Top 10 Innovative Smartwatches That Are Excellent Alternatives To The Apple Watch

An exceptional smartwatch can really transform your everyday life. Since we can honestly use them for everything – sometimes for everything except telling the time! They go beyond simply telling the time, these multifunctional timepieces can now keep a check on our health, update us on the weather, function as an alarm clock, give reminders, cater to the blind, and even function as a case for your AirPods?! Designers are coming up with smartwatches that not only provide perfect form and functionality but also manage to look super smart when we wear them. The options are endless, so to help you pick a smartwatch that works best for you, we’ve curated a collection of innovative and cutting-edge smartwatches that will cater to everyone’s unique time-telling needs and requirements, and also totally deserve to be on your wrists.

1. MSI Gaming Watch

Meet the MSI Gaming Watch – it works as a watch and a gaming PC! It is a conceptual design that pays tribute to the detailed and stunning innards of the most advanced gaming rigs. The watch features fans, graphic cards, and a motherboard – all scaled down to a compact and nifty size. If you look properly at the fans, you’ll notice tiny hands telling you the time. The innovative MSI Gaming Watch isn’t simply all show and no tell, it truly has a lot to offer. It is designed in the MSI dragon red theme.

2. Ksana

Ksana is a unique smartwatch with an electric display that is completely visible but can be shrunk down into a smaller circle that covers the middle section of the watch. The smartwatch uses E Ink display technology instead of the typical LCD or OLED screens on smartwatches. This makes the smartwatch more battery efficient, and it also displays essential information, without any of the unnecessary distractions created by animated graphics or colors.

3. Watch Pro 2

CMF by Nothing announced the Watch Pro 2 with a radical design change. The sophomore watch features a circular screen instead of the rectangular display seen last year. The choice is an interesting one since CMF will have to redo its complete UI and OS to complement the new display shape. However, the watch will now feature detachable bezels which gives the redesign a reason. The detachable bezels may play a role in the watch’s OS as well.

4. WearPods Smartwatch

WatchOut has designed its own version of a smartwatch with concealed earbuds on the sides. Dubbed the WearPods Smartwatch, this watch is designed for Gen-Z who want to try out new ideas and gadgets to cater to an upbeat lifestyle. The smartwatch charges the earbuds inside, and they’re quite compact which ensures the form factor of the squarish watch is also pretty compact. It features a 48.5 mm dial with symmetrical chopped edges.

5. Rabbit R1 AI Watch

Called the R1, a walkie-talkie-like device was displayed at CES 2024. It was designed by Rabbit in collaboration with Teenage Engineering. The AI-assisted smartphone inspired designer Alisher Ashimov to convert the design into a nifty AI watch. The watch was created to eliminate the need to carry an additional device in your pocket. It serves as a wearable with enhanced portability.

6. Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 Enduro

Called the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 Enduro, this smartwatch is really quite attractive, and a great choice for those who want a sports watch that can keep pace with their lifestyles. It features a dual display technology, amped with a regular AMOLED screen underneath a low-power display. You can switch to the duller screen on top, if you need to save battery, without cutting down on the tracking features. It also has a color-changing ability which can be used to represent your heart rate.

7. Polar Vantage V3

 

Designed by Polar, the latest Vantage V3 smartwatch is a classier and more sophisticated successor to its 2020 Vantage. V2. The novel smartwatch is created for athletes and amped with interesting features such as the Polar Elixir biosensing tech, and a large aluminum bezel that offers support for the 22mm wristbands. The Elixir biosensing suite features an improved OHR tracking sensor, skin temperature sensor, wrist-ECG, and an oxygen saturation monitor.

8. VOIXATCH

Named the VOIXATCH – meet the first smartwatch with its own built-in Bluetooth headset. The VOIXATCH is forming a universe where watches and earphones coexist in a close-knit ecosystem. Here one product serves and functions as your phone, eliminating the need to pull out your smartphone. It is equipped with LTE and GPS, its own SIM card slot, Google voice assistant, a battery life of 48 hours, a heartbeat sensor, and a gyroscope.

9. Withings Smartwatch

Called the Withings Smartwatch, this stunning watch features a luxurious sapphire-glass casing. The cover features an anti-reflection coating, and the rotating bezel is in stainless steel. Much like a real diver’s watch, the Withings smartwatch has a bezel with laser-engraved markings that display the standard codes of diving practice. The watch also has Lumoniva hollow watch hands, indicators, and indices.

10. The Nubia

Called the Nubia, this innovative smartwatch features an impressive 4-inch display that can be smoothly wrapped around the upper portion of your wrist. In comparison to other smartwatches, the Nubia has a relatively big display, and it has been created to present information in a manner that is easy to access and utilize, irrespective of the angle of the smartwatch.

