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Wearable Tech

Watches with slick phone smarts and fashion sense

From showcasing alerts, emails, and text messages to making phone calls, these timepieces really put the smart in smartwatch.

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Today's smartwatches are more capable than ever. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You say the idea of owning a smartwatch intrigues you, and it rightly should. These gadgets do way more than sport interchangeable watch faces, eye-catching though they might be. From pushing timely phone notifications for email, text messages, and social-media pings right to your wrist, to running full-blown mobile apps, today's intelligent watches have more brainpower than ever before.

Even better, the modern smartwatch has upped its style game significantly as well. No longer clunky wrist-borne oddities only a geek could love, current products such as the Pebble Steel and Martian Notifier truly serve as fashion accessories. They've become more durable too, with many recent models, including the Pebble Steel, Samsung Gear 2, and Sony SmartWatch 2, boasting water- and dust-resistant bodies. So if you've been wondering if a smartwatch might be right for you, here's a list of alluring gadgets you'll certainly want to see up close and personal.

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The Pebble Steel looks a lot sleeker than its 2013 predecessor, the Pebble Watch. Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble Steel

The Steel, the most recent device created by scrappy startup Pebble , doesn't come cheap. That said, it flaunts an all-metal design and a build quality that are simply gorgeous. The Steel is also capable of running multiple Pebble-approved mobile apps, plus it serves up alerts from iPhones and Android handsets. Read the full review of the Pebble Steel.

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Samsung's Gear 2 has a vibrant, curved screen. Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Gear 2

If you're deeply addicted to the Samsung Galaxy universe of Android phones, then the Gear 2 is what you seek. This follow-up to the first Gear features a less conspicuous camera, a similar vibrant and curved OLED screen, and exclusive support for Samsung smartphones, software, and mobile services. Read the full review of the Samsung Gear 2.

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The classic Pebble still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Sarah Tew/CNET

Pebble Watch

For those seeking a serious yet affordable smartwatch capable of providing phone alerts and running apps, the Pebble Watch is right up your alley. Sure, its plastic frame lacks the artistry of the more expensive Pebble Steel, but at $100 less it's also a heck of a lot more practical. Read the full review of the Pebble Watch.

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The Martian Notifier lets you have your analog cake and eat your alerts too. Sarah Tew/CNET

Martian Notifier

On the theory that many smartwatches have crashed and burned because they were too complex, Martian decided to take a simple approach with the Notifier. With its smarts concealed within a traditional and handsome analog watch face, the Notifier may appear conventional. A slim OLED screen, however, gives this gadget away by displaying phone notifications pulled from iPhones and Android devices in real time. Priced at an agreeable $129.99 (also to be available in the UK), the Notifier is also comparably affordable. Read the full review of the Martian Notifier.

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The Omate TrueSmart is a real mobile-phone-and-watch combo. Sarah Tew/CNET

Ornate TrueSmart

Of course if merely owning a watch that connects to a phone doesn't impress you, well, then perhaps the Omate TrueSmart will. That's because the TrueSmart is a mobile phone in its own right. Yes, this gizmo not only runs Android Jelly Bean (4.2.2 to be exact), it has a cellular radio and SIM card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a microSD Card slot, plus a water- and dust-resistant hide. Read the full review of the Ornate TrueSmart.

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Sony's SmartWatch 2 runs apps and is shower-proof. Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony SmartWatch 2

Longtime smartwatch maker Sony's freshest attempt at a wrist-worn gadget, the SmartWatch 2 is the company's best so far. Both highly water- and dust-resistant, the SmartWatch 2 displays phone alerts, emails, and other messages on its large LCD screen. It's also compatible with a wide range of Android handsets. Read the full review of the Sony SmartWatch 2.