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IFA 2016: Smartwatches steal the show

IFA 2016 is in full swing in Berlin and one thing’s for sure, smartwatches are stealing the show. ASUS and Samsung have both unveiled timepieces that show your phone notifications on your wrist, relaying emails, WhatsApp messages and the like, all the while tracking your activity. Meanwhile, Sony has exploded out of the box with an e-paper device that sports a screen that extends around the entire watch strap.

ASUS ZenWatch 3

Kicking off with one of the more conventional of the three though and all eyes were on ASUS on day one thanks to their stunning new ZenWatch 3. Running Android Wear, not only will the new watch be available with Android and iOS support, but it will even be able to independently connect to WiFi networks to pull notifications and services to your wrist.

The ZenWatch 3 isn’t just smart – it’s beautiful too. With jewellery grade 316L stainless steel, elegant curvature and three colour variants, it borrows more from traditional watches than any ZenWatch before it.

Further adding a real watch feel to the smart gadget is a digital crown to the right of the display as well as physical buttons atop and below it.

 

Samsung Gear S3 Classic and Frontier

Samsung also announced its new smartwatch, the Gear S3 in not one, but two flavours – the Classic and Frontier – both compatible with Android smartphones and expected to support iOS down the line.

Both versions offer a round display, like the ZenWatch 3, but they cram in a GPS and IP68 water and dust resistance, suggesting more of a focus on fitness and the outdoors.

Thanks to a rotating bezel around the display, interaction with the watch feels incredibly intuitive, and paired with support for Samsung Pay when it lands in the UK, not to mention 4G LTE connectivity on the Frontier version, it’s clear Samsung has done all it can to cram its wrist-based beauties full of smart features.

 

Sony FES Watch U 2nd gen

The final watch at IFA that’s grabbing our attention is the Sony FES Watch U second generation. Not a smartwatch in the traditional sense, this e-paper device wraps around your wrist and serves as an interactive canvas controlled by your smartphone – not a fitness tracker, email reader or phone call taker.

The smarts therefore come in the form of a monochromatic wrist and watch face that can support a virtually unlimited number of designs. These can be fired over to your watch either as downloadable designs via the Android and iOS app, or you can snap a picture on your smartphone and wear your photo on your wrist.

If you’re hoping to run out and pick one up, unlike the first two watches, the FES Watch U is only set to launch in Japan through a crowdfunding platform at the moment, but if the concept takes off, e-paper watches could be making their way to our fair shores over the coming years.

 

 

IFA 2016: Sony Xperia XZ and X Compact first look review

Find out more about the latest smartphones powering the new smartwatches in the O2 Business shop

 



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