Barcelona has left us this year a good number of proposals for devices that are worn on the wrist (called “wearables”). It is still early to talk about a trend in the technology market, but manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony or Huawei have decided to take a step forward in this segment with the launch of new watches and bracelets that substantially improve what we had already seen the year. past. Models like the Samsung Gear 2 become a much more useful option thanks to the improvement that its autonomy has experienced. In addition, smart bracelets have also made an important niche in the Mobile World Congress spotlight and could become one of thefavorite gifts for this 2014. We review the proposals of these great manufacturers.
Samsung's new smartwatches
Although much is expected of these types of wrist devices in the future, after the first announcements of companies like Samsung and Sony last year or the continuous rumors of an Apple watch , it seems that the enthusiasm has waned quite a bit in the public for the last few months. The truth is that at the MWC the only one of the greats that has presented new smart watches has been Samsung . The Korean company has announced two new models, the Samsung Gear 2 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo. And he has made it aware of the limitations that hindered the operation of his first watch. Both the Samsung Gear 2 andGear 2 Neo maintains similar lines in their concept and design, but they make a spectacular leap in their autonomy. According to the firm, we can use these devices between two or three days of normal use without having to recharge their battery. That is, they triple the time of use that the first generation of the Gear allowed us . And they can even reach six days of autonomy if we use it occasionally. This dramatic improvement has been achieved in large part thanks to Samsung's use of its own Tizen operating system .
The other big change that we find in these devices is found in the inclusion of our own music player with which we can listen to the songs that we have stored in the memory of the clock without having to have the smartphone nearby. An important step in the independence of this device, one of the criticisms that had been leveled against the first clock. Of course, the main function of these devices continues to be to serve as a natural extension of the smartphone , transferring some main functions such as making and receiving calls, checking notifications of messages and emails from the phone or writing appointments on the calendar. . The last of the aspects that we want to highlight is the proposal of the Samsung Gear 2 Neo. A device that is fundamentally similar to the Gear 2 , but in which it has been decided to sacrifice the camera. Taking into account that it is a fairly accessory function and that its elimination allows to achieve a very light design of just 55 grams , it is likely that many users find this alternative more attractive.
Now, the true star gadget of this Mobile World Congress has been smart bracelets, one of the most popular exponents of the trend known as “wearables” ( the technology that is worn). These little wristbands have made an important niche in the presentations of the greats of technology. Specifically, there have been three names that have stood out above the others. The Samsung Gear Fit , the Sony SmartBand and the Huawei TalkBand B1 . These three models join another proposal that already arrived at the last CES in January, the LG Lifeband Touch.If you haven't heard of them by now, you're probably wondering what these devices are for. All have the clear vocation of becoming a faithful ally for the most athletes and measuring their daily physical activity, but they also include several advanced functions taken from the smartphone.
Comparison of design and screens
The three bracelets are committed to a design with notable differences between them. The simplest visually among the three is the Sony SmartBand . The Sony bracelet can easily pass for a wrist strap and works basically blind. That is, it does not have a screen as such to be able to interact with it. It is the best option for users who want an accessory that goes unnoticed . Those that do integrate a screen are Samsung and Huawei bracelets . Starting with the latter, it is perhaps the opposite point of the Sony bracelet . The Huawei TalkBand B1It makes itself seen, with a design in which the screen protrudes quite a bit from the strap and that almost becomes a smartwatch with the longer dial. The intermediate proposal of the Samsung brand with its Gear Fit. The panel on this bracelet is a remarkable 1.84 inches larger than its rivals, but is curved to fit the wearer's wrist and barely rises above the strap. It is the best option for users who want a higher level of direct interaction with the bracelet. For the rest, in the choice of each model, the tastes of each user will have a lot to do with it. Of course, in all three cases theColor has a fundamental place, since all brands will launch configurations in different colors that allow a significant degree of customization.
