Smartwatch round-up: 26 Apple Watch rivals compared

We compare the Samsung Gear S, Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear 2 Neo, Samsung Gear Fit, Samsung Gear Live, Microsoft Band, Garmin Vivoactive, Alcatel OneTouch Watch, Asus ZenWatch, Sony SmartWatch 3, Pebble Steel, Martian Notifier, MetaWatch M1, LG G Watch R, Moto 360 and more to discover what the Apple Watch is up against.

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  • Apple Watch rivals
  • Samsung Gear S
  • Samsung Gear 2
  • Samsung Gear 2 Neo
  • Samsung Gear Fit
  • Samsung Gear Live
  • Pebble Time
  • Pebble Time Steel
  • Huawei Watch
  • Huawei TalkBand B1
  • LG Watch Urbane/LTE
  • Alcatel OneTouch Watch
  • Garmin Vivoactive
  • Microsoft Band
  • Asus ZenWatch
  • LG G Watch
  • LG G Watch R
  • Motorola Moto 360
  • Pebble Steel
  • Sony SmartWatch 3
  • Martian Passport, Victory, G2G
  • Martian Notifier
  • Cookoo 2
  • MetaWatch M1
  • Qualcomm Toq
  • Conclusion
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Wearables that rival the Apple Watch

Apple finally announced the much-anticipated Apple Watch at its "Spring Forward" event on 9 March. The three variations of the Apple Watch sell for very different prices but all essentially perform in the exact same way - the only difference is the design. The cheapest of the range, the Watch Sport is made from anodised aluminium and will cost between £299-339. The Watch is made from polished stainless steel and the display is protected by sapphire crystal, which is reflected in the price, ranging from £479-949 dependant on the wrist strap you choose.

If you think that's expensive for a smartwatch, you haven't seen anything yet; the Watch Edition starts at £8,000. Why? It's made from 18-carat gold - but not just any gold, Apple has created a new kind of gold that’s twice as hard as standard gold.

As well as three variations of the Apple Watch – Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition – they will also be available in large and small screen size options. They also have interchangeable straps in a range of styles and colours, totalling 38 different strap and case combinations.

Apple has released its WatchKit SDK for developers, so we're expecting lots of apps to be available for the smartwatch when it launches on 24 April. Apple has already created the Health app which will tie in with the Apple Watch, as well as new Activity and Workout apps, Calendar, Maps, Passbook, Music, Apple TV and iTunes, Remote Camera, Stopwatch, Timer, Alarm, World Clock, Stocks, Weather, Photos, Siri and Settings.

The Apple Watch will launch with lots of already-established competition from the likes of big-name brands such as Samsung with its Samsung Gear 2 as well as Sony, LG, Motorola, Pebble and more. However, it's significantly more expensive than most of its rivals, with a UK starting price of £299.

Google has recently launched a version of Android designed specifically for wearable tech, called Android Wear, which has sparked an influx of new smartwatches that run the Android Wear operating system, adding to the already busy market. Here, we round up the hottest Apple Watch competition to discover what Apple is up against.

To find out more about the Apple Watch, visit our Apple Watch release date, specs and features article.

Read on to take a closer look at smartwatches including Samsung's offerings, Microsoft Band, Asus ZenWatch, the LG G Watch, Moto 360, the Pebble Steel, Pebble Time, Huawei Watch, LG Watch Urbane, Martian smartwatches, Cookoo, Sony Smartwatch 3, MetaWatch M1, Qualcomm Toq, Alcatel OneTouch Watch, Garmin Vivoactive and more.

You can also read our full first look review of the Apple Watch, including UK pricing information or find out which apps will be available for the Apple Watch from launch day.

Next Prev slideshow image

Apple finally announced the much-anticipated Apple Watch at its "Spring Forward" event on 9 March. The three variations of the Apple Watch sell for very different prices but all essentially perform in the exact same way - the only difference is the design. The cheapest of the range, the Watch Sport is made from anodised aluminium and will cost between £299-339. The Watch is made from polished stainless steel and the display is protected by sapphire crystal, which is reflected in the price, ranging from £479-949 dependant on the wrist strap you choose.

