Samsung, Motorola, Asus, and Huawei Announce New Smartwatches

For the most part, 2015 has been the year of the Apple Watch with some Pebble sprinkled in. That may change with this week’s announcements with a trio of new Android Wear Watch families from Motorola, Asus,and Huawei and a new Tizen-based entry from Samsung. The announcements coincide with another announcement that Android Wear devices would be gaining compatibility with the iPhone. Let’s take a look at the new watches.

samsung-gear-s2

Samsung Gear S2

The Gear S2 is Samsung’s latest entry into the wearable space. Unlike other members of the gear family, the S2 features a round body which is very watch-like. It comes in two flavors, the S2 with a more modern flair and the S2 Classic for those who want traditional watch styling. Whatever flavor you choose, the features and specs are the same. It runs Samsung’s Tizen OS giving them more control over the platform than allowed under Android Wear. It also allows tighter integration with the Korean device giant’s skinned Android phones.

The AMOLED screen is 1.2 inches and round with a 360 x 360 resolution. That equates to a near-Retina 302 PPI. The CPU is 1.0ghz and dual core. If you were looking for smaller version for more petite individuals, you will not find it here. Its one size fits all, with the exception of whether you want 3G connectivity or not. There is 512mb of memory and 4GB of RAM. All in all, its pretty standard for a mainstream smartwatch.

What sets it apart is its integration with Samsung’s services including Samsung Pay with the watch’s NFC chip. If you’re more invested in Samsung than Android or iOS, this is a strong contender. If not, the next family of watches may be for you.

2015-moto-360

A Family of 4 Moto 360s

For all intents and purposes, the 2014 edition of the Moto 360 was the Android Wear device by which all others were judged. This year’s model looks to carry on this tradition. The 2015 Moto 360 comes in two sizes: 46mm and 42mm with the 42mm coming in both Men’s and Women’s versions. The previous version only came in the 46mm variant. The new Moto 360 is slightly thinner at 11.4″, but not by much. The original Moto 360 had a 320 x 290 pixel display and this has been given a small boost in resolution to 360 x 330 in the 46mm version and 360 x 325 in the smaller size. The single core Cortex A8 SoC has been replaced by a Quad-Core Snapdragon 400. The battery is bigger and Moto promises 2 days battery life. Overall, its a fairly hefty upgrade over 2015. The 2015 Moto 360 is also fully customizable in Moto Maker for a custom watch designed for the wearer.

There’s also a second Moto 360, the 360 Sport. Also running wear, the 360 Sport is designed for those with active outdoor lifestyles. It features a rugged enclosure that will definitely not be welcomed in a black tie affair, but feels right at home in a Kayak. The sport has it own built-in GPS and associated software allowing the wearer to know exactly where he or she is. It display is very interesting being designed to reflect direct sunlight to make the display more visible than a traditional LCD display.

The 2nd Gen Moto 360 will start at $299 and go up from there. It’ll ship later in September. The price and release date for the Sport is TBA.

zen-watch-2

Zen Watch 2.

Also coming in on the sequel path is the Zen Watch 2. This new watch may be the best overall value in Android Wear watches. The Zen Watch 2 is square in design and comes in a pair of sizes. You can add 3 colors: silver, gold, and gunmetal grey and several watch bands. The Zen Watch aims to bring traditional watch styling into the 21st century and like the Apple Watch, it makes use of the crown for the interactive experience.

The Zen Watch 2 comes with 1.63″ and 1.45″ screens with a 320 x 320 resolution.. Specs are similar to the Moto 360 with a Snapdragon 400 CPU, 512mb of RAM, and 4GB of storage. Those are roughly standard for an Android Wear Watch. What isn’t is the price. The Zen Watch 2 starts at an insanely low $129.

huawei-watch

Huawei Watch

Huawei is not known for being a premium watch in the west, but the Huawei Watch may change this. The Huawei Watch tends towards the more premium end of Android Wear watches. It has a 400 x 400 1.4″ AMOLED display. The Hauwei watch has very traditional watch styling and comes in 6 distinct variants. However, non of them in a smaller size.

The base Huawei watch starts at $349 and goes up to $799 for a gold plated version.

Source: Samsung, Google
spacer-2

Motorola Announces Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and New Moto G

Motorola has reemerged as a leding smartphone maker ever since the orignal Moto X hit the scene in 2013. The Second Generation Model in 2014 raised the bar even further. Now Motorola isn’t just breaking the bar, its shattering it with not just one , but a pair of new Moto X phones. They’re also bringing a brand new Moto G for the table with them. Let’s take a peak.

