NEW YORK — There’s a world of hype surrounding smartwatches. But plenty of naked wrists remain. This can be partly explained by the generation of people who have largely resisted wearing any kind of watch, smart or otherwise.
There are also many others, though, who are intrigued by the idea of having some kind of computer on the wrist, but just aren’t sure which of the wearable devices makes the most sense.
Why would you even consider a smartwatch? Fitness buffs can keep track of calories burned, steps taken and so on. Business people can glance at their wrist for notifications on texts, emails, dare we say even a ball score, without having to pull out a smartphone.
And some people want a smartwatch for no other reason than they crave all things tech.
Of course, there are concerns, too: Folks fret about poor battery life or a watch that is little more than a companion to the smartphone in their pocket. Such concerns often have merit, though we are seeing the emergence of some smartwatches that come with dedicated cellular service.
Here’s a brief guide to some of the smartwatches that might make sense for you or someone on your gift list.
• A watch for the Apple die-hard. You can make the case — and lots do — that Apple Watch is the best all-around smartwatch on the market. It’s certainly the most popular. According to the Strategy Analytics research firm, the Apple Watch had a 73.8% global market share in the third quarter of 2015, compared with 9.8% for Samsung and 16.4% for all others.
But there’s a great big requirement to owning one: You must have an iPhone 5 model or later.
Although still very much a first-generation product (even factoring in a recent software upgrade), Apple Watch offers the finest combination of good looks and functionality, with a fairly broad collection of available apps.
Among the things you can do: check your heart rate, call upon Siri, summon an Uber, check stock prices, get the weather, unlock your car door or hotel room, view headlines and notifications, and respond to such notifications by voice.
You can also make and receive calls, Dick Tracy-style, though that’s not always a great experience.
As with most smartwatches, you can change the watch band and/or watch face to fit your mood or sense of style. Prices range from $349 for the Sport model to $17,000 for a luxury Edition crafted of 18K rose gold.
• Choosing an Android Wear option. If you don’t own an iPhone (and even if you do), you may be looking at an Android Wear alternative based on the operating system for wearables that Google is pushing.
Many Android Wear features and apps are duplicative of Apple Watches — or is it the other way around given Android Wear predates Apple’s watchOS, now watchOS2? Two of the best-looking Android Wear watches are Motorola’s $299.99 Moto 360, now in its second generation, and the $349.99 Huawei Watch. Each sports a handsome circular design.
Well-known watch-first (rather than tech-first) brands have also jumped in. There’s the new touch-screen Fossil Q Founder at $295 and, if you have an awful lot of money to burn, the $1,500 TAG Heuer Connected.
• What about Samsung? Samsung’s watches used to run off a flavor of Android as well. But with the Gear S2 ($249.99 on up), Samsung not only upped its game from the fashion vantage point, it is now fully committed to its own Tizen operating system. One of the reasons to recommend the Gear S2 is a ring around the edge of the watch display you can use to easily choose apps and get around. Wireless charging is another benefit.
• Watches for the fitness junkie. Some smartwatches and fitness bands are produced especially for gym rats, runners or exercise fiends. The various bands from Fitbit certainly fall into this category. Among its capabilities, the top-of-the-line $249.95 Fitbit Surge fitness tracker monitors your continuous heart rate, provides real-time workout data and lets you use GPS (a battery hog) to review, say, your running route.
• Buying on a budget. Pebble watch designs typically spell geek rather than fashion. But this early smartwatch pioneer has useful apps, relatively long battery life and generally lower prices. So while you can still pay up to $249.99 for the Pebble Steel Round, the original no-frills Pebble can be had for just $69.99.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1QrRKDr