If you think that's expensive for a smartwatch, you haven't seen anything yet; the Watch Edition starts at £8,000. Why? It's made from 18-carat gold - but not just any gold, Apple has created a new kind of gold that’s twice as hard as standard gold.

As well as three variations of the Apple Watch – Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition – they will also be available in large and small screen size options. They also have interchangeable straps in a range of styles and colours, totalling 38 different strap and case combinations.

Apple has released its WatchKit SDK for developers, so we're expecting lots of apps to be available for the smartwatch when it launches on 24 April. Apple has already created the Health app which will tie in with the Apple Watch, as well as new Activity and Workout apps, Calendar, Maps, Passbook, Music, Apple TV and iTunes, Remote Camera, Stopwatch, Timer, Alarm, World Clock, Stocks, Weather, Photos, Siri and Settings.

The Apple Watch will launch with lots of already-established competition from the likes of big-name brands such as Samsung with its Samsung Gear 2 as well as Sony, LG, Motorola, Pebble and more. However, it's significantly more expensive than most of its rivals, with a UK starting price of £299.

Google has recently launched a version of Android designed specifically for wearable tech, called Android Wear, which has sparked an influx of new smartwatches that run the Android Wear operating system, adding to the already busy market. Here, we round up the hottest Apple Watch competition to discover what Apple is up against.

To find out more about the Apple Watch, visit our Apple Watch release date, specs and features article.

Read on to take a closer look at smartwatches including Samsung's offerings, Microsoft Band, Asus ZenWatch, the LG G Watch, Moto 360, the Pebble Steel, Pebble Time, Huawei Watch, LG Watch Urbane, Martian smartwatches, Cookoo, Sony Smartwatch 3, MetaWatch M1, Qualcomm Toq, Alcatel OneTouch Watch, Garmin Vivoactive and more.

You can also read our full first look review of the Apple Watch, including UK pricing information or find out which apps will be available for the Apple Watch from launch day.

Samsung Gear S

Arguably Apple's biggest rival, Samsung has several offerings in the wearable market, and its repertoire just keeps growing.

The company first launched the Android-based Galaxy Gear smartwatch in 2013, but it was met by a less than positive reception, and has been deemed a flop.

Samsung didn't stop there, though. Alongside the Galaxy S5, Samsung launched three wrist-worn devices in February 2014 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and if that wasn't enough for you, launched a fourth smartwatch at Google I/O in June called the Gear Live, which runs Android Wear.

But wait, there's EVEN MORE! Samsung has also launched the Gear S, which can function without the use of a smartphone thanks to a SIM-card slot.

We'll start with the Samsung Gear S (which stands for Solo). It has Bluetooth, wireless and 3G connectivity so it can work independently of a smartphone to allow you to make and receive phone calls, texts, emails and other notifications.

That's why it's more expensive than Samsung's other smartwatch offerings, starting at £329.

The Gear S runs Tizen OS, just like the Samsung Gear 2 which we'll talk about later in this article. It's available in black or white and has a 2in curved screen that fits comfortably around the wrist.

Other features include a heart-rate scanner, an IP67 rating meaning it's both dust- and waterproof.

The Samsung Gear S is unlikely to ever be a big hit, though. If you want to use it as a standalone device, you'll first need a Samsung smartphone to activate it, then you'll have to pay for a second tariff and have a second phone number dedicated to your smartwatch.

Samsung Gear 2

Samsung's second smartwatch is the Samsung Gear 2, which has a Tizen-based operating system rather than Android, just like the Gear S. It was met by a significantly better reaction than the original Gear, much to Samsung's relief, we imagine.

Priced at £250, Samsung's Gear 2 is not a cheap piece of kit. However, it's feature-packed and quite stylish, with a smaller and thinner face and a better-looking strap than its predecessor, which can be switched with other watch straps if you choose.

What can the Samsung Gear 2 do?