Moto-X-style

Moto X Style

If you wanted everything good about the 2014 Moto X in Phablet form with a QHD screen and 64-bit CPU, your wish has been granted in the form of the Moto X Style. The screen is a 5.7″ LCD display in 2560 x 1440 Quad HD. This is rather curious since previous Motorolas and the Moto produced Nexus 6 have employed Super AMOLED screens instead of LCDs. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 808 MSM8992 CPU. This 64-bit SoC pairs two High end A57 Cores with four low end A53 cores. It also has Quadcomm’s Ardeno 418 graphics processor. Essentially its a Snapdragon 810 with two less A53 Cores. The SoC is paired with 3GB of ram The case is 153.9 x 76.2mm with a curved back from 6.1 to 11.06mm in depth. It weights 179 grams. The styling is very reminiscent of the previous two Moto X phones, but with more metal accents including a metal strip down the center and back for the camera and log. The phone also has a water resistant coating.

The most improved part other than the screen is the cameras. The back uses a 21mp sensor with a f/2.0 lens part capable of shooting 4k video at 30fps or Full HD 1080 at 60 frames. Its also capable of shooting 120FS slow mo and Video HDR in both 1080 and 4k. It also has a phase detect auto focus and dual color flash. If previous Moto cameras were lacking, this seems first class at first glance. The front camera is also rather impressive with a 5mp sensor with 1.4 micron pixels and also a f/2.0 wide angle lens. It also has a flash, slow motion, and a night mode. In man ways, the Moto X style’s front camera is more impressive than the rear camera on the original Moto G. Selfies and video chat is no longer a second class citizen. Sound is also upgraded with front facing speakers.

The rest of the IO is up to date with 802.11AC with MIMO, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.1 LTE is up to cat6 and the phone supports up to 14 different brands. In fact, Moto says the Pure Edition of this phone will work with every carrier in the US. There are two disappointing aspects of the Moto X Style. First, while there is an ultra fast charging mode called Turbo Charging, it still uses a Micro USB connector instead of USB-C. Second, despite Google adding native support in Android M, there is no fingerprint sensor in the Moto X Style.

Pricing & Availability

The Moto X Style in its pure addition form will ship this September for just $399. It will come in two standard models, 18 different Moto Maker backs, and 7 different accents. This version will come with pure Android and Motorola has promised you can use on any carrier, not just the two GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile. It’ll come in 16, 32, or and 64GB versions, but you can also add up to 128GB of MicroSD. Pricing for carrier versions was not disclosed.

Moto-X-Play

Moto X Play

The Moto X Play is the midrange option. It features a 5.5″ 1080 display though Motorola does not disclose wither its LCD or AMOLED. The phone borrows much of its look and features from its badder brother. The Chip is powered by two quad core 64-bit CPUs in a Mid-Low configuration with two sets of A53s and 1.7 and 1.0 ghz. It has 2GB of ram and Qualcomm’s Adreno 405 GPU. It has the same 21mp camera as the Style, but without 4k capability, and also a 5mp sensor up front, though not with the bells and whistles. It also features NFC, AC Wireless, and BT 4.0. LTE is provided on 10 bands. Like other Moto phones, the Play has a pure Android experience.

Pricing & Availability

The Moto X Play will be available pretty everywhere other than the United States. Not initially at least. Curiously that also includes Canada whose wireless networks are designed for interoperability with the US. It’ll come in 16 and 32GB version and like its big brother will also handle up to 128GB of mSD expansion. Motomaker versions will have 14 different backs and 7 accents. Colors will depend on market.

Moto-G-2015

Moto G 3rd Generation

The third announcement is Motorola’s step up from entry level, the 2015 version of the Moto G. While its a very affordable phone, its got some features that were high end not long ago. It features a 5″ 720 HD screen, again Moto doesn’t say which type. At 294 PPi, this is very close to being a retina-type display. The phone is featuring a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 SoC with a quad core A53 CpU at 1.4ghz and a Adreno 30 CPU. The phone features a camera similar to the other two Motos in features, but with a 13mp part instead of 21. The front camera is 5mp and is also feature packed. Its even more water resistant than the others with a IPX7 rating. The Moto G now features standard LTE in 6 or 7 bands depending on the mode. What it is missing are the front facing speakers, NFC, and AC Wireless. Despite that, this is a lot of phone for the money.

Pricing & Availability

The 3rd Gen Moto X is $179.99 and shipping now. It comes in the black/ white standard colors and is now open to Moto Maker. It’ll come in two sizes: 8GB with 1GB of ram and 16GB with 2GB of RAM. Both can take up to 32GB of mSD storage.

Source: Motorola
spacer-2

Tech Hangout #64 – The IFA Recap

Introduction

  • Kelly Guimont
  • Hal Sherman
  • Paul Gans
  • Andrew Rouch
  • Patrice Brend’amour
  • Ben Roethig

Topic

Samsung announces Note 4, Edge, Gear VR

2nd Gen Moto X, G

More Smart watches then you throw a stick at

Sony turns your phone into Mirrorless camera

New (underwhelming) Nokias

Acer Announces $149 full Windows tablet.

Drone video of Apple’s white building in front of Flint Center

Apple: Test Flight and new iTunes Connect released before Tuesday event

Picks