It started when you bought a smartphone, bringing an infinite amount of knowledge to your pockets. Then, you may have picked up a tablet — revolutionizing how you casually surfed, streamed and studied.
Now, there’s a new category of device that pines for your disposable income. Smartwatches have been around for the past few years — but with Apple entering the fray in April, you’re probably thinking of actually buying one. But just like phones, there’s more than the cult of Cupertino pushing the gadget. Here’s a quick rundown of the biggest players in the smartwatch game and their major features/deficits.
Price : Starts at $250
Works With: Android, iPhone rumored.
Pros: Arguably the nicest looking of all the smartwatch offerings on the market, the 360’s circular face is its greatest differentiating factor. The 46mm diameter screen allows for a more stylish presentation, and doesn’t just feel like a miniaturized version of your smartphone. A recent update also boosted battery life, making it viable for all-day use. Android Wear powers the device, which comes directly from Google for multiple wearable devices. Thus, you can expect more app support than most other smartwatches.
Cons: While the Moto 360 is a stunner from afar, the shine starts to wear off with closer investigation. The watch is 11.5 mm thick — imagine an Oreo cookie strapped to your wrist. The stylish design is also marred slightly by a black bezel at the bottom of the device, hiding a light sensor (which keeps it from having a perfectly circular display).
Price : $199-$250
Release Date : Fall 2015
Works With: Android (4.0+), iOS (4s or later)
Pros: Currently on Kickstarter, Pebble Time is a simpler smartwatch that promises core functionality and intense battery life (advertised as up to ten days). Rather than a flashy LCD screen, Pebble Time uses a color e-ink display, akin to an e-reader. As a result, battery consumption is a fraction of other devices. This latest revision also includes a microphone for voice control and a new time-sensitive interface.
Cons: The most noticeable trade off with a Pebble is functionality. The lack of an LCD screen means that apps designed for another device likely won’t work with a Pebble. The screen also isn’t touch-sensitive, leaving all control to buttons on the side of the device.
Release Date: April 2015
Works With: iPhone (5 or later)
Pros: It’s Apple. If you’re looking for the top of the heap in build quality, software and usability — look no further. Like every Apple release, the Apple Watch is guaranteed to be a cultural phenomenon, ensuring a swarm of app development and social envy. With included heart rate monitoring, NFC transmitter (for wireless payment through Apple Pay) and a unique dial for navigation, there’s plenty of innovation in Apple’s new bling.
Cons: It’s Apple. The premium on price is hard to ignore, and as any early adopter can attest, Apple usually takes a revision or two before perfecting a new device. Additionally, battery life is set to be a problem, which can be as low as six hours if the device is Bluetooth connected (which is necessary for most core features).