THE CHOSEN FEW: 4 smart watches (not made by Apple)
When Apple comes to market, it’s a game-changer, right? It's fair to say that the smart watch sector was given the ultimate stamp of approval with the introduction of Apple’s Watch in March. The first earnings call will give us an early indication of its success, but with messages, mails, notifications and even the ability to make phone calls from your wrist, it has ths Apple fanatics purring in appreciation - even if it boasts a modest 18 hours battery life.
If you remain unmoved by Apple, there are some alternatives that might be worth exploring.
1. Sony SmartWatch 3
Favouring practicality over aesthetics with a rectangular 1.6in face, Sony’s take on the smart watch is commendable. Where it stands out from others is the addition of GPS, which pitches it as more of a fitness accessory than others. It’s also dust proof and water resistant meaning its perfectly acceptable as a hardy running aid. It certainly looks the part with a chunky rubber strap, and is definitely more a sports accessory than fashion piece. Running on Android Wear, it gives you these usual apps like Play Music (paired with Bluetooth), Gmail and Calendar. If the looks can improve in the next iteration, then Sony may be onto something...
Price: AED1,099 from Jumbo Electronics
2. Asus ZenWatch
Asus are renowned for their compact notebooks and they’ve used their flair for packing tech into small packages with the Zenwatch. Packing a sizeable (okay, in this market) 1.63in screen with rounded edges and reinforced gorilla glass, the build-quality is none too shabby. Like all other Android Wear watches, you’ll get your notifications in a heartbeat, voice recognition and 4GB of storage to load your tunes. With a comfortable leather strap and competitive price-point, it’s an alluring package.
Price: AED709.99 from www.expansys.ae
3. Motorola Moto 360
The Jessica Alba of smart watches, the Moto 360 is a looker alright. Running on Android Wear, the 1.5in screen is bright enough to read in the sunlight and boasts a heart-rate monitor and an ambient light sensor, which means it adapts to dark and light conditions. Google is at the core of the experience and baked-in voice recognition allows you to communicate with the device – though you’ll probably get a few odd looks. Now for the downsides: it is thick around the middle at 11mm and the battery life is mediocre, with a day’s useage at best, plus the build quality lacks the polished engineering of traditional timepieces.
Price: AED1,299 from Jumbo Electronics
4. OUR PICK: LG G Watch R
Unlike many smart watches, the Watch R is round, so will appeal to traditionalists. It certainly has wrist appeal with a chunky dive-watch feel, though at 62g it won’t be a clunky accessory. It has a 1.3in screen and pixel density of 246ppi, which gives strong viewing angles. It’s also water resistant to a depth of 1 metre so you can drop it in the bath quite happily. One significant advantage it has over others is its battery life, which can last nearly three days – that’s class leading. LG also chuck in a barometer and heart rate monitor, accelerometer and compass, appealing to the sports market.
Price: AED855 from www.expansys.ae