WHETHER you want to take phone calls from your wrist, leave your smartphone at home, or take photos on the go, there are smartwatches to fulfil your needs.
The new generation of wearable gadgets are significantly more advanced than before and ready to convince holdouts to make the investment.
We’ve reviewed five of latest additions to suit every wearer, whether you’re into fitness, apps, or Star Wars.
Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular
5 out of 5 stars
From $559 / apple.com/au
Three models in, Apple appears to have ticked most boxes on the smartwatch wish list. The third Apple Watch adds a 4G cellular connection that kicks in when you walk away from the phone to which it is connected, delivering internet access, calls, and text messages on your wrist. You can even use the same phone number in the Watch rather than rely on call-forwarding, thanks to support from Telstra and Optus. New software in the Watch 3 also delivers greater health-tracking features, including better workout options and heart-rate detail, it gives Siri a voice so she can talk back to you, and it adds to the existing must-have additions of water-resistance and NFC payment technology. This smartwatch isn’t perfect — its battery still only sees out a day and it can only be used with iPhones — but it’s the most complete smartwatch on the market.
4 out of 5 stars
$459 / fitbit.com
The world’s biggest fitness technology brand finally caves into the smartwatch trend with this gadget. The Ionic doesn’t just pay lip service to smartphones but delivers apps on its 1.5-inch touchscreen, will let you pay for goods with a credit card by tapping it at the register, and will show third-party apps like Strava. Naturally, its main focus is fitness, and to this end it will take your heart rate around the clock, track your runs with enhanced GPS, record your elevation, and even judge your sleep quality and patterns. New features include enough water resistance to take it swimming, and an SpO2 sensor that will assess the oxygen level in your blood. Sadly, this information isn’t accessible at launch and neither are many apps or built-in workouts through Fitbit’s new Coach app — buyers will have to be patient to see it reach its full potential. If you want music on this device, you’ll also have to load it via a computer, and there’s no such thing as answering calls, sending messages, or talking to a voice assistant on this watch. Its boxy form is comfortable to wear, however, it will connect to Apple or Google phones, and it features more than four days of battery life.
Huawei Watch 2
$599 / vodafone.com.au
4 out of 5 stars
If you use an Android smartphone but want to leave the house without it, this smartwatch can assist. The second Huawei Watch launched in Australia features its own cellular connection you can activate by inserting a Vodafone SIM card on a $10 monthly plan into its body. When out of range, the Android Wear device can display app notifications independently, and can even be used to send text messages and make calls using its microphone and speaker. Its SIM won’t use the same number as your phone, however, and must rely on calls being forwarded. Its body is sporty and IP68 water resistant, and its battery will last the day even if you’re often connected to the mobile phone network.
Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR
4 out of 5 stars
$400 / suunto.com
If you’re a participant in many sports — master of some — Suunto’s new fitness-focused watch could be a worthwhile workout buddy. The timepiece is designed to track multiple activities thanks to several sensors including heart-rate, motion, and GPS chips, features the same software as its more expensive peers, and packs it all into a slimmer body designed to be worn all day. It’s also easy to navigate for a fitness watch, can be linked with a smartphone to deliver alerts to your wrist, and provides some of the longest battery life on the market, with 10 hours of pinpoint GPS tracking or up to 14 days in watch mode. The only downsides are a chunky body and the need to update its software to get sleep-tracking.
VTech Star Wars Stormtrooper Camera Watch
3.5 out of 5 stars
This Star Wars watch doesn’t just bring The Force to children’s wrists but it has one feature many advanced, expensive timepieces lack: a camera. Its lens hides on the top edge of the watch body and lets wearers capture basic photos and videos, which are saved to the watch’s 256MB memory and can be downloaded to a computer. Despite its price, the watch also features a 1.4-inch touchscreen that lets you easily switch between 3D watch faces, a menu button for accessing apps such as a calculator, pedometer, and alarm, and it comes with preloaded Star Wars games including Lightsaber noises and puzzles. It doesn’t connect to a phone, and its plastic body is chunky, but children aged five and over should enjoy doing more than telling time with this watch.