The best smartwatches you can buy right now

By Adam Zeis on 16 Jan 2014 12:21 pm
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With more and more smartwatches showing up it may be hard to keep track of just what's what. We saw some great new offerings at CES this year but most of the smartwatches we saw aren't even available yet. Some are on the way in just a few weeks while others may still be months (or more) before release. Fear not though because there are some great smartwatches that you can buy right now — as in click a link, order and it will ship. 

We're sure that many of you are waiting on one of the upcoming devices as well — and that's ok — but for those of you who want a watch without the wait, keep reading to see our short list of the best smartwatches you can buy right now

 

Pebble - $150

The Pebble is still our top pick for a smartwatch you can have right this minute. It's back up to the $150 price tag after a few discounts over the holidays (though you may still be able to find them for less) but it's well worth the price. The Pebble Steel is set to ship in just a few weeks, but many users still prefer the look and price of the original Pebble to that of the $249 Pebble Steel.

The Pebble currently has official support for iOS and Android but there are third-party apps for BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone as well. There are hundreds of different watch faces and apps to play around with and Pebble's own app store is on the way by the end of the month. You can receive notifications for just about anything to your Pebble which foregoes the touchscreen in favor of button navigation. The black & white e-paper display will get you about 3-4 days on a single charge.

More Info / Purchase Pebble

 

Qualcomm Toq - $349

We do have a hard time saying that the Qualcomm Toq is one of the best watches you can buy right now, but only because of the price. The Toq is a great smartwatch - it has a nice display, long battery life, is comfortable and works very well, but at $349 you can buy two Pebbles or even a new off-contract phone, so it's a tough sell. 

That being said, if you have $350 burning a hole in your pocket the Android-only Toq is a top pick for us. The always-on Mirasol display looks good in any lighting, although the colors are a bit lacking and washed out at times. It has notifications for phone calls, email. SMS, social apps and more, and you can even send quick message replies right from the watch. There are good number of watch faces to choose from and the companion app works very well to keep the Toq connected and informed. We've managed to stretch the battery to almost a week at times too which is very impressive. The Toq also sports wireless charging thanks to the oddly oversize charging dock.

More Info / Purchase Qualcomm Toq

 

Sony Smartwatch 2 - $190

The Sony Smartwatch 2 has been out for a few months now but it still remains a popular choice amongst smartwatch fans. Another Android-only device, the Sony Smartwatch 2 sports a capactive touchscreen with color display and a slew of apps for the taking. You can get the usual set of notifications for email, phone calls, Twitter, Facebook and SMS. There are also apps for weather, stocks, timers, clocks — you name it. With a little searching you can find just about anything for the Sony SW2.

The price for the Sony Smartwatch 2 hovers around $190 which isn't bad, though an updated version is rumored to be on the way very soon. If you're looking for a solid watch with a color screen and tons of apps, this may be the one for you. Check out our full review here.

More Info / Purchase Sony Smartwatch 2

 

MetaWatch - $129 / $179

The MetaWatch FRAME and STRATA have been around for a while now and are still both great choices for smartwatch fans. MetaWatch runs with Android and iOS and run various pre-installed widgets. The home screen allows for much customization so you can view up to four widgets on one screen. With MetaWatch you can see the standard notifications for SMS, phone calls, email, social apps and more — though in-depth notifications with details aren't available. The mirrored display can be hard to read at times as well.

The STRATA ($129) and FRAME ($179) will soon be joined by the premium Meta line which has yet to receive a price or release date.

More Info / Purchase MetaWatch

 

Galaxy Gear - $299

The Samsung Galaxy Gear is perhaps one of the most popular smartwatches in the world right now thanks to Samsung's extensive marketing. Despite only working the Galaxy Note 3 and a few other devices, the Gear is a strong seller. Priced a bit higher than we'd like at $299, the gear comes in a variety of colors and features a color AMOLED display, built-in 1.9MP camera and allows for notifications from your phone as well as voice calls. The Galaxy Gear runs various applications for email, SMS and social networks while giving you access to S-Voice, camera functions, music control and more.

It's not our favorite watch mostly due to the price and sad support for devices, but it's still a good watch. At $300 though it's hard to push the Gear as a "must have" device at this point, especially with a new version rumored to be in the works.

More Info / Purchase Galaxy Gear

 

Wait It Out?

If one of these smartwatches doesn't strike your fancy there are also some great new devices on the horizon. The Pebble Steel, Kreyos Meteor, Martian Notifier and HOT smartwatch all look to be great contenders upon release. All of them are due out in just a few weeks so it shouldn't be long before there is some real competition for the top smartwatch. 

43 comments

JoeyStyles

Right now the gear because I have an s3

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!

Shad0wguy

I'm waiting on my kickstarter backed AGENT smartwatch to ship.

eahinrichsen

Oh man, I hadn't heard of that. Qi wireless charging is a pretty big selling point.

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!

crowley35

i love my Martian Watch. not sure how it didn't make it to the list

JimBen73

Waiting on my pebble steel

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!

scaots

My Pebble is great, but can't wait to get my Omate TrueSmart and leave the phone behind when I want.

Karvoris Freeman

I'm still waiting on my Indiegogo backed A.I Watch. Android 4.4, sim card auto focus 5MP camera etc. I feel it is a great product.

