Given the hullabaloo surrounding Monday’s public unveiling of the Apple Watch, you’d think the wizards of Cupertino had invented the smartwatch concept. You would of course be wrong.
More than a dozen smartwatches have been announced since Apple first teased us with images of its timepiece last September. All of them are from companies desperate to carve out some breathing room before the Apple Watch sucks all the oxygen out of the room.
If you’re in the market for something digital to strap to your wrist, you’re certainly not lacking for options. Here are new smartwatches, ranging from cheap to costly, with varying degrees of nerdy capability and style.
Alpina, Frederique Constant, Mondaine
Combine a Jawbone Up with a precision timepiece and you’ll have one of these models, made by three of Switzerland’s most iconic watch makers. Each will track your activity, gauge your sleep, nag you to get more active, and run for two years before the battery needs to be replaced. Available for just under $1000 each, starting in May.
Besides tracking your activity, calories, and distance, this GPS-powered sports watch lets you view and respond to texts coming into your phone via the Garmin Connect app, available on for both iOS and Android. The $250 Vivoactive is available for preorder now and is slated to ship later this month.
The Guest Connect gets its looks from Timex’s Sequel brand and its brains from Martian, which makes its own line of smartwatches. The Connect will feature a mic and speaker so you can control it via voice commands; it will work with both iOS and Android phones. Prices will start at $350; the watch will be available in fall.
HTC’s first smartwatch is really more like a fitness band that happens to tell the time. An internal GPS lets you clock the distance you’ve run and map your route using an iOS- and Android-friendly app, which also lets you see notifications and control your phone’s music player. Available for $200 later this spring.
The Chinese phone maker’s first Android-Wear powered smartwatch features an AMOLED display, a heart rate monitor and a barometer. It can tell whether you’re walking, running, biking or hiking. Price and availability have yet to be announced.
Lenovo Vibe Band VB10
If you truly believe time is money, you’ll appreciate Lenovo’s supercheap Vibe Band , which displays mobile notifications on your wrist using e-ink, and runs for 7 days on a charge. The Vibe has no fitness tracking features, but what do you want for $89? Available next month.
LG Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE
LG’s two new luxury smartwatches have similar names but differ in almost every other way. The small sporty Urbane runs Android Wear and pulls data from your smartphone. The much larger Urbane LTE runs LG’s proprietary watch operating system and comes with its own 4G cellular connection – no phone required. LG has not yet announced pricing or availability.
Like the HTC Grip, the Band is a fitness tracker that also tells time, tracks your schedule, and alerts you to messages. But this Band is more like an orchestra – it has 10 sensors and an internal GPS, so there's no need to bring your phone on a run to log your miles. An Android, iOS, or Windows app lets measure your progress over time and even guide you through workouts. $200; available now.
Pebble Time and Time Steel
Probably the most successful smartwatch maker not named Apple, Pebble introduced its third and fourth models last month, the Pebble Time and Time Steel. The Time features a thinner body, a curved shape that fits better on your wrist, and Pebble’s first-ever color e-ink watchface. Despite a more power-hungry display, the Time will run for up to 7 days between charges, according to Pebble. The slightly larger Time Steel offers a sturdier metal housing and 10 days of juice. The Time will cost $200 and be available starting in May; the Steel will cost $300 and ship in July.
Is the PULS a smartwatch, a phone, a music player, or a fashion accessory? How about all of the above? The creation of Black-Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am , the PULS allegedly does a little bit of everything – or it will, if it ever actually appears in stores. The still-in-beta gizmo will retail for $400... eventually.
Sony Smartwatch 3 Steel
Sony’s third generation Android-Wear-based watch debuted in a snazzy steel version last month. It features the same fitness tracking and voice/gesture control as its less shiny version, along with a Lifeblog app that lets you capture precious moments on the move. Available now for $250.
Withings Activité Pop
It may look like a run-of-the-mill wristwatch, but the Activité Pop is also a tracker that displays your progress toward your fitness goals via a second analog watchface. It syncs to both Android and Apple devices and is available now in a ridiculous assortment of colors for $150.