The thing about smartwatches is that, as they're a new trend, no one quite knows exactly what they should do. Samsung appears to be covering all bases, offering the obvious wristwatch functionality as well as fitness tools, a music player, notifications and even the ability to answer calls, take photos and use the device as a remote control.

One of the most common features among smartwatches is health and fitness tracking, something the Apple Watch is also focused on. The Gear 2 has a heart rate sensor as well as a pedometer that can be used with the S Health app to track your exercise.

The Gear 2 also has an IP67 certification, meaning it's resistant to dust and water up to one metre, making it a pretty durable device. It's particularly reassuring, as washing your hands, making a cuppa and simply walking outside in the UK can result in wet wrists.

You'll need a Samsung smartphone to use the Gear 2, though, as it's only compatible with the company's own devices, connecting via Bluetooth. Models supported include the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Mega.

Samsung Gear 2 Neo

We've talked about Samsung's Gear 2 and Gear Live smartwatches, but the company actually offers more smartwatches as part of its Gear line-up.

The first is the Samsung Gear 2 Neo, which is largely similar to the Gear 2 but is significantly cheaper, at £180. Why? The biggest difference is that the Neo doesn't sport a camera.

They both have the same 1.63in Super AMOLED display with the same 278ppi resolution, and boast the same fitness tracking, music and remote control features.

In fact, some may prefer the Gear 2 Neo over the Gear 2 if the camera isn't important to them, as it's slimmer and lighter thanks to the omission of the snapper and of course there's that £70 you'll save.

You'll need a Samsung phone to use this device.

Samsung Gear Fit

Samsung's Gear Fit actually costs around the same as the Gear 2 Neo, but is targeted at quite a different market.

It sports a different design to its aforementioned siblings, with a slim, curved display that's the width the strap, rather than a square display like the other Gear products. It looks more like activity trackers such as the Fitbit Flex and the Nike FuelBand, and that's because fitness is its primary feature, as the name suggests.  

It includes what Samsung calls a "personalised fitness manager," which provides real-time information about your workout using the heart rate sensor, pedometer and accelerometer built-in to the device itself. It can recommend your next work out and advise you to speed up or slow down to meet your workout goals.

In addition to its health and fitness capabilities, the Gear Fit can also connect with a Samsung smartphone to provide notifications of emails, messages, incoming calls and other apps such as social media notifications. You're unable to answer calls using the Gear Fit, but you can reject them, which will send an automatic message to the caller to notify them that you're busy.

You'll need a Samsung phone to use this device.

Samsung Gear Live

Samsung's most recent addition to its wearables line-up is the Samsung Gear Live. It runs Google's new Android Wear operating system, and was one of the first smartwatches to do so, alongside the LG G Watch and the Motorola Moto 360 in June 2014.

The Gear Live has a 1.64in Super AMOLED display and is powered by a 1.2GHz processor paired with 512MB of RAM. It has 4GB of internal memory and a 300mAh Li-ion battery which Samsung describes as "all-day."

It's also got a heart rate monitor for those popular fitness applications, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. It's IP67 certified like the other Samsung smartwatches, and comes with a changeable strap available in black or 'Wine Red.'

The good news about the Gear Live is that you don't have to own a Samsung smartphone in order to use it. It's compatible with any Android smartphone running version 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or higher. Plus, it's cheaper than the company's other offerings at £169.

Find out more in our Samsung Gear Live review.

Pebble Time

Price: $179 (£115)

The Pebble Time is Pebble’s third smartwatch offering, following on from the success of the original Pebble that exceeded its Kickstarter target back in May 2012 and the Pebble Steel that was launched in February 2014.

The Pebble Time measures in at just 9.5mm thick and while it keeps the Pebble “style,” you can tell this is a complete redesign of the smartwatch. It’s available in three colours; black, white or red with varying colours of bezel and silicon bands.

The Pebble Time sports a new colour e-paper display, a huge step up from the black and e-paper used in the original Pebble. While you may question Pebble’s use of an e-paper display opposed to an LCD or OLED display that many other smartwatches use, it makes more sense when you realise that this allows the Pebble Time to last seven days on a single charge.

