A new range of smartwatches for all budgets, and we've worn them all to see what to expect when they launch later this year
Archos is convinced smartwatches will have a place on your wrist in the near future, but doesn’t expect one to replace your smartphone just yet. Its first three concept designs, first revealed at CES earlier this month, will instead be companion products meant to compliment the handset in your pocket. We tried on all three to bring you some first impressions.
All three watches are still in development, to the point that Archos hasn’t get given them names, but we do at least know estimated prices: the budget watch will cost £49.99, the mid-range will cost £79.99 and the top-end model will cost £99.99. All three will be compatible with iOS and Android, putting notifications, media playback controls and a clock face on your wrist.
The £50 entry-level model has a 1.55in black and white display which uses memory LCD technology for low battery consumption. It’s similar in many ways to the eInk screen found on the Pebble smartwatch, with Archos estimating around two weeks of battery life from a single charge.
Stepping up the range, the £79.99 model will use a 1.8in colour touchscreen LCD display (the same one found in Apple’s previous generation iPod Nano, which will cause battery life to fall to around 36-48 hours. The strap can be swapped out for a different design should you want a change from the black seen on our demo unit.
Finally, the top-end £99.99 model will use a 1.8in curved eInk display, which makes it one of the first of its kind as far as we’re aware. The curve certainly helps the watch sit flush to your wrist, which makes it a lot more comfortable to wear than chunkier designs like the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Sony Smartwatch 2. A metal casing and glass watch face give it a premium look and feel, which is impressive given the low price.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on wearable technology throughout 2014, but with the competition mainly focused on the high-end, Archos could be in with a winner by going mainstream. We’ll find out later this year when all three models go on sale.