World On Your Wrist: A Look At Smartwatches

Image: Apple

With the advent of mobile computing infiltrating our cell phones and other mobile devices, it comes as no surprise that our science-fiction dreams have come true and we are now able to practically carry a computer on our wrists. Though it seems rather impractical to assign so many functions to such a small device, bear in mind how the tech-using populace felt nearly a decade ago with the advent of smartphones. What seemed to be an unfeasible advancement in consumer electronics has taken the world by storm with no sign of stopping, and it seems that this push for even more mobility in computing will not render the smartwatch a fad.

Though the market has not yet been saturated with a multitude of models and makes, it still pays to be educated and shop sensibly when investing in a smartwatch. Here we will go over three stellar models from Samsung, Apple and Pebble.

Samsung Gear G2 ($299-$349)

Image: Samsung

Image: Samsung

The stand out feature of the Gear S2 are the aesthetics. The design of the watch itself is quite sleek with a very bright and sharp display (360×360, AMOLED) coupled with a rotating bezel and lengthy battery life. Instead of using the tried-and-true Android OS, Samsung has opted for it’s own homegrown Tizen OS, which comes with a very user-friendly interface and is rather easy to navigate and operate the watch with. The primary drawback is that the plethora of Android apps you may want to use will not work (yet) with this device, but given Samsung’s track record of rapid improvement with their devices, this will be rectified soon. The watch is also equipped with 3G and is available from T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. Though it is lacking a GPS, the phone does come with Wi-Fi, barometer, gyroscope, proximity sensors and the ever-popular heart rate sensor.

Apple Watch ($699)

Image: Apple

Image: Apple

Though one would expect this to be the end-all smartwatch given it’s price, the Apple Watch is the oddity of the bunch in that it is not a fully independent smartwatch but more of an extension of the iPhone. Even in this current state, the Apple Watch does more than enough to warrant the high price of entry. It streams all notifications that your iPhone receives to your Watch, as well as allow you to make calls, operate the phones functions externally and also send vital information at the tap of a fingertip, such as heartbeats. App functionality is as robust as you would expect from any iOS enabled device, but the main drawback is that it is not completely optimized for the small screen (390×312), resulting in a lot of squinting and rapid-tapping.

While it does not include a GPS (the most in-demand features of smartwatches), it can pair up with your iPhone’s GPS as an alternative. If you can see the trend, the Apple Watch is marketed as a luxury item for those who have adopted their phones already. If you are an Apple junkie and wish to get more use out of your iPhone, the Apple Watch is the way to go. If not, there are better and less expensive options.

Pebble Smartwatch ($79)

Image: Pebble

Image: Pebble

Do not like the price fool you. Though it does not come with the excess of features and amenities as Samsung’s and Apple’s offerings, Pebble’s offering is a solid competitor at an amazing price. The result of an aggressive Kickstarter campaign, the watch itself has already lived up to the expectations set by the developers. Though not exactly the most user-friendly, the watch it ideal for those who like to play around and fiddle with the individual settings and options that the watch gives you access too. While it won’t function exactly to your specifications out of the box, the possibility to wildly alter the watches operation and usage makes it rather versatile for it’s price.

Similar to the Apple Watch, the Pebble is focused on performing more like an extension of your phone as opposed to a full-fledged, independent smartwatch. It is compatible with Android and IOS devices, allowing you to utilize the functions of both platforms, provided you take the time to work with how differently they operate and manage to make them both work with each other seamlessly. This may be harder or easier based on what phone you have, but doable. The Pebble app which you download onto your phone makes this all possible with a little bit of tweaking, and works with a wide selection of 3rd party apps. A small price to pay for the wonderful pricing on this watch.

About the Author

Reg Calixte
Reg Calixte
Editor-in-Chief @LTLENG

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