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Which Smartwatch Is Right for You?

Tech Talker counts down the top 3 smartwatches currently available. Which is right for you? Should you buy now? Watch out!

By
Eric Escobar
May 8, 2014
Episode #123

Almost everyone has a mobile phone these days - if not a souped up smartphone. Mobile devices have been getting smaller and slimmer lately. This miniaturization of technology is allowing for some pretty interesting new devices that have hit the market.

One of the newest trends is towards smartwatches. Basically picture your phone slimmer and smaller and in the form of a watch. This watch has the ability to connect to the world around you and still give you the time of day!

Smartwatches are slowly beginning to hit the market and they are pretty slick. Today, I’m going to review the top 3 smartwatches currently available to give you an idea of the features that you can expect.

Sponsor: This episode of Tech Talker is brought to you by the audiobook edition of Rogue Code by Mark Russinovich. In this intense thriller, cyber security expert Jeff Aiken discovers that the New York Stock Exchange has been hacked…and someone on the inside knows. Listen to an excerpt at macmillanaudio.com/RogueCodeAudio.

 

Smartwatch #1: Samsung Gallery Gear

First up is the Samsung Gallery Gear. This watch was made specifically for Samsung devices, which is pretty limiting for anyone without a Samsung phone in the first place. However, it’s a pretty cool device that has a 1.63 inch square touch display, a built-in microphone, and camera.

Probably the coolest feature about its camera is that it can record in HD (720p) and can beam the video from the watch to your phone. It’s also equipped with a microphone and speaker so you can make phone calls or send text messages. Another awesome feature is that it’s water resistant. Of course you can’t exactly take it swimming, but it will survive some moisture if you happen to have an accidental spill.

Given the amount of hardware on this device, I thought it would be clunky and giant, but it’s no bigger than most other watches.

It can also send you notifications from your phone, play music, display pictures, and download apps. The display is 320 x 320 pixels, which is really good for a watch. However, this comes at the sacrifice of battery life which will only last about 2 days before needing to be charged.

The Samsung Gallery Gear will set you back $249.

Smartwatch #2: Sony SmartWatch2

Sony's Smartwatch2 is very similar in size to the Samsung, with a 1.6 inch touch display, It also has a full set of apps including Facebook, Twitter, weather, email, calls, text messages, and phone call notifications.

It’s also water resistant and has a 4 day battery life. This watch will work with any Android operating system version 4 and up. Two features that set this watch apart from the Samsung Galaxy Gear is the GPS and Accelerometer built into the device that many of the apps can take advantage of.

Sony's SmartWatch2 is $199.

Smartwatch #3: Pebble and Pebble Steel

Last but not least is the Pebble. This is probably one of the most well-known of the smartwatches on the market. It’s compatible with iOS and Android, and is waterproof up to 50m! This watch lacks quite a few features found in the previous two options I mentioned.

For example, it doesn’t have a color screen, touch display, camera, or microphone. It does however come with a lot of customizations that can be found on third party apps.

The Pebble comes in two versions, plastic and steel. The plastic version will set you back $150 and the steel version will cost $229. There’s no difference other than aesthetics, but this watch looks the closest to any normal dumb watch.

For now, these are the most popular smartwatches out there. They're all pretty good, but none of them is a runaway hit.

There are rumors on the horizon of Google and Apple both coming out with their versions of smartwatches. So while the watches I mentioned in this episode are great, I would definitely wait to see if Apple and Google have anything to offer within the next year.

With that here are your 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for picking out the smartwatch for you:

  1. Try before you buy any of these watches as they might be uncomfortable or too big for your tastes.

  2. Remember: All of these watches connect to your existing devices via Bluetooth. They are meant to display relevant information from the device they're connected to, not independently.

  3. Before you buy, check out all of the features each watch has and choose the one that works best for your needs. For example, the Pebble has longer battery life but no color screen, whereas the Samsung Gallery Gear has a touch screen and camera but is larger and has less battery.

  4. If you’re not in a rush, I’d really wait to see what Apple and Google announce in the next year.

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at quickanddirtytips.com/tech-talker. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Images courtesy of Samsung, Sony, and Pebble.

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