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Get Smart

Feb 01, 2018 02:25PM
By Kelsey Casselbury

If you think only geek-chic when it comes to smartwatches, think again. At one point, it might have just been the top techies that donned these devices, but smartwatches have come so far—in both style and function—that, sooner or later, they just might be as nonnegotiable as a smartphone. 

If you’re ready to take the plunge, consider what’s important to you in a smartwatch. After all, there’s only one constant in this field: All smartwatches tell time. From there, the features and functions reach far and wide.

If you want something that looks good

Fashion, meet tech. One of the biggest strides made by smartwatch manufacturers is in aesthetics. Traditional watchmakers and designers—think Fossil, TAG Heuer, and even Michael Kors—have added smartwatch functionality to classic timepieces. While these might not be the most tech-forward options, you’ll still get notifications, text, and email alerts and, in some cases, step and heart-rate monitors. Bonus: Many use standard watch batteries, so you don’t have to worry about finding that pesky charger.

Left: Michael Kors Access Sofie Pavé Smartwatch, $350-$495
Right: Fossil Q Venture, $255-$275

If you’re not brand-loyal

Do you like and use both iOS and Android technology? Then you need a bipartisan smartwatch. Instead of staying true to Android’s operating system, like Samsung did when it first launched, the maker of the Gear Sport series of watches launched its own OS, Tizen—and that means that their watches pair just as well with an Android as they do with an iPhone. 

Samsung Gear S3, $249.99-$299.99

If connection is top priority

Stay in touch with smartwatches featuring LTE service, something that’s pretty new in this industry. Apple made a splash in September 2017 when it debuted its Series 3 watch with cellular connectivity, but the fruit is far from the only brand offering such an option—Samsung’s Gear S3s, the LG Watch Sport, and Huawei Watch 2 can all be untethered from your phone without truly disconnecting. 

Left: Apple Watch Series 3, $329.99-$429.99 
Right: LG Watch Sport for AT&T, $349.99 

If you’re a fitness track-aholic

It’s time to upgrade from a basic fitness tracker, even if you stick with the brand that started it all (Fitbit recently released its first true smartwatch, the Ionic). The capability in this arena is a serious selling point for a smartwatch, and it’s not necessarily simple to pick just one brand that’s going to do it all. Explore fit and feel of all the options out there, but keep this in mind: Runners, look for a watch with standalone GPS. Swimmers, keep an eye on waterproofing. All fitness fanatics, a reliable heart-rate monitor is key. 

Fitbit Ionic, $299.95