Tech special: Keep time the smart way with these watches

Sep 28, 2014, 08:05 IST | Harpreet Kaur Sapra

Gone are the days when all a watch did was tell time. Take your pick from the best smart watches available in the market today. They double up as a Bluetooth headset, an activity monitor, a navigator and a small wrist top computer

Think smart watch and the image of a chunky, boring timepiece appears to your mind. When you have a huge collection of watches in a multitude of colours to match every occasion, why would you opt for a smart watch? But what if it looks sleek as well as serves a variety of purposes apart from showing time? 

A single timepiece can replace your Bluetooth headset, activity monitor, navigator and act as very small wrist top computer.

Pebble Steel: Rs 15,152
Pebble is designed to connect to your smart phones and interact with Apps. Available in two models, Brushed Stainless and Matte Black, Pebble Steel has a 1.26-inch, diagonal black and white Gorilla Glass covered ‘e-paper’ display. It comes with two straps — metal and leather, which makes it ideal for formal and office wear. 

Pebble Steel is rated at 5 ATM water resistant, making it ideal for swimmers and places experiencing heavy rainfall. Once you download the Pebble App on your iOS or Android phone, the watch connects to it over Bluetooth and opens the gateway to various Pebble Apps. Once connected, it adopts the time from your phone. Go to the App to select notifications to push, ranging from call alerts to text messages, email previews, calendar reminders, Facebook messages and Google Talk messages. You can even shake your wrist to get rid of the alerts. When linked to the smartphone, Pebble loads the most recent playlists you listened to. The built-in accelerometer and gyroscope talks to most of the fitness Apps. The watch has a battery life of up to five to seven days.

SmartWatch 2 by Sony: (Rs 14,990)
SW2 has a 1.6-inch, sunlight-readable, 220x176 pixel colour display. It’s compatible with any Android phone as long as it runs on Android 4.0 or higher. Setting up the watch is easy as it has both Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC connectivity. The touchscreen has three buttons for back, home and menu with an aluminium power button on the side of the watch for turning it on and off, and to control the backlight. 

You can access calls, emails, Facebook, Twitter and even your SMSes. SW2 also lets you know when it loses connection with your phone, thus reminding you that you have left your phone behind. It comes with an IP57 dust and water resistance, which makes it good for 30 minutes under less than one metre of water.

The “Smart Camera” app lets you use the watch’s display as a viewfinder/shutter for your phone’s camera making it great for taking selfies from a distance. Depending on the number of notifications, the battery can last up to three days.

Apple watch: (Starting at Rs 21, 235)
The much-awaited Apple Watch is one of those rare smart watches that have taken the size of a woman’s wrist and their fashion needs into consideration. The watch is an iPod, a fitness tracker with heart-rate measurement, a communication device to send and receive messages, calls and audio recordings and a portal to other apps, all built into one, small, wrist top device. It even connects to the Apple TV and acts as a remote for connected smart home devices, such as opening the smart locks, controlling the smart thermostat etc. 

Four Sapphire lenses on the back help deliver an accurate heart rate measurement, the built-in gyrometre and accelerometer and Apple’s custom fitness apps track calories burnt, activities including cycling and workouts, eliminating the need to wear a separate fitness tracker. The watch has a bright colour touch display with a scroll wheel digital crown on the side for extra features. You can touch, swipe or simply speak into the microphone to interact with the watch. Apple Watch also has a “Taptic” engine that provides haptic feedback through subtle vibrations for notifications, alarms and other messages. Though we are not going to have Apple Pay in India for sometime, if you are going to use Apple Pay on your trips abroad, the Watch also works as an extension. Apple also is working with a few hotels where the Apple Watch will work as the hotel room key, so no worry about losing those pesky
oom cards.

The Smaller Apple Watch is sized at 38 mm and the larger at 42 mm, each of the sizes is also available in three variants, unlike other brands where they feel one size will fit all. The Apple watch will be available only next year, so we aren’t sure about the battery time, but the company has developed a contact-free charging system to charge the watch overnight.

Gear S by Samsung: (expected price Rs 30,990)
The latest from the Samsung family, Gear S has a 2-inch super AMOLED curved multitouch screen with a 360x480 display. It is a fully-featured 3G and WiFi-enabled device, that can make calls, receive calls, check messages and connect to GPS without a phone near it or act as an extension of your phone when connected over Bluetooth. It still needs at least a Samsung phone running Android 4.3 or later to download Apps. There is also a QWERTY keyboard that can help write short emails or messages directly on the watch.

Like your smart phones, the front face of Gear S has small physical home button, or you can simply swipe from different sides to go to the sub menus or the different apps. The underside of the watch has an optical heart rate monitor and runs a Nike+App, which coupled with the built-in GPS, gyroscope, compass, UV light sensors and its rubberised bands, makes it a great fitness oriented device. The Gear S is IP67 water resistant, which means it can be worn while showering but not while swimming. Samsung has claimed that the watch will run over 1,000 apps including turn-by-turn navigation from Here and 24-hour news service. The Lithium Ion 300-mAh battery is expected to last up to two days. 

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