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Nomad 65W AC Adapter has a genius way to charge your Apple Watch and AirPods

It’s almost a fact of an Apple user’s life that owning one product means owning two or three others or even more. iPhone owners are more likely to own AirPods or even an Apple Watch than any other earbuds or smartwatch brand, which does mean they often need accessories that support all two or three. That’s particularly true when it comes to chargers, which is why many Apple-compatible products come in a 3-in-1 design. Unfortunately, those often come with bulky designs to make space for devices, especially where wireless charging is supported because of the space the charging coils take up. This new 65W AC Power Adapter from Nomad, however, has a rather creative solution to that space problem, especially when you need to quickly charge your Apple Watch or even your AirPods.

Designer: Nomad

With so many people owning more than one electronic device, power adapters that have multiple USB ports are a common sight these days. Even Apple eventually launched a dual USB-C charger, though it ironically doesn’t have enough power to support charging multiple Apple devices at the same time, at least not when you have iPhones and iPads and more. Thankfully, there’s a thriving market for third-party accessories, leaving plenty of room for outside-the-box designs like the new Nomad 65W Power Adapter Apple Watch Edition.

As the name says, this particular power brick is designed with Apple’s smartwatch in mind, and it charges it in a rather unique way. The top of the charger is actually a wireless charger that supports not just the Apple Watch but also some AirPods with cases that support wireless charging. For Apple Watch Series 7 and later, it can even do fast charging, so you’ll be off to the races in no time flat.

That’s not the only notable feature that it has, of course. The Nomad 65W AC Adapter features two USB-C ports, each giving the full power output if used on its own, and that’s enough to even charge a MacBook Pro or fast charge a MacBook Air. If used at the same time, however, the top USB-C port indicated with a blue accent will push out 45W of power, leaving the lower port with only 20W.

Best of all, Nomad’s AC charger is nearly half the size of Apple’s official charger thanks to GaN technology. This makes the adapter a great traveling companion, and its creative design will let you easily charge your Apple Watch on a bedside wall socket, no additional charging pads or cables required.

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Apple Watch X Leaks: 10th Anniversary Edition Rumored to Feature Larger Display and Magnetic Band

Apple is gearing up to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its iconic wearable, and anticipation around the upcoming Apple Watch Series 10, or possibly Apple Watch X, is building. This milestone edition is rumored to bring significant updates and design enhancements, as suggested by recent leaks and renders from 91mobiles.

Designer: Apple

One of the most notable changes, as highlighted by 91mobiles, is the larger 2-inch display, the biggest ever on an Apple Watch. This new screen size is set to exceed the 1.93-inch display of the Apple Watch Ultra and the 1.7-inch display of the Apple Watch Series 9. According to the renders, the dimensions of the Series 10 are approximately 46 by 39.7 by 11.6 mm, making it larger than the Series 9 but still smaller than the Ultra.

Source 91mobiles.com: Apple Watch Series 10 CAD render

Another intriguing rumor is the potential redesign of the band connection system. The Apple Watch Series 10 might introduce a new magnetic band attachment system, replacing the current slide-in mechanism. This change could free up valuable internal space, possibly allowing for a larger battery or additional components. However, the CAD renders from 91mobiles do not show clear evidence of this new band attachment system. If it does make its way into the final design, the magnetic connection could contribute to a thinner overall watch.

Source 91mobiles.com: Apple Watch Series 10 CAD render

Despite these possible changes, the renders suggest that the Apple Watch Series 10 will maintain several familiar design elements. The iconic square display, digital crown, and side button appear to stay in their usual places. This consistency ensures that while the watch may evolve, it retains the recognizable aesthetic that has become synonymous with the Apple Watch brand.

Source 91mobiles.com: Apple Watch Series 10 CAD render

Adding to the excitement, WWDC 2024 introduced several new features we look forward to seeing in the Apple Watch Series 10. One of the most anticipated is the enhanced mental health monitoring capabilities, which will offer users a more comprehensive view of their well-being. Another is the advanced sleep tracking feature, providing detailed insights and personalized recommendations for improving sleep quality.

The upcoming watchOS also promises better integration with Apple Fitness+, bringing more guided workouts and real-time metrics directly to the wrist. A redesigned Siri interface, now more intuitive and responsive, will make interacting with the watch easier and more efficient. Finally, the new low-power mode is expected to extend battery life significantly, a welcome improvement for users who rely on their watch throughout the day and night.

