Smart watches are somewhat of a touchy subject in the tech world. Some people love them, while others think they are a complete waste of, for lack of a better word, time. We’ve also jumped into the debate, having provided four reasons both why you should and should not buy smart watch. But let’s say you want one, or at the very least, you’re interested in following the current trends. In that case, here’s a list of the best options currently in the market or soon to be available for anyone who’s ready to strap one on.
1. Sony SmartWatch
The Sony SmartWatch hit the market in 2012, and in a way, it embodied much of what people do not like about smart watches. The battery life only lasted 3 – 4 days, the apps were confusing to use, and the screen didn’t remain always-on (limiting its use as an actual watch). But the device is relatively sleek, and Sony has since released an updated model that has an always-on display and an easier to navigate interface.
Pebble broke Kickstarter records when it received over $10,000,000 in pledges back in 2012. With its black and white e-paper display, the time is always visible, and battery life can last for up to a week. There’s even a new metal version available called Pebble Steel for people who felt the plastic original just didn’t look fashionable enough.
3. Galaxy Gear
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is a peculiar device. It costs $299, twice the price of the Pebble and $100 more than the Sony SmartWatch 2, yet it only pairs with Samsung Galaxy devices. Its battery life also only lasts for just one day. It has a quirky interface, but if you want a watch with a camera, this has one tucked inside its wristband.
4. Qualcomm Toq
Like the Pebble, the Qualcomm Toq also uses an always-on, e-paper display. The Toq shakes things up by being able to handle more than two colors. It’s cool but pricey. Like the Galaxy Gear, it currently costs $299.
5. Omate TrueSmart
Most smart watches need to pair with a smartphone to do pretty much anything. This isn’t the case with the Omate TrueSmart. This watch is more of a tiny smartphone strapped to your wrist, one that’s even capable of making phone calls without having a device paired. It runs a build of Android custom-made for its small screen, which allows for more functionality. Though the TrueSmart does come with an extra deal of bulk as a result.
6. Neptune Pine
Neptune Pine takes the same approach that the Omate TrueSmart does. This is much more than a nifty way to stay on top of notifications. This is a full build of Android with enough screen real estate to fire up a virtual keyboard. It will have a camera for making video calls, functional GPS, and all the internals it needs to function as an actual phone when it eventually hits the market.
Kreyos is similar to Pebble, but it tries to aim at an even more active audience. It has a sports mode, activity trackers, even more sensors, and a similar monochrome display that allows for up to a week of battery life. It should also support voice commands and gesture control once it goes up for sale.
Agent, too, is similar to Pebble. We’re talking a black and white display, the need for a smartphone to perform most functions, and a relatively small design. What sets it apart? Qi wireless charging, for starters.
9. HOT Watch
HOT Watch is another smart watch than ran a successful Kickstarter campaign. It has an e-paper display, a slim (8mm) body, plenty of included apps, and, perhaps most interestingly, the ability to hold a conversation by cupping your hand over your ear.
10. Fitbit Force
The Fitbit Force isn’t your typical smart watch. Actually, it’s a fitness activity tracker, and Fitbit doesn’t even market the product as a watch of any kind. But unlike the Fitbit Flex, the Force has a digital clock in additional to its other features. This effectively makes it a smart watch, and with its slim form factor, it might just be the one for you.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it includes many of the biggest names out and some of the more promising options coming in the months ahead. There’s a great deal of diversity among these ten devices, and they hint at the kind of innovation we can expect to see throughout 2014.