Creator Will.i.am tells everyone who will listen that his Puls Wearable is not a smart watch. No, no, no! It's a smart cuff. And a smart cuff is different than a smart watch. Totally different! Here's why: The Puls is basically a smartphone for your wrist, he contends, while a smart watch is an accessory to your smartphone [source: Kushins]. But experts say that's stretching things a bit.
Yes, there is one major difference between the Puls and all of the other "wearables" out there today: It's not powered by your smartphone. Most wearables -- smart watches, fitness bands -- operate by hooking into the Internet via your smartphone's antennas. Will.i.am's Puls comes equipped with its own WiFi and 3G antennas, so there's no need to tether it to another device. It's an independent operator. Convenient, sure. (Although most people, especially those interested in a gadget like the Puls, probably own smartphones and tote them around.) But this also means owners need to purchase a separate data plan to operate their Puls. And as of 2015, that data plan has to be purchased through AT&T in the U.S. and O2 in the U.K. [source: Nelson].
Tethering aside, in most other aspects the Puls is pretty much just like a smart watch. It allows you to tap into Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It offers mapping and calendaring functions. You can play your favorite tunes, text and surf the Internet. There's a pedometer and Siri-like servant, AneedA. The smart cuff does allow you to make phone calls, which is a fairly unique feature offered by only a few other smart watches. And calls on the Puls are considered of a higher quality than those from a smart watch. The Puls also has some unique, lighthearted features. Will.i.am's voice sings out the numbers as you tap them, for example. And the cuff comes with an app, the Vibe+, which analyzes your voice to determine your mood. Still, most technology experts and consumers consider smart watches and the Puls to be very similar types of devices [sources: Prasuethsut, Nelson].