By Scott Baughman

Summer is in full swing and you’re likely out and about. Whether you’re hitting the gym, hitting the trails or just hitting the sand on the beach – it’s a good bet you’ve got your wristwatch handy. But is it time to get with the new millennium and upgrade that clock face to a Smartwatch?

Summer is a great time to investigate the benefits and then reap the rewards of owning one of these technological marvels. Many of the Smartwatches out there today are so advanced they can outright take the place of your smartphone for most everyday uses. Need to take a phone call but don’t want to fumble around in your bag for your smartphone? No worries, just fire up your smartwatch and you can send and receive calls exactly like you would do with your full-fledged phone!

Keeping in mind that now is a good time to buy, here’s a look at some of the most popular Smartwatch models on the market:

  1. The LG Watch Sport – This watch was developed with Google. Google is far more than just a search engine now, it has its own line of Android smartphones and now it’s helped design a Smartwatch. In fact, this LG model is the first one that Google has had a hand in developing so you know it’ll be good – and have access to all of Google’s infrastructure when it comes to the Google app store. It can be linked to any Android phone like the Google Pixel or LG G6. But unlike many other watches on this list, it has a built-in 4G/LTE connection so can be used as a standalone device. Even the Apple Watch doesn’t have that feature. Still, using it as a standalone is a big drain on the battery of the watch so if you’re going to be on a long phone call, it’s best to just use the watch as a companion to your phone. In addition to Google Pay – which lets you pay for purchases with your watch – Google Fit now has a wider range of workouts it can track with the built-in fitness tracker app, including walking, running, treadmill, biking, stationary biking an stair climbing. The LG Watch Sport starts at $349.
  2. Apple Watch Series 2 – Apple invented the category for the Smartwatch in the same way that they did for smartphones, so it should come as no surprise that the Apple Watch 2 is on the list as hot new tech item. It’s the most popular Smartwatch in the world and the series 2 model now includes GPS allowing you to track your runs without your iPhone on you, water resistance, a heart rate sensor, a brighter display, a faster processor and a better selection of apps as developers are finally getting used to the Apple Watch and making the best use of its features. Apple’s fitness apps provide up to a dozen of workouts to track including both indoor and outdoor options like running, swimming and the elliptical machine. While the Apple Watch can’t be used as a standalone phone, it has many more apps than Android’s watch and it includes Apple Pay – which is even easier to use on the watch than the iPhone itself. Apple Watch Series 2 starts at about $269.
  3. Samsung Gear S3 – Samsung’s entry into the Smartwatch competition. This one runs Samsung’s Tizen software so it doesn’t attract nearly as many apps as Google’s Android or Apple’s app store. On the plus side, the Gear S3 has a more traditional rounded off face for its watch instead of Apple’s square one. But like the LG Watch Sport, it is much, much bigger than the competition. The watch starts at around $349.
  4. ASUS ZenWatch 3 – This solid design from ASUS is actually a third generation Smartwatch that runs on Android Wear. It has a great display, really good battery life and is well-built. But if you’re looking for a top-notch fitness tracker in your Smartwatch lineup, look elsewhere. The ZenWatch 3 doesn’t include a heart rate monitor nor GPS so it is more of a basic Smartwatch that looks good and runs well. It’s not a top-notch fitness tracker. The ZenWatch 3 starts at a very respectable $229.

So, there you have it. The Smartwatch revolution has begun and is sure to continue to heat up this summer. Until next time…download complete!