What started as a niche market with smaller players now has one of the world's biggest brands throwing its weight into the ring. Samsung's new Galaxy Gear will compete head to head with the likes of Kickstarter-darling Pebble, other startup smartwatches and Sony's sequel. Designed to be a companion to Galaxy Note 3 and newest Galaxy Note 10.1 (as well as other Samsung devices that get upgraded to Android 4.3) the Gear lets you make calls from your wrist, tracks your fitness and even has a built-in camera. But how does this gadget stack up to the rest of the field?
The Galaxy Gear will come with 70 compatible apps upon launch, and will be available in several color choices. The watch pairs to your Samsung device via Bluetooth to deliver notifications, enable phone calls, and more. It also comes with its own camera for snapping 1.9-MP photos and recording 720p video without having to whip out your smartphone.
Although the Galaxy Gear’s launch has put smartwatches in the spotlight as of late, Samsung is far from being the only manufacturer to explore wrist-worn tech. The Galaxy Gear will be met with stiff competition from both established consumer electronics players and crowd-funded startups, each offering their own unique take on the modern smartwatch.
Some wearables, like the Martian, take the luxury watch approach while others such as the Kreyos Meteor feature a more sporty, athletically-focused design. You'll also see a wide range of price tags. A high-end embellishment like the Martian or I’m Watch will cost you nearly $300, while a simplistic e-ink wearable can fall in the $110-$150 price range.
While all of the watches mentioned above share the same basic functionality, their features and use cases differ. For example, fitness junkies would be well advised to check out a waterproof smartwatch like the Pebble or the Meteor. Don’t expect to answer to make phone calls with the Pebble, though-- for that you’ll need the Gear, HOT Watch, IM Watch, Meteor or Martian.
These seven gadgets have set the stage for a burgeoning field in the tech industry, and there’s no doubt that we’ll see more smartwatches as 2014 approaches. While details on some of these devices are still somewhat sparse, the table above should get you started.