If you’re shopping for a tech-savvy loved one this holiday, it's worth considering a smartwatch. By pairing with the smartphone in your pocket, smartwatches bring a bevy of useful controls right to your wrist. There are many options on the market right now, but for its value and versatility, our Christmas pick is the $99 Pebble Classic.
The Pebble was one of the first successful smartwatches ever made. It's since been replaced by the Pebble Steel, a more expensive model with a metal housing, but the screen and the internals of the two devices are the same. The Classic's chassis is plastic, which keeps its price at a wallet-friendly $99. It offers all the functionality of the Steel for half the cost, and make no mistake: The Pebble packs tons of functionality.
The Classic is compatible with both Android and iOS devices, so it should work fine with virtually any phone. Once paired, it will let you know when you've received a new notification, be it an email, a quick text message, or the name of an incoming caller so you can decide whether to answer or let it roll over to voicemail. If you're listening to music, you can control what's playing right from your wrist and get visual feedback, making that in-line microphone on your earbuds all but obsolete. There's even an integrated step counter to help you track your fitness.
Many smartwatches these days have bright, color screens that are pretty to look at, but they don't add much functionality over the Pebble's simple, always-on LCD. They’re also greedier for power: Despite having a screen that never turns off, the Pebble Classic lasts about five days on a full charge, almost three times as long as its competition. The watch face is customizable, so you can download a variety of new analog and digital designs to make it feel distinctly yours. Nor does the customization end there: Through the Pebble app store, you can grab new apps that will let you do just about anything, from tracking your run with your phone's GPS, to checking the Yelp reviews of a local eatery.
The Pebble Classic may not use Android Wear or have an Apple logo on its shell, but that doesn't stop it from being a fantastic smartwatch. If you're looking to buy a gift for someone who's all about technology, it's a guarantee they've had their eye on something for their wrist. The Pebble is the perfect accessory for that wrist, and anyone who can't stop checking his or her smartphone's screen.