A Guide Through: The New Smartwatches
The high-end smartphones and large-sized phablets are only few of the hottest trends in the mobile world today. The biometric technologies are making their way through the innovative devices in the form of fingerprint scanners, like the Touch ID in iPhone 5S. The OLED displays with unique curves and capabilities are among the most anticipated and impressive innovations that will bring significant changes in the tech world. One of the most interesting trends that users already have the chance to enjoy is the appearance of more and more models smartwatches. Our readers of PhonesReview.Come asked us to give a closer look on the new wearable devices. Therefore today in our “A Guide Through: The New Smartwatches” rubric we will present you with their specs and capabilities, unique designs and the most important thing – their practical usage in the everyday life. We chose those exact four models based on the interests of our readers.
Pebble Watch is one of the first impressive smartwatches on the market today. It stands out with a beautiful clean design of the unique body with water-resistant capabilities. In terms of connectivity, the innovative timepiece is compatible with the two most popular platforms, iOS and Android. Among the key features of Pebble are its instant notifications and health-focused apps preinstalled on the device. With this smartwatch on your hand, you will be able to receive messages and screen calls. When it is paired up with your smartphone, the Pebble can pause or start the music player. The design of the model has a bit retro look that gives it more appeal and classic feel. It weighs just 38.2 grams. Pebble is equipped with a small display with 1.26-inches, type “E-Paper” with a resolution of 144x168p. The screen is black & white which might be a deal breaker for modern mobile users. It is scratch-resistant and water-resistant. Something practical for everyday use is the LED backlight assured on the screen that can be turned on via the left button on the body or with a quick wrist flick. The display is not a touchscreen, but instead there are four buttons that enable users to operate with the timepiece.
In terms of hardware, Pebble is equipped with three-azis accelerometer, a light sensor, a magnetometer and a Cortex-M3 ARM CPU. One of the advantages of the smartwatch is its compatibility with a lot of the Apple’s devices, like iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and 5. It works also with iPod Touch. The Android devices that can pair-up with the smartwatch should be running on Android 2.3 or newer update. The timepiece uses the Bluetooth connectivity for connecting to the smartphones and downloading apps. One of the critics about the smartwatch is its very limited library of apps. There are some third-party apps that you can use, but the diversity and the reliability of the software is still not satisfying to unleash the whole possibilities of the device.
In terms of battery life, Pebble disappoints a bit. Even though the smartwatch sports a power-efficient black & white E-Paper screen it doesn’t assure long battery life. It can run from two to seven days with a single charge of the battery. One of the critics about the battery of the timepiece is the absence of a reliable indicator showing the battery life. This means that users can be unpleasantly surprised by a dead battery in the least expected moment.
The main advantages of the Pebble smartwatches are: the water-resistant body, the affordable price compared to the competition, and the fact that it is compatible with different devices (something we would love to see for Samsung Galaxy Gear). The absence of apps is a big issue for users of Pebble. So far the abundance of applications cannot use the full potential of the device. The smartwatch is available in several colors: black, white and red. The price of the Pebble smartwatch is $150.
Qualcomm Toq is the great innovative smartwatch that is expected for launch this month. We are used to see Qualcomm as manufacturer of high-end, blazing fast chipsets. The company entered the arena of smartwatches with its newest innovative and extraordinary new model timepiece. It features an elegant design with a modern look. In terms of hardware, Toq works with more modest processor compared to Samsung Galaxy Gear for example. It is powered by a 200MHz Cortex M3 CPU. The smartwatch is equipped with Mirasol screen which is one of the best technologies for power-efficiency used for displays. Apart from Pebble, the Toq smartwatch works with screen that can display colors. The device is equipped with backlight.
The display of Toq is relatively big. It will arrive with 1.55-inches and resolution of 288×192 pixels. It is wider than the most modern models smartwatches which is great for reading messages, emails etc. The smartwatch provides basic options for users, including getting notifications, screen incoming calls, reading text messages, controlling of the music app of the smartphone etc. The Toq smartwatch works with Android devices. The company assures that it will soon be compatible with the iOS platform as well. Among the key features of the new smartwatch will be the wireless in-ear stereo Bluetooth earbuds that will bring more convenience for users. Toq works with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, so no physical connectors are needed for charging or communication with the smartphone. In terms of software, Toq “suffers” from the same issue as Pebble – lack of rich apps library.
