What's your ideal smartwatch?

By Adam Zeis on 23 Jan 2014 03:09 pm

Seeing all of the great smartwatches that are on the horizon, I've started compiling a list of shorts in my head of what my "perfect" smartwatch would be. There are so many unique features spread across various devices — from Gorilla Glass to Mirasol display to private calling to long battery life. Even though there are still devices that have yet to become available, I've been working up in my head all the things I'd love to see come up in one smartwatch.

Here's are some of the things that would make my ideal smartwatch ("The Adam"):

  • microUSB charging
  • Long battery life (like a week or two)
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • Touchscreen
  • Always-on display
  • Stylish
  • Changeable bands
  • Great UI
  • Awesome companion app (for ALL the platforms)
  • Inexpensive
  • GPS
  • Pedometer

Everyone is different, hence why there are soooo many smartwatches that will appeal to different users. While you may find an available watch that suits you, there are surely things you like to see that would make it better — or even the perfect watch for you. So hit up the comments below and let us know what features you'd need to make your perfect smartwatch. 

You never know, it just might happen!

Related: Editorial

Reader comments

What's your ideal smartwatch?


Definitely the most important thing to me after using a couple different ones is an always on display. That's why I enjoy my Pebble so much, you have to be able to glance at the thing. I had the Sony Smartwatch and although I liked the apps and features it had, I didn't like that I had to hit the power button to see the time. Sure it had a double tap to the touch screen to turn it on but that worked about 1/3rd of the time.

I don't want a perfect smart watch.
I want one that looks good and somewhat fits my needs.

Martian Notifier...!

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Good thing Sony made the Smartwatch 2 with an always on display. The original was kind of a pain to have to turn on just to check the time.

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Just curious, but why would you want an always-on display? That would drain battery. It would be better to just have the watch's display turn on when you turn it at a certain angle.

Sent from my out-of-this-world Galaxy S3

E paper displays like E Ink, Mirasol, and LCD only use power to change the display, not to display an image (perfect for a watch). The whole purpose of a timepiece on your wrist is to be able to see information (such as the time) simply by looking at it. Sometimes you may even want to do this covertly without drawing attention to yourself. Having to flick your wrist like you do with the Gear isn't a perfect solution.

Small (not boxy).  I'd love a smartwatch, but I'm still waiting for the designers and engineers to be able to trim them down in size (which means a bit more advancement in battery tech I suppose). I'm just not digging the clunky look of most.  Cool features, but the style just isn't there yet for me.  :(

If its not color, always on, long battery life and wirelessly charged I'm not going to be very interested. Bands should be replaceable with standard watch bands. I'd want fitness functions and sleep monitoring as well as Android notifications etc.

I'm almost with you. I need full BlackBerry compatibility, notifications, and fitness/sleep monitoring with wireless sync with phone. I really like the always on a LA Pebble, but would trade it for the nifty factor of the Razer Nabu. I can skip wireless charging.

You pretty much killed it with your list. I prefer the simple answer that is a smartphone companion rather than a stand alone device.

I believe it quite unrealistic to cram all you've asked for on this list and then expect it to be inexpensive as well.

I just don't get this desire to have it all (which many comments seem to agree with), with no expectation that such a feature rich watch should be priced accordingly.

I would like to be able to have a charging proximity sensor in my watch so that it could use my Nexus wireless charger. Other than that, just need it to work well. Price? Between 199.99 and 249.99 U.S. and NOT made by Samsung.

My idea watch is simple, take the galaxy gear and toss the camera out, get rid of S-Voice and replace with Google now, and make it compatible with all phones, not just the damn Galaxy S line!!!!!!!

oh and drop the price to a realistic level, such as sub $200.00

A real Swiss Automatic Watch with Martian Type Notification.
Automatic Movement would also run the electronics eliminating the need for batteries.

Something like Omate TrueSmart for GSM service and it would be perfect if it ran a stock Nexus like version of Android. Also full day battery life. I want full phone features on my wrist for times when I don't want to carry my phone. My dream is jogging without the phone but still get GPS, BT music, and remain connected with email and voice capability. When I do have my phone with me, Pebble does everything I need.

Waterproof for sure and that it just works for whatever Notification I want.

I would like to see some universal software. If I happen to switch between watches then it would be handy not to have two complete sets of program groups to get them running properly. Actually just better software from the OEM's, why do we have to install 4 other programs to do basic tasks.

