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Published by Jasmin Elmazovski

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The Best Smartwatch (March 2017)

In this review we are going to cover all styles, shapes and OS systems that any smartwatch on the market now has to offer. Stick with us so you can find out which are the best of the best.

The other day I was in a grocery store, and while standing in line to pay I noticed a guy who just tilted his arm a bit and he was on his way. A few minutes later I asked the cashier lady what was that about. She stared at me for a while and said that he paid with his watch. When I came home, after some digging and searching, I found out that smartwatches are, apparently, a thing these days. So I went and bought myself one, the Samsung gear S3, since I have a Galaxy S7, that seemed like a logical choice. Since I’ve been wearing it, I can tell you that it’s a really good conversation starter. I don’t even have to mention the helpfulness of  any smartwatch, because they are there to serve you, and only you.

 

I’ve always been a fan of watches, but classical ones. Seen it all, from cheap rip offs, to Rolex or Hublot. But those are the traditional, fashionable ones. They only serve one purpose, to tell time. Some of them do have dates of course, and the chronograph ones can do even more stuff, but in the end, their main role is to tell the time. Not for smartwatches tough, these beauties can tell the time, of course, but there is more to them. See, the best accessory you can buy to a smartphone, is a smartwatch. It’s basically the ultimate smartphone accessory. They beam important notifications straight to your wrist, can run native apps. They enable you to search the net via your own voice, you can track your exercise route over GPS, you can even check-out from a grocery store without reaching for your wallet. They do all of this while looking sleek, clean, and, in the end, absolutely stunning.

For some, jumping into the world of smartwatches is a risky move. But now, with a little effort  from Google with Android Wear, Apple with watchOS, and more, there’s never been a better time to strap up one of these beauties. But, choosing the right smartwatch for you can be a little difficult, that’s why I’m here today. We’ve received smartwatches for testing and spent quite some time on them. We looked at everything, from the OS to the “style” factor. Let’s not beat around the bush any further and dive straight into the reviews.

We’ve covered pretty much every style and OS there is out there, and here are our top picks;

Overview

Best Apple watch

Best LG Watch

Best Samsung Watch

The Best Fashion smartwatch – The Huawei Watch

– Conclusion

 

Best Apple watch – The Apple Watch 2

There is no debating anything here. Apple is being Apple on this one. They upgraded the Watch in many ways, and all of them are indeed useful. Longer battery life, the GPS abilities and the water-resistance now make this a great overall smartwatch.

 

OS: watchOS 3

Compatibility: iOS

Display: 1.53″ OLED

Processor: S2 dual-core

Band sizes: Varies per watch size

Onboard storage: 8GB

Battery: 18 hours

Charging method: Wireless

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC

 

Overall

Since it’s waterproof you can use it for all activities what involve water in any way. Meaning, you can swim with it, jog in the rain with it…etc.

It now comes in aluminium, stainless steel and ceramic models.

The design of this beauty is simple, yet elegant, the same you get with the previous version. It differs from other smartwatches in its competition due to its shape. So if you are someone who likes this type of watch, it’s a great choice for you. With it you will look stylish, modern and the watch itself is handsome, in a way, as all Apple products are lately.

All of it’s components feel premium. Coming from a company like Apple that was to be expected. From the curved edges and strengthened glass to its digital crown on the side. They don’t excuse the expensiveness of this device but uplift it greatly. Also the weight of it is somewhere in the middle, a perfect blend of heavy and lightweight.

 

As for the customization of this piece, Apple made it clear they want to stick to simple. Having that in mind they have made some options for you from the beginning;

 

  • Aluminum case with Sport Band or Woven Nylon band

Stainless steel case with Sport Band, stainless steel band, or leather band

  • Aluminum case with Nike Sport Band
  • Stainless steel case with Hermès band

Additional Sport Band included with purchase

  • Ceramic case with Sport Band

Magnetic Charging Dock included with purchase

 

The process of changing the stripes to your own liking involves you to manually press the release strap buttons, and done, as simple as that.

