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The Best Smart Watches You Can Buy

Updated on October 21, 2014

The Best Smart Watches Of 2014

Today there are dozens of smart watches, watch phones and wrist phones on the market. But the truth is, most of today's devices are not worth buying. Some are awful.

In this Lens, we cover the top five smart watches to consider if you live in the US, Canada or Western Europe. Selection for the top 5 is based on the following considerations:

1. ergonomics: is device intuitive and easy to learn?

2. uses: does the watch do a few important things very well (beyond telling time)? what sensors

3. battery life: if I have to cradle my watch in the middle of the day, that's a non-starter.

4. apps: is there an app store? how active are 3rd party developers?

5. design: does the device look stylish enough to wear it out? can I close my shirt sleeve around it?

6. personal: can I change my bands, personalize my watch faces and make it my own?

7. connected: how many other devices can the watch connect with? to do what?

We hope this Lens will help you narrow down your selection.

My Pebble
My Pebble

Why I Love My SmartWatch and Why You Might Love One, Too

About a year ago, I received one of the very first Pebble watches delivered to a customer. Actually, my son and I did.

Although I was an early backer of the company on Kickstarter, I "invested" mainly on a lark - because I appreciated how hard it would be for the young team to pull this off. I was rooting for them.

Now, many months later, I don't use any other watch.

Even better, I am a lot less rude with my smart phone, because I keep it in my pocket most of the time.

Owning a smart watch has improved my life and my gadget-bound personal behavior in several positive ways, including:

- I don't pull my phone out during meetings any more

- I screen my calls more intelligently (because I just need to glance at my wrist when in meetings, etc.)

- my family time is less interrupted by gadgets

- I am more in tune with my body, sleep patterns and fitness level because of the health apps I use on my Pebble

Although I didn't know it when I put my money down, my Pebble has made a positive difference in my life - and in my personal relationships with others.

How To Select A SmartWatch - It's All About Your Lifestyle

There are dozens of smart watches on the market today, with many more on the way. Each is unique in some way. Not all work with every smartphone. Heck, some are really full-featured phones - for your wrist!

Unfortunately, it's hard to get answers to the simple questions that most people want to know about this new type of wearable computing, such as:

- does the device suit my lifestyle?

- can I pair it with my smartphone?

- can it replace my phone?

- how long does the battery last?

- how many apps are available?

- is it buggy?

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the incredibly detailed discussionx of features and technical specs that many gadget blogs and manufacturer sites go into.

Reality is, a lot of those details don't matter.

The most important thing to consider when selecting a smart watch is whether the overall set of features fits your lifestyle.

Your life. And your style.

For example, if you are a fitness buff then having great water resistance, an onboard GPS, fitness tracking, a heart monitor a music player and an accelerometer might be really important to you - but having an on-board camera might not be.

Right now, no single smart watch does everything.

In fact, the most successful smart watch on the market today, the Pebble, actually offers less hardware capability and fewer features than any other watch!

Lifestyle Compatibility Chart

Lifestyle Compatibility Chart
Lifestyle Compatibility Chart

Smart Watches We Recommend - The Best Shipping Today

Here are the top smart watches we recommend right now, based on our own reviews.

Pebble Smartwatch Black
Pebble Smartwatch Black

The Pebble stands out as the best choice for most people due to its large selection of apps, long battery life and simplicity. Tethers to both iOS and Android phones.

 
Qualcomm Toq - Smartwatch for Android Smartphone - Black
Qualcomm Toq - Smartwatch for Android Smartphone - Black

Long battery life & a great color touchscreen. No 3rd party apps, but SDK is on its way. Quirky UI.

 

Galaxy Gear vs. Pebble vs. Sony Smartwatch 2 - A side-by-side comparison of the top 3 best selling smart watches of 2013.

In this excellent 3-minute video review, TechRadar compares the top 3 smart watches of 2013. The original can be found on TechRadar's website. The Pebble is winning right now due to its simplicity, but if you want tons of feature with a big color touchscreen, you might want to look at the other two.

Great high level walkthrough of these three very different devices.

The Verge Reviews the Qualcomm Toq - Awesome display, but the quirky UI and the limited apps are a work in progress.

The Qualcomm Toq has a beautiful Mirasol display that lasts a long time. They nailed that part. Unfortunately, with a button-less UI, cheap plastic band and quirky interface, the Toq needs a bit of work to make it competitive.

That said, Qualcomm recently announced a new SDK which should set the stage for a broader selection of apps, one of the Toq's biggest shortcomings.

The Qualcomm Toq has the best display in the business. Unfortunately, the rest of the device needs a little more work.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our Take on the Pebble, Sony Smartwatch 2 and Galaxy GearSamsung Galaxy GearMartian Passport (white face)Pebble Watch (3 colors)Pebble Watch (fitness tracking)Pebble Watch (receive text message)Qualcomm ToqQualcomm Toq Color SelectionQualcomm ToqSamsung Galaxy Gear (black)Sony Smartwatch 2
Our Take on the Pebble, Sony Smartwatch 2 and Galaxy Gear
Our Take on the Pebble, Sony Smartwatch 2 and Galaxy Gear
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Martian Passport (white face)
Martian Passport (white face)
Pebble Watch (3 colors)
Pebble Watch (3 colors)
Pebble Watch (fitness tracking)
Pebble Watch (fitness tracking)
Pebble Watch (receive text message)
Pebble Watch (receive text message)
Qualcomm Toq
Qualcomm Toq
Qualcomm Toq Color Selection
Qualcomm Toq Color Selection
Qualcomm Toq
Qualcomm Toq
Samsung Galaxy Gear (black)
Samsung Galaxy Gear (black)
Sony Smartwatch 2
Sony Smartwatch 2

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