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Sunday 23 October 2016

Gear Fit is the smart one to watch in wearable technology

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:30

Samsung Gear Fit
Samsung Gear Fit
Samsung Gear 2
Creoir Ibis (Click image to view in a gallery)
Sony Smartwatch 2

ARE smartwatches really the new big thing? At the recent Mobile World Congress telecoms show, a succession of wrist computers were paraded as the hot technology of 2014.

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But are they really your next gadget? Or an overhyped irrelevance? Here are four of the latest contenders for title of smartwatch king.

Samsung Gear 2 €300

Right now, this is the most powerful smartwatch you can buy.

In addition to getting notifications and using it to make and take calls (it has a speaker and a microphone), it also now lets you listen to music wirelessly via an onboard music player (though you have to transfer the MP3 files on to it first).

There's a whole host of fitness apps onboard, although the 1.6-inch screen is (sensibly) not intended as a standalone browser. The device's Achilles Heel is that the social media and messaging notifications work only with Samsung phones.

Prediction: Despite being the most complete smartphone, this is still mainly a techies' device.

Sony Smartwatch 2 €180

Sony's updated smartwatch is a big improvement on its first model and is the closest competition to Samsung's Gear 2 as an all-singing, all-dancing smartwatch.

However, it doesn't have a microphone or speaker, so calls are out. On the other hand, it can be connected to any Android Bluetooth phone, which gives it a substantially wider appeal than Samsung models. Up to 300 apps can be used with the smartwatch and it is relatively nicely (and unclunkily) designed.

Prediction: A decent smartwatch option, but perhaps not elegant enough to appeal to non-techies.

Creoir Ibis €400 (likely)

Think smartwatches look too nerdy? Creoir's Ibis is supposed to be a fashionable alternative. It's certainly striking. There are two watchfaces – one analogue and one OLED. The idea is that you can retain a classic watch look while still connecting (to either iPhone or Android) to get your notifications or music.

Drawing a small crowd at Mobile World Congress, the Finnish manufacturer's gadget is nice and light. The only question is its core appeal: do you want a smartwatch or an analogue one? This tries to have it both ways.

Prediction: The ambitiously ornate device is clever, but may be caught in no-man's land.

Samsung Gear Fit €200

If Samsung thought its Gear 2 smartwatch was its anchor wearable product, it will be proven very wrong. The 'junior' product will outsell the main one at least two to one. The Gear Fit is a fashion-conscious, stripped-down smartwatch with a 1.8-inch curved rectangular touchscreen.

No calls or music players here: just a host of fitness apps, message notifications and other 'basic' functions. But the Gear Fit has one trump card over almost all rivals – it looks good. Much better, in fact, than square, flat alternatives. This is the one to look for.

Prediction: Will become the best-selling mainstream smartwatch out there.

Sunday Indo Business

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