Smart Watches: Reviews Underwhelmed on Function vs. Price

Image: Smart Watches: Reviews Underwhelmed on Function vs. Price A model wears a Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 4, 2013.

Friday, 13 Dec 2013 12:16 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Despite the "Dick Tracy" high-tech look and sizable price tag, most smart watches are underwhelming their critics as wearable computers.

The challenge for smart watches is distinguishing the device from other micro gadgets while becoming more affordable.

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"Most smart watches function as pricey second-screen devices for the smartphone in your pocket," wrote Edward C. Baig for USA Today. "That's so with two of the three devices that I checked out for this column, the Sony SmartWatch 2 and the Qualcomm Toq. The third, called FiLIP, works with an app on your phone, too. But it's a wearable locator designed for kids that lets him or her make calls from the wrist — to Mom, Dad, or other designated grownups."

Baig wrote that the Sony SmartWatch 2, which costs $199.99, has an improved battery life with the ability to add apps and is water resistant. The downsides are the difficulty to get at the USB port and its cost.

The Qualcomm Toq, at a cost of $349.99, also has a strong battery life, according to USA Today, has "impressive" display technology and has an interesting way of interacting with the watch's band. Baig reported that the Toq's price is a major turnoff and his was difficult to adjust the watch band.

The FiLIP is convenient for kids because it allows them to call five designated numbers and it reports kids' locations and safe zones. Baig wrote, though, that its $199.99 price plus $10 a month for AT&T service could prove cost prohibitive and frequent checks could drain the battery.

Samsung's Galaxy Gear can preview messages, make hands-free calls, record photos and videos, and can be used as a pedometer.

"The Galaxy Gear includes several face options that create the opportunity for users to personalize their watch face," Sophie Curtis said for The Telegraph in September. "It will come preloaded with 10 different clock options and more choices will be downloadable via Samsung Apps."

Galaxy Gear, though, comes with a big sticker price, running for $299.99 on eBay.

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