Despite what many tech blogs may have you believe, there are many more smartwatches out there than the Apple Watch and the handful of Android Wear favorites that are consistently featured in headlines and reviews. And some of them offer a much more imaginative take on wearable technology than their more popular competitors. Check out these five cool smartwatches, which are unique alternatives to the more ubiquitous choices available to smartwatch shoppers.
1. Kairos watches
Kairos offers a range of high-end smartwatches, including MSW models with a Japanese movement and SWW models with a Swiss movement. Wareable sorts out the complexities of the line, with models ranging from $1,139 to $2,549, noting that each type is available in three varieties: a traditional watch with no tech, a smart version with an OLED overlay floating above the mechanical movement, and a T-Band version that puts all of the tech in the strap. You can also choose between a Dot Matrix display and an Icon display. The Dot Matrix display can show full text messages and notifications, or turn off to reveal the analogue watch below. The Icon display has a series of set notification icons that light up when necessary. Notifications for an impressive array of apps and functions are supported, and while the watch is large and heavy, the idea of combining digital and analogue is an interesting concept.
2. Nevo Watch
The $299 Nevo Watch features a minimalist analogue face — a plus for users who don’t want to look like they’re wearing a smartwatch. A slim metal case contains a Swiss movement, plus an accelerometer, other sensors, and Bluetooth chips. Wareable reports that the Nevo has three major functions: monitoring your daily steps, notifying you of smartphone activity, and both telling the time and setting alarms. The activity tracking is basic and simple (but not enough for users who want detailed analysis). Notifications are also simple, as the watch vibrates and shows a colored LED to tell you when something is happening on your smartphone. You can, of course, choose which notifications you get and customize the colors of different alerts. With a swappable watch battery, the Nevo’s smart features will run for six months between changes, but a secondary battery will keep the Swiss movement going for five years.
3. Olio Model One
The Olio Model One is one of the most stylish, luxurious smartwatches on the market, and has the high-end price tag to match. Watches in the Olio Black collection cost $745, while those in the Olio Steel collection cost $545, and its gold and rose gold models cost $1,195 with a leather band or $1,395 with a gold or rose gold plated bracelet. Wareable reports that the Black and Steel collection watches are made of 316L grade stainless steel, while the gold models are plated in 24-karat gold or 18-karat rose gold. All models feature a single-crystal sapphire lens and a battery that lasts two days, and while the watch runs on a proprietary OS, it’s compatible with Android and iOS. The software aims to order your day, enabling you to swipe through upcoming events or look through notifications you missed. A cloud-based feature called Olio Assist helps you customize alerts in order to counter the effects of notification overload.
4. Omate Racer
The Omate Racer may not be the most polished smartwatch of the bunch, but it offers both simplicity and connectedness a step up from that of basic fitness trackers, for just $129. The wearable features a rubberized bezel, a rubberized strap and correspondingly rugged looks. Its display is a 1.22-inch capacitive touchscreen with a relatively low resolution, and the watch runs an operating system called Nucleus, which Wareable reports seems aimed at keeping things as simple as possible. It offers eight different watch faces, step-counting, and smartphone-linked notifications for Android and iOS. Despite the Racer’s budget price tag, these notifications go beyond the basics, as the companion app, by default, turns on notifications for every app on your phone. The watch gets about two days of battery life, and is recharged via a magnetic dock.
5. Vector Luna
Vector recently released the Luna smartwatch, which promises an unprecedented 30 days of battery life. The round Luna (a square version is also available) is offered in a $249 Performance model with a black case and basic strap, a $249 Contemporary model with a metal case and stainless steel strap, and a $399 Classic model with rose gold and champagne detailing and leather straps. Wareable reports that while the watch is clunky, it does successfully streamline the “digital noise” of modern life, with features for notifications from a connected smartphone, calendar reminders, basic activity tracking, and basic alarms. The operating system isn’t quite as sophisticated as Android Wear or Apple’s watchOS, with some usability issues. To achieve the 30-day battery life, the screen is somewhat grainy and dark, though “it does the job just fine,” balancing functionality with simplicity in a way other smartwatches don’t.
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