We were early adopters of the smartwatch, with MD Andrew buying a Pebble all the way back in 2013. Since then, there have been all sorts of additions to the smartwatch market and additions to wearable tech in the Resolve office. We take a quick tour around the team and find out more about the smartwatches out there and pick up some tips on buying one.
Al: Pebble Time Steel
I initially bought a Pebble as it meant I didn’t have to get my phone out of my pocket every time I received a notification. Also, the option of being able to have multiple watch faces means I can change them as soon as I get bored. When my original Pebble wore out – due to a catastrophic strap failure – I decided to treat myself to a new Pebble Time Steel. I prefer the colours on the new one, as the old one was monochrome. I also like the fact that it’s not trying to do too much, like an Apple Watch, for example. It’s like the Casio Classic of the smart watch world. It just does what it needs to. I can’t see the point of a touch screen on such a small device.
Advice for someone looking to buy a smartwatch? Have a good look at all the different watches available. I can’t believe how many there are now. However, if you want a no-nonsense original that does what it says on the tin… buy a Pebble!
Andy: Garmin Vivoactive
I decided to buy a smartwatch in order to keep track of my running and other activities. My favourite feature is the built in GPS, as this allows you to track the exact route you took during your activity. Also the pace monitor is a great feature as you can see how fast your average pace was throughout the activity. It has to be said that although the watch software and UI is great, the strap could be more comfortable at times.
Advice for someone looking to buy a smart watch? If you want a smartwatch to keep track of your sports/activities, the Garmin Vivoactive is perfect.
Ged: Moto 360
I have a second generation Moto 360, which is based on the Google Android Wear platform. Although there are more options in terms of size, the variety of finishes and straps, the technical specification hasn’t changed that much since the first generation. I principally wanted a smartwatch to save me pulling my phone from my pocket every time it vibrated. However I wasn’t keen on the square face of most of the watches that were available at the time, so my choice was limited. That being said, I am delighted with my choice. Considering Android Wear is still in its infancy, it is surprisingly stable and has some great features. I have used the maps function to navigate my way without having to hold my phone in my hand constantly when out walking. I can keep an eye out for urgent emails and notifications in places where it might be inappropriate to keep getting my phone out of my pocket. I can use the camera on my phone to look in awkward places whilst seeing the image on my wrist and I can set alerts for individual apps so I can keep an eye on the football score, or when someone sends me a direct message on twitter.
Advice for someone looking to buy a smart watch? I appreciate that although the Moto 360 will connect to an iPhone, it limits the functionality and for some people giving up an iPhone and moving to Android would be the end of the world. However as I hardly take my phone out of my pocket now (except for phone calls and in that regard the Samsung is probably better that the iPhone anyway) that doesn’t really bother me either! Overall I would say the Moto 360 is the best watch out there!
Hannah: Apple Watch
Choosing an Apple Watch was a bit of a no-brainer for me because all my tech equipment is Apple. So, my watch works perfectly with my iPhone and it is simple, straightforward and looks great – just like everything Apple creates! I love the fact I don’t have to have my phone out all the time now, I can just look down at my watch for notifications instead. It helps me prioritise, because I can see immediately if something is important rather than having to scroll through all my notifications on my phone. The design and functionality of it is spot on, I love the fact it taps me when I receive a message, or lights up automatically when I angle the watch face upwards. There is also Apple Pay, which is incredibly satisfying and means you don’t have to mess around with cards or wallets in shops. Plus, when I am driving, I can use Siri to skip songs or answer messages on my phone. The Activity app is even encouraging me to do more exercise! And I can send heartbeats, drawings and cute emojis to my friends.
Advice for someone looking to buy a smartwatch?
It might take a little while to get used to having a smartwatch but once you get used to it, you won’t go back! It is an entirely new way of managing your messages, but it is much more efficient. I’d definitely recommend an Apple Watch if you have an iPhone 5/5s/6/6s (it doesn’t work with older phones). It is a lovely, fun addition to my life!
I actually have two smartwatches: the original Pebble, which was a kickstarter project and a Pebble Steel, which is a later Pebble with better battery life. I was one of the first people to get a smartwatch back in 2013. I have always been interested in new technology and how it works in real life. Initially I bought a smartwatch watch to see how smartwatches might work in the future, but I do find the fact you can read texts on you watch useful. I turn the rest of the alerts off, as I am easily distracted! The Pebble suits me perfectly; the battery lasts three to four days, it alerts me when I need it to - oh, and it tells the time pretty well too! I have to say I am tempted by the new Huawei watch, mainly because it looks like normal watch.
Advice for someone looking to buy a smart watch? Make sure you get an idea of what you are going to use it for and make sure those features are fully supported by your phone - for example, if you have an iPhone, then the Apple Watch is really the best, as all the features of the watch and the phone are so well integrated. And get used to charging your watch at night!