We have our smartphones, our tablet computers, and they keep us connected to everything and everyone in life. Manufacturers are making these devices more powerful and capable than ever, however no matter how far they advance this fact still remains: in order to interact with them, we have to take them out of our pocket, pick them up and turn them on. Can’t we cut out this step?
That’s the aim of the smartwatch, which as the name implies, is a watch that is indeed ‘smart’. So what makes it smart? Well like a smartphone, a smartwatch is connected in the fine words of Kevin Bacon, allowing you to interact with and view data pulled online. They show this data by connecting to our smartphone, or tablet, offering up (depending on the watch) notifications, as well as compelling features, such as the ability to access the GPS on your smartphone to display speed and distance for cyclists. The possibilities and uses for a smartwatch are almost endless, and until 2012, they were merely an item on the wishlist of many tech hungry consumers. Right now, in 2013, consumers can finally get one of these hot devices on their wrists. The question is, which one?
Find below 4 of the best smartwatches available to buy in 2013.
Pebble – $150
Features: 1.26″ E-paper display, 7 days battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, unique apps pre-installed.
Arguably, the Pebble smartwatch is the most famous smartwatch in the world. At first, this was for all good reasons, however in recent months technology coverage online has slammed the makers for being late to complete the watch and ship. Thankfully, the watch is now shipping, after being showcased at this year’s CES, and boy is it a great bit of tech for the price. Pebble connects by Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android device, and can display incoming caller ID, E-mail, SMS, Facebook messages, Twitter, weather alerts plus more.
The headline figure for this watch is its display, which is a 1.26″ 144 × 168 pixel E-paper showpiece, leading the watch to have a reported 7 days worth of battery life. Bringing the watch to life are apps – cyclists can use Pebble as a bike computer, accessing the GPS on their smartphone to display speed, distance and pace data. Runners get a similar set of data displayed on their wrist.
Find out more about this watch at the official Pebble website.
I’m Watch – from £299
Features: 1.54″ color TFT display, 2 day battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, multiple designs, titanium finish available.
Unveiled at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show), the I’m Watch is reported to be the first smartwatch to utilize Bluetooth technology to connect to iPhone and Android-based smartphones. It can deliver calls, text messages, e-mails, notifications, music, weather forecasts and other apps directly to your wrist, allowing you to cut out almost ever having to take your handset out of your pocket. Like a lot of watches, the I’m Watch is available in multiple different colours as well as a few different metallic finishes, such as the ‘Tech Collection’ which is made from titanium.
Unlike the Pebble listed above, the I’m Watch features a 1.54” (diagonal) color TFT display, with a 240×240 pixel resolution at 220 ppi. Battery life is rated at 2 days for this smartwatch, however that lesser battery life is the price you pay for arguably better features than the Pebble.
Find out more about this watch at the official I’m website.
COOKOO – from $129.99
Features: analog and digital display, in-built battery (no recharging), notifications, Bluetooth connectivity.
The COOKOO smartwatch is, probably, the least advanced smartwatch on this list. It’s not connected in the way you would think, and is in fact a watch for those who want something a little bit more, say, ‘watchey’. It features a round display with an actual analog clock, however has a digital screen behind this. The watch connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and notifies the user of incoming calls, missed calls, Facebook messages, calender reminders and tell you if your iPhone’s battery life is low. It does not allow you to access information or read anything, but rather lights up an icon on the digital display to notify you.
Despite lacking in features compared to the Pebble, the COOKOO is rather expensive, starting at $129.99 in the US. That’s cheaper than the I’m, though, however would you really want basic notifications from a watch the is supposed to be smart?
Find out more about this watch at the official COOKOO website.
Sony SmartWatch – £100 RRP, cheaper online
Features: 1.3″ OLED display, Bluetooth connectivity, unique apps available on Play Store, 3 – 4 days battery life with typical use.
Our list would not be complete without the inclusion of this smartwatch. The Sony SmartWatch, released towards the middle of 2012, sports a 1.3-inch OLED display and 8mm thin profile. You can connect your smartphone to the SmartWatch and control your music with play, skip and fast forward buttons, as well as get it to display E-mail, SMS and other notifications. This smartwatch will connect to any Android smartphone, however reviews of it have been rather average, if bad at times. This is not as good as the Pebble, I’m Watch or COOKOO, however it at least features a beautiful design and connects via Bluetooth.
Connecting to any Android device and available for under 70 squids if you shop online, to Sony’s first smartwatch is a well designed yet average attempt to get in early to the smartwatch market.
Find out more about this watch at the official Sony site.
Whether you love it or loathe it, touchscreen devices are the big thing right now, and that technology has finally made its way over to timepieces in a big way. The 4 listed smartwatches above are good products for what they are, however they are first generation attempts at a product which has not yet seen huge market demand. Controlling our smartphones or at least accessing notifications from our wrists is a very compelling proposition, however only time will tell whether or not this is a gimmick. Chances are, it will take one company to release an incredible product to define the market and revolutionize our way of handset interaction. According to Techcrunch, Apple could well release a smartwatch in the near future, could they be the company to turn us mere consumers all gooey eyed?
If you have any other favourite smartwatches released over 2012 – 2013, be sure to let us know.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is the founder of Technology Blogged. 23, with a love for good writing, you'll find Jakk playing 'Drag Racing' on his Nexus 5 and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to his feed for unique editorials. View author profile.