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!

zinj

Waiting for anything that actually works with WP8

jordanfernandes

Yeah Microsoft should make a smartwatch.. But as always.. They will be really late with it.. I feel you bro. Wp7 user. I'm fed up here.. :/

eszklar

Waiting for the Omate, Neptune Pine, HOT Watch and Agent watches myself. I do like the Pebble Steel watch myself.

jeffreytz

Wow, yet another Mobile Nations article that leaves out the Martian watch line. They've been shipping watches for over a year, folks. My personal ranking of the watches I own:

1. Qualcomm Toq
2. Martian Victory/Passport (I have one of each, they work the same, just different physical styles)
3. Pebble (Kickstarter edition)
4. MetaWatch Frame & Strata (but the new firmware & app manager might move it up, I need to try them)
5. Sony SmartWatch (1st Gen)
1000. i'm Watch - hopeless

Can't rate the Galaxy Gear because it only works with Samsung phones which I don't have, but at this point wouldn't get one even if I did because it's display isn't "always on".

I'm looking forward to getting my Pebble Steel - my main complaint with the plastic pebble is it looks like a toy on your wrist.

Adam Zeis

Sorry everyone thinks we're knocking Martian. They are good watches, we've just found them to be a mixed bag when using and for us some others come out on top. I do think that the Notifier line will be an awesome addition though so expect to see plenty more when they are officially released. 

jeffreytz

Ha, not "knocking" it Adam, the impression is more like "ignoring" it. It's a viable option with impressive functionality that should be included, that's all. Technically its not your fault - Martian PR obviously needs to be working you guys harder :)

If anyone's interested in the Martian, here's my Passport review: http://tmblr.co/Z5tGdxpfWUzR

Adam Zeis

Fair enough. Just don't want you thinking that we are overlooking it for some reason. We've just had a load of mixed results when setting up and using the Victory but I'll definitely try to work up a review once I get mine working. 

Illustrator Joe

Just got my Pebble and after a few days I am very impressed. I have not tried any of the others, but according to this article I made a good choice :D

deegan87

What watchface is that on the pebble?

Adam Zeis

Pretty sure that's just a new dots one that's in the new firmware. 

cile1977

What about Cogito: http://cogitowatch.com/cogito-original.html
It looks like better option for people who like classic watches.

Adam Zeis

Haven't had much hands-on time with them yet, will have to pick one up and give it a whirl. Sadly I wasn't too impressed with the Cookoo so hopefully the Cogito has a bit more to offer. 

iiiikoolaidiiii

So you couldn't be bothered to find all the links to the official sites for the watches? I'm already starting to loose faith in the writing and production on this site. Shame as I enjoy most of the other Mobile Nations sites.

Adam Zeis

Sorry to hear that. Just dishing out the links to directly purchase the devices like we usually do. No problem adding links to official pages when they're needed - thanks for the feedback.

ki11ak3nn

I'm looking to get either a Pebble or a Razer Nabu. Which isn't really a smart watch, but it gives me the time and notifications. Just what I need.

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!

Gsarfin

+1 Razor Nabu. Just what I need, nothing I don't.

leo74

Waiting for WP 8 compatible smart watches. Patience is a virtue...

cliffy223

This site is great. Smartwatches are a growing new genre of mobile technology and there are many competitors who are not only new in creating a mobile device category, but in consumer technology in general. I just wish there were more stories to read.

Ever since Pebble's showing of the Steel it has been at the top of my list.

tomh1979

I'm really digging the martian notifier, still holding out for a Google offering, if nothing by June from Google then I'll be buying the notifier.

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!

bcbbanga4l

I am with you excepting i think i might go to martian victory. I love how it looks like a watch lol

bcbbanga4l

what about the martian victory?

Adam Zeis

We've had mixed issues with it which is why it didn't make the list. I'm trying to get mine working and I'll get a full review posted.

francis820

Got the Smartwatch 2 for my Note 2... works great (except for that Twitter issue).

leesmann

I'm sorry but I think one of the best and most featured watches and not even mentioned on here, even though you can buy at a large amount of places is the Motoactv. I have one and wouldn't trade it for a galaxy gear. Only it doesn't have that the gear has is camera and speakerphone capability, but it does have built in GPS

John Jacobs4

It's funny that you think the Gear is one of the best smartwatches you can buy right now. You obviously put all the big smartwatches on there because if you were actually trying to advise people on the best smartwatch to buy there is no way you would recommend the GG

zdn1042

Pebble Steel!
And why no Razer Nabu on the list?

jsntrenkler

I love my Pebble ... So far it appears to be the most popular watch on SWF ... Would still like to play with a Toq though, hopefully they will have iOS compatibility in the future.

tkonkel

I would live to win the Qualcomm Toq. I looks awesome!

tkonkel

I currently own a Martian Smartwatch. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with how it works. Mostly, I like the way it looks; like a conventional watch.

fifthbus

Really? First Android Central and now Smartwatch Fans giving Omate the cold shoulder. The Omate Truesmart is great, and if I'd had the funds at the time I would've gotten in on the 179 dollar level. Full Android smartwatch with a camera and everything.

Adam Zeis

Not giving it a cold anything. It's not 100% available yet to buy so it didn't make the list. This one just covered watches you can buy right now that are shipping right now.

Ratane

Got myself GS4 yesterday! It would be awesome to have Galaxy gear to go with.

Katherine Hernandez

I would like the Pebble Steel Black Matte. I like the Pebble because it is the innovator that started the smart watch movement. I also like that it's open to android and Ios.

axllebeer

I've been saving up for the Pebble Steel but the more I think about it, might just have to go out & get the OG Pebble like now just because it's so available.

Posted with my CB10 using the power of " Q "

dm199913

Waiting for Qualcomm Toq to get BB10 support