Times are Changing

18 Sep 2014
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Gone are the days when watches only told the time. Today, they make phone calls, send text messages, review our exercise efforts and take photographs. Adam Hurrell brings you the smart timepieces you need to watch out for



Keeping pace

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The Galaxy Gear Neo 2 is a lighter and cheaper version of the Galaxy Gear and the Galaxy Gear 2. Although it comes with slightly less functionality, it has a Tizen-based system, giving the watch an improved battery life of between two and six days, depending on usage. For music lovers the 4GB storage has been retained, although it performed poorly when being used for fitness purposes with an inaccurate GPS and an inaccurate pedometer. Where the Neo 2 does perform is its capability to make and receive calls and even works when held away from the face, making it ideal to use when driving. This smartwatch is certainly a premium product without an especially premium price, but it is let down by its cheap plastic finish. RO91 from www.expnsys.com

Sony Smartwatch 3 

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The Sony Smartwatch is possibly the least attractive watch on the page, but don’t let that put you off because it is a strong performer and, in running Andriod Wear, has a lot of functionality to offer. The claimed battery life of two-five days is also impressive, although to be honest, this does seem to be rather ambitious. Possibly the most intriguing feature of the Sony Smartwatch 3 is that it can detach from the strap, which according to Sony, is so that it can be used with other gadgets, but personally I’m not sure which gadgets you would use it with. Despite this oddity, the Sony is one of the most powerful watches here with a quad-core CPU and 512MB of RAM. The Sony Smartwatch 3 is an impressive performer with a strong list of features, but it doesn’t grab the attention in the way that some of its competitors do. Arriving autumn 2014 www.sony-mea.com

Right on time

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This is the first Andriod watch by LG and it’s not a bad first effort at all. The amount of apps currently available is limited, but expected to dramatically increase over the coming months. Where the LG really wins is that it will work with any Android device, so owning an LG phone is not essential. It’s just a case of downloading the Android Wear platform and following the set-up process. It is IP certified, meaning it is dust proof and water resistant to a depth of one metre for up to 30 minutes. The G Watch is a fun little gadget that allows you to customise the face, giving you the option of 24 different designs. It is by no means the complete package but the G Watch is certainly heading in the right direction. RO85 from www.amazon.com

Bang on time   

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The Moto 360 proves that design can be both extremely functional and extremely beautiful. The unique circular design is charming and even works well in bright sunlight. Leather straps will be available from launch for the UK and US markets and combined with the stainless steel finish, the Moto 360 has a premium feel that really sets it apart from its competitors. Battery life on the 360 is also impressive, lasting over 12 hours despite heavy use. Charging is done via a Qi charging block that dims the display, making it ideal for placing on bedside tables. The Moto 360 may not be the best smartwatch on the market but it is the most attractive and in a world where aesthetics can make or break a product. We predict serious competition for the Apple iWatch. Arriving autumn 2014 www.motorola.com

Neptune Pine

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The Neptune Pine is a serious bit of kit. The screen alone is 2.4 inches across and it features a full Qwerty keyboard for text and emails. Equipped with front and rear cameras and an LED flash, the Pine is also capable of playing videos and even films. It also includes a music player, voice recorder, calendar, alarm, telephone and more. It’s a powerful beast with 512MB RAM and up to 32GB of storage as well. While this all sounds very impressive, you can’t help but think, this is not a watch. Firstly, it is a massive thing to have on your arm, but it also fails to offer anything that your phone doesn’t already do. It’s not especially stylish, it’s not in anyway discreet and it’s totally unsuitable to use for sport. It seems to be clever for the sake of being clever, not because it’s what the smartwatch consumer actually wants. RO135 www.getneptune.com

The bare essentials

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Almost all of the apps featured on these pages are Android and require you to download Android Wear. This is technically not an app in itself, but a software platform that the watches need in order for the apps that are available for them to work. Once this platform is installed the watches will be able to run apps such as Runtastic, which is an excellent fitness app, and Evernote, an app that allows users to pull up notes made on their smartphone as well as dictate new ones. Available for free from Google Play.

One for the Kids 

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Smartwatches are not just for grown-ups and the VTech Kidizoom proves that. It’s a sweet little watch that features educational mini-games, camera and video, as well a choice of over 50 digital and analogue designs so that your little darlings can learn both the 12 and 24-hour clock. The Kidizoom is also dust and splash proof, making it perfect for wearing while playing outside. It’s a charming beginner’s smartwatch and a great way to let children engage with technology while learning how to tell the time along the way. www.vtechkids.com RO23.1

New! Apple Watch

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Set to hit the shops in 2015, Apple lovers will have the choice of the Apple iWatch, the Apple iWatch Sport and the Apple iWatch Edition, with each version available in two sizes. Upon initial testing it appears Apple have done a better job with the interface than most of its competitors with the crown acting as a zoom function that lets you zoom in and out, making apps easier to access. An ergonomically designed curved back makes it comfortable to wear too. The Apple iWatch is a lightweight, nifty little device that can be used to make and receive calls, as well as send simple pre-written messages. Available in 2015 from www.apple.com


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