Similar to the Apple Watch, the Pebble Time also has the ability to swap watchstraps. However Pebble decided to take a different route with the Time and even though you get a silicone band with the watch, any standard 22mm watchstrap should fit.

Like many other smartwatches, the Pebble Time handles all notifications from your phone – but it doesn’t stop there. The Pebble Store has over 6,500 apps and watchfaces ready for you to use, including various health and fitness apps that make use of the sensors built in to the watch.

The Pebble Time is currently on Kickstarter where you can get your hands on one for $179 (£115) and it’s due for release in May.

The Pebble Time works with iOS and Android.

More information: Kickstarter

Pebble Time Steel

Price: $249 (£160)

Pebble also launched a new generation of its Steel series – the Pebble Time Steel. Also on Kickstarter for the slightly more expensive price of $250 ($299 RRP) the Pebble Time Steel appeals to those of us that prefer the look and feel of a stainless steel watch on our wrists. 

To be more specific, the watch has a CNC-finished 316L stainless steel casing and comes with both a premium leather and stainless steel watchstrap. Not enough to merit the upgrade? Pebble has also upped the battery life for the Pebble Time Steel, clocking in up to a whopping 10 days of battery life on a single charge.

The Pebble Time Steel is available in three finishes; silver with a stone leather band, Gunmetal black with a black leather band or gold with a red leather band with the latter being suspiciously similar to the £13,500 Apple Watch Edition.

Apart from the design and improved battery life, the Pebble Time Steel is largely the same as the Pebble Time. As we mentioned, it’s currently on Kickstarter at $250 (£160) and is penned for release in July.

The Pebble Time Steel works with iOS and Android.

More information: Kickstarter

Huawei Watch

Price: TBC

The Huawei Watch was announced at Mobile World Convention (MWC) this year and is looking to compete with other mid range smartwatches. It comes packing Android Wear, which is good news for Android users but also means it isn’t compatible with an iPhone or an iPad.

Similar to the Apple Watch, the Huawei Watch boasts a Sapphire Crystal display and stainless steel case making it look and feel like a gorgeous watch and not just a cheap, plastic smartwatch. Huawei decided to opt for the more traditional circular display for their watch – and while it looks beautiful, circular screens can throw up issues, especially with text cropping.

In regards to health and fitness related activities, the Huawei Watch will track your steps, activities and your heart rate. It’s described on the Huawei website as an “intelligent data center,” giving you an insight into your health and enabling you to change the way you exercise.

The Huawei Watch boasts over 40 interfaces to choose from and a selection of apps courtesy of Android Wear.

Read also: Huawei Watch review: Hands-on with the surprise smartwatch of MWC 2015

The Huawei Watch works with Android.

More information: Huawei

Huawei TalkBand B1

Price: £80

The Huawei TalkBand B1 is radically different to the stereotypical smartwatch that tries to mimic a traditional watch design. It has an oval shaped display and looks like a combination of a smartwatch and a smartband.

You don’t have to worry about general wear and tear with the TalkBand B1 as it’s IP57 water and dust resistant. What does that mean? It means that it’s pretty much waterproof – it can be immersed in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes with no damage sustained, according to Huawei.

One great thing that the TalkBand B1 is that the main component can pop out of the watchstrap and be used as a Bluetooth headset for when you get a phone call. We think this is a great alternative to having a speakerphone built into the smartwatch like many others do.

In regards to its tracking features, the TalkBand B1 will track all kinds of activities from a walk around the park to your evening run and displays the stats on the screen. As well as fitness tracking, the TalkBand B1 also has a sleep monitor built in. The sleep monitor records hours slept and sleep quality then syncs with your phone to give you an insight into your sleeping habits.

The battery life is pretty impressive too – the TalkBand B1 can reportedly last 6 days with regular use or 14 days on standby. If you use it as a Bluetooth headset, you’ll get 7 hours of talk time with a single charge.

You can purchase the TalkBand B1 on Amazon for around £80, and Huawei has recently launched a better-looking TalkBand B2, too, which you can read about in our Huawei TalkBand B2 hands-on.

