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Top 10 Best Smartwatches Buyers Guide: February 2015 Edition

February 11, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

10. Pebble

Pebble OG

The Pebble is arguably the device that convinced a lot of users that they even wanted a smartatch in the first place, and as a result it has been around for a long while. While the Pebble has far more color options than anyone else out there, the plasticky build and questionably large footprint can be offputting when there are watches like the Moto 360 and of course the Pebble Steel out there. Sure, the Pebble has a fantastic ecosystem of watch faces, apps and utilities available for it, now including 24/7 fitness tracking, but having to push all those buttons is pretty inconvenient. Recently, Pebble have added much to love to their software, including Android Wear support for notifications

09. Samsung Gear Live

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Samsung’s Gear Live was one of the original Android Wear watches and sadly, it’s already starting to show its age. While the heart-rate monitor and AMOLED display are nice, it’s far from inspiring compared to current competition. It’s also a little on the bulky side, but it’s fairly classy and if you’re a Samsung fan in the first place, you’ll be right at home here. Sadly though, Samsung went with what has to be one of the most ridiculous charging adapters we’ve seen, but if you’re careful you shouldn’t come across and issues, and there are replacements available from the Play Store, too. The Gear Live, along with the G Watch, is a basic entry into the world of Android Wear, and we’re all waiting to see something better from Samsung with Android Wear.

08. LG G Watch

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While I’m currently happy with the G Watch as it is I’m becoming increasingly jealous of better designs like the G Watch R and the ASUS ZenWatch. I’ve tied mine with a nice black and red leather strap and the G Watch is great for this sort of thing, you can attach whicever 22mm watch band to it you want in a fairly traditional manner, but the blocky face still stands out. It also comes in a fetching white gold color, too. As far as Android Wear watches goes, this has a 1.6-inch display like most (but it’s just 280 x 280, not the nicer, more common 320 x 320) and a Snapdragon 400 running the show. That’s about it, there’s no ambient light sensor, no heart-rate monitor or anything like that.

07. Sony SmartWatch 3

 

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The SmartWatch 3 from Sony continues to be an interesting product to me. It’s Sony in all the right places, but misses the mark when it comes to overall design. Sure, the new metal version and the strap adapter go a long way to make this more appealing, but compared to the G Watch R and the ASUS ZenWatch, this just isn’t that attractive. Still, it’s one of the best watches to purchase if you’re an active type of person. It’s definitely a decent smartwatch to consider, but dare I say that Sony could have tried a little harder? Our review can be found here. The SmartWatch 3 is also available from the Play Store now.

06. Samsung Gear S

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Ah yes, the Gear S. S for Standalone, as the Gear S is a souped-up version of the Gear 2 with its own cellular radio, this is one smartwatch can stand on its own two feet…if it had feet. Either way, this is great for those that want something not reliant on their smartphone, but it can get a little confusing. Never mind all that though, the Gear S is one chunky smartwatch, it’s more of a cuff than it is a timepiece, but it is loaded with technology and that curved AMOLED display is certainly going to be a talking point at the bar. We recently reviewed the Gear S, and while we’d recommend it to Samsung users, we’d advise waiting for that price to drop a little.

05. Samsung Gear 2

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Samsung’s Gear 2 was announced at the same event as the Galaxy S5 and while it’s a real pain that the device doesn’t work with anything other than a Samsung smartphone, it’s a decent offering nonetheless. With a camera, heart-rate monitor and some other interesting features, the Gear 2 is a great watch for die-hard Samsung fans. However, the ecosystem is a little all over the place and there isn’t as many apps as you’d be able to get on Android Wear or say a Pebble or Pebble Steel. A decent offering, the Gear 2 is great, but there’s a barrier for entry that we really wish didn’t exist.

04. Pebble Steel

Pebble Steel

 

You wouldn’t really want to wear a G Watch or a Gear 2 with a suit, at least not without some modification. The Pebble Steel on the other hand, will fit right in. If you liked what the Pebble had to offer but really didn’t like the look of it (a common complaint) then the Pebble Steel is for you. The same three-button operation is here and while that is a little fiddly compared to touch and voice, these are great in sunlight and there’s a massive ecosystem out there to plug into. One of the classiest watches available, the Pebble Steel is one wo tlook for if you need to look the part during your 9-to-5, or you just want a good looking watch, rather than another gadget.

03. ASUS ZenWatch

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There’s nothing wrong with a square smartwatch, but the G Watch and Gear Lives aren’t exactly the best-looking devices available, are they? During IFA 2014 ASUS announced what has to be best-looking square smartwatch yet and it oozes class. The brushed aluminum frame is paired with a leather strap that come together to deliver a classy look that you could pair with a suit and tie or whatever you want. This, like the Moto 360 looks like a timepiece instead of a gadget and there’s some interesting features that ASUS have bundled in, too. Still, if square isn’t your thing then you’ll need to look elsewhere but ASUS have done a good job at creating a good-looking middleground.

02. LG G Watch R

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So, you want a circular display on your next smartwatch and you also want a watch that looks like well, a watch. While it’s still inching its way to market, the G Watch R could be what you’re looking for and it’s starting to become available. With a circular display that’s fully circular, a heart-rate monitor and the same simple-yet-reliable charging mechanism from the original G Watch, the R looks great. It’s the same device on the inside, but with these smartwatches the outside is arguably more important than the smartphones they depend upon. We recently reviewed the G Watch R and found it to be a pretty great device.

01. Moto 360

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The Moto 360 is still the smartwatch that you could pretty much buy for anyone, it’s fetching, easy to use and looks like an actual watch. It’s a really good-looking piece of hardware and now that there are more strap cobinations available, like the new Dodocase straps, the Moto 360 just gets better. The TI OMAP chip inside is not the newest out there, and the battery life isn’t all that great either, but it will get you through a normal working day. Besides, when the overall package is as good as this, there’s no reason to look elsewhere. Our review can be read here.