Top 5 Smart Watches of CES 2013

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If you visited CES for the first time this year, you'd be forgiven if you thought you had wandered into a jewelry show by accident. It seemed like everywhere we turned we saw watches, but none of them were simple timepieces. From the I'm Watch with its custom version of the Android operating system to the COOKOO's simple analog design, each of these devices pulls data from the Internet and brings it to your wrist.

Wondering whether the boss sent you an email or your wife sent you a private Facebook message? No need to pull our your phone. There's a watch for that. These are the five best smart watches we saw at CES 2013.

I'm Watch ($389)

The most high-tech watch of the show is also one of the best looking. With a stunning matte aluminum chassis that also comes in titanium or gold and your choice of sleek, colorful bands, this product looks like it came from Milan, because it did. I'm Watch is the first product from Italian start-up I'm Spa and, though the company began shipping products last summer, the watch has been updated with a fresh UI and the ability to add apps.

The Italian watch comes with a custom version of Android that uses your phone's Bluetooth connection to grab your email, Facebook messages, texts and tweets so you can view them at a glance. The I'm Market is filled with additional apps you can use to improve your experience, from a metronome that keeps the time for you to a flashlight app for lighting your way. The watch also uses your phone's Bluetooth connection to make calls with its speaker and mic, but in our testing, the audio was too garbled to hear.

Available on imwatch.it, the I'm Watch is available today with a starting price of $389 for the aluminum model.

More: New I’m Watch Tested: Bluetooth Agony, Email Ecstacy

Martian Watch ($249)

It may look like an ordinary analog watch, but the Martian Watch will make you feel like a sci-fi hero every time you strap it on. Like Dick Tracey, you'll make crystal-clear calls directly from your wrist, and get SMS, weather and other alerts on the Martian's small LED screen.

Like Michael Knight talking to K.I.T.T., you'll use the Martian Watch to interact with your favorite digital assistant,whether that's Siri on the iPhone or Google Voice on Android handsets. Finally, like Tom Cruise in "Minority Report," you'll use gestures to control your environment as you shake your wrist to deny an incoming call.

Partially funded by Kickstarter, the Martian Watch will start shipping to early backers in March. Models range in price from $249 to $299.

More: Martian Smart Watch Makes Calls, Sends Voice Commands to Your Phone

COOKOO Connected Watch ($129)

A wristwatch first and a smart device second, the $129 COOKOO reminds us of a swatch, with its vibrantly colored silicon bands, luminous hands and hour markings. To keep you up to date, the device uses an Android or iPad app along with low-power Bluetooth to find out when you have incoming calls, upcoming appointments or new Facebook messages.

However, there's no digital display on the COOKOO to show the text from your messages. Instead the face has a set of lights built in that light up when you get an alert, much the way gas and oil lights appear on your car's dashboard. By keeping things simple, the COOKOO not only looks great, but lasts 9 or 10 months using a normal watch battery.

More: COOKOO Smart Watch Lasts 9 Months on a Charge, Uses Status Lights

Pebble Watch ($150)

Like the I'm Watch, the Pebble gives you alerts from your email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS and other accounts, but this device uses a low-power ePaper screen that provides improved sunlight readability and up to 7 days of battery life on a single charge. Even better, because of its low-power usage, the screen remains lit at all times, displaying the digital watch face of your choice.

Water-resistant up to 5ATM, the Pebble is available in five fashion colors, including Jet Black, Arctic White, orange, gray and, our favorite, Cherry Red. Backed by Kickstarter, the $150 watch will start shipping to early backers at the end of January, with others receiving units thereafter.

More: Pebble Announces First Ship Date, Demos ePaper Smart Watch

Si14 WearIT Sports Watch

Another Android watch from the developers who worked on the original I'm Watch, WearIT focuses on fitness but offers a host of lifestyle-friendly features. To help you stay fit, the WearIT has ANT connectivity so it can pair with external heart monitors, blood glucose meters and other health-related devices. Timer apps and a GPS maps app help you keep track of your running progress.

Even if you're the ultimate couch potato, the WearIT has plenty of features to keep you occupied, including music and video playback, social media updates and the ability to install apps on top of its Android 4.1 operating system. Though it's in the prototype staqe right now, Si14 hopes to unveil a final version this spring, which will likely be sold under its partners' brands.

More: Si14 WearIT Brings Android 4, Health Monitoring to Your Wrist

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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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8 comments
  • jason Says:

    nice blog

  • Porga C Says:

    CooKoo watch seems best of all. I really do not need another android device on my wrist when I have phone in my pocket. But CooKoo watch and notifications seems fine. Besides, its battery lasts for a year (at least they say it does).
    Price seems good, so I am very close to buy it.

  • Gus Says:

    I did owned a I'm Watch for a couple of months, and no APP actualy works on it, it's a real scam and a useless piece of crapp.

    DO NOT WHAT SO EVER BUY a I'm Watch or any product related to it ! Waste of time an $$$

  • dcbStudios (Daniel) Says:

    To be honest, I've been doing a lot of research on the whole Smartwatch/Watch Phone bit. And from what I've seen the spectrum is starting to fill...slowly...but surely. Currently I'm using the Sony Smartwatch, and so far, it hasn't disappointed. It's currently, and as far as I know, a Android-only smartwatch, using updates bluetoothed from your smart device to the watch. The Play Store has a large array of apps available for it; RSS Feed, Messaging (sending and receiving), Email (so far GMail is the only one I'm using, haven't gotten the Yahoo setup to work through IMAP setting), Weather, Battery life of the device connected, Contacts, Facebook, and Twitter to name a few. The battery life on it isn't like the LG Watch Phone which boasts over 200 hours, but gets a full day in, would love more settings for the actual watch itself (light dimming, timeout, etc.).

    I've seen the list of watches available and coming out...from the I'm Watch, the Pebble, The LG Watch Phone, The Samsung Watch Phone, Martian, and all of the ones in between. Currently interested in the W/ME Band that tracks neuro to give you a mood ring/health diagnostic, as well as updates from social media and incoming messages. The list doesn't seem like it's going to slow down as tech shrinks, and becomes more organic (bendable, and possibly connected to our own tissue and sensory), the question is really what you want out of the watch. Do you really want to spend over $200, if the most you want is just a "Hey, you have a message", or do you want all the social, news, weather updates and beyond?

  • EyeBrawl Says:

    I'm watch is a major scam. Stay away people. U will never receive it after u have paid in full

  • Anthony P Says:

    The Cookoo watch article is filled with little inaccuracies. There is no Android app (yet) but there is an iPhone app (not a dedicated iPad app). The notifications are also not really lights like the easy to see oil or gas lights in a car. They are more like icons that are either blinking or off, but they're not lit up. You won't notice them glowing on your wrist for example, you'd have to actually check your watch face to see what has come in. The advertised battery life of the button cell is 12 months, depending on how often you get notifications and whether you enable the motorized vibration, the audible beep, both or neither. As the makers of the Cookoo watch add functionality to their app and fix the connectivity issues that have been plaguing their customers, I can only imagine the battery life getting progressively worse. More notifications from things that are currently not supported (such as emails and SMS) will only drain the button cell quicker. Yes you don't have to charge it every week or two, but you'll have to buy and replace the battery every 6 months or so.

  • Daniel Says:

    HA! you actually thijnk that the I'm watch is any good? Android police specifically said that it was "a $400 brick of failure that you strap to your wrist"

  • Bryan L Says:

    I am enjoying my new CooKoo watch. I was a kickstarter backer. I think it's a good looking watch, and it's working just fine. Very minor connection issues, but usually no problem.