Smartwatches are no longer extravagant and expensive toys. There’s now one for any style or budget, making it a terrific gift for graduation or Father’s Day.
Fossil Gen 3 Q Explorist $255
The Fossil Gen 3 Q Explorist is perfect for the dad who wants a stylish and rugged watch with some added tech features. While it has far fewer apps than competing watches, the Fossil Gen 3 still makes it easy to view notifications, get news, or track steps. While it runs Android Wear 2.0, the watch will work with iPhone or any Android phone.
What really makes the Explorist stand out is its classic, stainless-steel design, which looks great whether you’re wearing it in the boardroom or on the back deck. Furthermore, you can choose from a plethora of digital face designs to make your Explorist truly unique.
Samsung Gear Sport $290
The Samsung Gear Sport offers many of the best features of the Apple Watch, but for less money, making it a great graduation gift. Although it lacks LTE support for receiving calls or texts without a phone, the Sport is still an excellent fitness tracker and gives you quick access to all the information you need. Just call up the S Health app to track your calories and steps at a glance, or set a gentle reminder to get up and move if you’ve been sitting for too long.
You can tap and pay with your Sport, as well as make hands-free calls and give limited voice commands. Spotify members will be happy to know that they can stream their favorite music or even save songs for offline use.
While the Gear Sport may lack the processing power of the Apple Watch, it outshines the competition in several areas. First is battery life — the average user can expect to go three days without charging. Spinning the bezel to cycle between apps feels a bit more intuitive than the Apple Watch’s navigation. Finally, the Gear Sport has a modern round design that just exudes cool. You can choose between a black or bright-blue finish, then accessorize with a standard watchband.
Apple Watch Series 3 $329 for base model, $399 for cellular version
The Apple Watch remains one of the premier smartwatches on the market, with a price tag to match. The Series 3 has a lot of great things to offer over older Apple models, including a powerful dual-core processor and extended one-day battery life. The vibrant OLED display is bright enough for you to check messages, read the news, or even stream movies in any light. Navigating between apps is a breeze, as you can either swipe or turn the crown. You can also give Siri voice commands if you want to open apps or search for information hands-free.
If you’re willing to pay for the cellular version, you can leave your iPhone at home and still receive calls and texts, as well as stream any of the 45 million songs in the Apple Music library (if you have a monthly subscription). The ability to go phone-free, combined with the watch’s excellent activity tracker and built-in GPS, makes the Apple Watch perfect for fitness lovers. After the workout, you can even use your watch to buy a smoothie with Apple Pay.
The biggest drawbacks to the Apple Watch are the price, the need to own an iPhone to take advantage of many features, and limited customization. However, the basic design is quite eye-catching, and you can choose between gold, silver, space gray, or black.
Fitbit Versa $199
The new Fitbit Versa is perfect for anyone who wants to focus more on his or her exercise than email. Like the standard Fitbit model, the Versa does a great job of tracking your total steps, heart rate, calories burned and sleep cycles. But the smartwatch version also allows you to watch workout videos with step-by-step instructions, listen to downloaded songs, and send quick replies to incoming messages.
Since the Versa is fully dedicated to fitness, it has 15+ exercise modes for tracking everything from hiking to weightlifting to swimming. It also works well with Apple or Android phones. The Versa’s lightweight aluminum design and affordable pricing make it the perfect hybrid sports/smartwatch.