The TalkBand B1 works with iOS and Android.

LG Watch Urbane & Urbane LTE

Price: Urbane - £299, Urbane LTE – not yet announced

The LG G Watch R was unveiled by LG in 2014 when it was only one of a few smartwatches with a circular display. Fast-forward to MWC 2015 and LG has announced two newer and more stylish watches, dubbed the Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE.

The Urbane & Urbane LTE both boast the same circular OLED display as their predecessor and is set in a polished gold or silver steel body. The straps, like the Pebble Time, are interchangeable with any standard 22mm watchstrap – unlike Apple, which has designed the Apple Watch so only its custom, fairly expensive watchstraps fit.

The Urbane runs a custom version of Android Wear while the Urbane LTE, which is slightly bigger, runs its own separate operating system with phone and wallet functions.

Both come equipped with a heart rate monitor, barometer (for elevation) and 4GB of storage. It doesn’t however have on-board GPS like the Sony SmartWatch 3. It boasts an IP67 water and dust resistance rating but it isn’t meant for showering or swimming.

The LTE really sets itself apart with 1GB of RAM (the standard model has 512MB) as well as a larger battery, 700 mAh compared to 410 mAh. It doesn’t stop there though – it has 4G LTE connectivity built in and offers NFC and Wi-Fi, features that seem to be unique even when compared to competitors.

You can currently pre-order the LG Watch Urbane for a cool £299 – the Urbane LTE pricing hasn’t been announced yet but judging on the price tag of its little brother, you’re looking at an expensive purchase.

Read also: LG Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE review: Hands-on with new luxury smartwatches

Alcatel OneTouch Watch

Introduced at CES 2015, the Alcatel OneTouch Watch attracted lots of attention thanks to its stylish design and good features in a package that comes with a small price tag.

It's not yet available in the UK, but it'll cost $150 in the US when it goes on sale this month, so we expect it'll cost around £100.

The Alcatel OneTouch Watch looks a lot like the Motorola Moto 360, with a round screen that comes in different styles like the Apple Watch. It comes in chrome, steel or plastic and is available in a range of colours.

Alcatel has gone for its own software rather than opting for Android Wear, which means the Alcatel OneTouch Watch works with iOS and Android smartphones via Bluetooth of NFC if available.

In addition to all of the normal sensors for counting steps etc, the OneTouch Watch also boasts an optical heart rate sensor, despite its small price tag, and it provides the usual notifications for messages, calls and social media applications.

Find out more in our Alcatel OneTouch Watch hands-on review.

Garmin Vivoactive

Also launched at CES 2015 in January was the Garmin Vivoactive smartwatch, a GPS-enabled smartwatch that's aimed at fitness enthusiasts.

It has a squared design like the Apple Watch, and is available in black or white with a range of swappable straps. Like the Alcatel OneTouch Watch, it doesn't run Android Wear, but rather Garmin's own software that allows it to work with both Android or iOS devices. It's waterproof up to 50m so ideal for swimmers, and also takes advantage of Garmin's map database to provide really helpful information for golfers, including the distance to the hole and what the par is for that particular hole.

We're expecting the Garmin Vivoactive to cost around £200, which is reasonable for a feature-filled smartwatch like this with built-in GPS. This could be a real winner for Garmin when it becomes available, first in the US this month and then in the UK later this year.

Find out more in our Garmin Vivoactive hands-on review.

Microsoft Band

Microsoft's first foray into wearable tech is not quite a smartwatch, but we felt that it was still important to include here as not everyone needs all of the functionality of the Apple Watch. The Microsoft Band is a closer rival to the Samsung Gear Fit, focusing on health and fitness with a new Microsoft Health platform accompanying it.

What's interesting is that Microsoft hasn't limited the Band's compatibility to Windows Phone. It'll actually work with Android and iOS devices too.

The Microsoft Band doesn’t has been given a release date of 15 April, which is five days after the start of Apple Watch pre-orders. It'll cost significantly less than the Apple Watch, though, at £169.

