SMART watches are fast becoming almost as important as smartphones as far as manufacturers are concerned. This year at Mobile World Congress the show floor was almost taken over by wearables. From Huawei to LG and Sony, there was clearly more of a design and jewellery-focused take on many of the new wearables, particularly smartwatches. In addition, one of the growing trends this year is connected wearables — that is, devices which can actually connect to a cellular network without the need for a companion smartphone.
THE most highly funded Kickstarter is here. Pebble is really what kicked off smartwatches when its first generation appeared. Now after the Pebble Steel we’ve got Pebble Time.
Pebble Time is special as it’s the only Pebble that can not only still offer a low-power screen but colour too. Despite adding a colour E Ink screen it’s smaller, thinner and lighter than previous models. It may feel more budget than the likes of the Apple Watch or LG Watch Urbane but that’s the point. It’s there for function, not looks, and it stays there – for seven days on a charge.
Pebble has focused on a timeline approach to the interface that looks to work really well. A press of a button shows you what’s next, another for what’s just happened.
LG Watch Urbane
A VERY good looking smartwatch, its stitched leather strap and metal body sure are a beauty to behold. The LG Watch Urbane runs Android Wear like its predecessor. It also plays friendly on another front, the strap – this is 22mm so can be swapped out easily.
On the specs front there’s a 1.3-inch round P-OLED display with 320 x 320 resolution, 245ppi. It’s powered by the 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, with 512MB RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The battery is the same 410mAh as the G Watch R, and again you get the array of sensors, including the PPG heart rate sensor.
Like some other high-end watches, Android Wear runs the show while the screen is an AMOLED 1.4-inch display at 400 x 400 pixels resolution in 286 ppi.
Huawei has used a Qualcomm 1.2GHz processor, 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM – pretty standard now and similar to the LG Watch Urbane. Huawei Watch should be available from June.
HTC has teamed up with Under Armour to create its first activity tracking wearable with GPS, the HTC Grip. Unlike most sports activity trackers the HTC Grip comes with GPS built-in – meaning accurate tracking while running and cycling which can even be paired with a heart rate monitor to give more data. And when you’re done it’ll track your sleep too.
There’s a 1.8-inch wide passive OLED touch display with 32 x 160 pixel resolution on the top that will let you sweep through the various information and control screens.
THIS is, like the LG Urbane LTE, a complete connected smartwatch on the wrist. MyKronoz ZePhone features full the Android 4.2 operating system, tweaked for the wrist. It also features a SIM slot for a 3G card and allows access to all of Android’s apps. But this goes further than any other smartwatch-cum-smartphone as it also features a heart rate monitor making it a complete sporting device too. It’s got GPS and Wi-Fi for run tracking too. Everything is voice controlled, like Google Now, and the battery will reportedly last three days on a charge, apparently. The watch is large but then with full apps running that’s probably needed for a clear screen.
Acer Liquid Leap+
THE Liquid Leap+ is the next generation of Acer’s activity tracking band. The Leap+ is based around a touchscreen core sitting in a rubber strap that can be popped in and out. It has a 1-inch OLED display and is all operated by touch.
The Acer Liquid Leap+ will track your steps, running distance and calories burnt, which can all be monitored in the companion Leap Manager app on your smartphone. One of the more unique propositions is that Leap+ works with Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
LG Watch Urbane LTE
The watch appears to combine sports watch, smartphone and wearable all in one. The specs are similar to the Watch Urbane – with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 1.3-inch 245ppi display – but there’s a bump in RAM to 1GB, that bigger battery and all that connectivity, including LTE, Wi-Fi and NFC.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
THE Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is a striking handset, taking the title as the world’s first dual curved displays smartphone. It isn’t just about the looks. It has a brilliant 16-megapixel camera, an octa-core Exynos processor that’s faster than any other, 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560-resolution screen; 2,550mAh non-removable battery; 3GB RAM; Wireless charging; Samsung Pay mobile payments; Android 5.0 L with TouchWiz a better fingerprint scanner and a slicker operating system. Samsung has improved nearly every core part of the phone for the better.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s wraparound screen transforms an already great phone into Samsung’s best-looking handset. Ever.
Samsung’s striking, high-end Galaxy S6 Edge has the beauty, brains and brawn to take down the iPhone 6 and all the Android competition.
Its two rounded sides create a bold, innovative design that isn’t just the first commercial dual-curved display. It’s also probably the best screen on a phone today. And although the S6 and S6 Edge share every major spec and nearly every colour, it’s the S6 Edge that looks and feels like a completely different — and far more upper-crust — device.
“The S6 Edge is a fantastic looking handset with plenty of power and an impressive camera, but a high price, poor battery performance and sub-par edge screen features stop it from achieving perfection.”