TRAVEL TECH | There's a new wave of non-Apple smartwatches heading our way, with a clutch of shiny models unveiled at Berlin’s recent IFA consumer electronics show.
Among them: the Swiss-inspired Huawei Watch to please traditionalists, a limited edition gold LG Watch Urbane Luxe for the first class jetsetter and a new entry from Sony that keeps the watch untouched but beefs up the band with contactless payments and LED notifications.
Best of all, Google's latest version of Android Wear – the software powering many of these gadgets – now works with Apple's iOS, opening the door on a multitude of new smartwatch options for iPhone-toting travellers beyond Apple's own Apple Watch.
Asus ZenWatch 2
Asus’ next evolution of the ZenWatch – fittingly dubbed the ZenWatch 2 – packs in a battery with a two-day life that’s capable of charging from 0-50% in just 36 minutes, and gives the option of two sizes, three case colours, 18 strap options and a FaceDesigner app for maximum customisation.
Responding to both touch and voice commands, the ZenWatch 2 includes Asus’ Smart Assistant to highlight the most important notifications, along with ‘Wellness Manager’ to help you work towards your fitness goals.
Inspired by classic Swiss design, the hi-tech Huawei Watch debuts as the company’s first-ever smartwatch, but with a traditional 42mm circular face and a choice of rose gold, stainless steel and black frames to choose from, you’d be forgiven for confusing it with a more typical timepiece.
In addition to the expected alerts for calls, SMS, instant messages and emails, the watch also doubles as a music player with support for wireless Bluetooth headphones and voice-activated playback.
LG Watch Urbane Luxe
Make no mistake here: the LG Watch Urbane Luxe is a shinier version of the existing Watch Urbane line, but which comes in a piano-gloss lacquer case and with an alligator leather band:
Retailing at US$1,200 (A$1,730), only 500 of these Gold gadgets will be made...
...miss out and you’ll have to settle for its US$350 (A$505) silver sister, but which has exactly the same functionality.
Motorola Moto 360
Significantly boosting battery life from the first-generation of Moto 360 smartwatches, Motorola says its second generation of wrist wear will survive for around 1.5 days of mixed use, or one full day with the screen constantly activated.
As with many of the other fashion-focused smartwatches, the new Moto 360s can be customised in almost every respect – from the overall size of either 42mm or 46mm through to a leather or steel band and bezels of your choice.
There are also separate men’s and women’s designs, although only the blokes can choose their face size: the ladies’ variety is fixed at 42mm.
Samsung Gear S2
With numerous smartwatches already under its belt, Samsung’s next product is not one, but three smartwatches: the Gear S2 for tech aficionados, the Gear S2 3G which is capable of making and receiving calls without a smartphone attached...
... and the Gear S2 Classic for a more elegant look:
Regardless of which you choose, you can navigate your way around the watch’s software via the spinning dial – a feature typically found on diving watches but that has been cleverly adapted to spin your way around Samsung’s smartwatch, or to zoom in and out on maps.
If you just can’t shake that desire for a ‘real’ watch, the Sony Wena is sure to satisfy – instead of going hi-tech all over, Wena comprises a true three-hand, battery-powered watch with optional chronograph functions…
… but uses the band, not the watch, to track your activity, make contactless payments and deliver notifications via LED lights and wrist vibrations.
It’s currently destined only for Japan, but time will tell if this new wearable becomes the next global must-have for tech-curious traditionalists.
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