In today’s hyperconnected world, even wristwatches can function as a form of communication. Dubbed “smartwatches,” there are a variety of timepieces on the market from brands including Pebble and LG Electronics that can bring text and email notifications straight to your wrist.
But before you purchase one of these techy products, it’s important to weigh your options. To help you out, we’re telling you everything you need to know about four popular smartwatches.
Check out our side-by-side comparison below, in order from least to most expensive.
- Model: Pebble Smartwatch
- Compatibility: Apple (iOS 6 and higher) and Android (OS 4.0 and higher) devices
- Colors: Orange, arctic white, jet black, cherry red, gray
- Features: Notifications, up to 7 days of battery life, water-resistant up to 50 meters, readable in daylight, downloadable watch faces, easy-access buttons, compatible with fitness tracking and music apps
NerdWallet takes you shopping: Coming in as the least expensive smartwatch we analyzed, the Pebble Smartwatch is the only one of our four contenders that’s available for under $100.
But its more affordable price tag certainly doesn’t translate to a lack of features. This watch boasts an impressive battery life of up to 7 days, is water-resistant up to 50 meters and allows users to download apps, including fitness trackers and music. The timepiece is compatible with select Apple and Android devices.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Pebble, check out our product profile.
Good fit for: First-time smartwatch purchasers
- Price: $159 from Amazon
- Model: LG G Watch
- Compatibility: Android 4.3 and later
- Colors: Black titan or white gold
- Features: Mobile notifications, voice-activated, built-in pedometer, dual-watch touchscreen display, alarm, always-on display, 4GB internal memory, battery life of up to one day
NerdWallet takes you shopping: Next up is the G Watch from LG Electronics. Available for $159, this smartwatch is in the middle of our pack, price-wise.
This product, which is sold in black titan or white gold color schemes, boasts mobile notifications, a built-in pedometer, voice-activated task capability and a 400 mAh battery that can last all day on a single charge.
Despite these benefits, unlike the preceding Pebble model, this watch is only compatible with Android 4.3 devices and later (not Apple products). Additionally, although the G Watch is water- and dust-resistant, it can only withstand being submerged in a depth of up to 1 meter. This may make it a better fit for everyday wear than activewear.
Good fit for: Smartwatch newbies who appreciate a touchscreen display
- Price: $299.99 from Amazon
- Model: Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatch
- Compatibility: Select Samsung devices
- Colors: Charcoal black, gold brown, wild orange
- Features: 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display, 2-megapixel camera, stand-alone music player, notifications, voice response, hands-free calling, S Health fitness tracking, built-in heart rate sensor, built-in IR blaster can control your TV
NerdWallet takes you shopping: Roughly $140 more than the LG model, the Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatch costs $299.99. This device brings many smartphone components directly to your watch, from a 2-megapixel camera to hands-free calling.
Additional selling points include the accessory’s fitness tracking component, built-in heart rate sensor and TV channel-changing capability. You’ll have to decide whether these added features are worth the jump in price.
Good fit for: Shoppers looking for the Android equivalent of an Apple Watch
- Price: Starts at $349 from Apple
- Model: Apple Watch Sport
- Compatibility: iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Colors: White, blue, green, pink, black bands
- Features: Messages, calls, mail, heart rate sensor, animated sketches, animated emojis, voice-to-text dictation, touchscreen display, Apple Pay compatibility, fitness tracking, up to 18 hours of battery life
NerdWallet takes you shopping: Finally, beginning at $349 is the Apple Watch Sport, one of several soon-to-be-released Apple watches.
This particular product promises to boast activity-oriented features, such as a heart rate sensor and fitness tracking, as well as social-oriented tools, such as the ability to send and receive animated sketches and emojis. The touchscreen device is also compatible with Apple Pay.
Despite these and other benefits, it’s important to note that this is the only smartwatch we profiled that isn’t yet available for purchase. The Apple Watch Sport will officially hit the market April 24. If you need (or want) your smartwatch sooner than that, consider a different model.
Good fit for: Apple users who desire a top-of-the-line smartwatch
Ready to proclaim a smartwatch winner? We’ll leave that decision up to you.
As you choose between these and other smartwatches, take a look at our Watch Buying Guide. It’ll help you determine which features are the most important to you when selecting a 21st-century timepiece.
Top illustration via iStock.