 

In a nutshell

The Apple watch is loved by millions around the world, and although it is a bit more expensive, it is Apple and all of their products are “a bit expensive“. Having this in mind if you do own an Apple device, an Iphone for example, then it will pair up with this beautifully. All of this will make you stand out from the crowd and people will have the impression that you run some company or similar, because Apple leaves that impression quite often.

 

Best LG Watch – The LG Watch Sport

 

LG has always been the one to not follow trends, and this watch does exactly that. For example, in a world where changeable phone batteries aren’t around anymore, LG has stuck with that modular design. The best example is the LG G5 with its replaceable batteries where one even includes camera options.

 

OS: Android Wear 2.0

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Display: 1.38″ OLED

Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100

Band sizes: Fixed large band

Onboard storage: 4GB

Battery: 16 hours

Charging method: Wireless

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC

 

Although phone calls require a SIM card (US only) this watch has impeccable call and data strength. It has an appealing design to it and since its release there have been many standalone apps. Standalone apps have been a problem for this device as there weren’t many of them available, but that’s been fixed now since time has gone by.

Having all the specs and aesthetics in mind this watch is the watch to beat right now, simply because it’s packed full of features. Running Android Wear 2.0 it also functions as a full-featured fitness tracker. It can track your runs, calories and your strength training too.

It’s one of the few smartwatches that supports LTE connection, meaning you can receive calls and data without having your phone nearby. To enable this feature all you have to do is pop a SIM card into the back of the watch.

 

Overall

It’s a sizable watch that rises high off the wrist and is surprisingly comfortable with it’s contoured lugs. It also has a rotating main button and 2 customizable ones, same stuff you get if you buy a chronograph classical watch. LG has made it waterproof up to 30 min in the depth of 1.5 meters or 5ft.

The watch isn’t small by any means and will certainly draw attention to itself. It’s stylish,form-fitting and comfortable despite being a little heavy.

There’s nothing small about this sports-driven smartwatch, but it’s still stylish, form-fitting and surprisingly comfortable despite all its extra weight and girth.

It has an ergonomic design just like the LG Watch Style, and it maintains top performance. It comes in 2 colors;

  • Titanium
  • Dark blue
  • Latter (exclusive)

Because these are slimming colors, the watch my look smaller than it actually is. The latter is exclusive to the Google Store and could become hard to find in stock.

This is a fitness watch, not a luxury timepiece. At the same time, it does a good job of blending into everyday life. You can wear it with a button-down shirt, hoodies, or some other clothes but it also has the potential to blend into a business environment also. It’s something you can wear outside of the gym, too, for sure.

The unit we received was titanium and it combines matte stainless steel casing and a dark grey band. It has an attractive two-tone finish to it whenever the circular bezel catches the light.

Because of the size of this watch it had to have a sizable band so you can secure it firmly to your wrist. Due to that, the band is made out of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), so it’s perfect for the gym and it will sustain through the sweatiest workouts. The TPU is stiffer and not so rubbery.

Because of this it feels better against our skin, but not only that, it also contains antennas. Which means that the band is not customizable, making this the watch for performance and functionality over fashion.

This phone also features LTE meaning it can work without a phone.

The watch casing is water-resistant, with its IP68 rating meaning it can survive 1.5 m (about 5ft) underwater for up to 30 minutes. Only Pebble smartwatches beat that rating…so far. IP68 makes it more waterproof than the first Apple Watch and LG Watch Style, and it ties the Gear S3. But like Samsung’s watch, Google advises you not to go swimming with it. This could have something to do with the fact that it doesn’t have a water-ejecting speaker along the lines of the new Apple Watch 2, which can go to a depth of 50 meters (164ft).

It has a fantastic and stylish, full circle 1.38-inch OLED display. Also the always-ON screen mode is more useful but drains battery very fast and it automatically gets brighter in sunlight.

In a nutshell

The LG Watch Sport is currently the best you can buy at this point. It doesn’t deliver too much in the fashion aspect although it has the potential to draw in many compliments on itself. LG’s focal point was performance and functionality and because of this this watch delivers in so many areas. It’s not as water resistant as Apple’s is but still it is waterproof non-the-less making it another great feature. It goes best with the LG G5 or V20  which we will link below and you can check out our review on those at Geektick also.

