Smart Watches 4/18/14

Looking for the next big thing? Five million smart watches are forecast to ship this year

The next big thing may be right up your sleeve – smart watches. Consumer Reports checked out six. All connect wirelessly to your phone or tablet and run loads of apps. You can monitor fitness … or control the music on your phone. They also notify you when calls, texts and instant messages come in. “It’s really handy to get the notifications and alerts on your watch, but with most of them if you want to make or take a call, you have to pull your phone out to do that.” Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is the only watch tested that can actually make a call. Two new Gear watches just being introduced can also handle calls.

Carol Mangis “The Samsung Galaxy Gear watch really stood out to us. It has a lot of nice features including a camera.” “Smile!” You can snap a picture with a tap. But Samsung watches only work with Samsung phones.

Other smart watches pair with any Android phone – but check the specs if you have an iPhone. The easiest watches pair with a simple tap. Those have N-F-C or “near-field communication.” Other issues: testers found some watches hard to read in bright sunlight. And some are tricky to navigate. Carol Mangis “The more basic watches don’t have a touch screen, so you have to navigate your way through their menus using button presses. It’s easier to navigate with the more advanced watches.

They do have touch screens, and you can go through the menu just using taps and swipes.” So should you buy a smart watch? Consumer Reports says you might want to wait until prices come down. These watches run from 150 up to 300 dollars.

Expect more smart watches to come on the market. And more big names to join in.
Google recently announced an operating system for smart watches and other wearable devices.
And Apple has reportedly been working on a smart watch of its own.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright ©201 4 Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED