Product Reviews

5 Alternatives to the Apple iWatch That Are Already Available

Matt Smith 05-03-2013

apple iwatchRumors that Apple is developing a smartwatch have caused a wave of new interest in this relatively small and obscure market. What is a smartwatch? Do they already exist? What can they do?


These are questions that have been asked by others – and answered. A handful of companies (from small start-ups to the biggest electronics companies on the planet) have already crafted these devices and will sell you one right now.

I’m Watch

apple iwatch

I’m Watch is the Italian sports car of watches. It’s beautiful, it’s expensive, and it’s designed in Italy. Even the most basic version retails for $449, but if you’ve got money to burn, you can order the watch in white gold with diamond accents – for just $19,990! Yes, really.

Underneath the shocking price is an impressive piece of hardware. The tiny device boasts a 1.5” LCD display, 400 MHz single-core processor, four gigabytes of flash storage and Bluetooth connectivity. Android 1.6 is the operating system of choice, though it’s been customized for the small, square display. The watch supports Android 4.0/4.1 8 Cool New and Revised Features in Android 4.0 Ice-Cream Sandwich It’s a new year, and we have a new version of Android. Known popularly by the code name Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 is an important update to Google’s mobile operating system. It will be... Read More and iOS  4 or newer.

If you’re not impressed by the specifications, remember – this is a very small device. Compared to the other smartwatches on the market, the I’m Watch is a rocketship.



apple iwatch information

Pebble is the child of one of Kickstarter’s The Gadgets And Games Of Kickstarter: February 19th 2013 Edition Each Kickstarter is its own drama representing the hopes and dreams of at least one person. Will it succeed? Will it fail? Will it become a media sensation? It’s impossible to know before the money... Read More most dramatic success stories. Its creators posted their project hoping a modest response and were promptly overwhelmed by a flood of money that forced them to completely re-think their business. Now, after many delays, the Pebble is available.

Simplicity is Pebble’s main feature. Instead of using a color LCD it relies on a black-and-white eInk display. This keeps the watch affordable (prices start at $150) and ensures it can be used outdoors. Pebble also boasts up to 7 days of battery life. Compatibility spans Android 2.3+ and iOS 5 or newer. Other features include Bluetooth, an accelerometer and a vibrating motor.

Despite its low price, Pebble may be the most practical watch listed here. The low price, long-lasting battery and easy-to-read display make the watch unobtrusive and versatile.


MetaWatch Frame and STRATA

apple iwatch information

MetaWatch is another start-up that has found traction with Kickstarter. The company currently ships two watches, the Frame and the STRATA.

The difference between the pair is mostly aesthetic. The Frame has a sleeker, more professional look while the STRATA is chunkier and more playful. Inside the hardware is the same with one minor difference – STRATA is rated to resist water better.

Both watches feature a 96×96 black and white LCD display, Bluetooth, vibration for notification and an accelerometer. This puts it roughly on par with Pebble, though that competitor offers a larger display and a higher display resolution. The Frame and STRATA can pair with Android 2.3 or newer, but Apple fans must have iOS 6.


Pricing is a bit higher than Pebble, unfortunately. You’ll have to lay down at least $179.99 for STRATA or $199 for a Frame.

Motorola MotoActv [No Longer Available]

apple iwatch information

I bet you didn’t know Google has already made a smartwatch. Thanks to the wonder of business acquisitions, it’s true. Google owns Motorola, and Motorola makes the MotoActv.

This smartwatch has already been on the market for about two years, and it offers some impressive features. The display is a 176×200 1.6” LCD with automatic super-bright outdoor mode that is protected by Gorilla Glass. Other features include Bluetooth, an FM Radio and GPS.


MotoActv isn’t built for just anyone, however. It’s meant for outdoorsy types who want to access smartphone features while literally on the run. As such, its features are geared towards that purpose. The interface focuses on fitness rather than social networking (though you can use Facebook and Twitter) and the watch is a bit bulky for everyday use. Though originally retailed for over $200, some online stores now sell the entry-level 8GB model for $130.