 

Best Samsung Watch – The Samsung Gear S3

 

Despite its launch problems at the beginning, due to the serious lack of original apps, The Gear 3 is still one of the best smartwatch options in the world. The lack of apps will definitely be fixed in the upcoming year and, indeed, it has been fixed to a certain point. It features a Super AMOLED display as all Samsung devices, which are considered to be the best of the best. If you’ve ever owned an S5, S6, S7 or other of its devices (these being the most popular) you know how bright and crisp it is. Also they have included a GPS which was nowhere to be found in the Gear S2. Its still waterproof like the LG Watch Spor of up to 1.5 m and its battery is a monster with up to 3 days of use before needing a charge. Samsung also made the watch so it can run both iOS and Android, so if the Apple Watch is a bit too pricey this is a great alternative.

 

OS: Tizen OS

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Display: 1.3″ 360 x 360 Super AMOLED

Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz

Band sizes: S (105 x 65mm) L (130 x 70mm)

Onboard storage: 4GB

Battery duration: 3 days

Charging method: Wireless

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G

 

Overall

Samsung’s Gear 3 weighs 59g. This can be a deal breaker for some because it can feel a little heavy on the wrist. Having this in mind, it’s normal for it to have a metal frame housing the 1.3 screen and having 2 buttons on the side. Their function is Home/Apps and Back keys. Put all this together and you have a truly well-built smartwatch.

Its distinction in the Menu department is hard to remember at first, but as all things, you will remember it and slowly adjust to the method used here. This is more of swiping and swinging the bezel rather than hitting the actual physical buttons.

Samsung’s focal point of its recent smartwatches, the Gear S2 and Gear S3 is its bezel. It has a rotating dial that serves as a way to navigate through the watch. Spinning the dial left or right will allow you to scroll through displays, let you select apps or to flip through a list quickly without having to take your eyes off the screen.

It seems odd that there’s no ‘confirm’ key, as you’ll scroll through the apps you want, land on the one you were looking for, then have to stab it with a digit to open it. It’s not the most fluid way of doing things – although you can set up the Gear to be able to open an app if you hover the dot over the software you fancy.

On the back of the Gear S3 is the heart rate monitor which is of Samsung’s own design. It has the ability to track your heart rate through the course of the day. This is an added benefit for those who want to get fit and in shape, as it also shows accurate increase and decrease of the heart rate.

For our testing we received the Gear S3 Classic. It comes with a leather strap out the box, and like most watches, the leather is stiff and needs some wearing before it can have a nice and flexible addition. Since it’s a bit complicated to change the straps, you might want a more sweat-resistant strap for your fitness purposes and you will wear that strap for a longer period of time. Simply because the change of straps is a bit difficult.

You already know its features a 1.3-inch Super AMOLED screen which is the best in the market. It doesn’t come as a surprise because Samsung has used this tech on all of their devices in recent times. It has a fantastic reputation worldwide and is clear, crisp and bright.

Samsung says that the Gear S3 uses an Always-On Display, the same tech that the S7 has. It enables you to always see it, no matter what you are doing but it will drain battery life, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to keep it ON. Although you can argue which is better, the round or square smartwatch, you can’t argue that the display of the Gear S3 isn’t the best. It is vivid, bright, rich and everything you can wish for from a smartwach, regarding the display portion.

In a nutshell

The Samsung Gear S3 is the absolute best when it comes to displays. Adding to this it’s also waterproof which is just an added benefit. The watch supports both OS systems and is a great alternative to the Apple Watch, but it does fall short in some aspects compared to the watch from Apple. It has the ability to be a customizable watch unlike the LG’s Smart Watch, because you can change the straps to your liking, but it is a difficult procedure. It doesn’t support LTE, which means it won’t work without a phone nearby. All in all a great watch with minor drawbacks.

 

The Best Fashion smartwatch – Huawei Watch

 

The watch Huawei is not perfect, with its main flaw being the, not so great, battery life. But, its once high price is dropping quickly and now it’s actually a great blend of fashion and tech. I might even say the best blend.

