Style over substance? A look at the latest smartwatches on show at IFA

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 04 Sep 2018

The Samsung Galaxy Watch (pictured here is the 42mm rose gold variant) is truly a watch for the busy professional. — AFP Relaxnews

Berlin's tech trade fair IFA 2018, which opened last week and runs through Sept 5, saw the reveal of many new smartwatches and with so many big brands implementing the same technological features, choosing a watch is largely a question of personal preference and style. Here's a look at what's on offer.

Samsung Galaxy Watch is probably the "smartest" of the bunch in terms of specs – it's also the only one featuring LTE connectivity so users don't have to carry their smartphones. Truly a watch for the busy professional, the Galaxy can track up to 40 different types of workouts and monitor sleep, and Bixby can then automatically count calories. Once back at the office, users can get a “briefing” on their day's activities, as well as discreetly respond to calls and messages without flashing a smartphone in a meeting.

As for its style, the Galaxy watch has a circular “Always on Display” screen, which can look like a traditional timepiece. With two sizes and three colours available, the Galaxy watch can either be a silver 46mm (US$349.99 / RM1,449.36) or a 42mm version (US$329.99 / RM1,366.60), available in both black and rose gold.

Skagen Falster 2: "minimalist" is the word that pops to mind when you see the Danish-inspired smartwatch featuring a slim-bezeled circular display and a simple black or silver watch straps. The brand claims that Flaster 2 is one of the only smartwatches on the market to come with a magnetic steel-mesh strap — "the latest evolution of the brand's hallmark band material".

After releasing the predecessor of this model, Skagen invited fans to provide their feedback which determined the tech specs of the new version. The latest model will feature a heart rate sensor for activity tracking, NFC for paying on the go and untethered GPS for morning bike rides and jogs without a smartphone. Furthermore, the smartwatch is powered by WearOS and so will feature the main Google apps, including Google Assistant (only in certain languages), Google Play and Google Fit. Once available, its recommended retail price will be around US$275 (RM1,139).

Diesel On Full Guard 2.5, another stylish addition to the world of smartwatches, offers a slightly more rock'n'roll take with its gunmetal steel cases, leather straps and neon Flicker dial. A fun piece that can automatically change colour throughout the day, it features a interactive heart rate dial that when tapped will create a rippling water effect.

The Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 will be able to monitor activity, charge quickly and use Google Assistant to get the latest traffic info, pay for groceries and so forth. There is no price yet; the watch is slated to go on sale in October.

The Sony FES Watch U was designed for the “fashion-conscious” and is definitely an original take on a smartwatch. Typically, it's the display that can be customised to suit individual tastes. However, in this case, e-Paper technology has made the whole thing interchangeable.

A rather bulky face and strap can adopt 100 different styles depending on the outfit or mood of the day, though none include colour. And with a price tag of about US$690 (RM2,858) and no support for third party apps, this could be seen as a style-over-substance option.

– AFP Relaxnews

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