Thanks to the innovative Mirasol display, the smartwatch has a relatively long battery life. It can work for a few days with a single charge. The launch date of the Toq smartwatch is planned for the end of the year. The expected price is around $300.
Sony SmartWatch 2
Sony is one of the first companies that released a smartwatch in the tech world. The first generation of the wearable device called SmartWatch did not bring the success that the company was hoping for. Sony has just announced the second generation, SmartWatch 2 with significant improvements compared to the first device. Among the highlights of the smartwatch are: its water-resistant body, the support for NFC technology and a brighter display with more vivid colors. The SmartWatch 2 stands out with an elegant design with a body made of aluminum. On the side of the display users will see a round power button for easy access.
The smartwatch comes with 1.6-inches touch-screen with transflective LCD for a better viability of the screen outdoors. The display boasts 220×176 pixels resolution which is more modest than what Galaxy Gear has to offer. SmartWatch 2 is equipped with a standard Micro-USP port for charging which means that in this field, Toq has the advantage of the more innovative wireless charging. It is compatible with Android running smartphones. It uses the Bluetooth connectivity to pair-up with the device. SmartWatch 2 can run different apps, including Twitter and Facebook.
In terms of battery life, the official information revealed by Sony claims that the smartwatch can work for three to four days with a single charge which is a lot more impressive than the less than 24 hours functionality of the battery in Galaxy Gear. SmartWatch 2 is compatible with Android running smartphones and tablets with 4.0 Jelly Bean or newer update. With the new generation smartwatch, users are able to handle calls, to control the music app and the camera app on the phone remotely to control presentations and read emails and messages. It comes with some health-focused apps preinstalled, like the Runtastic for easy tracking of your fitness activity. The SmartWatch 2 was re-announced during IFA in the beginning of September. Some retailers are already shipping the device for around $170. The main advantages are its water-resistant body with IP57 certificate, its NFC support and sleek design. The SmartWatch 2 works with too modest diversity of apps that cannot unleash its potential yet.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
While many of the new models smartwatches are still expecting to be launched and tried in real, Samsung already released its innovative timepiece Samsung Galaxy Gear. The Korean manufacturer has revealed that this is only the first smartwatch of the line and the plans of the company include a vast diversity of the line. Samsung Galaxy Gear sports unique design resembling the characteristic look of Samsung Galaxy S4. Many users who had the chance to try it on comment that it is a bit bulky and heavy and fits better on men’s arms.
Galaxy Gear comes in several color options for the strap. The screen of the smartwatch measures 1.6-inches in diagonal and boasts a resolution of 320×320 pixels which is the best we have seen in the innovative timepieces. On the display is located only one button that is used to power up the screen or activated the S Voice app. The charging of the device happens through a caddy with the necessary components, not Micro-USB port is assured in the smartwatch. Thanks to the S Voice, users can control Galaxy Gear via voice commands. Among the features of the device are the voice memo, the notifications toggle, the gallery, the media controller, the pedometer and of course, the S Voice. Under the hood, Galaxy Gear works with 800MHz CPU. Just like most of the smartwatches today, it can help you manage calls, read text messages. It does not provide email support or apps for social networks. The abundance of apps for Galaxy Gear is still very limited. There are some health-based apps pre-installed in the smartwatch. On the rubber strap of the device is located the 1.9MP camera. It works well for quick shots with pretty satisfying picture quality considering the modest capabilities of the camera. The battery of Samsung Galaxy Gear is with 325mAh capacity.
A lot of users have expressed their disappointment and critics from the short battery life of the smartwatch that they are suppose to use in everyday life. According to the official information about the device, it can work for up to 25 hours before recharging. The smartwatch works via Bluetooth LE connectivity. It is compatible only with Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at the moment, which is limiting the usage of the smartphone. Samsung has promised that soon more devices will be compatible to pair-up with the smartwatch. The price of Galaxy Gear is $299.
The competition on the smartwatches’ arena is getting more and more intense. The next year is promising to be even more interesting with more unique timepieces joining the mobile world. We are eager to see the upcoming Apple iWatch, which will arrive in 2014 according to rumors. LG is also working on a concept for a smartwatch. With the introduction of the OLED displays and the fast development of the biometric technologies, the future in front of the extraordinary breakthrough timepieces seems more interesting than ever. The benefits of the smartwatches in the every day life are yet to be explored. The biggest expectations for the next generation wearable innovative timepieces include a longer battery life, rich library of apps and compatibility with more devices and platforms. What are your predictions for the upcoming models high-end smartwatches?