Try These Then!
Apple has released its Apple Watch in India, but it comes with a price tag that is positively wince worthy – with the base model starting at a price of over Rs 30,000. However, if you still want to be part of the wearables trend and want to sport something really smart on your wrist, there are alternatives to Cupertino’s offering in the Indian market. We would in particular advise you to try out the following:
Yes, we know that LG and Samsung have announced much more pricey options and we also know that its own successor has been announced, but when it comes to Apple Watch alternatives, the Moto 360 remains one of the first devices that spring to mind. It runs Android Wear, which means that it can virtually show almost everything that is on your Android phone in terms of notifications – you can check mail, get navigation directions, and so on and so forth – and also install apps and watch faces that jazz it up infinitely. Most importantly, it LOOKS (yes, we went for capitals deliberately) like a watch, with its round dial and elegant design. And at its reduced price, we think it is perhaps the best alternative for anyone wanting something that comes close to the Apple Watch in function as well as flaunt value, at a fraction of the price. Just be ready to charge it every day – battery life is not its forte!
Yes, there are those who wince at the thought of paying almost Rs 20,000 for a device that on the surface seems to be just a fitness tracker. But scratch that surface and the FitBit Surge emerges as much more than a step and snore counter. It is perhaps the best option for fitness fanatics who also want a watch bundled into the package. Yes, it racks up the fitness stats mercilessly and very accurately too thanks to a stack of sensors and also tracks your heartbeat all the time (you can actually track the changes from minute to minute). And well, it tells the time too and also notifies you when you get calls and messages. No, you cannot actually make calls or send messages from it, but if all you are looking for is a smart looking (it is a trifle broad we think, but nevertheless looks snazzy) fitness band with just a dash of smartwatch-like brains, then the Surge is definitely what you are looking for. The excellent battery life (close to 4-5 days on a single charge) adds to its charm.
Sony SmartBand Talk SWR30
It might not have captured the public imagination, but we think Sony got many things right with this delightful blend of a smartwatch and fitness band. The company has a SmartBand and a smartwatch too, but what makes the SmartBand Talk special is the fact that it tries to marry the battery life of a fitness band with the functionality of a smartwatch. Making this happen is the low-power guzzling e-ink display, which is a curved one. So what you have is perhaps the only smartwatch in the Indian market which lets you read mail, check notifications and even make calls from your wrist itself and still get by with one or two recharges a week. Yes, the e-ink display is not as super responsive as some of those LCD and AMOLED ones, but the whole experience is pretty good. And yes, it looks good too – it is a Sony after all.
If you are quite content with the watch that you already have (and we know many who are, given the care they take in selecting them) and are very particular about what appears on your person, then we suggest you try out the Jawbone UP3. It is a fitness tracker at its best with sensors to track your movement and also measure your heartbeat and comes with perhaps the best accompanying software we have seen – the UP app actually advises you on what to do next and gives links to interesting articles. No, there is no display so you cannot check the distance walked and calories burned without taking out your phone (works with iOS and Android both), but it is beautifully crafted and will look awesome on your wrist, and then there is the bright side of the absence of a display – battery life lasts close to a week. It is expensive for a device minus a wearable but it looks classy and is a performer as well.
Don’t be taken in by the price – this is definitely not a poor person’s wearable. For in best Xiaomi tradition, the Mi Band does deliver a lot for its incredibly low price tag. It comes with a military grade sensor that not only monitors how many steps you have taken and even tracks your sleep (it is light enough to be worn in bed). And it comes with an excellent accompanying software that lets you analyse your activity levels and even share them. The absence of a display does mean that you cannot tell the time by looking at it, but it is smart enough to notify you when you are getting a call and also lets you set alarms (it will vibrate gently to wake you up). And if you think it looks too plain, you can swap bands. We left out the best bit – a single charge will see the Mi Band get through a month of usage quite comfortably. Hardly a multi-tasking behemoth but easily the most mainstream wearable we have seen. By miles.