While these leaks and renders from 91mobiles provide an exciting glimpse into the potential features of the Apple Watch Series 10, it is essential to approach them with caution. The actual design and features will only be confirmed with the official announcement, expected to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 16 series in September.

As Apple continues to innovate and refine its wearable technology, the Apple Watch Series 10 promises to be a significant step forward. It will combine a larger display, potential new band attachment system, and familiar design elements with the exciting new features announced at WWDC 2024. Fans and users eagerly await the official reveal to see how these rumored enhancements will translate into the next generation of the Apple Watch.

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Top 10 Essential Apple Watch Accessories Every Smartwatch Owner Should Have

Do you own an Apple Watch? Cause I do, and it is honestly one of the handiest devices I own. Today, the Apple Watch is considered one of the most popular smartwatches globally, and it’s not a surprising fact when you consider the number of people you see walking or jogging on the street with their Apple Watch smartly strapped around their wrists. And, if you’re someone who absolutely cannot do without their Apple Watch, then this collection of innovative and nifty accessories is for you. From an iPod-shaped cover to bands made from plant-based leather – these super cool accessories are a must-have for Apple Watch lovers.

1. RSTR Case

Called the RSTR Case, this beautiful transparent crystalline case for your Apple Watch is designed to be shown off. Created by Golden Concept, the case converts your Apple Watch into a lovely shimmering jewel that you can wear on your wrist. It is available in four pretty colors and is made using 50 meticulously engineered parts. Crafted from stainless steel, the home and action buttons are bigger than usual and more accessible.

2. tinyPod

Dubbed the tinyPod, this little design wraps up your Apple Watch in a case, and it looks exactly like the iPod! the tinyPod is a perfect replica of an iPod, except that it also has a colored screen. You can control the Apple Watch via an authentic click wheel, however we’re unsure how it manages to do this. But, this is quite an important little detail, as Apple Watch’s digital crown cannot be accessed in this new and innovative form.

3. ErgonBand

This ergonomic Apple Watch accessory may look a little ridiculous and funny, but it is quite functional. The band is designed to be more of a strap, and it resembles those thumb or hand braces used by athletes for protection. The Apple Watch is strapped into place utilizing clips that feature standard lugs, and placed below the joint of your thumb. The location was chosen as this allows the screen to be visible without the need to twist your wrist.

4. Pod Case

Designed by Joyce Kang and C.O Design Lab, this is the Pod Case that gives your Apple Watch a nostalgic touch. It introduces the watch to its ancestor which kickstarted the apple craze. The watch’s screen almost matches the screen size of the classic iPod Nanos, while its body is just a little thicker. The Pod Case is built from silicone, and it smoothly slides over the Apple Watch’s body, providing it with a refreshing yet nostalgic throwback.

5. Y24 Apple Watch Cases

This collection of luxurious and aesthetic Apple watch cases is actually quite price-friendly. They draw inspiration from the lifestyle of Tokyo and are designed by Y24. Each watch design captures the cool and charming vibes of Tokyo and converts that fascinating culture into interesting accessories. The cases have been designed to elevate and upgrade the young generation’s style, providing them with a unique and one-of-a-kind identity, without altering Apple’s originality or personality.

6. NightWatch

Named the NightWatch, this Apple Watch dock features a massive curved glass element on the front, which interestingly magnifies the screen. You can place your watch behind the massive lens, and it seems to enlarge the watch screen, increasing the visibility. It can transform your charging smartwatch into an innovative bedside click. It can even enhance your watch’s audio, which makes your alarm more audible.

7. Wristcam

Dubbed the Wristcam, this little device gives your Apple Watch the ability to click pictures all by itself! It features a front-mounted 8MP camera which can shoot images in 4K resolution, while also recording videos in Full HD. It has a selfie camera which can be used for video calling, or for live streaming. It is amped with 8GB of storage, as well as a long-lasting battery that can support a day’s worth of shooting and fun. It is water-resistant up to 1 meter as well.

8.(Re)Classic Band

Designed by Native Union, the (Re)Classic Band for Apple Watch is a cruelty-free Italian leather-inspired band. The unique band is built from repurposed mycelium, which is basically fungal threads that cover long distances underground. Mushrooms grow and bloom from these fungal threads. It forms a plant-based leather which is also one of the many all-natural resources used in the synthesis of Yatay by Coronet.

9. hardgraft Collector’s Watch Case

This artisanal leather product is called the hardgraft Collectors Watch case. It is designed to store your smartwatch in style and elegance. It has a soft Alcantara lining on the inside and is pretty padded. The exterior is made of vegetable-tanned Italian leather and a scratch-free zipper. It has a round compact form, which makes it portable and pretty easy to carry around. You can pick from three elegant color options – Classic, Coal, and Off Grey.

