Saturday, July 13, 2024
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The best smartwatches and wearables of MWC 2023


It’s that time of year again — that’s right, Mobile World Congress (MWC) is happening right now in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. This annual trade show is mostly dedicated to the mobile industry, where companies show off all the latest innovations and upcoming mobile products that we should expect throughout 2023 (and beyond).

While we’ve seen plenty of mobile phones announced, there are also plenty of cool wearables that have made their debut during MWC 2023 as well. We’ve rounded up the best smartwatches and wearables of MWC 2023 right here.

Garmin Forerunner 265 Series

Garmin Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 265S smartwatches next to each other.
Garmin

The new Garmin Forerunner 265 Series is aimed to help athletes become better, faster, and more efficient for those big races and marathons. With the 265 Series, you’ll get powerful performance-monitoring tools with Garmin Firstbeat Analytics, including stats like VO2 max, performance condition, training effect, and more.

There are two adaptive training plan options to make training sessions more effective. If you enter race information in the Garmin Connect calendar, you’ll get daily suggested workouts or free Garmin Coach plans, with expert coaches ready to help you train. Those who do their training outdoors can plan their strategy with PacePro, which offers grade-adjusted pacing guidance for certain courses or distances. Garmin’s own SatlQ technology and multiband GPS also provide precision accuracy regarding your position, even in the most rugged and challenging terrain.

But the Forerunner 265 Series isn’t just for marathon and race training. It’s also a great overall well-being tracker. You get a wrist-based Pulse Oximetry sensor, Body Battery energy monitoring, advanced sleep monitoring with a sleep score, stress tracking, menstrual cycle tracking, and pregnancy tracking. It also has smart notifications when connected to your smartphone, and you can download songs from Spotify, Deezer, or Apple Music (subscriptions required) for phone-free listening. You get incident detection for extra peace of mind, Garmin Pay, and more.

There are two models in the Garmin Forerunner 265 Series: the Forerunner 265S and the standard Forerunner 265. The Forerunner 265S comes in a 42mm size and has 24 hours of battery life in GPS mode or 15 days in smartwatch mode. The regular Forerunner 265 is a larger 46mm size and has 20 hours of battery life in GPS mode and 13 days in smartwatch mode.

The Forerunner 265 is available now for $450.

Garmin Forerunner 965

Render of the Garmin Forerunner 965 smartwatch.
Garmin

The Garmin Forerunner 965 takes the foundation of the 265 Series and builds upon it even further, making it a smartwatch for athletes who want to be their absolute best.

Garmin’s Forerunner 965 has the same base features as the 265 Series, but adds more performance metrics, built-in mapping, and the ability to store even more songs directly on the watch itself.

Other features include a new load radio designed to track short-term to midterm load ratio, all within bounds to help the user stay healthy and avoid setbacks. And to prevent burnout, there is real-time stamina insight tracking, allowing you to manage your exertion levels. A ClimbPro feature lets the user see real-time data on current and upcoming climbs, including gradient, distance, and elevation gain.

A full 1.4-inch AMOLED display on the Forerunner 965 also means you can view full-color, built-in maps for city streets or even densely covered trails, making it even easier to stay on the course. The Forerunner 965 has a lightweight titanium bezel and comes in a 47mm case size. You’ll get 31 hours of battery life in GPS mode and 23 days in smartwatch mode.

The Forerunner 965 will be launching later in March and will cost $600.

Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro

Those who prefer analog aesthetics for their smartwatches should consider the new Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. In fact, at first glance, this looks like a traditional watch. But it does so much more. As Xiaomi says, “it’s a perfect combination of timeless watch design with modern smartwatch technology.”

The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro has a large 1.47-inch AMOLED display, a rotatable crown, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass. It comes in two colors: a silver case with a brown leather strap or a black case with a black fluoro rubber strap. There are also over 100 watch faces, allowing this smartwatch to be tailored for every person and situation. And it uses a universal watch pin, making it easy to change out the straps to best suit every scenario.

Xiaomi combines a unified UI design and optimized animations to enhance the screen’s overall interface aesthetics and fluidity. It even has advanced synchronization that eliminates lag for notifications between devices. And if you have a Xiaomi phone (like the Xiaomi 13 Pro), the Watch S1 Pro has a pop-up pairing function, making it even easier to set up.

The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro also comes packed with a ton of health-tracking features, giving users real-time information on over 100 sports activities — including outdoor jogging, cycling, swimming, and more. You can also track 10 different kinds of running courses, including run/walk combos for beginners or fat burn/endurance training, as well as workouts that are designed to train for strengthening heart and lung health. On top of all that, the Watch S1 Pro can measure heart rate, speed, distance, and workout data like duration, intensity, routes, and calories burned. Other health-tracking capabilities include sleep monitoring, heart rate monitoring, and SpO2, so you can stay on top of your daily health condition.

It has a powerful speaker as well, and an AI noise cancellation algorithm helps make you sound smooth and clear when you’re on Bluetooth phone calls. You’ll get up to 14 days of battery life with the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. And just 10 minutes on the charger will get you about two full days of regular use. The wireless charging dock will charge the device to 100% in 85 minutes.

Huawei Watch Buds

Showing the open and closed Huawei Watch Buds.
Huawei

Ever wish you could store your wireless earbuds in your smartwatch? No? Well, Huawei does exactly that with the Huawei Watch Buds.

This interesting product is a solution to a problem that we may not have thought existed. Flip the screen up on the smartwatch, and you’ll find tiny earbuds inside. These earbuds aren’t marked left or right, because they intelligently understand which ear they’re placed in. The buds are also symmetrical in shape and don’t have contacts, so you can just pop them back inside to charge.

When we say that the earbuds are small, we mean small! They’re 21mm long and 10mm across and weigh just 4 grams. According to Huawei, they’re about 50% smaller than most other true wireless earbuds, which is no simple feat, but they don’t lack features. In fact, there is AI-powered noise cancellation, dual microphones, wear detection, wind noise suppression, and a clever little gesture control system where it responds to taps on the earbud, or your actual ear. For sound, Huawei is using a pair of planar diaphragms with quad magnets.

On the smartwatch front, the Huawei Watch Buds has a 1.43-inch AMOLED screen, which magnetically locks in place when closed above the earbuds. The hinge used has been tested up to 100,000 openings, so it is pretty durable and should last a while. While the earbud compartment is closed, the watch has an IPX7 water-resistance rating, with the buds having an IPX4 rating. Sensors on the back of the watch can track health activity, like steps, calories, and heart rate. This watch will pair with iOS and Android phones through Huawei’s app, and all health data is tracked through the Huawei Health app.

Of course, combining these two products into one means you won’t be getting the best battery life. The smartwatch part will last about three days with normal use, and the earbuds last about three hours if the noise cancellation is active.

If you’ve ever forgotten your earbuds while going out for a run, or just don’t have pockets to keep earbuds with you all the time, then the Huawei Watch Buds can solve that problem. The Huawei Watch Buds are launching on March 1 in the U.K. and will cost about 449 British pounds (about $545).

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