IFA Smartwatch roundup day 1: ASUS, Samsung and Sony smartwatches
Today we have had a smartwatch frenzy at the IFA show in Berlin. Some of the world’s biggest technology companies have revealed their wrist wearable technology today. Here at Tech Assimilate we’ve been keeping up with the smartphones but now it’s time to look at the smartwatches. On day one of the IFA show we have seen great new wearable devices from ASUS, Samsung and Sony. Read on for a summary of these new devices below…
ASUS Zenwatch WI500Q
Here is the first wearable from Taiwan’s ASUS. The first has made a name for itself in recent years since it made it big in the netbook age and won the contract to make Google’s Nexus 7 tablets. More recently it’s been focussing on tablets and convertibles and today we saw its fist smartwatch called the ZenWatch.
The ASUS Zenwatch offers a traditional “premium” design with a stitched leather strap. Its AMOLED display is protected with Gorilla Glass 3. It runs Google’s Andriod Wear OS. It works with any Android smartphone as a companion device allowing you to interact with your smartphone functions such as calls and texts.
Extra features in the ZenWatch include ASUS Remote Camera, a remote shutter button, Presentation Control and the usual smartwatch health sensor functions. In this case we have the ASUS Wellness app for checking your steps taken, calories burned, activity duration, heart rate, exercise intensity and relaxation level.
The ASUS ZenWatch has a 1.63-inch display, Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz roicessor and a 1.4Wh battery. It weighs just 75g including strap.
Samsung Gear S
Samsung has launched its third generation smartwatch. It’s got to its third generation rather quickly and that’s good because the first and second gen devices it concocted were met with rather luke warm receptions. You can look at the previous instalments of the Gear as missed opportunities or essential learning curve devices. Is the third time a charm?
JK Shin, CEO of Samsung claims that “The Samsung Gear S redefines the idea of the smart wearable and the culture of mobile communication. It will let consumers live a truly connected life anywhere, anytime.” This time around Samsung has found a useful application of its curved display tech as for a watch with a large 2-inch Super AMOLED display that curvature is really a big ergonomic plus.
The Gear S doesn’t need the smartphone partnership of earlier devices as it offers self contained 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networking. Now users can seamlessly make and receive calls from their wrist. If you want you can automatically pair with your smartphone – but it’s not necessary.
Samsung has integrated several of its health apps and the Nike+ running app to make use of the sensors in the Gear S which include an Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Heart Rate, Ambient Light, UV meter and Barometer. The smartwatch runs on Tizen and offers dust and water resistance, a typical 2 day battery life and weighs in at around 70g.
Sony SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3
Sony has also reached its third generation of smartwatches. Today it launched the SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 devices.
The Sony SmartBand Talk is quite different from today’s other offerings with its curved 1.4-inch e-paper display. This supplies wearers with always-on updates of your ‘Lifelog’ activities, notifications (audio and vibrating) and to tell the time at a glance. It works as an extension to your smartphone and can allow call functionality thanks to its built-in microphone and speaker. The SmartBand Talk supports voice commands in six languages. It includes sensors such as an accelerometer and an altimeter to monitor your daily activities and is waterproof.
Sony’s latest ‘traditional’ smartwatch is the SmartWatch 3. This is powered by Android Wear and benefits from this OS’s voice command recognition and app selection. As such it offers lots of information on the back of your wrist including Search, weather, travel, notifications, reminders and maps.
The SmartWatch 3 offers a 1.6-inch Transflective display – which offers good visibility in strong sunlight and power saving features. It is also water resistant and offers the same core components as the ASUS ZenWatch including the same RAM, storage, processor etc. Sensors include ambient light, accelerometer, compass, gyro and GPS.
You need to pair this via Bluetooth with your Android 4.3 device for some functions but it can save and collect your activity data, for instance, even if you leave your smartphone behind – in your sports locker for example. Sony quotes a battery life of up to 2 days of normal use and says the ‘core unit’ weighs just 45g.