10. 2-in-1 Apple Devices Charging Stand

Designed by Taesung Yoon, and inspired by the daily sunrise, this is the 2-in-1 Apple Devices Charging Stand. The design does exactly what its name implies. It is created using feedback from data-driven research, and what people truly want from their unified Apple charging stand. It is the perfect integration of form and functionality and features a vertical stance with a slightly arched top which holds your iPhone comfortably without letting it topple over.

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tinyPod turns the Apple Watch into a tiny iPod for nostalgia and then some

The iPhone might be Apple’s one and only portable music player today, but it’s far from being its most iconic. That prestige belongs to the original iPad (not the Nano nor the Touch) whose design, like any other Apple product, was hailed for its beautiful minimalism and unique interface, a design that many have dared to copy even today. Of course, the iPod is now just a footnote in history, but there are still a few who want to relive those glorious days of the past in a way that makes a bit of sense in the present. That might be the idea behind a mysterious new accessory that seemingly revives the iPod but, rather than create a completely new device, it reuses a strapless Apple Watch instead.

Designer: tinyPod

The OG iPod was genius in its simplicity. It provided quick and easy access to dozens of functions with an innovative “click wheel” physical control that avoided overloading the user with buttons and menus. Of course, these days it’s just as easy to peck at the iPhone screen with your finger, but a smartphone brings along other sorts of complications and distractions that go beyond the simple joys of listening to music. At the same time, a dedicated media player no longer makes sense these days since it would be yet another device to buy and maintain in addition to a phone, a tablet, and a smartwatch.

tinyPod seems to be trying to solve both problems by enclosing the Apple Watch in a case that is almost like a perfect replica of an iPod, except for the fact that it has a colored screen. What makes the case more interesting is that, at least based on a teaser video, you can actually control the Apple Watch using what looks like an authentic click wheel. It’s not yet known how it manages to do this, but this will be an important detail since the Apple Watch’s digital crown is inaccessible in this form, so you’ll need some other way to navigate through watchOS without always touching the screen.

The accessory is advertised to deliver an experience that’s like “your phone away from your phone,” which refers to the “watered-down” version of an iPhone that an Apple Watch offers. You can listen to and control your music without having to pull out your phone, but unlike the iPod, you can do so much more as well, like watching YouTube. In a way, it’s sort of like the middle ground between a “dumb” portable media player and a full-blown smartphone.

What little we know about tinyPod through a simple teaser still leaves many questions unanswered. You can probably keep this in your front pocket or even hang it around your neck, but it loses many of the health-related features that the Apple Watch is famous for in those situations. It’s also unknown how Apple will react to such an obvious copy of its iPod design, which could mean the device will be short-lived. Either way, we just have a month or so to wait for all the details to drop for this Apple Watch-powered iPod throwback.

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This 10th Anniversary Apple Watch Concept comes with a camera, edge-to-edge screen, and TouchID

Apple is rumored to be planning something special for the 10-year anniversary of the Watch this September (quite like the iPhone got the iPhone X), although nobody really knows whether it’ll be a seismic leap like the iPhone X introducing the notch. Designer Luka Gehrer, however, designed what he believes to be the ideal evolutionary stage for the Watch’s 10-year anniversary. The Watch X comes with a few upgrades that make it even more unique than the Watch Ultra – Gehrer outfits it with an edge-to-edge screen, a hole-punch camera (which could easily function as a dynamic island), a blood pressure monitor built into the watch strap, and TouchID integrated into the crown. In doing so, Gehrer doesn’t just make the Watch better, he practically makes it a miniature iPhone… which is totally something Apple’s done before, turning the iPad into a miniature MacBook!

Designer: Lukas Gehrer (Wordsmatter.io)

For Gehrer, the watch is basically an extension of his phone, with added health benefits. You can answer audio calls on your watch, read messages on it, so why not accept FaceTime calls too? The Watch X sports an 8MP shooter on the front, thanks to a screen cutout (Apple would probably never do this), but as a compromise, Gehrer also pushes the screen to its limits, practically making a bezel-less display with edge-to-edge pixels. The result feels familiar but different, with a rather visible hole in the display that conveniently gets hidden by gradient watch interfaces that go dark as they approach the edges.

The camera serves as a crucial element for enabling FaceTime on the Watch X, but also allows you to occasionally click selfies or record videos or vlogs. I’d imagine the hole punch could easily serve as a dynamic island too, but dynamic islands on smartwatches may be a little too much too soon.

The Watch X (10th Gen) also gets a casing upgrade, with Gehrer opting for a squarish case design instead of the obvious curved case. Designed as a hat-tip to the iPhone 15, the case has flat edges, and a brushed metal finish reminiscent of the iPhone 15’s Titanium outer casing.