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Mine would need a 5MP camera capable of 720P recording, 1.68" screen with entire watch face and camera on a 180 degree swivel to better capture anything at any angel. Of course waterproof, OS none other than Kit Kat, curved touch screen 3G capabilities, sim and sd card slot, with WiFi 802.11 B/G/N Bluetooth, Led flash, USB 3.0 charger 1.3GHz processor 1Gb RAM CODE NAME THE FREE LANCER

Battery life. Always on. Waterproof. I DO NOT want a phone on my wrist! Keep the watch as an extension of your phone (like Pebble) vs trying to be a phone.

Perfect is a big ask but if a device with these specs hit the market I'd be there cash (well card) in hand. I’m not as concerned with price my current watches (I don’t have many) all cost around $350 – 500AUD so I’d be willing to pay a little more than that for the Prefect Smart Watch

Non Negotiable
Wireless Charging (using a standard eg Qi)
Always on Colour touch screen
Bluetooth LE (?wifi for home??)
Water resistant (I don’t need proof)
Stylish look (this is subjective but I like the look of the pebble steel as an entry point for instance)
Metal band (swappable with standard bands)
Minimum of 24 hours solid use battery life. It must last a day of continuous use.

Full capability with Android (but multi-platform would be best for user base and longevity)
Notification alert (including vibrate this is a non-negotiable) and dismissal
Remote control functionality for Music, photos, calls and the things I haven’t thought of….
Biometric sensors (full replacement for fit bit and similar)
Fully customisable display (with so little real-estate I don’t want bloat I don’t care about)
Open development platform and APIs
A rich app market and great companion app

My Thoughts
To be honest I don’t see myself buying a galaxy anything, especially a watch it is too locked into an ecosystem I want nothing to do with, this goes for most OEMs.
I am extremely invested in Google and Android so I doubt I would go cross platform and get an “iWatch” despite the fact I’m sure they will do a fine job.
I doubt I’d go for an independent as they will take a long time to get features and an app store (remember pebble is a year ahead of the pack)
For me I am holding out for the hope of a “Google Now” based “Nexus” watch with
an always on watch face
a simple swipe up to get to my cards,
swipe down to get to my notifications,
swipe to the side to get my app selector
and the old 2 finger swipe down for my settings.

Micro USB charging NO, Wireless Charging
Long Battery Life NO, Wireless Charging
Waterproof YES
Comfortable YES
Touchscreen NO, Voice Interface, noise cancellation, speaker recognition
Always On Display NO, When speaker says "time", or shakes hand
Changeable Bands No
Awesome Companion App YES
Inexpensive YES by Citizen or Rolex standards
Pedometer YES

Other things also yes but it should not affect stylishness or be expensive.

I'm surprised to see how little thought that has been put in to this list, since it is made in to an article on a smartwatch site. Lets see:
First you want to have microUSB charging and then make it water proof... do you really think a micro usb contact like water? There is a reason Pebble choose to make another charging solution.
Also you say Touchscreen, and while it may sound like a good idea and look really cool when you demo the watch, I wonder if you have put any thought into regular use like outside on a cold day when you have gloves? To even get it to work you have to remove your gloves or buy special gloves. And even with the special gloves that work with a touchscreen, it is quite impratical since the gloves makes your fingertips even bigger. And to go back to the waterproof part, ever tried to use a touchscreen in a pool?
I'd love to have a touchscreen for scrolling and such, but only as a complement to physical buttons.

Have you heard of Sony? The Z1s charges with micro USB and is waterproof. And yes, the SW2 charges with micro USB and is water resistant. It shouldn't take too much to up that to waterproof just like they did with the phone.

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The perfect smartwatch is the one that I can wear nearly all the time and be relevant for most of my life. Notifications are great, but it would be great to have one that is waterproof and has a built in GPS that isn't reliant on a phone for running, cycling, etc... I've owned a Motoactv for a while and with the Augmented Smartwatch app, it is the closest I have come to a perfect smartwatch.

Always on display. My Sony has that but in the low power mode it needs to be more reflective.
Waterproof. the Sony is water resistant. It needs to do better.
Changeable band. Got that.
Charging from a normal USB cable. Got that. I don't want to carry yet another charger gadget/cable when traveling.
Long battery life. I only get two or three days from the Sony.
Very flexible software. As in, make my own watch face, etc. Got that.
I don't need the watch to replace the phone, just an extension of the phone, so I basically need notifications and the time. Pretty much have that.

Basically a pebble with a speaker, microphone, and an "active listening" feature for Google now like on the Moto X.

