What are Smartwatches
Smartwatches are wristwatches with small microcomputers that allow them to sync with mobile apps via Bluetooth or WiFi.
They often have a touchscreen interface and can perform basic functions commonly found on mobile devices, such as checking your email or text messages.
Some of the newer smartwatches include various peripheral devices. You may find smartwatches with thermometers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, compasses, digital cameras, and more.
While smartwatches may appear convenient, some people wonder if they are worth the money. Here is a closer look at what you get with a smartwatch.
What Are the Typical Features of a Smartwatch?
Smartwatches are wearable wristwatches with touchscreens that can display digital or analogue watch faces.
Using Bluetooth technology or WiFi, the watch connects to your smartphone or tablet. This extends the use of your mobile device and provides a variety of features on your wrist.
Most of the features can be divided into three categories:
- Time-related functions
- Health and wellness features
Depending on the watch, you may need to install a mobile app on your device. However, many standalone watches connect to a WiFi network or phone network to receive data and send notifications.
Alerts and notifications are the most common features of smartwatches. If the smartwatch syncs to your mobile device, your phone or tablet can push notifications to the watch.
Every time that you get a text message, phone call, or email, a notification appears on your smartwatch.
The standalone smartwatches use phone SIM cards or WiFi technology to receive the same notifications without the need for a phone or tablet.
Smartwatches also provide the basic features of a digital watch. You get a wide range of time-related functions.
Along with the ability to choose different watch faces, you can typically use your smartwatch as a stopwatch, timer, or alarm clock.
Some of the latest smartwatches double as wearable fitness devices. Manufacturers add various peripheral devices to increase the function of the watch. You may find smartwatches that include:
- Heart rate monitors
- Activity trackers
- Sleep monitors
- Blood pressure monitors
One of the newer features found on the latest generation of smartwatches is hands-free calling. The newer smartwatches allow you to send and receive phone calls.
The method for completing the calls depends on the type of watch. If the watch has a phone SIM card, it connects to a cellular network to handle the calling features.
If the watch syncs with your smartphone, it acts as a hands-free speaker and microphone.
Advantages of Owning a Smartwatch
Smartwatches have changed significantly in just a few short years, offering additional features and the following advantages.
- Smartwatches are convenient
- They offer hands-free calling
- They double as fitness trackers
- New watches offer longer battery life
- The price of smartwatches has gone down
Smartwatches provide a convenient option for checking notifications without having to take out your smartphone. You can even make and receive phone calls on some watches.
Smartwatches also work as fitness trackers and digital watches, making them a versatile accessory for your wrist. You may also find that your smartwatch has a longer battery life compared to your smartphone.
In the past year or two, the average price of smartwatches has decreased. They are now an affordable alternative to fitness trackers and other gadgets.
Disadvantages of Owning a Smartwatch
Some of the potential drawbacks of owning a smartwatch include:
- Small screens
- Inaccurate fitness tracking data
- Becoming outdated quickly
The average size of a smartwatch screen is about 1.5 inches while the average size for a smartphone screen is 5.6 inches. The small screen may be difficult for some people to read.
Some of the cheaper models do not provide accurate fitness tracking data. The heart monitor and pedometer may give you incorrect information.
As with smartphones, the next best smartwatch is always around the corner. New models are released each year, making your current purchase an outdated gadget.
Top Five Smartwatches
Need help choosing a smartwatch that is worth the money? Here are your top five choices:
1. Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 comes packed with helpful features including Garmin Pay, which allows you to pay for purchases with your watch using supported debit/credit cards.
Through the Connect IQ store, you can download thousands of free watch faces, widgets, and apps to extend the functionality of the watch.
You can receive notifications, track your fitness, and check the time with a single device.
2. Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Stainless Steel Smartwatch
The powerful Fossil Gen 5 comes equipped with built-in GPS for distance tracking and a 3 ATM (30 meters) swim-proof design, allowing you to wear the watch almost anywhere.
It syncs with Android devices and includes Google Pay, providing another method for paying without a credit card.
You will also find the standard smartwatch features, including a variety of fitness tracking functions and customizable watch faces.
3. Samsung Galaxy Fit 2019 Smartwatch
With the Galaxy Fit 2019, Samsung created a streamlined smartwatch that comes with a variety of sensors to monitor your fitness activities.
The available sensors include an accelerometer, gyro sensor, and heart rate sensor.
It is a sleeker, cheaper option compared to the Samsung Galaxy Active2 and is suitable for use in the water up to 50 meters.
4. Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
Fitbit was one of the first companies to release fitness trackers and now they have a smartwatch that contains many of the same features.
The Versa 2 is a versatile smartwatch with a wide range of health monitoring functions including a heart rate monitor, sleep monitor, and pedometer.
The stylish watch also allows you to receive smartphone app notifications when synced to your phone.
5. YAMAY Smart Watch for Android and iOS Phones
The YAMAY Smart Watch offers great overall value as one of the most affordable smartwatches available.
It works with iOS and Android devices to receive calls, texts, and calendar notifications. You also receive a variety of useful features, including fitness tracking and four stylish watch faces.