The presence of a camera also creates safety concerns, which is why the Watch X is the first to be outfitted with TouchID built right into its crown. Mimicking the TouchID found in the iPad Air’s power button, this adds a layer of security to the Watch X, ensuring that not everyone can access all of the watch’s core features.

In an unusual twist, the Watch X’s strap also gets is first sensor. The new Blood Pressure sensor on the strap sits on the front of your wrist under the palm, and comes based on a rumor from famed Apple leaker and analyst Mark Gurman of Bloomberg.

Apple’s iPad event ended with quite a flair last week, and Apple is gearing for WWDC soon. However, there’s a lot that’s planned for the September event. Quite a few Apple products need a refresh this year, although it’s pretty much set in stone that the September event will see newer versions of the iPhone, the Watch, and probably even the Watch Ultra. One can only speculate what the Watch 10th Gen will look like, but until then we’ve got this concept giving us dreams of being able to FaceTime on an Apple Watch without relying on the Wristcam strap from years ago!

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Beyond Telling Time: How the Apple Watch Redefines Modern Wearables

Apple Watch Ultra 2 + iPhone 15 Pro

Welcome to Wristwatch Wednesday, my weekly column on Yanko Design, where I delve into the captivating world of watches. If you’re new to our publication and have noticed a plethora of Apple-related articles, rest assured, our editorial team casts a wide net, covering a diverse range of design-focused products. Our reviews and feature articles span across technology, sneakers, home appliances, everyday carry items, and so much more.

Designer: Apple

This inaugural column seems only fitting to kick off our discussions with the world’s best-selling watch – the Apple Watch. According to a report from AppleWorld.Today, since its launch in 2015, Apple has sold an estimated 229.3 million Apple Watches. Note that these sales figures are estimates and have not been confirmed by Apple. By any standard, a product that surpasses 100 million units in sales—a milestone Apple reached several years ago—can justifiably be called the world’s top-selling watch.

However, my intent with this column goes beyond discussing sales figures. Instead, I aim to explore the design and features of these watches that have captivated the likes of celebrities, Formula 1 drivers, and even esteemed figures like Mr. Wonder from Shark Tank. The reasons for strapping on this wrist-sized computer vary. For instance, my wife primarily uses her Apple Watch to keep track of time and notifications. Despite having cellular service activated, I’ve rarely seen her initiate a call. Yet, there have been instances where her iPhone was misplaced, and the watch served as her only means to take incoming calls. A feature that my kids and I, and yes, even my wife, have found incredibly useful is the ability to ping the iPhone when it’s misplaced.

Before delving deeper, let’s briefly discuss the specs and design of the Apple Watch. In my experience, the Apple Watch performs flawlessly without any noticeable hiccups or performance issues. As for the design, its iconic squarish shape may not appeal to everyone, but it’s something users have come to accept. Personally, I don’t have a preference one way or the other. However, I must say I appreciate the ruggedness of the Watch Ultra, which I still wear. I haven’t seen a compelling reason to upgrade to the Watch Ultra 2, especially when the regular versions in aluminum or stainless steel are also available. The fact that Apple managed to incorporate materials like titanium and sapphire crystal, along with a plethora of features, into this tech marvel, all at a reasonable price point, continues to astound me. That being said, the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2, each exceptional in its own right, showcase unique design attributes and features catering to diverse user requirements.

The Apple Watch Series 9 exudes a chic, versatile aesthetic, making it an ideal accessory for everyday wear. Its finishes include aluminum and stainless steel, with a color palette that offers Pink, Midnight, and Starlight for the aluminum cases and traditional Gold and Graphite for stainless steel. On the other hand, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 prioritizes durability and outdoor utility, embodied in an aerospace-grade titanium case that highlights its hard-wearing nature and premium appeal for more extreme conditions.

The size and weight of both models reflect their respective design principles. The Apple Watch Ultra 2, larger and heavier at 49mm in height and 61.4 grams, is designed to withstand outdoor activities. The Apple Watch Series 9, meanwhile, presents a more compact profile with heights of 45mm and 41mm and lighter weights starting from 31.9 grams for the smallest aluminum model, providing a less intrusive presence for day-to-day use.

When it comes to features, both models are built with the S9 SiP, a 64-bit dual-core processor, underlining Apple’s dedication to high performance across its products. However, the Ultra 2 takes a step ahead with specialized features such as a depth gauge, a water temperature sensor, and an enhanced always-on retina display with brightness up to 3000 nits, providing superior visibility in outdoor settings compared to the 2000 nits of the Series 9.