In addition to collecting health and fitness data thanks to its many sensors, the Microsoft Band can also provide notifications when you receive emails, text messages, social media alerts and more, but you won't be able to make or receive calls or compose messages.

Asus ZenWatch

Asus unveiled its first smartwatch in September during IFA 2014. It's available to buy in the UK at a price of around £199.

Asus has gone for a rectangular watch face for the ZenWatch, like many of its rivals, with a 1.63in AMOLED Gorilla Glass 3 screen that's curved to create what Asus calls a 2.5D effect.

It has a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 4GB storage and 512MB of RAM.

As can be expected from most smartwatches, it has a heart-rate monitor and Bluetooth 4.0.

LG G Watch

The LG G Watch is the second of the two Android Wear smartwatches launched at Google I/O in June 2014. It's available from the Google Play Store for £159, so it's reasonably priced and cheaper than Samsung's offerings, but it's already been replaced by LG's newer Urbane smartwatches and the LG G Watch R, which we think are much more appealing with their round faces.

LG's watch sports a 1.65in IPS LCD display powered by a 1.2GHz processor. Like the Samsung Gear Live, it has 4GB built-in memory and 512GB RAM. It's dust and water resistant, and has metal charging contacts rather than a clunky microUSB that would otherwise be required. It's also got an all-day battery.

You'll need a smartphone running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or above to use this device.

LG G Watch R

The LG G Watch is accompanied by the LG G Watch R, which has a round screen rather than rectangle and launched in September 2014 at IFA in Berlin.

It comes with a stainless steel frame and a leather strap that you can change thanks to the standard 22mm size. Just like the G Watch, it's IP67 rated and has the same processor, RAM and internal storage.

The LG G Watch R is priced at £199.

You'll need a smartphone running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or above to use this device.

Motorola Moto 360

The Motorola Moto 360, also circular like the LG G Watch R, launched in September to a very positive reception. Our colleagues over at PC Advisor described the Motorola Moto 360 as "the best smartwatch you can buy right now," though that title has already been stolen by the newer offerings from LG and Huawei that launched this year.

The Motorola Moto 360 is another Android Wear smartwatch, running Google's made-for-smartwatches operating system. 

Like some of its rivals (though not the Apple Watch), the Moto 360 is dust- and waterproof with an IP67 rating. It uses Bluetooth 4.0, has 4GB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM.

You'll need a smartphone running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or above to use this device.

Pebble Steel

One of the most talked about companies that solely makes smartwatches is Pebble Technology, the maker of the Pebble Time smartwatches we've mentioned. Funded through Kickstarter, Pebble managed to raise more than $10million thanks to the crowd-funding platform for its original Pebble Watch, and has since gone on to break records with its new smartwatches announced earlier this year.

The Pebble Steel, which was Pebble's second smartwatch, is still available to buy, so deserves a place in our rival round-up despite the new additions to the line-up.

Pebble Steel costs £179 and ships free worldwide, so it's cheaper than many of its smartwatch rivals. It looks much like a traditional wristwatch, and can act just like one too, but it also includes the ability to run apps and receive notifications.

Unlike the Samsung Gear and the Android Wear range, the Pebble can communicate with many Android and iOS devices, so an iPhone user could buy and use a Pebble Steel smartwatch now if they wish to.

Pebble even has its own app store that's open to submissions from third-party developers, so expect new capabilities to arrive on a regular basis.

Unlike other, newer smartwatches, the Pebble's display is e-paper with a low, 175ppi resolution, so, while the battery life is likely to be longer, you'll only see pixelated, black and white images on the screen.

The Pebble Steel has a stylish stainless steel band, and the option of leather watch bands.

The Pebble Steel works with iOS and Android.

Sony SmartWatch 3

Another of Apple's big smartphone and tablet rivals is Sony, which also has a smartwatch offering running Android Wear.

Sony's SmartWatch 3 can connect to Android devices via Bluetooth to act as an extension of your smartphone or tablet. It comes with a variety of different strap options available, each of which is easy to swap out should you get bored of it.

