Consumer Reports: Wearable Electronics

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013  |  Updated 1:05 AM EDT
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Is wearable technology the next big thing? Several companies now have smart watches on the market.

Is wearable technology the next big thing? Several companies now have smart watches on the market.

Is wearable technology the next big thing? Several companies now have smart watches on the market. Even Apple is rumored to be coming out with one. What do those “smart watches” actually do? Consumer Reports just took a look at two to see whether they deliver.

The Gear watch from Samsung does a lot more than your average watch. It can make and answer phone calls, for example. You can also take pictures with the Gear with a simple command. But the picture quality isn’t very good. Plus the menus are hard to use on the small screen. And there’s another drawback. At $300, it’s about twice the price of other smart watches, and it only works with one phone, the Galaxy Note III, which is also expensive.

Another smart watch, the $150 Pebble, works with many Androids and iPhones. It alerts you to calls, texts, and emails as long as you are in Bluetooth range of your phone. You’ll get a soundless vibration, and the name of the person who is texting you appears on the watch with a few lines of the text. The Pebble watch might be especially appealing to women who carry their phones in their pocketbook and don’t want to have to put out their phone every time they hear a buzz or a ring.

You can download other basic apps to your Pebble watch, including apps to turn your watch into a remote control for your phone’s camera or to track how far you run. And Consumer Reports expects more apps to be developed for the Pebble.

Complete ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

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