Smartwatches as a concept are not something I've ever really been able to get into. It turns out that's mostly because they're all pretty terrible — once you've tried an Apple Watch.
Two years ago, I tried using an iPhone as my full-time smartphone for the first time ever. I wasn't a complete iOS novice — I've owned iPads in the past — but it was the first time I'd actually had to live inside Apple's walled garden. There were a lot of things I didn't like about the experience, and many of them still hold true today. But the Apple Watch was new territory for me.Read More
There's no denying that Apple makes the best all-around smartwatches, especially if you care about fitness, so Android-compatible watches continue to battle for second place. The most recent entry from the Wear OS camp is the fifth-gen Fossil Q, and while that watch is a decent step up from every other device with the same software, it still hasn't addressed some of the platform's core problems — poor fitness tracking, degrading app library, and so on.
Samsung's new watch is a follow-up to the Galaxy Watch Active, which was (by most accounts) the best overall smartwatch for Android devices.Read More
After debuting and focusing on activity trackers, Misfit was bought by Fossil and started expanding its portfolio a few years ago to include smartwatches. Its efforts have been mitigated though, and those familiar enough with the Wear OS landscape have noticed how late to the game Misfit's releases have often been.
The first Vapor garnered a lot of hype but lost most of its shine by the time it was finally released. The Vapor 2 came a year later, added the missing NFC and GPS, but was still using an older Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. This time around, the Vapor X corrects that last misstep but still feels outdated thanks to 512MB of RAM — the same specs as last year's Fossil Sport — instead of the 1GB of RAM we find in Fossil's newer Gen 5 watches.Read More
As a swimmer and a techie, every time a new activity tracker is announced, my first reaction is to skim its official page trying to find if it supports my favorite sport. What follows is an extensive research into what exactly it tracks about the swim because that can be anything from just the total time and distance to a detailed account of every lap. More often than not, none of that information is readily available and I just have to buy the device to test for myself.
When I saw Form's swimming goggles, I knew what I was getting into.Read More
Google's Wear OS platform is in a bit of a weird place. The operating system itself is still being periodically updated with new features and improvements, like the Tiles function that was released in May, but the third-party app library is still minimal, and Qualcomm has been slow to improve the underlying hardware. Still, Wear OS isn't going anywhere, and the closest thing to a flagship watch is the new fifth-generation Fossil Q lineup.Read More
In the world of activity trackers, nothing comes close to the Mi Band's value. Cheaper than any Garmin or Fitbit tracker, even the most basic vivofit4 and Inspire, but still packing enough functionality, it also benefits from Xiaomi's name recognition and is considered a serious choice, not a cheap knock-off no-name tracker.
The most recent Mi Band 4 pushes the value-for-money envelop even further thanks to a colored AMOLED screen, swim tracking, and music controls, which get added on top of the previous generation's all-day activity, sleep, and heart rate tracking. Overall, the package is very attractive, but cracks are inevitably hiding below the surface, especially if you like spending your time in a pool.Read More
True wireless Bluetooth earbuds were introduced in 2014 by the likes of the Bragi Dash and later popularized by the Apple Airpods. Since then, we've seen incremental developments like fitness tracking on the Jabra Elite Active 65T and wireless charging on the Samsung Galaxy Buds, but the form factor has essentially remained the same — a pair of earbuds stored inside a charging case that goes in your pocket. Aipower, a sub-brand of Aukey, is looking to shake things up with the Aipower Wearbuds (that recently went live on Kickstarter) by combining true wireless earbuds with a wrist-based fitness tracker.Read More
Samsung unveiled its latest mainstream smartwatch, the simply-named Galaxy Watch, late last year. It was a decent wearable, but fairly pricey at the time ($300), and it lacked MST support in Samsung Pay.
The newer health-focused Galaxy Watch Active was announced alongside the Galaxy S10, and it's definitely a more attractive wearable for most people. It's less expensive and physically smaller, while retaining excellent battery life.
The Galaxy Watch Active is one of the best smartwatches you can buy right now, but Samsung definitely cut a few corners — including dropping one of Tizen's best features.Read More