Sunday 4 December 2016

Smartwatches: their time has come

Published 25/08/2016 | 02:30

Apple Watch
Apple Watch
Samsung Gear s2
Tag Heuer Connected
Huawei Watch

Believe it or not, smartwatches are now making their way into our daily work lives. Their main advantage is that they give you important notifications quickly, without having to constantly take out and unlock your phone. Here, our Technology Editor looks at four of the top models to consider

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1 Apple Watch (from €379 from Apple.com/ie)

If you're an iPhone user, this is the logical choice. With the cheapest 'Sport' strap, it comes in two sizes, a 38mm (€379) and a 42mm (€429) watch face. The Watch is very comfortable to wear, synchronises with many of the apps you'd want and uses Siri voice commands so you can search or reply to texts without touching your phone. It also has lots of straps to choose from. And as soon as Apple Pay arrives in Ireland, you can use it to buy things in shops. The Watch needs to be tethered to your iPhone for most functions.

2 Tag Heuer Connected (€1,350 from PaulSheeran.ie)

While smartwatches appeal to people unaccustomed to wearing watches, this Android model is aimed squarely at those into their timepieces. With a titanium bezel and lugs keeping it together, the 46mm face is bigger than you'll find on most smartwatches. This means it's better for glancing at emails and other messages. And Tag Heuer says anyone who buys a Connected watch will be eligible to get a replacement special edition Carrera Calibre 5 (automatic) movement in two years (for an additional €1,000-plus, mind).

3 Samsung Gear S2 (€315 from PC World)

Samsung's smartwatch is one of the neatest, lightest, most compact models out there. As such, it has been aimed largely at fitness users. However, it gives you pretty much all of your messaging notifications like other smartwatches. The 1.2-inch round watch face has a rotating outer dial that can be used to control some functions and is pleasing to use. Curiously, Samsung declined to adopt Android Wear and has its own Tizen operating system. Bear in mind that the company is expected to soon launch a newer S3 version.

4 Huawei Watch (€399 from Currys)

Huawei believes that people want a nice leather strap with a smartwatch. This is one reason why its Watch costs a little more than many of its Android Wear competitors. (If leather isn't your thing, a stainless steel version has recently been launched for a premium price.) That said, the result is fairly elegant. This is just as well as the 1.4-inch watch face itself is fairly chunky and thick. As with its competitors, the Watch can run thousands of apps from Google's Android Wear store.

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