Smart watches are the new sunglasses – everybody wants these glorious new multipurpose devices wrapped around their wrists; but when starting to consider dipping into the smartwatch market, which are the makes and models you should consider?
Essentially, what defines a smartwatch is a wearable time-piece that has connectivity capabilities – whether it be Bluetooth, WiFi or tethering to your smartphone.
Sony SmartWatch 3 SWR50
Price: R3,185 from Orange online store
Availability: 16 November
Sony has been in the smartwatch game for quite some time, and the tech company is now releasing its new flagship device, the SmartWatch 3. Surprisingly, the new release runs on Android Wear as opposed to Sony’s own smartwatch operating system which featured on previous devices. This switch means that users will have a wealth of apps available for the device from the get-go.
The display is the par for the course 320×320 resolution panel at 1.6-inches, and the watch also caters for the fashion-conscience (if you want it to, of course), as you can choose from a range of wrist straps – formal, sophisticated, casual, vibrant colours and fitness style, to make the SmartWatch 3 suit the occasion.
This is a solid option for those looking for that all-round device, without sacrificing too much.
LG G Watch R
Price: R3,625 from Orange online store
Availability: Out now
While some smart watches may seem too tech-orientated, the LG G Watch R aims to please those looking for a connected device, while also remaining robust enough to be put through its paces.
The LG G Watch R features a bright circular screen, a strong battery, genuinely useful voice controls, water resistancy, and a strong metal construction. The LG G Watch R sports a full circle P-OLED display measuring 1.3-inches in diameter, plus you also get a barometer, heart rate monitor and 9-Axis (which includes a gyro, accelerometer and compass).
With all that in tow, and being powered by Android’s Wear OS, the G Watch R is the best option for the sporty type looking for that step forward in the wrist-watch department.
Motorola Moto 360
Local availability: TBA
Motorola’s entry into the smartwatch battle is one which sticks to the classic look and feel of traditional wristwatches. The Moto 360 features a circular face, analog tickers, a stainless steel case, and Horween leather, giving users that feel that they’re not wearing a computer on their wrists, but rather a conventional timepiece, albeit with some power under the hood.
Powered by Android Wear, the Moto 360 features a 1.56-inch LCD display with an always-on 320×290 screen – showing you the time even when the watch is in power-saving mode. It also includes an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the LCD brightness, which is especially convenient when you need a bright screen in sunny conditions or want to reduce battery life consumption in dark environments without having to manually adjust the setting.
The Moto 360 is ideal for the user who wants a classic-looking watch but who can also benefit from receiving notifications on-the-go.
Of course, as expected, if there’s a new electronic trend on the horizon, the powerhouse South Korean company of Samsung is at the forefront. Samsung’s Gear S is a smartwatch that you can use to make phone calls or surf the web without first having to pair the watch with a smartphone, and that’s quite the game-changer. With its integrated cellular connectivity, the Gear S is a much more independent smartwatch compared with what’s currently on the market, not having that clingy co-dependency with your smartphone is a great feature.
The 3G-enabled Gear S also features 2-inch curved Super AMOLED screen, with a 360×480 resolution, and runs on a 1GHz dual core processor with the Tizen OS – so it’s got the clarity and power you’ll need to handle all your tasks simultaneously.
The higher price compared to other options is an obvious concern, but the Gear S is arguably the most feature-heavy decide out there.
Availability: Early 2015
Price: Local pricing TBA (estimated at R4,000)
While Apple is typically at the front of the queue with regards to delivering the latest tech, the US company is a late addition to the smartwatch market, but as everyone knows, they’re never a competitor you count out.
Unlike other previously released smartwatches, the Apple Watch (not the iWatch, as it was rumoured to be called) features a specialised dial featuring touch-capabilities on the side. Called the Digital Crown, the dial contains sensors that turn movement into data, so will be the main input method for the Apple Watch rather than the touch-screen display.
Another unique feature is Digital Touch, which will let users communicate with someone just by tapping. You can draw on the AppleWatch, change colours or send your heartbeat.
The Apple Watch will need to operate in conjunction with other iOS devices, so this is something to be considered when looking at this particular option.