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Watches Are Smart
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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