Both models offer a broad spectrum of health and wellness features, including heart rate monitoring and ECG. However, the Ultra 2 broadens its scope to outdoor sports and adventures with additional sensors and activity profiles. This includes in-depth support for diving, precision GPS for explorers, and durability enhancements such as improved water resistance up to 100 meters and dust resistance, making it more resilient against harsh environments compared to the more lifestyle-focused Series 9.

Battery life is another differentiating factor; the Ultra 2 offers up to 36 hours of regular usage and an impressive 72 hours in Low Power Mode, a substantial improvement from the 18 hours offered by the Series 9. This aligns with the Ultra 2’s design for prolonged activities and expeditions where charging might be infrequent.

All in all, while both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 share core technologies and a commitment to health tracking, the Ultra 2 targets users who require robustness and expanded functionalities in challenging environments, whereas the Series 9 caters to everyday users with its stylish design and enough tech to meet routine health and connectivity needs.

For someone like me, who often travels for work (such as working out of our office in Japan or on a photography junket in Iceland with Olympus), having reliable connectivity is vital. Both Apple Watch models provide cellular options, ensuring constant contact with family or emergency services, wherever your work or adventures take you. This peace of mind is invaluable, especially in remote locations or during unforeseen situations.

The safety features in both watches, including Emergency SOS and international emergency calling, become crucial in such situations. For example, if you’re photographing the northern lights in a remote icy landscape in Iceland and encounter a dangerous situation, the Apple Watch enables you to call for help swiftly. Similarly, when navigating through the busy streets of Tokyo, these features ensure you’re never truly isolated, even in an unfamiliar urban environment.

For families, these watches offer more than just communication. For elderly parents, the fall detection feature can alert you if they have a severe fall, triggering an SOS if they are unresponsive. This reassures you that help can be solicited even when they’re alone.

For young children, the Apple Watch can serve as an efficient tracking device. If your kids are walking to school or attending a playdate, the GPS functionality combined with cellular connectivity allows you to check their location at any time. It’s like having an extra pair of eyes, ensuring their safety when they are out of sight. With the Apple Watch Ultra 2’s enhanced durability and the Series 9’s streamlined comfort, there’s a suitable option for every family member based on their needs and lifestyle.

The Crash Detection feature of the Ultra 2 is especially advantageous for users across different age groups, from young children to the elderly. For example, if a child is involved in a school bus accident, the watch is capable of detecting the severe crash and automatically initiates contact with emergency services. Similarly, it provides reassurance for elderly drivers, as the watch can detect if they’ve been in a severe car accident and automatically call for help. Speaking from personal experience, having spent a decade test-driving cars for SlashGear in remote locations such as on the side of the Alps or the challenging driving conditions in Peru, having this feature offers me a sense of security. I’m reassured knowing that in an unexpected event, I have a better chance of receiving help promptly, thanks to the Apple Watch Ultra 2’s Crash Detection feature.

My passion for watch collection began with the brand Panerai, largely due to its simple mechanism for swapping out the bracelet or watch strap. It’s a feature that led me to spend more on the straps than the watch itself. My experience with the Apple Watch is similar. Its clever design enables a quick strap change with just one button push, making it suitable for various activities or occasions, which enhances its appeal. Since the introduction of the Watch Ultra, I’ve invested more in straps than the watch itself. Interestingly, I’ve found my ultimate favorite – the 45mm cypress solo loop. To me, it’s akin to donning a tailored Italian wool suit. My fondness for the green strap has led me to stockpile size 7 for winter and size 8 for summer. The watch and strap together create an uninterrupted loop when on my wrist. The convenience of putting on and taking off the watch is comparable to slipping on a bracelet. The beauty of the Apple Watch is its versatility; you could purchase a variety of straps to cater to your taste or simply choose one strap that fulfills all your needs.

Before wrapping up this lengthy article, I’d like to shift focus to the health functionalities that are particularly significant to me. Sleep tracking is paramount due to my inconsistent sleep schedule, often caused by collaborating with colleagues across different time zones. Having the ability to track multiple time zones simultaneously is nothing short of amazing. Therefore, having the Apple Watch track my total sleep duration and, more importantly, the quality of each minute I spend resting provides invaluable insights into whether I’m getting sufficient rest.

Monitoring my heart rate and heart rate variability are also vital aspects of my health tracking routine. These metrics can provide insight into my overall cardiovascular health and my body’s response to stress and recovery.

Interestingly, one feature that I find surprisingly useful is the activity reminder. I often become so engrossed in my work that hours fly by without me taking a moment to stand up and move around. While it may seem mundane or obvious, the reminder to get up and take a short walk is incredibly important. It helps break up periods of prolonged sitting, which can contribute to various health problems.

