Two Solid Smartwatches To Undercut Your Apple Watch Costs And Get The Job Done

Regarding smartphone size, there are two camps. Some want a smartphone big enough to screen movies for a small crowd. The other camp wishes smartphones stayed iPhone 4 sized.


 
(source: yablyk.com)

(source: yablyk.com)

Cards on the table: I’m in the second camp. There may be only a handful of us. We like the functionality of the smartphone for handing business when needed, but wish the thing would disappear when not in use.

The obvious solution is holographic interfaces, but we ain’t there yet, George Jetson.

When the Apple Watch debuted, those of in camp two help our collective breath for the Dick Tracy watch. Sadly, neither the Series 1 nor the Series 2 offered cellular. My money says the Series 3 won’t either.

It would be nice to have the option to go phone free sometimes, like when we workout. Meanwhile, the prospect of spending $270 on a device that falls short or perfect is depressing.

One bit of good news is Android is making the iOS interface for Androidwear better all the time. Other smartwatch makers are blazing trails with new operating systems. These moves open a Pandora’s box of smart devices to iOS folks.

Normally I would turn up my nose at anything not-iOS, but until Apple turns out that Dick Tracy model, saving $70 is worth it. These two watches are top of my list; here’s why.

Misfit Vapor

(source: theverge.com)

(source: theverge.com)

This smartwatch took many by surprise at CES 2017. Misfit has been a company to watch for a few years, making fitness trackers with a lot to offer for a fair price. They’ve taken that same approach to a smartwatch, cramming a ton under the hood of the Vapor, while undercutting the competition on price.

The Vapor isn’t free, but $199 is a lot easier to stomach than the $269 you would spend on an entry-level Series 2.

On top of that, the Vapor offers many of the same key features I want, even though I’d have to suffer a different OS. It’s not Android, but jumping back and forth from operating systems can prove challenging, regardless.

The Vapor nails my top three demands for smartwatch, behind my undeliverable first demand of a phone chip. The form factor of the device is elegant. The bezel functions as menu navigator, something like the Samsung smartwatches or the Apple Crown.

It is waterproof enough to take a dive, you can listen to music without carrying your phone, and it will track your GPS data. As an added bonus, it has health sensors to track variables like heart rate and activity.

Ticwatch 2

(source: wareable.com)

(source: wareable.com)

The Ticwatch may not win any design awards, but it won’t stick out from your wrist by a mile either. There is a style element to keeping a low profile, designers.

Oh yeah, and you can get one for $179 new on Amazon right now. There are two versions of this round-faced smartwatch in the U.S., charcoal or white. The white version comes with a brushed metal bezel, but they are basically the same.

Like the Vapor, the Ticwatch 2 offers my three top priorities: GPS, music, and it’s waterproof enough. The operating system is Android based, so you can pair it with your iPhone if you want, but you can also use it as a standalone device when you want to unplug.

The Ticwatch 2 offers one over-the-top feature, something smartwatches must perfect to bridge the UI gap created by their small screens. It operates with voice command if you prefer.

(source: wearableo.com)

(source: wearableo.com)

The Ticwatch 2 you can buy today. The interface of the Vapor, without putting my hands on either device, appears superior, but the proof is in the pudding.

More important than my perspective on the UI of either device, is the practical side of the issue. If the goal for us camp two-ers is to get into a smartwatch that bridges the needs-gap until Apple gives us the Dick Tracy, then I say less is more.

Spend less, get the job done, then pray for a miracle.