There is 4GB of on-board storage which can be used to store some songs if you want to, and there's also built-in GPS, something many other smartwatch rivals lack. Combined, those two features mean you can leave your smartphone behind when going out for a run, for example, but still gather data about where you've been and how far you travelled. There's no heart-rate monitor, though.

You can't use the SmartWatch 3 to make a call in the same way as Samsung's Gear products (there's no microphone or speaker built in) but you can use it to remotely make or receive calls if you're using a Bluetooth headset.

As with the other smartwatches in this round-up, you'll also receive notifications including text messages, emails, calls, Facebook, Twitter and more.

Sony's SmartWatch 3 also boasts NFC, which means you can pair it with any NFC compatible Android phone with one touch.

There's no camera in Sony's SmartWatch, but we don't think a camera is a necessity, but it is water, dust and scratch-resistant and we think it's rather good looking.

It'll cost you £189 for a Sony SmartWatch 3, so it's cheaper than Samsung's offerings but more pricey than those available from the likes of Pebble and Martian.

You'll need an Android smartphone to use the Sony SmartWatch 3.

Find out more in our Sony Smartwatch 3 review.

Martian Passport, Victory, G2G

Martian is another company that focuses completely on making smartwatches. It began with Martian Voice Command watches, but more recently the company has added Martian Notifiers to the mix.

We'll start with the more expensive Voice Command series, which includes the Passport, Victory and G2G models.

They're all pretty much the same in terms of features, but they each offer different designs to suit the style of each individual.

The main difference between the Martian Voice Command range and other smartwatches is that the actual display is just a tiny window that sits beneath a traditional watchface that has real moving parts like a normal wristwatch. There's also a small, colour-changing circle within the watchface that acts as a notification indicator.

Despite the tiny display, the Martian Voice Command smartwatches are quite feature-heavy. After connecting to an iOS or Android device, they can each provide notifications for text messages, social media and more through a vibration, a scrolling readout of that notification and the flashing light within that aforementioned circle.

Not only that, but the Martian smartwatches allow you to send texts, read texts and reply to texts by saying your message to the Martian itself. You can also answer calls and place calls using the Martian Voice Command watches, and use other voice commands.

What the Martian doesn't offer, though, is the ability to add new apps to its smartwatches, and there are none of those popular fitness features to speak of.

The Martian Passport and Victory watches cost around £180 each while the more colourful G2G range will set you back around £150. Considering many ordinary watches can cost around that price, and the Martian smartwatches don't look dissimilar to many of the watches available but have the added bonus of smartphone connectivity, we think this is pretty reasonable.

The Martian smartwatches work with iOS and Android.

Martian Notifier

Cheaper still, though, are the Martian Notifier smartwatches.

As the name suggests, the Notifier watches have a primary aim of providing the wearer with easy to view notifications without the need to get out a smartphone. Any notifications that your iOS or Android device can receive can be shown on that small display just like on the Martian Voice Command watches.

You can't use the Notifier to make calls or send texts though, and, again, there are no additional apps or fitness features included. Really, the Martian Notifier simply acts as a stylish wristwatch that can be used as an extension of your iPhone's screen but is unable to allow any further actions to be carried out, so it's one of the most basic, but also the cheapest, smartwatches available at £129.

It can, however, be used as an alarm and a way of finding your lost phone, too, and it even offers a remote control for your device's camera for better selfies, if that's what floats your boat.

The Martian smartwatches work with iOS and Android.

Cookoo 2

The Cookoo 2 watch is quite similar to the Martian Notifier in terms of the features it offers. You'll receive notifications for incoming calls, missed calls, social media, reminders, text messages, emails and more. You'll also be alerted if you've left your connected iOS or Android device behind, or if your iPhone or iPad has almost run out of power.

It, too, boasts that selfie-taking feature that the Notifier has, and can also act as a remote control for your music.

Battery life of the Cookoo is excellent thanks to the standard watch battery that can be easily replaced. Of course, that means you'll eventually need to buy a new battery, though.

The display of the Cookoo is situated in the middle of the circular watch face, behind the hands of the traditional watch.

