Best smartwatch 2015: what's the best wearable tech for you?

Top iOS and Android watches for 2015

Best smartwatch

The best smartwatch for 2015 is still in the offing, but that doesn't mean there aren't good options to weigh down your early adopter wrists right now.

Dozens of choices are available. A third are made by startups like Pebble, a third from rebounding firms like Motorola, and a third are from Samsung alone... in the last 30 seconds.

All of them deliver important information closer than "at hand," from texts messages to email alerts. Notifications and apps are the big difference between smartwatches and the best fitness trackers.

Yes, Apple Watch will likely change the face of digital wristwatches in the spring and Android Wear will continue to evolve new watches like LG G Watch R and Asus ZenWatch.

But, so far, here are the best smartwatches to strap to your naked wrist that, for more than a decade, has been relying on a mobile phone to check the time.

10. Samsung Gear S

The Gear S is definitely a premium-looking smartwatch if you don't mind how big it is. Instead of opting for a classic analog style like the Moto 360 or sporty analog look like the LG G Watch R, Samsung has made a rather futuristic beast, putting the Gear S in its own unique spot.

The AMOLED screen is a thing of beauty and the Tizen OS runs surprisingly well. However apps are extremely limited at the moment.

Samsung Gear S

You'll also need a compatible Samsung phone to use the watch. The calling and texting features the Gear S is most famous for also come at a high cost.

You'd have to shell out the $350 (£329, AU$449) for the Gear S plus whatever price for a compatible smartphone, then pay an extra data fee. Without the data plan, you're stuck with a huge, uncomfortable smartwatch which will run off of Wi-Fi.

The Gear S made the list purely because it functions well enough for what it's made for and has loads of potential... but only if you're willing to pay the price.

9. LG G Watch

The LG G Watch was the very first Android Wear smartwatch we donned at Google IO 2014, and we continued to wear it for months even with its square-shaped design and plastic build. That's mostly because the battery life gave us a solid day and a half between charges.

That made it easier to swipe through all of the contextual Google Now notifications, texts and email alerts beamed to our wrist. It also eased the battery usage of our Android-connected LG G3 because we could see these messages and the current time via the always-on display.

Best smartwatch
LG G Watch is boxy, but has passable battery life

LG G Watch gave us the best insight into Android Wear in July, but it's very much a device for wearable diehards. It looks like a computerized plastic wristwatch and the default rubber strap is a dust collector. We're also not a fan of the the buttonless design and proprietary charging cradle to turn it back on.

Of course, many of these faults have been corrected with the LG G Watch R, making this version the first edition of an Android smartwatch fit for early adopters - plus it's now one of the cheapest around.

8. Sony SmartBand Talk

The light frame makes the Sony SmartBand Talk very comfortable to wear day in, day out without discomfort.

At $169.99 (£130, AU$199) you're paying a bit for technology that is less than cutting-edge. The price will probably drop before too long, though, which should make the Talk easier to recommend.

Sony SmartBand Talk

Fairly small, light and comfortable, the design isn't flashy but it works. You can also get more colourful straps, if the choice of a black or white watch just isn't jazzy enough for your tastes. It's the screen that you should really take note of though.

Unlike the LG G Watch and Moto 360, the Sony SmartBand Talk uses an e-ink display. It's just 1.4 inches across and offers resolution of 296 x 128. You do get three days of battery life from the tiny 70mAh battery, but we were hoping for a few more considering its limited functionality.

7. Samsung Gear Live

Samsung recycled its boxy smartwatch design when it made the Samsung Gear Live, but that was enough to make it our favorite Android Wear watch early on. That's because it conformed to the wrist with curves lugs, making it better than the black slab that is the LG G Watch.

Gear Live also sneaks in a so-so heart-rate monitor, a smaller (though still proprietary) travel charger and a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display with a superior 320 x 320 resolution. Intelligent Google Now notifications made it worth owning over non-Android Wear watches if you couldn't wait for the more stylish Moto 360.

Best smartwatch
Android Wear advantage: Samsung Gear Live features curved lugs at the top and bottom

Of course, now that Motorola and LG's circular watches are out, it only serves as the boxy alternative if you have something against rocking the iconic round design of the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R.

Samsung is known for outdating its own products with quick refreshes, but this may be its only Android Wear smartwatch until MWC 2015 in March. And even then, the South Korean electronics giant may stick to making Tizen watches like its Samsung Gear S.

6. Pebble

The Kickstarter favorite that started it all is still relevant among its smartwatch imitators. That's because the plastic Pebble watch has functionality that's identical to the Pebble Steel and a lot of the same specs too. It's just in cheaper, bulkier plastic housing with more color options.

Offloading texts, email alerts and every other smartphone notifications to the wrist has never been easier thanks to Pebble's black-and-white 1.26-inch e-paper LCD. It's also both iOS and Android compatible.

Any Apple or Google smartphone with Bluetooth 4.0 syncs just fine. Water, at a shallow enough depth, is also compatible with this 5ATM resistant smartwatch.

Best smartwatch
Pebble is the oldest smartwatch on the list, yet it still ranks at No. 4

Pebble's new price is $99 (£99, about AU$114), making it cheap among computerized watches. It does look more like a toy on the wrist, but Pebble delivered on its Kickstarter promise and is up to 4,000 apps, something that gives Android Wear and Apple Watch a real challenge.

It's not without its limitations however. You can only load eight apps on the watch at a time, notification management isn't as slick as Android Wear and it doesn't have the same feature set as a lot of its rivals.