 

OS: Android Wear

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Display: 1.4″ AMOLED

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz

Case dimensions: 42mm diameter, 11.3mm thick

Onboard storage: 4GB

Battery: 2 days

Charging method: Wireless

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

 

Overall

The watch features a fully circular 1.4 inch AMOLED display. Something you’d find in a Samsung watch. Having this in mind it doesn’t come as a surprise when its 400×400 gives us 286ppi (pixel per inch). To put that into perspective, Apple’s retina display has 290ppi or 302ppi (depends on the model you get). It’s much sharper and clearer than the new Moto 360 and LG G Watch Urbane that have similar design patterns.

With its circular display it comes off as a more traditional watch. You can see from the image that it looks like an analogue watch, unlike the watches from Apple and Sony. To me this is way more visually appealing than square watches, but there is a certain amount of people that prefer the square design pattern.

The watch uses a white watch face which just adds to the aesthetic appeal of the model. Again proving that this is a perfect blend of technology and fashion.

During my time with the watch I had the brightness setting on level 4/5 , I never had an issue with the screen in direct sunlight, but the brightness can be boosted with ‘Brightness Boost’ if you are having problems seeing some things on the screen. The colours are vibrant, and really pop from the screen.

It features a mode called Ambiet mode. It works on a principle that, if your phone is inactive for a few seconds, the screen will dim, thus saving battery. This is a great alternative to Samsung’s Always-On mode as it still allows you ti see the time without having to press any buttons on the device to increase its brightness. If you do want to increase it, there are some gestures built into the device itself, like you flicking your wrist to wake the screen (a feature with the Apple Watch also).

Early smartwatches were known for having awful designs, just take a look at the Samsung Gear Live or LG G Watch, but this beauty is a sight for sore eyes.

The Huawei Watch is reasonable lightweight – as in, its weight is noticeable, but it doesn’t feel too heavy in day to day use.

The watch comes in 3 options :

 

  • Gold ( brown alligator leather band or a gold link band )
  • Silver ( black leather strap, a steel link strap, or a silver Milanese loop )
  • Black ( black leather band, black steel link strap, or a black Milanese loop )

 

We received the silver steel casing with the black leather band, and I simply must say, it’s my  favourite combo of the bunch.The leather strap  the best I’ve seen come with a smartwatch. Soft, flexible, and doesn’t wrinkle.

If you want to further customize the watch, you can add any 18 mm watch strap. It’s a nice option to have, especially if you like to stand out. Changing the strap is incredibly simple, just pull back the release mechanism and it’ll pop out. This watch feels the most premium, the design is sophisticated, the materials are high quality, what more could you ask for ? at least looking from a design perspective.

The crown button, located at the 2 o’clock position instead of the 3 o’clock traditional placement. It acts as a home button, also waking and dimming the screen, and is neatly positioned where it is makes the button much more ergonomic.

On the back of the watch you’ll find a heart rate monitor and four gold contacts for the charging doc.

The watch is also rated IP67, and that means it’s dust resistant and will survive up to 30mins underwater, in a depth of 1m. I wouldn’ t recommend it for swimming, but showering and being out on the rain with it is totally fine.

In a nutshell

The watch from Huawei hit the market fast and aggressive. It is by far the best fashion smartwatch among its competition, and that might just be its edge. It comes with all the great features, including the display and heart rate monitor. But you might dislike its battery life. It’s the most crisp and esthetic pleasing watch for sure, at least to me, as I am a traditional watch lover and love the minimalist design of it.

 

Conclusion

That concludes our review of the best smartwatches from the individual manufacturers, keep in mind that each watch will work best with its manufacturer’s flagship device, as it’s optimized to be that way. I really enjoyed reviewing these products and we are glad to have receive these test models from the companies that made them. There is something for everyone’s liking out of all the watches presented here.

Have a great day folks.

 

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Jasmin Elmazovski

Experienced blogger, currently attending High school in Bosnia. At the age of 3 I got my first computer and since then I’ve been in love with everything tech related. Traveled across Europe and attended most of the technology events out there. I’m also a huge video game enthusiast and I’ve played many titles, all from Super Mario to the latest Resident Evil 7 or BF1.
I believe everything can be achieved by the power of will, therefore my life quote would be: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it!”

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