Humanity is heading towards a very intelligent future. First it was our phones; Then our belt buckles and cufflinks will tell us when a Kardashian tweets or someone likes one of our Instagram posts. Right now, smartwatches are on everyone’s lips – if not on everyone’s wrists yet – and while much of the conversation has centered around the Apple Watch, this The highly anticipated gadget isn’t the only option for people looking to do things like read texts and emails, check the weather and take selfies using Bluetooth-enabled watches.
And since the Apple Watch only works with iPhones, it’s not the ideal solution for everyone. With that in mind, we decided to test four smartwatches that work with both iOS and Android devices. None of them can do everything the Apple Watch can, but they’re priced well below $349 – Apple’s starting point – and each caters to the needs of a certain type of individual. .
Perfect for: People who want to do a lot without paying a lot
Like all the other watches on this list, the Pebble Steel alerts you to all notifications enabled on your phone. These include incoming calls, texts and emails; missed calls; social media activity; and calendar events. And like the others, it lets you take photos on your phone, eliminating the need for a selfie stick, and control music playback. So what makes the Pebble tick? In a word: choice. This watch supports dozens of apps, from calculators and games to remote controls for alarm systems and home devices. There are even several apps that stream video from your phone or tablet, essentially turning the Pebble into a baby monitor or spy camera.
Video capabilities would be more impressive if the Pebble wasn’t black and white, and a touchscreen would sweeten the deal too. But this carefully designed watch offers a ton of value for money, and even with four buttons, the menus are easy to navigate.
Perfect for: active people of all stripes
Sleek and lightweight and equipped with a color touchscreen, the Garmin vívoactive is ideal for athletes, runners and walkers in particular. There’s a built-in step counter that kicks in during sedentary time and reminds you to move, and because it also has GPS, you can use it without your phone. When you get back from your jog, walk or bike ride, just sync your iPhone or Android and you have access to all sorts of nifty data (pace, calories burned, route taken, etc.) via the app to use. Speaking of this app, it allows you to download other apps and “widgets” and share fitness activities with friends, facilitating friendly (or less friendly) competitions.
The biggest downside is the relatively limited number of apps and widgets, but as more become available, the vívoactive may gain fans outside of the fitness community. For now, the main audience is athletes, and they won’t be disappointed.
Perfect for: Style lovers on the go
If Don Draper owned a smartwatch, this might be it. The Martian Victory doesn’t have a fancy digital display – notifications scroll across a small LED strip below the old-fashioned hour and minute hands – and it doesn’t offer a lot of features. But it looks classy, and it has one major perk: voice control. In true 50s Dick Tracy, 60s James Bond fashion, you can use this thing to make and receive calls and text via voice. This comes in handy when you’re engaged in a task that makes picking up your phone unsafe or inappropriate.
Of the four watches we tested, the Victory is the sharpest and easiest to use. If you want to discreetly check your e-mails and SMS while chatting Mad Men at a dinner party, it’s your choice. One thing to note: once an incoming message scrolls by, you only have one minute to record the glass and initiate a replay, so once you feel your wrist buzz, don’t linger to peek. ‘eye.
Alcatel One Touch
Perfect for: Those who value fashion over function
With its brightly lit touchscreen, vibrant color palette, customizable dial options, and user-friendly icons, the OneTouch almost looks like an Apple product. It doesn’t work as such, but in all honesty, it doesn’t aspire to. The OneTouch is a fun starter smartwatch for anyone who cares more about, say, having their dial match their outfit or displaying a favorite photo than they care about doing stuff. high-level technology.
Scrolling through the 14 icons gives you access to a five-day weather forecast, compass, stopwatch, pulse monitor, phone locator, controls for your phone’s camera and music (with a convenient volume adjustment) and a step counter that, via the app, allows you to work towards adjustable distance and calorie goals. Fitness tracking isn’t quite as sophisticated as Garmin’s, so again the OneTouch mostly gets by on aesthetics. With that in mind, it’s a shame that the screen turns off after a certain number of seconds (15 being the max) and only turns back on when you press the button on the side or move your arm up. If you want to look at your wrist and check the time, you’re out of luck.
Then, the frequent darkening of the dial results in a multi-day battery life that saves you from using the band’s built-in USB charger, another nice feature.