News & Reviews: SmartWatch
Last Updated: Dec 11, 2014
Next year may be even more eventful for the wearable industry. According to Business Korea, LG is all set to announce the successor to its G Watch R at the MWC event to be held in March 2015 in Barcelona. LG will probably stick to its traditional naming scheme, so the next version could be called the LG G Watch R2. If the rumored launch date turns out to be true, then the upcoming G Watch will have to compete directly with the Apple Watch expected to be released around the same time. Unfortunately, the source didn't mention much about the tech specs or features of the device apart from one thing - 4G LTE connectivity. Yes, the G Watch R2 may feature a 4G LTE radio, which means it could be a standalone smartwatch, much like the recently unveiled Samsung Gear S smartwatch. The G Watch R2 will be the third smartwatch from the South Korean giant till now. Given that the current generation G watch's design was well received, the company may stick with it for the next version too. However, none of these details have been confirmed, so make sure you take this news with a grain of salt.
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2014
TAG Heuer is rumoured to be releasing it's first smartwatch at CES 2015 to be held in Las Vegas. After a series of rumors that cropped up this fall, the company admitted that it was working on its own smartwatch back in September. However, at that time, company CEO Jean-Claude Biver said that the watch would only be unveiled at the 2015 Baselworld international watch show. But from the latest rumors it looks like the company may have shifted the unveiling to January next year. The source adds that there is a slight chance that the launch may happen a few weeks later, but it would still be before end of March 2015. The source further said that the watch would run on an Intel chipset. This isn't surprising given that the famous chip company has been investing a lot of money in wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the past two years. The watch is said to feature a sleek design in line with current TAG Heuer offerings, and may come with functions like a steps calculator, calorie count and a few notifications options.
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2014
Apart from the Samsung Gear S, there are other smartwatches that allow you to make calls or answer them without having to pair it up with a smartphone. The Burg 12 is one of these smartwatches and could offer users a relatively cheaper alternative, if it ever gets here in Malaysia. Recently released in the US for $199 (RM664) the Burg 12 offers a round watch face, but still uses a square 1.5-inch screen with 240 x 240 pixel resolution. Other tech specs include 4GB of storage, a 16GB microSD slot, a camera, voice recorder and both the bezel and strap can be swapped out. The Burg 12 is also splash and scratch resistant and it also works with both iOS and Android devices, if you decide to pair it up anyways. According to the developers, it has a 3-day standby battery life and 2-3 hour talk time.
Last Updated: Nov 04, 2014
In a message sent out to employees, Apple's Senior Vice President of Apple Retail and Online stores revealed that the Apple Watch will be delayed to Q2 of 2015. Initially rumoured to be coming in early 2015, the message clearly says "we've got a new watch launch coming in spring". The Apple Watch brings a new interface and premium rounded corners to the usual thick slab of touchscreen design language along with various other features. It will be priced from $350 (RM1163) so this just means you have a few more months to save up for Apple's first smartwatch device. No Malaysia release dates or pricing but we expect it to be available locally near the end of Q2 of 2015.
Last Updated: Oct 30, 2014
Microsoft recently announced their first device for the smartband category with the Microsoft Band. Compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone the Band offers mostly fitness tracking, notifications and for those Microsoft Lumia users, voice commands with Cortana. Using a flat screen in a thermal plastic elastomer (something like silicon) it also features a UV sensor, optical heart-rate monitor and galvanic skin response sensor. Tech specs include a 1.4-inch flat touchscreen wutg 320 x 106 pixel resolution, GPS and 2x 100 mAh batteries. The Microsoft Band will work with the Microsoft Health platform to help track fitness globally. According to the app descriptions, features also include a 24 hour heart rate monitoroing and automatic activity counting system, which could indicate that it will last at least 24 hours on a single charge. No Malaysia release dates or pricing details yet but it does retail for $200 (RM657).