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1. Waterproof to a decent depth. 10 meters should be good. This means a waterproof charging solution is needed
2. Able to send/receive text messages (onscreen keyboard as well as talk to text option)
3. Full notifications of texts, calls, and emails, facebook etc
4. Able to send/receive calls
5. Long battery life (at least 2 -3 days)
6.Touch screen as well as hardware buttons (for use in water or when gloves are on)
7. Always on display (E-Ink or whatever is fine, I dont need a full color HD smartwatch that eats up the battery)

Also, just thought of this... why not make the watch band the battery. that way you can have a spare charging while you are wearing one, smartwatch starts dying...just switch bands. Obviously this would require a new flexible battery to be invented, but I think it would be a great idea.

GPS so I can track runs without carrying my phone. HR monitor compatible, and definitely Windows Phone compatible. Other options like waterproof would be nice, but those 3 are my most sought after features.

I dont necessary think it's about the perfect Smartwatch but rather one that does a few things very well. One thing I've come to appreciate with the pebble is how it does the simple things well. Having tried out the galaxy gear and the Sony Smartwatch, I find that although the pebble is not as feature rich as the afore mentioned watches, it gets the job done. I think putting too many features into wearables at this stage would actually hinder the overall experience.

The main question I think that still needs to be answered by manufacturers is "what need is the smart watch satisfying"..

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I want a watch first and smart watch features second. The Martian notifier or Victory is the closest I see now. Less is more in this space.

However, I would like to see what Apple comes up with before I jump. In my wildest dreams they would partner with Mondaine and make a fashionable high quality watch with simple smart watch features like Martian has done.

To add to perfection it would have wireless charging.

At this point, never having had any smart watches, I would go with the best notification aspects of Pebble/Gear/Martian with the biometrics of Basis, including their new sleep analytics.

Aside from an E-ink style screen and a professional appearance, I want it to be a notification extension of my mobile device. But most importantly, it needs to connect with my BlackBerry. All bets are off if it can't do that.

I want something sleek, I have watches, so I want something along the lines of the Iwatch concept by Todd Hamilton , heart rate monitor would be cool, and functionality that a phone can't do. Similar to what the razer nabu is trying to do. A color display would be nice along with good battery life

I'm a little late getting in on this but I don't think USB in any form is the answer because of waterproofing. However magnetic charging looks good but it needs to become more standard across the board. Hell, I've been hollering this for iPhone for years. Other than this, maybe some medical aspects such as heart rate monitoring for exercise purposes.

A round watch has style and function. High resolution retina screen, to keep the watch screen to a minimum. The interface is simple: the round outer rim of the watch is touch sensitive and is used only for scrolling through menus (much like the first ipod), a tap on the watch screen is selection, so the watch screen is only sensitive for taps. Please, no swipe touch screen (screen is too tiny), no buttons or crown (ugly!), no voice control (unnatural, my language is unsupported anyway). This interface fits all finger sizes. No biosensor, I don't need this, since I am enough in touch with my own body, thank your very much.

The watch is bluetooth connected to a mini tablet with GSM (ideal), or a notebook with GSM card. If not connected, it just displays time, no apps are available. It can be used to make phone calls, so you can keep your internet-GSM-device in your pocket or bag during phone calls. Should have an efficient loudspeaker, microphone and wireless charging.

Should make mechanical vibration to your wrist, in case of notifications, such as incoming phone calls. Several different mechanical signals for several types of incoming messages/calls.
This means you do not produce unnecessary irritating sounds anymore, where ever you go. The world (trains, offices, etc ...) will be a much quieter place: a huge smartwatch advantage.

With this stylish bluetooth connected smartwatch (to a tablet or notebook with GSM-card), extra keyboard and/or wireless headphones, you can be productive anywhere, easy to reach and very responsive, without disturbing others. This will be the new mobile/portable life, I am sure. O, and you can sell your expensive smartphone as well, safe some money, and a bad screen experience. I kept my ideal smartwatch specs to a minimum, and yet it makes a real difference. Hopefully battery life is not too short for this watch.

The smartwatch, from a software perspective: time to make a standard protocol to enable any smartwatch (or other bluthooth connected i/o devices) to control any app. Each app should be extendable in a simple way to allow for smartwatch control by means of bluetooth communication. Each app may make available selection lists for bluetooth interaction. It should be easy to select also the right audio play device on your tablet or on your smartwatch (this might be your wireless headphones as well). Soundless notification signals for smartwatches can be standardized as well. Finally, the user should be able to customize which app interacts with the smartwatch.

And double tap is going up a menu level, three taps is start menu level (one tap is menu selection).
The line in the middle of the watch is a slightly bigger font, etc ...