Which is the Best Smart Watch for me?
Find the Best Smart Watch for You
A guide for the best smart watches on the market. A number of smart watches have recently appeared on the market and more are expected during 2013. The capabilities of these devices vary considerably from watch phones and remotes, fitness trackers and customizable e-paper displays.
I'm a bit of a gadgetaholic, but I'm also useless at remembering to charge my gadgets. The fewer gadgets I need to take with me, the better. So I've been on the look out for a good smart wearable gadget for a while. I'm still waiting for the perfect device, I'll tell you what I'm using at the moment, it's a great device but doesn't meet all my requirements yet.
On this page I'll cover the various kinds of device that are around and upcoming. Maybe the right smart watch for you is already available, or perhaps it's coming soon.
Android Remote Smart Phones
One common category of smart watch is a remote for an Android phone. The devices in this category are not phones themselves but make a Bluetooth connection to your phone so that you can remotely access some of the features of your phone.
The Sony MN2SW SmartWatch is a leader in this category and allows you to control music, view text messages and emails and use other apps like checking the weather. It has an OLED display.
This is a popular smart watch with around 200 apps available.
A good choice if you already have an Android phone that you are happy with and just want a wearable device to augment it.
Sony MN2SW SmartWatch for Android Phones
March 2013: Sony have updated the Sony SmartWatch app with new features. Looks like they are committed to this watch.
You can customize with a colored Sony watchband.
Sony is bringing out new accessories for the MN2SW in 2013. There will be new colored bluetooth / NFC headphones and fancy wrist bands.
What do you want from a Smart Watch?
The Smart Watch category is still developing and we don't yet have a standard set of features that appear in a typical Smart Watch. There are various new wrist-based gadgets being given the smart label, but they each have a small subset of the features we might imagine.
For each person there are probably key features that are must haves, others that are nice to have and others you can take or leave.
Choose the most important features for you
Phosphor Touch Time
The Phosphor Touch Time watch is in development by Phosphor who already make gorgeous e-INK and crystal display watches.
The Phosphor Touch Time watch will use e-INK and touch technology to create a low-power watch with apps on board. This watch doesn't need syncing with a watch or regular charging. It just has smarter capabilities than your average watch built-in. (And it looks rather sleek too.)
The Pebble SmartWatch has gained a lot of attention in the tech press. It has an e-paper display and works with an Android or iOS phone.
The Pebble can run mini apps and act as a remote control and simple display for your phone.
Pebble has an accelerometer built in for fitness tracking and it has a vibration function for alarms and notifications.
You can pre-order a Pebble.
CES 2013 Casio Tech: G-Shock Bluetooth
Casio has entered the remote phone wearable category with a new device which starts with their sports capability and adds smart capabilities via a bluetooth connection to your iOS phone.
New for 2013
The Casio G-Shock GB6900AA watch is new for 2013. It acts as a remote for iPhone 4S and 5 (Android is a future possibility.) It has a useful phone finder feature (yes I regularly forget where I put my phone!)
Fitness Smart Watches
Wearable Health Trackers
One category of smart device that has become very popular is the fitness tracker. There are several health trackers that can be worn on the wrist but most of them don't actually function as a watch - this seems a missed opportunity!
But there are some like the Nike+ SportWatch which combine time keeping and health tracker functionality - you can sync your progress to the NikePlus website to get stats.
I have a FitBit One which is not worn on the wrist (it has a clip) but does function as a watch (and timer) with a gorgeous OLED display.
Image: I wear my FitBit One around my neck. It functions as a time piece, stopwatch and fitness gadget. It's very good at these functions, but doesn't have everything I want in a wearable device.
Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black)
Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black
The FitBit tracks your activity (including how many flights of stairs you climb) and your sleep. It also shows the time (you press a button to change mode) and makes a brilliant night-time watch (so I can check what time it is when my kids wake up.) Overall, the FitBit One is a brilliant addition to my wearable tech.
What do I want from a Smart Watch?
I haven't found the perfect SmartWatch yet. Well actually the tech just hasn't caught up to what I want yet. That won't stop me using some of the gadgets that are heading in the right direction. But I thought it would be fun to describe my ideal wrist-wearable gadget.
- It must tell the time (obviously!) both during the day and at night. When my kids ask 'is it morning yet' I like to be able to quickly check the time in the dark. Having a sport timer would be useful.
- It should be able to tell me when I've got a text or missed phone call. I'm dreadful about leaving my mobile phone in a different room to me! Ideally I could discard my phone. I don't actually use it much for voice calls these days anyway. If it was a phone and created a Wifi hotspot for my tablet(s) then that would be excellent.
- Fitness tracker functionality. I'd like it to be able to track activity, personally I'm not so bothered about tracking sleep. I like the stair tracking feature of my FitBit One.
- Color display (sorry Pebble), probably OLED so it's light, energy efficient and gorgeous.
- Act as a media player for audio and video - streaming or stored on the device.
- Alerts, alarms and reminders to help me remember to do things.
- Option to wear on a lanyard or as a pendant. I'm female and have small wrists, but I'd like a reasonable-sized display. If the smartwatch was light enough I'd like to wear it around my neck (which is what I currently do with my FitBit One.)
Smart Phone Watches - That can make and receive calls
There are also smart phone watches on the market. It's important to distinguish between these devices and those that act as a remote for your existing phone. With a Smart Phone Watch you don't need a separate phone, as it has a SIM card and can make calls.
A lot of the early Smart Phone watches are getting poor reviews, but the SVP G13 is doing better. The G13 is a proper phone that takes a SIM card and can make and receive calls using a Bluetooth headset.
The G13 can also act as a media player and a basic camera and video camera.
The G13 comes in a range of colors including pink and camo. This is an interesting inexpensive option. Handy for teenagers who are prone to losing phones too!
Google Smart Watch
We've heard so much about Google Project Glass, but Google may also be working on a Smart device for your wrist.
FT speculates that Google may be working on a smart watch. To be honest, they don't seem to have much to go on!
A device combo working closely together might be interesting if a touch screen on the watch could control the glasses (using voice control is not always convenient.) Interesting. Maybe I'll be wearing two smart devices in the future?
Samsung Smart Watch
A Samsung Smart Watch is in development, but we don't know when it will be released or what features it will have! I guess Samsung aren't really ready with this product but want to be in on the game. We'll have to wait at see what they've got planned. [ src ]
As with other phone manufacturers they probably don't want us to stop buying their existing devices.
Apple iWatch Smart Watch?
There are rumors of an Apple Smart Watch for 2013. That could be interesting. I think Apple are more likely to make this a phone remote than a phone so it doesn't cut into iPhone sales.
The iPod Nano wristbands have shown that there's an interest in a wearable device from Apple.
iPod Nano Watch Cases
You can get a wristband for the iPod Nano which gives you some Smart Watch capability. A lot of people have been using this option until we can get a more full-featured device that ticks more of our boxes.
These enclosures with straps turn an iPod Nano 6th generation into a wearable wristwatch. If listening to music is one of your key requirements then this options is worth considering.
I'm Watch Smart Watch
I'm Watch runs Android. It's an elegant looking watch that syncs with your Android phone and has its own Appstore.
This is not your cheapest option! See I'm Watch.
Toshiba LED Smart Watch
The Toshiba LED Smart Watch has an LED display and health-monitoring capabilities. It has been demonstrated and is expected to be available later in 2013.
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Best Smart Watch 2013
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