Smart Watch Buyers Guide


By: Ricky Strong (@strongricky)

Smart watches are all the rage for manufacturers currently and just about all the phone manufacturers make at least one. It can be a daunting task to choose between the plethora of options, so hopefully I can help you narrow down your decision!

The first big decision to make is what OS you want to run with on you smart watch. Certain Android devices only work with specific Android phones, for example the Gear Fit only works with Samsung phones. If you own an iPhone, then your only options are the Apple Watch and the Pebble. Android owners sadly will not be able to use the Apple Watch, but luckily there are a lot of wearables that sport Android Wear granted your device run Android 4.3 or higher.

Android Wear
Most Android Wear devices are very similar in terms of functionality, but boast different form factors. The Moto 360 has a dapper round bezel, while the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch are square. Despite looking different, they all support voice commands, fitness software, dust and water resistance, text/call/email/IM notifications, voice search, and music controls. Some of the really cool features with Android Wear devices are flight updates, weather, Google Maps, and Lyft compatibility. Battery life can be an issue with many of the Android wearables that are currently on the market though, with many not even getting a full day of use in before needing a charge with moderate to heavy use.

Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is going to only be compatible with the iPhone 5 and up, so anyone with older generation iPhones will not be able to use the Watch. When the Apple Watch is released, it will support text, email, and call notifications just like their competitors. The Apple Watch also supports favorites so you can just press the picture and call someone from your Watch. Apple Watch also supports health and fitness apps with a heartbeat sensor and pedometer. NFC is built in to the Watch so you can use Passbook with your Watch. The Apple Watch also comes in three different models, the Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition; which basically are different bands and the Watch Edition sports a gold bezel instead of stainless steel of the other models. The Apple Watch will be will be available for purchase in early 2015.

Pebble products are the only wearables that are compatible with both Android and iPhone devices. They look pretty snazzy, especially the Pebble Steel. Pebble wearables allow owners to check texts, emails, and notifications from their phone on their watch. Pebble also supports music controls, pedometer, and more through numerous apps. The best feature of Pebble watches are the e-ink display, which enables the Pebble to boast up to a week of battery life on one charge. The Pebble series may not offer as many features as Android Wear or the Apple Watch, but the battery life and reliability is why many still say it’s the best smart watch on the market.



In the end, if you own an iPhone and want a smart watch your options are limited. You can either wait for the Apple Watch in 2015 or you can buy a Pebble. The nice thing is Pebble offers a range of colors and band styles to fit almost any personality. Android owners have a ton of options, but the real decision is which one has the look you want.

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