple Watch accessories.
One weakness that hampers most smartwatches is battery life; but not so with the Pebble Time. This smartwatches’ unique screen—a color e-paper display (with an LED backlight)—means it’s batter life can last up to seven days. While not nearly as robust as Apple Watch’s Siri, the Pebble Time does have a microphone which lets you accomplish some tasks via voice. The unique OS is centered around your timeline—past, present and future.
Motorola Moto 360
The Motorola Moto 360 is definitely one of the best looking Android Wear smartwatches. With it’s classical round design, the Moto 360 looks a bit more traditional than the Apple Watch or Pebble Time—if that’s what you’re after. As with many smartwatches currently available, the Moto 360 comes with a variety of bands; but no one can say a company has thought more about the design and usability of smartwatch bands than Apple. From Facebook Messenger to Pinterest to Lyft, you’ll find a decent variety of compatible apps.
LG G Watch R
The LG G Watch R makes no bones about it’s traditionalist looks—it’s even more traditional than the Moto 360. Beyond a circular shape, the LG G Watch R keeps the ticking around the watch face—a feature some people will enjoy (older people who remember what traditional watches look like) and others will not (younger people who have never worn a watch). If you like the look, you’ll find the standard Android Wear smartwatch functionality here: fitness tracking, OK Google, turn-by-turn navigation, etc.
The Asus ZenWatch doesn’t attempt to copy traditional watch design and instead took a more rectangular approach to it’s smartwatch screen. The screen on the ZenWatch is also a bit more curved than most smartwatches to fit the curve of your wrist. Because it only comes in one size, it looks fairly large on a woman’s wrist (judging by the demo video). Personally, I feel like a round screen isn’t well suited to a smartwatch; if you notice on watches like the Moto 360, the notifications would fit in a rectangle—they don’t even fit into the circular space provided. Good call on this design, Asus. I think this is one of the better looking Android Wear smartwatches.
The Alcatel Onetouch shares some design characteristics with the Moto 360; if you didn’t know any better you might get them confused, at least based the hardware. When it comes to software, I think the Onetouch seems to have a nicer, cleaner and more colorful interface than the Moto 360. The Onetouch definitely seems geared toward the outdoorsy types with it’s waterproofing good up to 1 meter and sporty bands (which I have to say seem a bit cheap—the Apple Watch Sport bands look much nicer and more stylish).
The Huawei Watch is yet another smartwatch with a circular face design—although it’s perhaps the best looking of the round bunch. There are over 40 watch faces to choose from, but I think Huawei (and most Android Wear smartwatch manufacturers for that matter) sort of misses the point when it comes to smartwatches; a smartwatch can do more than just be a digital watch. At least the Apple Watch faces can mix and match time telling with calendar appointments, health info, etc.
What do you think? Which is your favorite? What will you be buying (or not buying)? Please leave us a comment below (we’ll respond)!