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Garmin Vivomove
Garmin Vivomove

Watches that tell more than just time

Your next wristwatch need not necessarily have the same software as your smartphone, the way Android Wear watches and the Apple Watch do

Mention the term “smartwatch" and there is a fair chance that people will think you are referring to one of those devices that attempt to mimic a phone on your wrist; more precisely, the likes of the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear, even the Moto 360. All these smartwatches try to run some apps, serve up email notifications and even let you handle calls and messages without having to pick up your phone. But they do come with their own set of problems—poor battery life, occasionally intrusive notifications, and not the sleekest of designs.

The good news is that smartwatches aren’t the only options if you want something more than the regular wristwatch. Here are some options worth looking at.

Withings Activité Steel


Withings, which is owned by Nokia, has a watch called the Activité Steel. As its name suggests, it looks like a normal steel watch, with a pristine, high-end touch. It’s incredibly light and slim. Built into the simple interface is a lot of fitness-tracking functionality—from distance travelled and steps taken to tracking sleep patterns. Of course, most of this data is also visible on the Health Mate app (free on Android and iOS). It is the small circular dial within the main watch face that is perhaps the only visual giveaway that this is a fitness-centric watch.

Casio G’Mix GBA 400


Well before the smartwatch revolution got under way, Casio’s watches were about as geeky as they could get—with their digital watch faces, loads of buttons and additional functions that included calculators, altitude measurement and weather data. With the G-Mix GBA 400, you get all the digital geekiness that you would associate with a Casio watch, along with some music magic. You have both the digital and analogue time display, and after pairing the watch with your phone, you can listen to music on your phone through the watch itself using the G’Mix app, which allows the watch to act as a sort of remote control for the music on your phone. A neat feature is the option of identifying the music playing in your vicinity by just holding up your wrist. To a lot of users, it may look a bit bulky, but Casio fans won’t mind.

Garmin Vivomove


Garmin might be better known for its navigation devices, but of late it has been making waves in the smartwatch segment as well. At first glance, the Vivomove looks like a classy analogue watch with a traditional front dial. Take a closer look, however, and you will see two arcs on either side of the centre of the watch, one which lets you know if you have been too inactive and the other which shows the number of steps taken. The watch also tracks your sleep and you can sync data with your phone using Bluetooth. It might cost as much as some of the higher-end smartwatches, but it looks classier than most.

Timex Metropolitan+


Want a good old-fashioned quartz watch, with perhaps just a teeny bit more? The Timex Metropolitan+ is one of the best options. It comes across as a classic analogue watch with a large round dial, but a closer look reveals a couple of extra dials inside, one for Bluetooth, distance covered and steps taken, and another that indicates how much of your goal percentage you have achieved. It counts steps and distance, and shows more details on the app on iOS and Android. The interface for accessing these functions is a tad clunky but, on the flip side, you do not need to worry about charging the watch at all; it runs on a normal battery, which needs to be replaced when it runs out—usually after a year.

Titan JUXT


This was promoted as the first smartwatch from Titan, but that does not change the fact that the JUXT, for all its bulkiness, looks more like a conventional watch. The reason for this is the normal-looking watch face, complete with the minute, hour and second hands. The smartness element comes in the form of a tiny display in the centre that shows notifications from your phone—mail, messages, social networks, etc.

The JUXT is reminiscent of those wristwatches with an analogue dial and a digital display that were a rage in the 1980s. Those who want a slice of that period, with some smart elements weaved in, will love this watch.

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