As we said a first moment ago, the palm is undoubtedly the Samsung bracelet with a 1.84-inch Super AMOLED panel and a resolution of 432 x 128 pixels. The Sony SmartBand does not even have a screen, while Huawei opts for a flexible 1.4-inch OLED panel that however only allows to display one line of information.
Undoubtedly, the main objective of smart bracelets is to serve as a complement for those users who tend to do sports often, or who want to maintain a healthier life. One of the basic functions that is repeated in the three models is the ability to count the steps we take thanks to the pedometer. At this point, the most advanced bracelet is that of Sony , since in addition to measuring the steps it is able to recognize if we do the exercise while walking, running or even riding a bicycle. The Samsung Gear Fit, for its part, differentiates between walking, running and going up and down stairs. In all three models, we can also measure the calories burned with our exercise.
Another feature shared by the three models is the ability to monitor sleep phases to check if we sleep adequately. Here the curious point is put by the Huawei SmartBand B1 since it has an alarm clock function that wakes up the user at the right moment of their sleep cycle. In general, the three bracelets have a fairly complete set of capabilities to record our physical activity.
Resistance to the elements
Any sports bracelet worth its salt is designed to withstand demanding physical activity . To ensure their correct operation against dust, the three wristbands incorporate IP certification. The least advanced of the three is the Huawei SmartBand B1 , with IP57 certification . The first value 5 is for its resistance to dust, which can enter the equipment but not hinder its operation. The bracelet can be immersed in water to a maximum depth of one meter and for half an hour without water entering the device. The Samsung Gear Fit improves performance with IP67 certification ,In other words, it can also be immersed in water with the same parameters and prevents any type of dust from entering. Finally, the Sony SmartBand incorporates the IP58 certification , less resistant against dust but with a greater capacity to submerge the equipment in water.
Other smart features
Regarding the smart functions of the bracelets that do not have to do directly with physical activity, we find notable differences in the different models. Thus, the functionality of the Sony SmartBand is practically reduced to the possibility of vibrating when we receive a notification on the phone. The Huawei TalkBand B1 has the advantage that it can show us incoming calls and messages in a simple way. Another curious aspect of this bracelet is that its screen is removable.Once we remove it from the strap it becomes a headset that we can use as a handsfree to receive calls from the phone that we have synchronized. Then we just have to put the screen back on the strap. An interesting and original concept.
But the most powerful model in smart features is undoubtedly the Samsung Gear Fit. The device of the Korean company is capable of receiving notifications of calls, emails, messages and some smartphone applications and displaying them on the screen. It also allows us to see the time or check the calendar to see the appointments we have made, as well as working as a remote control for the music we are playing on the phone.
Here we enter one of the most differentiating points of these bracelets. A priori, the Samsung Gear Fit is a more closed device, designed so that users who buy a high-end smartphone from the company can complete the experience with the Fit. Meanwhile, the Sony SmartBand and Sony TalkBand B1 are compatible with all Android smartphones and tablets that come within the most recent versions of this platform.
Autonomy, price and opinions
As for the autonomy of the bracelets, all have worked remarkably in this regard. In principle, the Samsung bracelet is the one that lasts the least, with three or four days of intense use, but we are talking about a team that has a much larger screen than its rivals. The proposed Sony is a time of something greater use of five days , while Huawei TalkBand is the most promising with a range of up to 6 days. In the price field, the latest information indicates that both the Huawei and Sony bracelet will be available for 100 euros. We still need official confirmation on the price with which the Samsung bracelet will arrive , although it is expected that it will be higher due to the greater power of its specifications.
And in the field of conclusions, the choice of each bracelet depends on the main use that we are going to give it. If we are sports people who want to go out for a run or do another type of activity without worrying about the gadget again until we return home and look at the phone, the most logical choice would be the Sony bracelet . Now, for users who want an intermediate step and be able to receive and make calls, the most prominent option will be that of Huawei . But for a much more active interaction and access to the most advanced functionalities, the most powerful choice will be that of Samsung .