Whether you’re dead set on an Android Wear watch, or you’re looking for something different that doesn’t cost quite as much, our Gift Guide for Smartwatches should have something for you.
Ah, the Pebble. That little smartwatch that essentially convinced us that these things were worth even having, it’s come on a long way since it was one of the most successful Kickstarters of all time. Now, it costs just $100, works with iPhone and Android and the software only gets better with age. Available in a range of colors, the readable display is good for those that want a watch rather than another gadget. It can even pull off a range of fitness tricks now thanks to a partnership with Misfit. An excellent all-rounder, the Pebble still rocks.
Motorola Moto 360
Arguably one of the best examples of a smartwatch to date, the Moto 360 is more “timepiece” than it is “gadget”, which is exactly what a lot of people have been looking for in a smartwatch. It’s chock full of cool features, runs Android Wear like many others, and it’s designed to be stylish, rather than functional. It’s not great on the inside, with a bizarre choice of processor and questionable battery life, but it’s easily one of the best looking smartwatches available. It ticks all the right boxes and there’s very little to complain about when it comes to everyday use, as we found out in our review.
Samsung Gear 2
Samsung is no stranger to releasing wearables year after year and the Gear 2 is a pretty decent offering. Standing out from the crowd by running their own Tizen OS, the Gear 2 is definitely different. For Samsung fans, it’s a great option as it only works with select Galaxy devices, which is annoying for the rest of us, and so provides a cohesive experience all round. Design wise, this is definitely more modern than the Moto 360 and it’s packed with all the features you might want including a heart rate monitor as well as a camera to boot.
Sony SmartWatch 2
You might wonder why we’d feature the SmartWatch 2 instead of the SmartWatch 3 here, but the truth is not everyone wants to be stuck with Android Wear. We like variety as Android users, and this is just what the Sony SmartWatch 2 offers. It’s a decent platform with the ability to browse all your messages, email and Facebook messages from your wrist, rather than just those that are coming in. It’s a nice, digital design with water resistance and while it’s certainly not perfect, it’s a nice option outside of the Android Wear club, and it’s also reasonably priced at sub-$150.
The Pebble Steel
If you really like the sound of what the Pebble has to offer, but what something a little more substantial, then the Steel is what you’re looking for. It’s a quality piece of hardware and it comes with both a metal and leather strap in the box. It’s built to go with a suit, or something a little smarter than the Pebble would work with and for that, the Steel works really well. There’s having a cool gadget and then there’s looking the part, for a lot of you the Pebble Steel will do both.
Samsung Gear Live
If you like the look of the Gear 2 but don’t own a Samsung smartphone, then the Gear Live is a good choice. Cut from the same cloth as the Gear 2 (minus a few features) the Gear Live is a Samsung watch through-and-through yet it runs Android Wear. That gives the Gear Live more flexibility and arguably makes it more appealing to the everyday sort of user. It’s a good-looking watch too, even if it is on the modern side of things. Still, with a higher-resolution AMOLED display and a cool design, the Gear Live is a way of getting a Samsung smartwatch, without having to have the phone as well.
Sony SmartWatch 3
A more modern, and perhaps fitness-orientated take on Android Wear, Sony’s latest SmartWatch 3 is a silicon affair with a two-day battery life. You can change bands by just popping the center console in and out and with Sony’s Lifelog application you can get a look at everything you did throughout the day, be it walking, running, texting, watching YouTube and so on. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but the transflective display is more readable outdoors and it’s got a two-day battery life to boot.
If you want to take a look at what the future of smartwatches could be, but today, then the Toq is what you want. A completely different affair, the Toq is mostly to show off how good a smartwatch could be with a Mirasol display. It’s excellent in sunlight and it works fairly well, but with a strange charging dock and some questionable software, the Toq might be just for enthusiasts, for whom it’d be great.
Samsung Gear S
The smartwatch that can stand on its own two feet, the Gear S is an interesting one from Samsung and thanks to the curved AMOLED display it’s certainly unique. It is however, very expensive and kinda bulky. Still, if you’re a Samsung fan that wants the best Samsung has to offer, then this is the best Gear watch out there, it’s a conversation starter and is excellent for those looking for something that doesn’t need to be tied to a smartphone all the time. It has a heart rate monitor and lots of other features, too.
LG G Watch R
The G Watch R is one of the best Android Wear watches available, as we found out in our review. It’s good-looking, has a great display and is really well made. A round watch with a fully round display, the G Watch R might have an awful name, but it’s so good-looking and functional that it’s easy to forgive. For those that used to wear G Shock watches a lot, this will fit into your wardrobe nice and there’s very little to complain about really. A stunning piece of hardware, this would make a special gift.