From high-end luxury timepieces that connect to your phone on the sly, to military-grade GPS tracking devices for outdoor adventurers, to slender fitness trackers that will help you keep your fitness regime on track – there’s a smart watch out there to suit all tastes and wallets. Sarah Moore reports.
In the “battle of the bad-boy sports watches”, the Suunto 9 “brings big numbers”, says James Stables on Wearable. A “whopping” 120 hours of GPS tracking is the big boast – the watch has an intelligent power-management system that helps “solve the problem of running out of battery in the middle of your ultra marathon”. It’s also a “sports-tracking powerhouse”, with 80 sports modes, meaning it can monitor your performance and heart rate while doing a triathlon, for example.
This is a “strong, long-lasting sports watch for those who push endurance to the max”.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
Starting at £1,200, this is the priciest Android Wear watch that hasn’t simply been “pelted with diamonds and bling”, says Andrew Williams on Stuff. But if your coffers are overflowing, the Tag Heuer Connnected 45 is also one of the best smart watches around.
It’s a “big, bulky thing”, with the heft of one of Tag’s analogue watches, and you can choose between 4,000 different dial displays. The technology changes rapidly in the world of smart watches, but this one will still be looking good in 30 years.
£1,950 (titanium strap, black matte ceramic bezel), TagHeuer.com
In attempt to stay neck and neck with Fitbit, Garmin has revamped its Vivosmart 4, says Kelly Hodgkins on Digital Trends. The new model “packs a punch”, combining new hardware and software into a thinner and slicker device. The “most notable addition to the Vivosmart line is a pulse oximeter which measures blood-oxygen saturation”. As well as bundling in advanced sleep tracking, Garmin has also upped the battery life to seven days and included water resistance so you can swim with it.
£119.99. Preorder at Buy.Garmin.com
The Montblanc Summit has the smart design and high levels of craftsmanship that you would expect from any luxury watch, says Anthony DeMarco in Forbes, but it is also equipped with a “responsive and fluid” user interface that turns it into a smart watch.
It uses the Google Android Wear 2.0 system, compatible with iOS and Android smartphones, which gives the watch the ability to download thousands of apps. “It’s a luxury product for those who want their watches to be connected without sacrificing style.”
Fitbit Charge 3
The Fitbit Charge 3 is pretty much a smart watch disguised as a fitness tracker, says Marko Maslakovic on Gadgets and Wearables. It comes with a full-touch screen, waterproofing, seven-day battery life and smart features. What strikes you right away is just how lightweight it is – you’ll hardly feel that it’s there on your wrist. Swipe up on the touchscreen to cycle through your fitness stats, swipe down to see notifications, swipe right to open up the exercise and settings screens. “Everything feels very responsive and slick.”
£129.99. Order at Fitbit.com/uk/shop/charge3
A perfect timepiece for hardy adventurers
Casio is back for a third crack at the outdoor smart watch, says James Stables on Wareable. “It’s safe to say the previous generations haven’t hit home, and we’ve been critical of the unmanageable size, bugginess of apps and general experience. But with the Pro Trek WSD-F30, Casio might have finally got the formula right.”
Casio built this thing with the hardy adventurer in mind, says James Peckham on Tech Radar. It’s “a rugged piece of kit, and while it may not look like a specifically durable device, it is designed to have military-grade protection so it should survive some tough knocks and tumbles”. The F30 comes with the latest version of Google’s Wear OS software onboard (basically a version of Android’s operating system for wearable tech), which means you’ll be able to download apps from the Play Store and connect the watch to either an iPhone or to Android. The watch has its own mapping technology as well as Google Maps, and the fact that the watch is water-resistant at up to 50 metres also means it can run apps for sports such as fishing, surfing and swimming, which other smart watches can technically run, but can’t follow through on, says Stables.
Casio knows the Pro Trek smart watch will have to battle situations where power-sucking GPS is essential, so has added two special modes to lengthen battery life, says Andy Boxall on Digital Trends. Multi-Timepiece mode shuts down Wear OS and the OLED screen, turning on the monochrome LCD instead, which then shows the time and information from some sensors: this should last 30 days. Casio has trimmed just 0.4mm and 0.39mm off the thickness and diameter of its predecessor, “but the crazy thing is that it seems to have made a real difference”, says Stables, making it feel much less bulky.
So if you’re an amateur Mission Impossible-type that wants to be out and about while monitoring your location and fitness stats, give the F30 a chance, says Peckham. It may be “the perfect watch for your next sporting adventure”.
Available from January 2019. See ProTrek.com.