Best smartwatch: what's the best wearable tech for you?

Top iOS and Android watches for 2014

Best smartwatch

The best smartwatch may be in the offing, but that doesn't mean there aren't good options to weigh down your early adopter wrists in 2014.

Dozens of choices are available. A third are made by startups like Pebble, a third from rebounding firms like Motorola, and a third are from Samsung alone ... in the last 30 seconds.

All of them deliver important information closer than "at hand," from texts messages to email alerts. Notifications and apps are the big difference between smartwatches and the best fitness trackers.

Yes, Apple Watch will likely change the face of digital wristwatches in early 2015 and Android Wear will continue to evolve with the likes of the LG G Watch R and Sony SmartWatch 3.

But, so far, here are the best smartwatches to strap to your naked wrist that, for more than a decade, has been relying on a mobile phone to check the time.

8. LG G Watch

The LG G Watch was the very first Android Wear smartwatch we donned at Google IO 2014, and we continued to wear it for months even with its square-shaped design and plastic build. That's mostly because the battery life gave us a solid day and a half between charges.

That made it easier to swipe through all of the contextual Google Now notifications, texts and email alerts beamed to our wrist. It also eased the battery usage of our Android-connected LG G3 because we could see these messages and the current time via the always-on display.

Best smartwatch
LG G Watch is boxy, but has passable battery life

LG G Watch gave us the best insight into Android Wear in July, but it's very much a device for wearable diehards. It looks like a computerized plastic wristwatch and the default rubber strap is a real dust collector. We're also not a fan of the the buttonless design and proprietary charging cradle to turn it back on.

Of course, all of those faults should be corrected with the LG G Watch R this autumn, making this the first Android smartwatch fit for early adopters.

7. Sony SmartWatch 2

Before there was Android Wear, the Sony SmartWatch 2 beamed all of the same notifications to our wrists from Google-powered phones. Its 1.6-inch LCD handled is large enough to read all of our texts, email snippets and even Twitter feed without taking out the Sony Xperia Z2.

Best of all, the very literally named Sony SmartWatch 2 is compatible with all Android phones that run Android 4.0 or greater - something we can't say about most Samsung smartwatches.

Best smartwatch
Sony SmartWatch 2 was Android-compatible before Android Wear was cool

To boot, it uses a normal micro USB charger, has an aluminum body and a variety of silicon or stainless steel straps, with third-party 24mm bands compatible.

It'll be overshadowed by the Sony SmartWatch 3 in a few months. Hopefully by then, some of the 250 Google Play Store apps and watch faces make the jump to Android Wear.

6. Razer Nabu

Even in beta form, there's a lot to like about the Razer Nabu smartband. Its privacy-friendly 128x32 OLED screen is meant to sit on the underside of your wrist. That keeps notifications like texts, emails and tweets away from prying eyes.

The thin wristband is tricked out with an accelerometer, altimeter and vibration motor that tips you off about incoming messages. These specs make it ideal for tracking personal goals too. Metrics include calories burnt, steps taken, floors climbed, distance traveled and hours slept.

Best smartwatch
Razer Nabu has changed since CES 2014, but it's for the better

Social discovery is the breakthrough feature that we want to explore in the final version. Like the popular Bump app that shut down this year, it lets you exchange information with Razer Nabu wearers with a simple high-five. Right now it's only splash proof and compatible with the iPhone 5 and greater and Android 4.3 and greater.

There's certainly more testing to be done and features to roll out in full. However, the Nabu is a solid entry from Razer that we weren't expecting but are liking with every new update.