Last Updated: Oct 17, 2014
Apple mentioned a little bit about their upcoming smartwatch, the Apple Watch. While it hasn't been released yet, it has been confirmed that the Apple Watch will be coming in early 2015. This means that you'll have to wait till at least Q1 of 2015 (rumours say February 2015) to get the Apple Watch. In the meantime, developers for Watch OS apps will get the WatchKit SDK in November 2014. Bear in mind that the Apple Watch will start from $349 (RM1146) so if you really want it, you should start saving now. No Malaysia release date or pricing yet but we expect it in 2015.
Last Updated: Oct 14, 2014
We first reported on the Blocks modular smartwatch earlier in the year but it looks like they could be coming out soon better than before. Things have been looking up for the Blocks team as they received funding from Intel and are now looking to release their first 1000 units of the Blocks modular smartwatch under an exclusive membership program. A recently released video shows that while the interlocking module design remains the same there are now a lot more modules including a round watchface, heart rate monitor and much more. Check it out for yourself in the video below:
Last Updated: Sep 15, 2014
Direct from Samsung Malaysia, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone will be coming on 19 September 2014 and will also be available with a FREE Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch. The offer is for the first 100 buyers of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone at the Samsung Experience Store in The Gardens KL, Gurney Paragon Penang and the Maxis Centre at KLCC. No confirmed Malaysia pricing yet but some retailers are offering the Samsung Galaxy Alpha from RM1899. The metal-frame Samsung Galaxy Alpha offers tech specs and features that includes:
- Octa-core Samsung Exynos processor (1.8GHz quad-core + 1.3GHz quad-core)
- 2GB RAM
- 32GB storage
- 4.7-inch display (Super AMOLED, 1280 x 720 pixel resolution)
- 12MP rear camera (ISOCELL, LED flash, 4K video record) + 2.1MP front camera
- features LTE Cat.6, WiFi 802.11 ac, MIMO(2x2), NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 BLE, Hall Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor, Heartrate sensor
- 132.4 x 65.5 x 6.7mm | 115g
- 1860 mAh battery
- available in charcoal black, dazzling white, frosted gold, sleek silver and scuba blue
- Android 4.4.4 KitKat
Last Updated: Sep 09, 2014
Sony has announced their first Android Wear smartwatch with the Sony SmartWatch 3. Designed to work with Sony's Lifelog app it can track fitness statistics, get notifications, answer calls and pairs with smartphones via Bluetooth. Tech specs include a 1.6-inch transfelctive display for good visibility in bright sunlight at 320 x 320 pixel resolutions. Other tech specs include 4GB of storage, a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM and a 420mAh battery. It comes in black and lime green with the cost being around 230 euros (RM945). As expected, there are no specific Malaysia release dates or pricing details available yet but it should be coming to Malaysia soon.
Last Updated: Sep 04, 2014
ASUS have officially announced the ASUS ZenWatch (WI500Q), confirming a curved screen, premium look and gesture-based shortcuts. The overall design of the smartwatch is definitely premium with a classy metal chassis that is both thin and shiny right down to the chrome finish. Measuring in at 50.6 x 39.8 x 7.9-9.4mm and 75g the ZenWatch is quite slim and trim. Tech specs for the ZenWatch are not bad at all with a Snapdragon 400 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a curved 1.63-inch display with 320 x 320 pixel resolution covered by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The watch has a leather strap and IP55 water resistance certification. This means that it can probably take a shower or some rain but may not survive a swim. The ZenWatch runs on Android Wear with the ASUS ZenUI user interface but we're not sure if this also means that the watch may only have 1GB of storage left due to all the ZenUI apps. According to ASUS, they have more than 100 watch faces but one of the more notable features is gesture-based system of shortcuts such as covering the watch to mute it and so forth. While there are still no Malaysia release dates or pricing details yet, early estimates have it priced at around $260 (RM823) which places it on par with other smartwatches in the country. Hopefully, the price comes down a little for it to remain competitive.