Remember when smartwatches were the “next big thing?” It’s hard to know whether that’s still in progress of working itself out or if smartwatches just won’t catch on the way smartphones or tablets did, but we probably won’t know for a couple more years.
The good news is that in the past year some pretty decent smartwatches have come out. They are still definitely for early adopter only, but both Android Wear and Apple’s watchOS have come a long way. Because they are as much fashion accessories as they are gadgets, smartwatches are different than devices like smartphones and tablets in terms of ranking. If you’re looking into getting a smartwatch, a big part of your decision is going to come down to style. Without further ado, here is our ranking of the 10 best smartwatches you can buy right now in mid 2015.
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10. Samsung Gear S (2015) - $349: When it comes to an all-on-the-wrist smartwatch, meaning the device doesn't need to tether with a smartphone to take calls and use the internet, the Gear S is one of your better options. It has a nice 2-inch curved display—one of the best ones your can find on a smartwatch. It's also one of the biggest and curves around your wrist like someone shrunk down a smartphone and strapped a band to it. It's a just bit too unwieldy to really be appropriate to wear every day, which is unfortunate because you can do quite a bit using Samsung's custom software.
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8. LG Watch Urbane (2015) - $349: The Watch Urbane is the most premium of LG's Android Wear smartwatches, made of premium materials and finished in either silver or gold. For those who prefer bigger watches, the LG Watch Urbane really is a pretty good choice. It's got decent battery life, a high-quality build, and pretty classy look. Personally, I could never really get over the bulkiness of the watch, which has both a large watch face and is really thick. You'll pay more for the device too—but if you're looking for something more business-class than casual, the Watch Urbane is one of your best options.
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9. LG G Watch R (2014) - $299: When the Moto 360 first launched last year, it was a mad scramble for tech companies to push out a round smartwatch. The G Watch R was the first one to come out after the Moto 360 and pretty much repackages the original G Watch within the rims of a circular design. For me it's a big step up from the G Watch in terms of design, however, with all of the other round smartwatches that have come out since then, you're better going off with a newer device.
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7. Asus ZenWatch (2015) - $199: Not only does the ZenWatch come in at an incredibly affordable price, it's also one of the most attractive Android Wear devices out there. When it comes to Android Wear devices, your aesthetic taste is going to play a large part in helping you decide which is best for you. Personally, I prefer the circular designs of other Android Wear smartwatches on this list, but most of them all have the same software and very similar hardware powering it—so if the ZenWatch is your style, it's a pretty good buy.
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5. Huawei Watch (2015) - $349: This one is a newcomer to the market, but it hits a lot of important notes that is going to make this one a strong contender. Most notably, it's got really great battery life and a beautiful round design, which is all the rage these days. The Huawei Watch is an Android Wear device like many of the other on this list. The only significant downfall is the high price tag, which makes you pay a bit more for the premium look and materials.
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4. Vector Watch (2015) - $250: Unlike every other smartwatch on this list, the Vector Watch is made by a watch manufacturer, not a tech company. That alone gives this device a couple of advantages over the others—most notably, the real wristwatch look and feel. The best part is that the Vector Watch has great battery life, always stays on so you can actually use it as a watch, and has just enough "smart" features to make it useful in day-to-day life.
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3. Moto 360 (2014) - $149: The new Moto 360 has already been announced, but it won't be out for a few months still. In the meantime, the 2014 iteration of the Moto 360 is still a decent purchase. It was the first smartphone to take design and build quality seriously—and still is the best-looking smartwatch out on the market. It had a few glaring problems, most notably in performance and battery life, but when your smartwatch looks this good, it's easier to forgive.
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2. Pebble Time Steel - $299: The thing I like most about the Pebble Time is that it know exactly it wants to be and sets out to them in the most practical way possible. Pebble has always prided itself on making smartwatches that have simple functions and incredibly long battery. The new Pebble Time continues that legacy and even updates the display from monochrome to color. Add in the completely redesigned software and you've got a smartwatch that acts as a very significant alternative to the Apple Watch and Android Wear. If you shell out the extra money for the Steel version, even better.
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1. Apple Watch (2015) - $349: The Apple Watch is far from perfect. In fact, I'd still only recommend it to those who consider themselves to be true early adopters. The Apple Watch, along with many of the other smartwatches on this list, still hasn't figured out it's true selling point—the thing that makes it a must buy. Apple's watchOS takes a more expansive view of what a smartwatch can be compared to Android Wear or Pebble, which has me more excited for the future of the platform than any other. Once we get a chance to play with the new Moto 360 later this year that could change, but as of now it's the best smartwatch you can buy.
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6. Sony Smartwatch 3 (2015) - $199: There's not a lot about the Sony Smartwatch 3 that stands out—and in some ways, that's not a bad thing. Not everyone wants to wear a glitzy piece of jewelry that sparkles in the light and that's where a device like the Sony Smartwatch 3 could come in. It's got that nondescript, classic Sony look that a lot of people in the market for a smartwatch very well might love.