Oh, and it only supports Android. Athletic Apple owners will have to make do with something else.

Sony SmartWatch

apple iwatch

Sony is one of the biggest electronics companies in the world, yet very few people know about the smartwatch it’s had on the market for nearly a year. Even the company’s own website seems uncertain about the details.

Surprisingly, Sony’s option is the least expensive on the market. Amazon currently has it listed for $125. What does it do? Smartwatch stuff. You can receive notifications synced from your smartphone, play music or quickly check your email (good luck, as the display is small) but that’s about it. Like MotoActv, the Smartwatch can only sync with Android phones.

The other options on this list will probably serve you better. But if you want to try out the concept, and you want to spend as little as possible, then Sony’s SmartWatch is the way to go.


The smartwatch remains immature. No one is yet sure what the device is best used for, or how to best build one. Should battery life be a priority? Or is a color screen a requirement? What should battery life be? How big should the screen be? All of these questions are unsettled.

Apple could release a new product that converts the smartwatch from a niche product with uncertain qualities into the next must-have gadget. Or they could never release anything at all. Give one of these alternatives a try while you’re waiting to see what Cupertino’s engineers may or may not be working on.

Would you wear one of these, or the new Apple watch (assuming one ever comes out)?  What priorities do you think a smartwatch should have? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Najeeb Khan
    March 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Nice watches

  2. ssammoh
    March 9, 2013 at 3:29 am

    6. a normal watch
    7. a friend who has a watch

  3. R Michael Lacy
    March 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I like the idea and one would be useful to me, but the short battery life is a concern for me.

  4. Rehab Engineering
    March 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Wouldn't this just be a 6G ipod nano? I always wondered why they didn't use that tiny screen for some installable basic sorts of "apps". I think it already has a clock face screen and it seems the right size. Apple is all about taking what they have a repacking it in similiar "revolutionary" forms IE: the board inside the iphone is the ipod and is the ipad - all basically the same part in different packages.

  5. Arron Walker
    March 6, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Not a fan of the iWatch idea - it's just going to be a huge cash in for Apple. I can already imagine the premium price tag T_T

  6. Tony Batty
    March 5, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Boy, I got my Sony Smart Watch in India and brought it back home to Belize and I use it a lot, you can download the apps for it from Android Market to make Calls from your favorite list, Answer Calls, Deny Call, see Missed calls, Read SMS, Read Emails, GPS Status, Read Facebook, Read/Notification Gmail, Play music Slide show, Calendar, Weather, Change Ring mode, Find Phone (only 20 feet away from phone). But it works for me whilst driving no need to take out phone to see who calling, u can answer with a click on the watch touch screen or deny call or hang up.
    Not a paid ad or ad for Sony just a satisfied customer

  7. Garris Rago
    March 5, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I don't like the idea of smartwatches, personally, just the way they look.

  8. Burhanuddin Ahmad
    March 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    is great for those information. and all so get free software,
    So thanks to given change to use app otherwise yes great.

  9. Pat Lamb
    March 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm
  10. jayadrathsingh
    March 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I am having I'm Watch but i think that it should have a wifi that will make the watch more independent and also there is a need for better battery options. As most of these watches only works with android and iOS devices only as only they supports bluetooth tethering but there is also a need to decrease the price of such watches as 450$ for I'm Watch is also a big price to pay, and today many smartphones are available cheaper than this price.

  11. Guy McDowell
    March 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    The idea of a smartwatch seems so cool! Especially for those of us who know who Dick Tracy is, but in practice watches in general seem to be going by the wayside.

    I used to feel naked without a watch on and now I can't stand wearing one! Even though I find myself drooling over expensive watches. I think it would take something truly revolutionary to make a smartwatch a success.

    • Matt Smith
      March 6, 2013 at 1:34 am

      Which makes me wonder what Apple is actually going to show. It can't be as simple as a watch with a small screen and iOS apps, that's just not going to fly.