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3 Smartwatches Weighed Against the Apple Watch

Written by Sona Bulghadaryan | @Sona___B

In the fall of 2014 Apple released its designs for the coming Apple Watch: a state of the art smartwatch that will grace Apple Stores worldwide early this year. As techies anxiously await the release of this forthcoming gadget, we want to take the opportunity and examine a few smartwatches currently on the market.

Apple Watch: What to Expect

To start, let’s review what we know about the Apple Watch.

Apple warmly describes its first product meant to be worn by the user as its “most personal device yet”.

To ensure customers adapt to the Apple Watch in “no time”, the company has designed the smartwatch to feel as similar to the iPhone as possible, incorporating a user interface that is light and fast.

One aspect that makes the Apple Watch quite prominent is the extensive integration of sense of touch into its design. With what is called Force Touch technology, the smartwatch’s Retina display is able to differentiate between taps and deeper pressure.  Moreover, every time a notification sounds, the user not only hears the alert but also senses it with a gentle tap on the wrist administered by the device.

While wearable gadgets have yet to take off among the general public, it is widely speculated that the Apple Watch will boost their popularity, like the release of the iPhone did with smartphones.

It is not clear of course how the Apple Watch will revolutionize the wearable gadget market. But perhaps we’ll get closer to finding an answer if we inspect what the market already has to offer.

The Plain Pebble

Uncomplicated. That is the best word for describing the Pebble; a large part of the smartwatch’s appeal stems from its charming simplicity.

In the positive, the Pebble is waterproof and works with both iOS and Android platforms. The Pebble also offers numerous apps for you to choose from so you can customize your smartwatch experience.

A drawback of the Pebble is that it doesn’t have a touch screen, rather a high-quality e-paper display and buttons on the side for controlling apps. This isn’t a huge problem for everyone, but it does take away points with gadget geeks (Buttons?! Might as well wear an analog!).

Indeed, the Pebble and the Apple Watch represent a very different aesthetic and need. The Apple Watch maintains classic Apple sleekness in terms of design and yet embraces complexity when it comes to apps and functionality. The Pebble however, opts for total simplicity not just in design, but functionality as well.

The Independent Neptune Pine

What makes this smartwatch stand out is that you don’t need a smartphone to make it “smart”. All you need is a micro-SIM card and you’re good to go. It is worth noting though, that the Neptune Pine only works on the Android platform.

Neptune’s smartwatch has plenty of great features including front and back cameras, a removable core, touch screen, speakers and super long battery life.

The Neptune Pine’s greatest downfall is probably its burdensomely large size. Some have even gone so far as to call the smartwatch a “half-phone” that you wear on your wrist. When it comes to wearable gadgets, size definitely matters. And though the Neptune Pine’s smartphone independence to some degree makes up for its gargantuanness, its size may still hinder many from actually buying.

In terms of features and functionality, the Neptune Pine is one of the biggest contenders for the Apple Watch. Though Neptune is a smaller, lesser-known company than Apple, they’re product is strikingly similar to the Apple Watch, and possibly its top competitor.

The Fitness-Centric Microsoft Band

It may not be totally fair to include the Microsoft Band along with the others, because Microsoft does categorize the Band as a fitness device more than anything else. However, in terms of features, the Band fits into a lot of smartwatch categories: you can receive email and calls on the device, and it is obviously intended to sync up with your smartphone.

In the positive, the Microsoft Band works with android, iOS and Windows phones. It has a built-in GPS and is powered by Microsoft Health software.

In the negative, the watch is not waterproof and has been criticized for having a poor battery life as well as for being extremely uncomfortable.

If we are to set up the Band side by side with the Apple Watch, the comparison will most probably go in favor of the latter. Apple’s Smart Watch is sure to offer numerous health apps both built in and as add-ons, and if we’re looking at the devices from a non-fitness angle, then there’s no doubt that the Apple Watch will outperform the Microsoft Band. 


Evidently smartwatches have been around for a while, but have thus far failed to engage the broader public. With its personalized design and state of the art technology, the Apple Watch hopes to change that. Most Apple fanatics will probably tell you (if they already haven’t) that the Apple Watch is definitely going to revolutionize the wearable gadget industry--whether it will or--we’ll just have to wait to find out.

3 Smartwatches Weighed Against the Apple Watch Reviewed by Brandon on Thursday, February 26, 2015 Rating: 5

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