Payment device or fashion accessory? New smartwatches unveiled at IFA


Among the biggest highlights at the IFA was Sony's new FES Watch U. The e-paper design allows users to completely change the watch's look at any time using an app for Android and iOS. They can also use any of more than 100 pre-installed designs. — Photos: dpa

Among the biggest highlights at the IFA was Sony's new FES Watch U. The e-paper design allows users to completely change the watch's look at any time using an app for Android and iOS. They can also use any of more than 100 pre-installed designs. — Photos: dpa

Whether you're the sporty type, the fashionable type or the practical type, smartwatch manufacturers are finding more and more reasons for you to upgrade to a high-tech wristwatch. At the 2018 IFA technology fair in Berlin, new versions ranged from the stylish to the practical.

Among the biggest highlights at the IFA was Sony's new FES Watch U. Branded a fashion smartwatch, the dial and large parts of the bracelet are made from e-paper which has the advantage that it uses no power unless the content is changed.

This design allows users to completely change the watch's look at any time using an app for Android and iOS. They can also use any of more than 100 pre-installed designs.

One limitation, however, is that the e-paper can only display black, white and shades of grey. Another is the price: The FES Watch U will be available in silver and mineral glass for US$700 (RM2,905) and in black with sapphire glass and a titanium ion coating for US$930 (RM3,860).

Another unusual concept from Sony comes under the name Wena. Much of the smartwatch's hardware is hidden in the bracelet, which can be combined with an existing classic watch. Alternatively, there are analogue Wena watches which can be connected to the bracelet.

To see notifications the wearer needs to turn their wrist 180°. The bracelet, which is available in rubber, leather and metal variations, costs around US$400 (RM1,660), a Wena watch to go with it around US$700 (RM2,905).
The high-tech Wena bracelet, which is available in rubber, leather and metal variations, costs around 400 dollars, a Wena watch to go with it around 700 dollars. Photo: Robert Günther/dpa
The high-tech Wena bracelet, which is available in rubber, leather and metal variations, and a Wena watch to go with it.

Fossil showcased a watch with its own GPS module that can measure distances and record routes without have to be connected to a smartphone.

Meanwhile, the Falster 2 combines lifestyle and sport with its built-in NFC chip that allows contactless payments, for example via Google Pay. The watch also has a heart rate monitor and is waterproof. Fossil hasn't yet announced a price.
The new Smartwatch Skagen Falster 2 runs Google's latest Wear OS. There are new swipe gestures that give users quick access to information, notifications and features like Google Pay. Photo: Robert Günther/dpa
The new Smartwatch Skagen Falster 2 runs Google's latest Wear OS. There are new swipe gestures that give users quick access to information, notifications and features like Google Pay.

The Ticwatch Pro from Mobvoi is a hefty chronograph-style watch with a stainless steel case and is certainly not for petite wrists, but it has a large range of functions and is also waterproof and dustproof (IP68 protection class). Apps from the Google Play Store can be installed on the watch and contactless payment is also possible.

One unusual feature is that the watch has two displays, one on top of the other. A high-resolution, high-colour AMOLED display is used for active use while a power-saving, monochrome LCD one is used for always-on items such as the time. The Ticwatch Pro costs US$290 (RM1,204). A sports model, the Ticwatch S, costs US$230 (RM955).
In exchange for its large size, the TicWatch Pro offers a large range of functions and is also waterproof and dustproof (IP68 protection class). Photo: Robert Günther/dpa
In exchange for its large size, the TicWatch Pro offers a large range of functions and is also waterproof and dustproof (IP68 protection class).

For outdoor fans there's the Casio WSD-F30, a mixture of a smartwatch and a sports watch. It's waterproof to 50 metres and also uses dual OLED and LCD displays. Central to the watch is its GPS and map function with special modes for trekking, fishing, cycling, canoeing and snow activities. The watch will go on sale at the end of January. The price hasn't been announced yet.
For outdoor fans there's the Casio WSD-F30, a mixture of a smartwatch and a sports watch. It's waterproof to 50 metres and also uses dual OLED and LCD displays. Photo: Robert Günther/dpa
For outdoor fans there's the Casio WSD-F30, a mixture of a smartwatch and a sports watch. It's waterproof to 50 metres and also uses dual OLED and LCD displays.

Garmin displayed a new smartwatch at IFA, the Vivosmart 4, which is aimed at the health conscious. With a slim fitness tracker form, it gives the user information about their physical condition and suggests tips for exercise and training. A sleep analysis function is also available. The Vivosmart 4 will be available later in September for US$160 (RM664).
Garmin displayed a new smartwatch at IFA, the Vivosmart 4, which is aimed at the health conscious. With a slim fitness tracker form, it gives the user information about their physical condition and suggests tips for exercise and training. Photo: Robert Günther/dpa
Garmin's Vivosmart 4 is aimed at the health conscious. With a slim fitness tracker form, it gives the user information about their physical condition and suggests tips for exercise and training.

Google has also updated its Wear OS operating system which runs on many smartwatches. There are new swipe gestures that give users quick access to information, notifications and features like Google Pay.

Anyone using the Google Assistant will now also receive personalised information, hints and reminders on their smartwatch. The assistant also tells the user about features on the watch that they may not know about. – dpa