uying a smartwatch as a gift


The smartwatch market is still in its infancy, and as tech companies and traditional watchmakes alike scramble to capture the interest of would-be buyers, consumers have almost too many options.

Do you opt for the high-priced wrist candy advertised by Apple as the Tiffany of wearable tech, or do you wade into the world of a hundred notifications and apps that typify Android-powered devices? The choices can be daunting, especially if you’re rushing to get a holiday gift for the techie in your life.

But fear not: The following is all you need to know about buying a smartwatch in late 2015.

Good: Pebble Time Round

Price: $249.99

Why we like it: Pebble’s smartwatches are those rare devices that appeal to both techies and mainstream users alike. The Pebble Time Round shows the company can still impress even with the Apple Watch and Android Wear taking up space on the same store shelves. With fun interface animations, a price lower than most smartwatches and a watch face that will blend in with most analog watches, the Pebble Time Round has a lot going for it over alternatives. Simplicity, long battery life and a break from the dominant mobile platforms — what more could you ask for?

Who it’s for: The Pebble Time Round is admittedly an outlier in the smartwatch market, but an incredibly flexible one. Whether you’re on Apple or Android, the Pebble will sing your song. It’s perhaps not as cheap as it should be, but it’s still more affordable than most of its competition.

Goes great with: Literally anything from the normcore fashionista’s temple: the Gap, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, etc. If you like your tech subtle and nearly invisible, Pebble Time Round will be your jam.


Better: Samsung Gear S2

Price: Starts at $299.99

Why we like it: If creating a smartwatch that, at first glance, appears to be an analog watch is the goal of many smartwatch makers, the Tizen-powered Samsung Gear S2 is easily the winner at this point. You get all the power of a smartphone-linked notification hub in a sneakily normal looking watch case. However, the design is just futuristic enough to remind you that you are, in fact, wearing a connected device on your wrist. The bezel interface, which you turn like an analog watch’s, is also one of the most ingenious smartwatch design choices we’ve seen in recent years.

Who it’s for: If you own a Samsung smartphone, and you have no interest in switching to any other kind of phone, this is hands-down the best smartwatch you can get. If you need more convincing, take a look at Samsung’s incredibly cool commercial for the device, which wins for the ad most likely to make you think you need a gadget that you’ve never heard of before.

Goes great with: Since wearing this smartwatch essentially declares your allegiance to Samsung, it wouldn’t hurt to go even further with a pair of the company’s excellent Level headphones.


Best: Apple Watch

Price: Starts at $349

Why we like it: On virtually any aspect — from software to materials to design — the Apple Watch easily bests its competition. Like many Apple products, a lot of love went into the design, and the strength of Apple’s iOS platform means the app selection and experiences are an order of magnitude better than elsewhere. So even though on the pricey side, it’s hard not to love the Apple Watch once your get it on your wrist.

Who it’s for: The Apple Watch isn’t just for early adopters — it’s also attractive to fashion lovers. Apple’s push in outlets like Vogue and with designers like Hermes has given the device the air of fashionable luxury. It’s still a version 1.0 products, but it’s also the best smartwatch money can buy.

Goes great with: Pretty much anything, assuming you can afford anything after paying for one of the more desirable, higher-priced models.