Is a smartwatch worth it?
In this age of digital advances and ever-changing smartphones, a wristwatch has become somewhat… redundant. Why would you need something to tell you the time when your phone is perfectly capable?
However, as phones have been evolving and adding to the competition, so have watches, to the point that they are now smartwatches, to match the intelligence of smartphones.
To answer the question "Should I buy a smartwatch?", we look at what smartwatch usage means for today's generation? And what are some of the main smartwatch features and benefits to make it worth your while.
The smartwatch is the great-great-grandson of your grandfather's wristwatch. Today, this intelligent watch is closer to a tiny, wearable computer than the traditional device that only told the time.
To cater to today's digitally advanced generation, smartwatch functions have become more and more complex. A smartwatch can now do a lot more than simply tell what hour it is.
Statistics show that as smartwatches have continued to advance, sales have grown steadily. Whereas in 2017, a measly 5 million sales were recorded, in 2017, a whopping 75 million sales were expected by the end of the year.
We compiled a list of the main smartwatch capabilities, though, of course, these vary from product to product.
Big brands like Apple and Sony are battling one another to see who can create the better 'wearable' device, and are continually adding in new functions.
This varies from smartwatch to smartwatch, but some can only function with phones that use the same operating system, while others have their very own OS and can connect with phones, regardless of their OS.
Phew, that was a mouthful. By our count, the modern smartwatch comes with no less than 14 functions, and that's besides being able to tell the time. Still, think a watch is something outdated and useless?
Since a smart wristwatch can fulfill many of the tasks commonly attributed to a smartphone, many wonders if it wouldn't be more worthwhile to go for a watch instead simply.
As with anything, there are arguments for opting for a smartwatch over a smartphone, as well as against.
How smartwatches are better than smartphones:
But then, smartwatches also have their disadvantages when compared with smartphones:
Depending on how much you use your device, a decent quality smartwatch should do the trick for you, but if you rely heavily on it throughout the day, then a phone might be better suited, as it has more advanced hardware.
While there's hope for future smartwatches remedying this problem, at present, it is quite a serious disadvantage.
So, depending on what you're looking to get from a smartwatch, this little wrist device can be worth it… or not. There are good and bad things to be said on both sides, as we've seen.
Yes, we discussed the many smartwatches uses you can take advantage of, but did you know that brands are now making different devices for different types of people?
For example, you wouldn't buy your seven-year-old child the same kind of watch a professional athlete would have, because they don't share the same requirements. Now, the good news is big brands have created a myriad of different smartwatch types for you to choose from, based on your personal needs.
All the big companies have by now enabled using your smart device as a payment method. Google, Samsung, Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin all have 'Pay' apps that allow you to swipe your device on the reader (as you would a credit card) and settle your tab.
While still relatively innovative and fairly new, this technology is accepted more and more at big (as well as smaller) stores all over the world.
Alternatively, you can look for a smartwatch that is focused on entertainment. Some have a larger memory capacity and thus allow for more games. Others will come with better speakers or again, more stocking space, to enable you to listen to music wherever you go.
Smartwatches have been making advances for helping the blind, also. The Dot smartwatch, for example, not only allows the visually impaired wearer to tell the time but also notifies them of messages, Facebook notifications, and other useful information, all in Braille.
Some smartwatches are explicitly designed for kids and have certain benefits, like pre-installed games and other entertainment apps, easy to wear and allow the parent to track them through GPS, which safeguards the child whenever they are out of the parent's sight.
Once again, sports are a huge domain of business for smartwatch manufacturers. Depending on the sport you practice (be it golf, jogging, CrossFit, cycling, fitness, swimming, or backpacking), you can purchase a smartwatch suitable for you.
The watch should monitor your heart rate, count your steps, and the calories you burn, your speed, body temperature, and even the level of oxygen in your bloodstream. And of course, there are many smartwatches available that are waterproof and support swimming and other water-related activities.
Just like big brands are making smartwatches that track your heart rate for sports, they're also designing special ones for people dealing with various health issues.
A smartwatch can today monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and temperature. A smartwatch can also be worn in bed and monitor sleep patterns.
Some smartwatches can even be used to help patients with dementia or Alzheimer's. Such devices alert caregivers if the person has left a predefined area and help caregivers track them. Considering how many people with neurological issues get lost each year, this is a huge innovation.
Some specially designed smartwatches can even guide the wearer back to a preset home address, should they get lost or confused while out.
Most recently, Fitbit has announced that they are partnering with a team of specialists from Stanford to determine how a smartwatch might detect the on-set of Covid-19, and thus limit the spread.
Yes, nowadays, you can even get your pet a smartwatch...sort of. The Smart Collars, like Fitbark, function similarly to a smartwatch and is becoming more and more popular. It will allow you to track your pet from your smartwatch, and is especially useful if your furry friend is used to wandering around the neighborhood.
These smart devices for your pet also monitor their health, which, as pet owners know, can be a tricky subject. Since a pet can’t tell you what’s wrong, a smartwatch-collar will alert you if there is any unusual activity in their body, so you can take your pet to the vet.
There are also smartwatches designed especially for deaf wearers, which send out vibrating alerts and call notifications, but they are still being developed. Such a device will probably become available in the next few years.
Even if the elder in your life does not have dementia or other such neurological illnesses, it's smart for them to wear a smartwatch. As we know, many elders don't carry around mobile phones as much as younger generations do, so by wearing a smartwatch, they can ask for help anywhere they go.
For example, if they're suddenly facing a health emergency, such as an inability to breathe or a potential cardiac event, they can press an emergency button that alerts health professionals and carers.
Some smartwatches even have a Fall Detection app. Most notably, the Apple Watch 4 and 5 can identify a hard fall and sounds out an alert, which the wearer can either dismiss or allow to continue. It can be set to alert emergency services if the wearer does not dismiss the alert, or to contact a carer or family member.
While such a function is most useful to the elderly, it is also a great function for anyone.
A smartwatch ensures the safety and health of your workers and allows them to send one another notifications and updates about shared tasks, keeping them more connected.
According to Samsung, specially-designed smartwatches can also come in handy to agents in the field, such as police officers or firefighters, by notifying them of an alert faster than a dispatch or phone would.
Yep, you can now tune an instrument or keep track of the decibel level with your smartwatch. An exclusive smartwatch for musicians also allows you to sync up with band members and maintain a steady rhythm, which can be a great help during practice.
According to the US Air Force, satellite navigation smartwatches are worn by pilots as they are useful in receiving the right signals and maintaining GPS navigation by tapping into multiple sources.
Once again, since most watches don't work without a phone, the smartwatch companies have the safety of your phone in mind. With apps like Find My Phone, you can easily link the phone to the watch and track down your missing device.
In our opinion, yes, smartwatches are worth it. You can opt for an affordable wearable device, or go all out, depending on your budget. Since most big brands have been getting more and more into the smartwatch trade, there's no shortage of smartwatches to choose from.
What we do urge you to do, however, is carefully consider the reason you're buying a smartwatch and what you plan on doing with it. The more accurate the answer, the more you can find a device that suits your needs.