by Eric Ravenscraft on
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Smartwatches are an extension of your smartphone and often come with a similarly high price tag. Plenty of smartwatches cost upwards of $300 or more, but we’ve delved into cheaper options and rounded up the pick of the bunch you can snap up for under $200.
Now, we’ll be up front with you: If you’re making a compromise with the price, expect to compromise a little when it comes to features or looks. Some of the smartwatches we’ve chosen aren’t cutting edge technology, and won’t win prizes for style. However, all of the devices listed here offer push notifications and other key features that make smartwatches enticing—so it’s still money well spent. You’ll be impressed by what $200 or less can buy you.
With its sights keenly set on the hybrid fitness band/smartwatch market, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro might look the part for any special occasions, but it’s perfect for day to day use.
As a fitness focused smartwatch, it offers water resistance for up to 50m, Under Armour powered apps that help you track all your workouts, and continuous heart rate monitoring. For the regular smartwatch user, it offers a solid show of expected features. There’s a standalone music player with the option to download your favorite Spotify playlists, built-in GPS, and those all important notifications. The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro gives you a heads up when it comes to any calls or texts. There’s some support for third party apps too, but you are limited by what’s supported by the Samsung OS, which omits popular apps like Google Maps, so bear this in mind. Otherwise, it’s well priced for a casual smartwatch.
Scraping in at a cent under our budget of $200, the LG Watch Urbane is the most expensive smartwatch here but it’s super stylish and a bargain for the price. Offering a look that works for casual occasions, as well as more formal events, you won’t be ashamed to have this on your wrist at all times.
It’s not just about looks either. The LG Watch Urbane also offers plenty of features, thanks to its Android Wear support. There’s music streaming functionality thanks to its internal memory, a continuous heart monitor, and expansive fitness tracking. Multiple apps can be installed and, thanks to the Android Wear platform, there’s little chance you won’t find your preferred apps. Notifications are extensive and highly visible, and you can always use voice commands to send texts or check sports scores. Location reminders and alerts can be set too, which is great for those times when you need to pick up some groceries and you’re worried you’ll forget. If your budget will stretch to the full $200, this is a great choice.
The ASUS ZenWatch 2 is a little on the chunky size, even if you buy the smaller version, but that’s because it has a fair amount to pack in for the price. It provides you with a little bit of everything — there’s fitness features and lifestyle tools too.
The most impressive thing about the ASUS ZenWatch 2 is how it deals with calls. It doesn’t just send over notifications, it allows you to make calls right from your wrist. That’s great for those times when your phone is in Bluetooth range, but you don’t want to find it or hold it during a call. Alongside that is the usual bunch of notifications, Android Wear support, and the option to customize your own watch face. It’s shower proof too, and promises a 60% charge in just 15 minutes, so a low battery doesn’t mean you have to leave your watch at home to charge for hours.
OK, so the Garmin Vivoactive easily wins the prize for ‘least attractive smartwatch’ here, but don’t dismiss it for that reason. If you need a straightforward smartwatch crossed with fitness band, this is a good option. It’s chunky with a pseudo 1980s style inspired design, but there’s a fantastic battery life underneath.
Fitness focused, the Garmin Vivoactive offers 24/7 heart rate monitoring, even when you’re swimming. Because, yes, this is waterproof—up to 50m. Many different sports apps are built-in, covering mostly every exercise imaginable. Alongside that is extensive notification support, including calls, texts, emails, and social media alerts like Facebook and Twitter. There’s the always delightful option to customize your watch face too.
Best of all? Its battery will last for up to 8 days in watch/activity tracking mode, with a 13 hour battery life when using GPS. The former makes it very practical for most people and especially appealing to anyone who isn’t keen to make daily charging part of their smartwatch ownership routine.
It’s pink! Yes, I know. I’m not a fan of pink either, but it offers a detachable wrist strap so you can change that. (There are other variations of the SmartWatch 3 SRW50 that come with different color straps but the pink version is hundreds of dollars cheaper so buy the pink one and then buy a $9 replacement strap.). Skimming past that brief issue, and the Sony SmartWatch 3 SRW50 is a bit of a winner, even more so when you consider a different color is three times the price.
The device offers a high quality screen, GPS, Android Wear support, and a 2 day battery life. It’s water resistant too. Notifications go one step further than usual with the ability to use voice commands to reply to texts, although there’s no option to answer calls through it.
The catch? Yes, it’s the aforementioned color issue. Even outside of the shade of pink, it’s not the most stylish looking of watches. Taking a page out of the original Apple Watch’s style book, it’s a little overly square and chunky looking. Make sure you track down a different wrist strap unless you’re a big fan of plastic and pink.
Easily overlooked due to not having a household name, the Martian mVoice has the most extensive features out of all the smartwatches listed here. First of all, looks wise, it looks like a “proper” watch so, if you’re a traditional sort of watch wearer, it’ll fit into your personal aesthetic perfectly.
It’s also a very clever smartwatch. There’s voice command support, enabling you to take calls from your wrist, answer texts, create calendar events, check directions, and search the internet hands-free. Push notification support is available for hundreds of apps so you’d be hard pressed to find an app it didn’t work with. Customizable vibrations can be arranged so you’ll know exactly what kind of notification has come through, without even having to look.
That’s before we get to the truly killer feature—Alexa support. Hit a button on your watch, and you can control everything that Alexa already controls in your home. Within seconds, you can turn your lights on, change the thermostat temperature, consult your To-Do list, or look up an address. It’s as useful as it sounds, and you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
Image by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.
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