The UK price for the Cookoo 2 hasn't been announced yet, but it's $149 so is likely to be around £100 when it arrives here. The predecessor to the Cookoo 2 (just called Cookoo) was £80, and is still available to buy in the UK with similar features but an older and less stylish design.

The Cookoo smartwatches work with iOS and Android.

MetaWatch M1

Stylish in design but basic in specs, the MetaWatch M1 is available in various designs including a stainless steel option and limited edition gold and rose gold modes, with a monotone, low-res display that'll remind you of the original Pebble. This does mean an almost week-long battery life, though.

MetaWatch has actually teamed up with fitness-tracking company Misfit to utilise some of its technology and app features within the M1 range (there are some limited edition models as well as Colour editions of the M1, too). 

The MetaWatch M1 Core connects to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth, and uses a dedicated app to help you choose and rearrange widgets that display on your watch. In addition to the fitness features, you can get notifications, see the weather forecast, control your music and more.

The MetaWatch M1 Core is quite pricey at around £235 for the stainless steel one, though they do seem to be on offer at time of writing with siginificant price cuts. The cheapest M1 available right now is the M1 Color Red and M1 Color White, which are currently available for around £100.

The MetaWatch M1 works with iOS or Android.

Qualcomm Toq

Yes, we're still going, but we've reached the last device in our round-up. We told you the smartwatch market is getting quite busy, didn't we? Next up is Qualcomm's Toq (we love the name).

The Toq is a smartwatch that works with Android devices, with a dedicated Toq app for customisation and configuration. It can allow you to receive notifications and accept or decline calls, though you can't make a call directly from the watch like you can with the Gear 2.

You'll get access to your calendar and music, and can also add weather and stocks apps. Of course, you'll also get the activity tracking features we've come to expect from smartwatches.

The Toq uses Mirasol display technology that uses reflected light to minimise power and help you view it in any conditions, even in bright sunlight. There are also addition headsets available that work with the Toq, both of which can charge wirelessly in the same dedicated wireless charging dock.

The Qualcomm Toq costs about £150, so sits comfortably in the middle of its rivals when it comes to the price tag.

You'll need an Android smartphone to use the Qualcomm Toq.

Conclusion

The list of wrist-worn tech goes on and on, but we've stuck to what we would describe as a smartwatch here. Alternatives in the smartband and activity tracker categories include the Fitbit Flex, Sony SmartBand and SmartBand Talk, Razer Nabu, Jawbone Up, Garmin Vivofit, the new Withings Activite Pop and Lenovo Vibe Band VB10 from CES 2015, but they generally stick to health and fitness purposes with a few added extras here and there.

But the Apple Watch is more than a smartband or activity tracker, comparing more closely to the smartwatches we've included in our round-up.

With such strong competition already becoming established in the wearable tech market, is Apple too late? The Apple Watch is expensive, and doesn't offer much more than most of its rivals, so it'll be interesting to see how well the smartwatch performs when it arrives this year in April.

Comments

Comments

keith said: Comments,keith,Did i seriously have to sit through a minute and a half long commercial just to listen to four people talk about a watch that they have never even seen? i am never going to macworld.com again - total garbage.

Colin said: Comments,Colin,The Gear S has all the functionality the Apple Watch should have with twice the battery life and is better looking. It is far better suited to health and fitness and costs less.

minette10 said: Comments,minette10,Apple is far from being the first on the market for connected watches,and offer is already very diverse, Apple Watch, which in addition to a relatively high price and a design that does not unanimously, has difficulty to work only with an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6.

Al van der Laan said: Comments,Al van der Laan,Todd, you made maybe one of the best choices with that gorgeous device. I just sold my Gear 2 as I am being forced to move into iOS territory by my new employer. It is just a mindset I know, but that Gear S is - in my humble opinion - one of the most stunning devices that is standalone. What's your battery life on it?

Todd Risen said: Comments,Todd Risen,I have a Samsung gear s on Verizon it is definitely stand alone I can make phone calls send text emails received emails text messages plus use standalone GPS. I don't know why people keep saying that you need a Samsung watch or a Android phone in order to use the Samsung gear as they are wrong.

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