Like other smartwatches in the market, the Apple Watch is a tiny computer on your wrist that can do everything from manage your messages and calls to track your workouts. There are three collections: Apple Watch, which sees the watch cased in stainless steel; Apple Watch Sport, which has an aluminium case and a leather strap; and Apple Watch Edition, which has an 18-carat yellow or rose gold case. The watch is available in two different sizes, 38mm and 42mm. Powered by a custom S1 processor, Apple Watch features an intuitive interface built around its Digital Crown innovation, with which the crown (the button used to wind a watch) can be used to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly without obstructing the display. The Apple Watch has a Retina display, Force Touch, which senses the difference between a tap and a press, wireless charging, a built-in heart-rate monitor, a built-in speaker, a Taptic engine that produces a subtle force — almost like a tap on your wrist — every time you get an alert or perform a function, and Siri integration. It does not have GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity or a camera, so you have to rely on your phone to capture data. There is also no word on battery life, but it looks like you will be charging it every night.
An important thing to remember: Apple knows they have to create a market for smartwatches. It’s clear from the number of top fashion executives they have hired over the past year that they are trying to make the watch something aspirational — a fashion accessory that you want not because it has the best specs but because having it makes you feel and look good.
Base price: $349 (Rs 21,500); Available in early 2015
Motorola’s second smartwatch and its first using Google’s Android Wear software, the Moto 360, which is expected to be launched in India this month, is one of just two watches on this list that have a round face. It has received praise for being one of the few smartwatches that do not look geeky and at least come close to resembling regular watches. It is essentially a second screen for your phone. It displays your incoming calls, texts, emails, notifications from apps and allows you to reply to them by voice. You can also control your music and get turn-by-turn directions delivered to your wrist by Google Maps. The slick, circular stainless-steel body houses a heart-rate sensor on the back and a pedometer for activity tracking. And, the watch recharges wirelessly.
Price: $249.99 (Rs 15,000)
LG G Watch R
You might think it’s a regular watch till a notification pops up. This surprisingly stylish watch from LG features a 1.3-inch circular plastic OLED display, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor running Android Wear, 4GB of storage, a heart-rate monitor, a nine-axis gyroscope, a barometer and a 410mAh battery for all-day use. LG has foregone the GPS tracker in order to improve battery life, which means your phone will have to track your location data.
Price unavailable; Available in Q4, 2014
The pioneer in the category, Pebble is back with its latest smartwatch, the Pebble Steel. Smaller and slimmer than the original, Steel is housed in a marine-grade stainless steel chassis and is offered in two finishes: steel silver and matte black. It features a low-power e-ink screen that allows you to see texts, emails and notifications at a glance. Steel lets you control music on your smartphone, counts your steps, displays sports scores and more. However, there is no touchscreen, microphone, camera or speaker.
Price: $249 (Rs 15,000)
Samsung Gear 2
Samsung’s second-generation smartwatch, Gear 2, features a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 2 megapixel camera, 4GB memory, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a heart-rate monitor. You can answer calls on your watch, get texts, emails and app notifications, and control your music. And, thanks to the included infrared blaster, the watch can serve as a remote control for your television and set-top box.
Price: Rs 21,550
Sony Smartwatch 3
Sony’s latest smartwatch refuses to play second fiddle to a phone. With the inclusion of an accelerometer, a compass, a gyroscope and GPS, Smartwatch 3 clearly wants to be an independent and capable fitness tracker. Sporting a 1.6-inch OLED touchscreen display and offering four days of battery life, it works with your Android phone to read and reply to texts and emails, receive notifications from apps and control music.
Price: €229 (Rs 18,000); Available in Q4, 2014
Asus Zen Watch
Asus’s first attempt at a smartwatch, the ZenWatch has all the standard specifications you would expect of an Android Wear watch: a 1.6-inch AMOLED display, 4GB of storage and a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor. It connects to Android smartphones via Bluetooth, displays notifications and tracks activity with an accelerometer. However, there is no heart-rate monitor. What it lacks in features, it makes up for in looks. It’s quite a stylish watch, with its light brown stitched-leather strap and a 2.5D curved Gorilla glass display.
Price: Below $199 (Rs 12,000); Available in Q4, 2014