One of the things that people love about Android is its open-source ecosystem. Because developers and companies can do their own thing, you get plenty of features that are normally not present in closed-source software.
That being said, because of its open-source nature, you have plenty of options to choose from when you have an Android device.
So, if you are looking for a smartwatch, read further as I will go over some of the best smartwatches to buy right now if you have an Android smartphone.
Best Android Smartwatches
1.Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
When you talk about the Apple Watch, you will see a device that has amazing integration with iPhones and other iOS-enabled devices.
Well, if you just look at the name of the product, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 may have better integration with Samsung’s mobile phones, but it is actually a well-rounded product that you can pair up with any Android device.
A good smartwatch is one that can last a really long time and that is what this device can offer. It can last up to 5 days with moderate to heavy use and that is pretty amazing for a smartwatch that can do a lot.
As you can tell by the name, this watch actually gives you the ability to track different physical activities and sports such as running, cycling, swimming, training, and so much more. It also has built-in GPS and you can track other metrics by using its companion app.
Another good thing about the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is that it allows you to read notifications and promptly reply to messages if you receive any. It has a small screen, though, so for people with large hands, this could be an issue.
Now, even though this thing can pair up with any Android smartphone, keep in mind that if you have a device other than a Samsung phone, you will have to download three apps for this thing to work.
Other than the said inconvenience, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the best smartwatch for the Android ecosystem.
2.Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Another amazing product from Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a newly released smartwatch from the esteemed Android smartphone manufacturer.
It runs on TizenOS which is the company’s proprietary operating system but I am happy that it is easy to use overall.
Unlike other smartwatches where you have to swipe the display to get through the different options and menus, you can navigate your way through by using the rotating bezel. In my experience, this is much better as you can get through the menus much quicker than using the display.
The aesthetics of the watch are quite amazing. It doesn’t look sporty which means that you can use this even in a formal event.
You have two options: a 41mm variant and the 45mm variant. The size options are important to consider because the bigger one has better battery life compared to the smaller form factor.
It supports WiFi, LTE, and Bluetooth so connecting this device to your phone will be easy (of course, you have to download the same number of apps as previously mentioned).
Because this is a relatively new product, this thing costs a whopping $400. However, if you have the money to spend, I think that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is worth it.
3.Fitbit Versa 2
Google has announced this year that it is going to buy the company, Fitbit, and in the future, it might have better integration with the Android ecosystem. But, that is a topic for another time.
The Fitbit Versa 2 is one of the most popular in the company’s product stack. It has a square-shaped screen that can display a lot of useful information, such as how many steps you’ve taken, what activities you want to track, and so much more.
I love the fact that it can now integrate with Spotify as I am able to skip tracks and play my favorite music quickly and easily just by using the wearable device.
This does use Google’s WearOS operating system and for what it’s worth, it is actually pretty good.
My only complaint about this otherwise good product is that its battery life can only last up to 18 hours with moderate to heavy use.
Still, at $200 down from its original price of $300, I would consider this a good purchase.
4.Skagen Falster 3
Not a lot of people are fans with the common look of smartwatches and if you want a wearable device that looks stylish, then this next recommendation is the right one for you.
The Skagen Falster looks elegant and you can proudly wear this no matter what event you go to. The good thing is that the straps are interchangeable and all you have to do is choose a 22mm strap and you’re good to go.
It has a waterproof design so you do not have to worry about using this on pouring rain or if you are working out (though you must wear the appropriate watch strap if you want this to be durable enough during intense workouts).
It also comes with GPS and a heart-rate monitor which are perfect technologies to use if you want to track your running record or progress when you are doing some physical activities.
The Falster 3 uses the Google WearOS operating system and it does last more than 24 hours on moderate use.
If you want a stylish smartwatch, the Skagen Falster 3 should be in your shortlist.
5.Honor Magic Watch 2
There are people that want a smartwatch that they can use when they’re exercising or doing strenuous physical activities. If you are looking for such a device and you do not want to pay a lot of money, then the Honor Magic Watch 2 is perfect for you.
Just like the Samsung Galaxy Active Watch 2 above, this thing has a lot of different activity tracking options to choose from- so it is really meant for fitness enthusiasts.
This uses a relatively new operating system called LiteOS and if I had to guess, it somewhat borrows elements from WearOS, though I do have to point out that the battery life on this thing is amazing.
On a single charge, this device can last up to 14 days, provided that you only use its fitness tracking features and typically watch features and that’s it.
The only thing that I do not like is that its glossy finish can attract fingerprints and dust, but other than that, the Honor Magic Watch 2 is great for active people on a budget.
6.Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G
People that want to stay connected to the internet even when they do not have their phone with them at all times would want to invest in the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G.
As you can tell, this is an LTE smartwatch that you can use to connect to the internet wirelessly so that you can continue to receive messages and notifications from the online services you’re subscribed to.
It has a pretty large 44mm display that can post a lot of useful information to the user. Not only can it tell the time but if you are to use one of its activity tracking features, there is plenty of screen real estate for you to use.
I like that this watch has the ability to use Google Pay and this is a useful feature, especially since contactless payments are quite popular these days.
It uses Google’s WearOS and it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset. At this point, it is a bit dated, but it still functions really well nonetheless.
The watch also has a dual-layer design. In the event that the watch runs out of juice, there is still a small screen that can display the current time, so you do not have to worry too much about it.
I would say that the only thing that‘s holding this back is its outdated chipset. Other than that, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 4G is really good.
If you want a watch that has a pretty accurate GPS functionality, then the Suunto 7 is for you.
It has your typical smartwatch features such as the ability to track different sports and activities, waterproof up to 50 meters, interchangeable 24mm straps, and you can use this with your Android smartphone, as well as your iPhone if you want.
This thing uses the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset and it provides a smoother experience compared to its predecessor.
By using the watch’s companion app, you can track your progress when you are running a marathon, for example, and I have to say that it is one of the most accurate GPS tracking features I’ve ever used.
Now, this is another WearOS watch that, sadly, does suffer from abysmal battery life. When you use the watch without enabling its GPS, you can use it for a full two days with moderate use.
However, if you use the watch and enable its GPS, you are only getting over 18 hours which is a huge letdown considering the price of this thing.
Still, if you want the most accurate GPS watch out there, the Suunto 7 will not disappoint.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
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