If the Apple Watch has kindled your interest in smartwatches, but you don’t use an iPhone or don’t want to spend $US350 or more, you still have several good options.
There are highly-rated Android Wear smartwatches brimming with features compatible with Android devices, and there are smartwatches compatible with both iOS and Android ecosystems. Some don’t even need to be tethered to a smartphone to work.
Released in early 2013, the original Pebble might be a relatively old smartwatch, but it's still one of the best you can buy thanks to its low $US99 price tag, seven-day battery life, water resistance up to 50 meters, and compatibility with iOS and Android mobile ecosystems.
No other smartwatch can boast such versatility so far, apart from its successor, the Pebble Time, which launches soon. Due to its success and popularity, it has an extensive app store, too. If plastic isn't for you, the classy Pebble Steel is available for $US199.
The $US199 Pebble Time recently underwent a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign where the company raised more than $US20 million. It features an updated operating system, a colour E-ink display, and a microphone for voice commands, all while maintaining Pebble's bread-and-butter seven-day battery life, waterproofing, and compatibility with both iOS and Android devices.
The Alcatel OneTouch Watch looks more like a regular watch than the Pebble Time, and at $US149.99, it's less expensive too. It features health tracking (including heart rate monitoring) and phone controls for notifications, music, and camera. Early reviews report a good battery life which can be charged with the USB connector built-in to the strap. It's compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
You can customise the Moto 360 with three different metal watch cases as well as an assortment of metal or leather wrist bands. It was one of the first few smartwatches to come with a round design, and we loved it during testing for our review, but it had some shortcoming that made us doubt its $US250 price tag. Now that it's received a price cut down to $US179, it's a much more tempting smart timepiece.
The Moto 360 is powered by Android Wear, Google's smartwatch operating system, so it only works with Android phones.
You may have a hard time (no pun intended) telling the LG Watch Urbane from a regular watch. Under its classy exterior is a fully featured smartwatch that includes offline music playback capability in case you don't want to take your phone around on a workout. It will have a sharp P-OLED display that will still be clearly visible even in bright sunlight. An cellular version is in the works too, which means you'll be able to use it untethered from your smartphone.
Running on Samsung's own Tizen OS, the Samsung Gear S is only compatible with Samsung smartphones and tablets. It's Samsung's first smartwatch that can connect to a mobile carrier's 3G network with a built-in sim card, which means it can make and receive calls, texts, and emails.
It also has GPS functionality, internal storage for music, and a heart rate monitor, making the Gear S an excellent choice for those who'd rather not bring their smartphones on their workouts. It's somewhat expensive at $US349.99, but you get a big bang for you buck.
After running its own OS on the 1st and 2nd SmartWatch, Sony has now adopted Android Wear for the $US249.99 SmartWatch 3. The wrist band functions as an enclosure for the separate smartwatch hardware, and you can easily switch between the leather, metal, and rubber strap options. Like the Samsung Gear S, it has a GPS antenna and 4GB of internal storage for your music for working out without the need for smartphone tethering. It might not have a heart rate sensor, but it's more waterproof than the Gear S.
The Swiss watchmaker, Tag Heuer, will release its own smartwatch later this year. Few details are known about the watch, but it's been claimed that it could cost up to $US1,400, according to Bloomberg, and it will run on Android Wear.
If you don't want an Apple Watch, you should take a look at the Pebble. It's the best alternative to the Apple Watch, and the best choice for a lot of people, especially Android users. If you can hold out a few more weeks, you'll be able to buy the new Pebble Time, which has a colour screen.
It also comes at a great price. You can get a Pebble for as cheap as $US99.
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