It’s true that the Apple Watch won’t last an eternity like a Rolex or even a $50 Casio; Apple has packed enough features and future-proof the watch to allow you a sufficient length of time, which, in my opinion, yields a pretty good ROI. The need to upgrade or buy a new watch every year, two or three years, isn’t necessary unless you decide you want to change things up. As for me, I wear the Watch Ultra 90% of the time while my Rolex Pepsi gets around 5% wrist time, and yes, I do give my wrist a rest from wearing nothing.

If you enjoy this column, you’re invited to return every Wednesday at 10:20AM PDT for my weekly Wrist Watch Wednesday feature. If there are topics you’d like me to cover or watches you’d like to see reviewed on Yanko Design, you can find me on X: @Nguyen or threads.net: @vincentnguyen.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 could return to an old 2014 design

Smartwatches are undergoing a bit of an identity crisis at the moment. Although the likes of the Apple Watch have cemented their image as wearable health monitors, smart rings have started to steal the spotlight and threaten their position. After all, if you could keep track of most of those health metrics and still wear your favorite stylish watch, you’ll probably ditch the smartwatch in a heartbeat. Some smartwatch makers, especially those from luxury brands, have decided to just call it quits, while others are trying to come out with new features that smart rings can’t match or fresh designs to interest buyers. Samsung might be of the latter camp, with rumors of its impending return to a square design that could end up looking like an Apple Watch imitation.

Designer: Samsung (via SamMobile)

Although Apple’s square smartwatch design has probably become iconic by now, the first generation of smartwatches that predated the Apple Watch all had a blocky shape. That was more due to the limitations of display technologies at that time rather than a deliberate design choice. The first round smartwatch, the Moto 360, was actually infamous for its “flat tire” screen precisely due to that technical reason.

That didn’t help the cause of smartwatch brands that were trying to appeal to buyers. It may have not exactly been the shape itself but the way the smartwatch bodies looked bulky and clunky that turned people away from an accessory that aimed to replace stylish and luxurious timepieces on your wrist. Fortunately, that industry did get the hints and round smartwatches became almost the de facto design, especially after fashion and luxury brands started playing the game.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

According to an insider report, Samsung might be shifting the design in the opposite direction, embracing a square design instead of the round watches it has been carrying for years. It’s not that Samsung hasn’t done square smartwatches, just that it hasn’t done those since the Gear 2 and Galaxy Live from 2014. It’s unknown whether Samsung will implement that change in the Galaxy Watch 7 or if it will wait for another iteration. Presuming, of course, this scoop is correct.

The Apple Watch and its many clones have proved that square doesn’t have to be boring, and Samsung might indeed be aiming for such a visual appeal. It won’t come as a surprise, however, if the next Galaxy Watch ends up looking like an Apple Watch, which is sure to earn the ire of long-time fans and the ridicule of critics. Then again, it could probably do worse and adopt the exact same design as its 2014 smartwatches, which, besides being square in the idiomatic sense, is also very flat, also in the idiomatic sense.

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Ergonomic Apple Watch band puts the smartwatch on the back of your hand

We wear watches on our wrists because that’s been the standard design of wristwatches, hence the name, for decades or even centuries. It’s a more convenient design compared to the classy yet antiquated pocket watches, but that doesn’t exactly mean they’re the best design available. For some people, that design can actually cause some pain in the wrist whenever you have to lift your hand and turn it so that you can see that time. That action is perhaps even worse with smartwatches, considering how often you have to do that to see not just the time but other information and notifications as well. That’s the kind of design flaw that this odd-looking Apple Watch “band” tries to address by simply moving the smartwatch from the back of your wrist to the back of your hand.

Designer: ErgonBand

The appearance of this Apple Watch accessory looks a little ridiculous, at least until you hear the reasonable explanation behind its design. The band, which is actually more like a strap, looks like one of those thumb or hand braces that athletes use for protection. The Apple Watch, sans the straps, is locked in place using clips that utilize the standard lugs and is placed below the joint of your thumb.

This location isn’t based on a whim but on how it makes the screen almost always visible without having to twist your wrist. At least that will be the case for people who need to see the watch face while holding something or with their hands swinging in front of them, like athletes doing training or people exercising. In fact, this kind of ergonomic design was made exactly for sports uses, though that doesn’t stop it from being used by anyone interested in a different way to wear a smartwatch.

