The next big thing may be right up your sleeve — smart watches. Consumer Reports checked out six. All connect wirelessly to your phone or tablet and run loads of apps. You can monitor fitness or control the music on your phone.
They also notify you when calls, texts and instant messages come in. It’s handy to get the notifications and alerts on your watch, but with most of them if you want to make or take a call, you have to pull your phone out to do that.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is the only watch tested that can actually make a call. Two new Gear watches just being introduced can also handle calls. The Samsung watches have a lot of nice features including a camera. But Samsung watches only work with Samsung phones.
Other smart watches tested pair with any Android phone, but not all pair with an iPhone. The easiest watches pair with a simple tap. They’re ones with NFC or “near-field communication.”
Other issues: testers found some watches hard to read in bright sunlight. And some are tricky to navigate. The more basic watches don’t have a touch screen, so you have to navigate your way through their menus by pressing buttons. It’s easier to navigate with the more advanced watches. They have touch screens, and you can go through the menu just using taps and swipes.
So should you buy a smart watch? Consumer Reports says you might want to wait until prices come down. The tested watches run from $150 up to $300.
Expect more smart watches to come on the market and more big names to join in. Google recently announced an operating system for smart watches and other wearable devices. And Apple has reportedly been working on a smart watch of its own.