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While the theory might does sound plausible, there might be a few practical hurdles to such an ergonomic design. For one, waking up the Apple Watch is often done using that twisting gesture, so you’ll have to resort to actually touching the screen or pressing a button to turn on the screen. That defeats the purpose of not requiring your other hand just to glance at information quickly, which ironically makes it a bit less ergonomic in the process.

The other issue is that this kind of band might get in the way of using your hand for other things, especially ones that could make the strap dirty. Most of us are probably unused to wearing such a strap, so there will be some awkwardness and discomfort at the start. The hand-stitched leather material does try to make it a little bit comfortable and stylish, but that might also raise concerns about using it for intense workouts and sports activities. The ErgonBand is admittedly a curious attempt at solving this ergonomic problem, but it might remain just a curiosity rather than a solution that Apple Watch owners can rely on.

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This $39 MagSafe Charger is like Apple’s AirPower Mat on performance-enhancing steroids…

If anything, the AirPower Mat did manage to achieve one remarkable thing – it pushed the idea of having one wireless charging solution for all of Apple’s devices. The AirPower Mat may have failed in this particular venture, but it did lead to multiple third-party manufacturers making their own version of a 3-in-1 charger. Now, INVZI is showing that there’s a way to make them even better. With a shapeshifting design and a MagSafe feature to align your phone, the INVZI MagFree Transform is easily the most impressive 3-in-1 charger I’ve seen. Use it flat like a charging mat, or swivel its halves to turn it into a charging dock. The MagFree Transform also routes more power to your devices than traditional chargers, juicing their batteries faster… and the kicker, its $39 price tag makes it a whopping $110 cheaper than the Belkin BOOST↑CHARGE™ PRO 3-in-1 charger that’s available on Apple’s own website.

Designer: INVZI

Click Here to Buy Now: $39 $69 (44% off) Hurry! Only 41 hours left.

The two simple ways to look at the MagFree Transform are as A. a flat charger that’s easy to carry, and B. a shapeshifting versatile charger that juices your iPhone, Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. Individually, those are great features. Together, however, they make a formidable combination that sets the MagFree Transform apart as a perfect pick for charging both at your table as well as on the go.

Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the MagFree Transform’s design is the swiveling detail that allows it to go from mat to stand in under a second. Relying on an angular cut and a swivel joint, the MagFree Transform gets its name from its ability to literally shapeshift between one of two formats. In the mat-shaped format, the charger lets you easily rest all your gadgets down on its horizontal surface, but swivel it into a dock and it puts your smartphone on display, allowing it to snap into place thanks to a MagSafe detail in the charging ring. Meanwhile, the AirPods and Watch charge at the back, away from your view. The MagSafe ring supports both vertical and horizontal docking methods (with the latter activating the iPhone’s StandBy always-on screen.

Convenience aside, the MagFree Transform also outputs a total of 23W across all its charging zones, helping ‘rapidly’ juice all your devices. The primary charging coil outputs 15W to charge your iPhone faster than traditional 7.5W or 10W wireless chargers, while the coil for the Apple Watch maxes out at 5W, and the AirPods coil at 3W. Sure, this doesn’t compare to the kind of fast-charging speeds offered by wired chargers, but for a sleek wireless charger, the MagFree Transform sits at the top of its ladder.

It can simultaneously charge three devices at the same time, whether in mat or standing mode. A USB-C port on the back lets you hook your MagFree Transform to any power source (like an outlet or a power bank) so you can charge anywhere, whether it’s on your workspace or at your bedside. Heck, at that $39 price point, I’d probably buy multiple units just to keep in different parts of my house. The only thing missing is a USB-C out that would allow you to connect your charger to an iPad or any other device for wired charging too. However, the MagFree Transform focuses strictly on wireless charging, which is a kind of commitment that I can respect.

 

The MagFree Transform supports Apple’s StandBy feature during charging.

Measuring 8 inches in length, 3.2 inches wide, and 0.59 inches thick, the MagFree Transform is just marginally bigger than a Plus/Max iPhone. It weighs a paltry 100 grams, making it incredibly easy to slip right into your bag or backpack to carry around with you, and comes in two color choices – white or black, with the ability to attach (and even swap) vegan leather veneers on top to cushion your gadgets and give the MagFree Transform a classy and distinct look.

Each MagFree Transform charger starts at a discounted $39, and also includes a 30W GaN charging brick along with a 3.3ft USB-C cable in the box. An additional $10 will either get you a soft-shell case to carry your charger and its accessories, or a set of those aforementioned vegan leather covers to customize your gadget. The MagFree Transform ships globally starting April 2024.

Click Here to Buy Now: $39 $69 (44% off) Hurry! Only 41 hours left.

Click Here to Buy Now: $39 $69 (44% off) Hurry! Only 41 hours left.

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