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Choosing The Best Option
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Smartwatch Shopping Guide:
Smartwatches are quickly approaching their smartphone peers in terms of functionality, from keeping better track of your health, to calendaring and email, to maps. With smartwatch capabilities becoming more and more advanced by the minute, you might wonder if it is time to invest in one.
Whatever the reason you may have decided to upgrade your old analog watch for a smartwatch, you will soon discover how easy it is to get lost inside the many lists of smartwatches available to you. Even reading the model names can feel a bit like unraveling a code from a spy movie.
Beyond the complicated terminology, there are a few basic considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a smartwatch.
Smartwatches & Smartphones—The Perfect Pair
When it comes to smartwatches, choosing one that is compatible with your smartphone (yes, we’re talking about that Samsung Galaxy or iPhone you can’t possibly imagine life without) might outweigh all other considerations.
You can opt for a simpler smartwatch without connectivity if you only want to utilize basic features such as pedometers, alarms, and of course, telling the time. For more advanced features, however, you will need to have a paired smartphone, or a smartwatch with cellular capabilities. Without this data connection, many of the smartwatch’s features simply won’t work.
How You Can Use Your Smartwatch
Beyond data plans and paired smartphones, as discussed above, the most important consideration when selecting a smartwatch might be the specific tasks you need it to perform. Will you be participating in a marathon and want to keep track of your steps and calories? Are you jumping from meeting to meeting and want to be able to keep track of your calendars, emails, and messages with a simple glance at your wrist? Or, do you simply want the peace of mind that comes from your child having a smartwatch in case of an emergency, without the potential pitfalls that come with them owning a smartphone altogether?
Smartwatches for Fitness and Health
Many smartwatches on the market take your pedometer to a completely different level. If it is important to you to be able to wear your smartwatch in just about any condition, from summiting an alpine mountain to scuba diving coral reefs, you will want to look for smartwatches specifically designed to survive harsh conditions. Smartwatch features in this category might include:
Tools to assess the environment (such as compasses, barometers, and thermometers)
Biometric features (such as pedometers, heart rate monitoring, and even electrocardiograms)
GPS mapping and notifications (which can be especially useful for outdoor activities where you might be wandering off the beaten track)
Music storage (if listening to your favorite playlist is critical to your workout success)
Waterproof design (some models can travel to water depths of up to 50 meters)
Sleep tracking (perfect for traveling)
If you will be using your smartwatch for outdoors or sporting-related activities, also consider the weight of the device. The last thing you want to be thinking about when you are summiting Kilimanjaro or crossing the finish line of a 10K is how heavy your wrist feels from your smartwatch. Also note that some fitness-leaning smartwatches are designed to accentuate specific sports and can even contain profiles to this end. For example, your smartwatch might contain features specifically geared toward mountaineering, running, cycling, etc. Look for a smartwatch that will accentuate your particular athletic activity.
Smartwatches for Living Life On the Go
If your life consists of dashing from office meetings to doctor’s appointments to birthday parties with hardly a moment to glance at your computer in-between, a smartwatch that functions almost like a personal computer might be your best bet. Once paired with your smartphone, these smartwatch models can perform many of the same functions as your cell phone; this might include making and receiving calls, emails, calendaring, virtual internet assistants, and more.
However, many smartwatches function via Bluetooth connectivity to a paired smartphone; they need to be in the vicinity of that smartphone to work properly. The latest smartwatches avoid this pitfall by utilizing Long Term Evolution (LTE) technologies. These LTE smartwatches feature their own cellular network connection and allow you to more fully break ties with your smartphone; they can perform many of the same functions independently of any smartphone connection.
Keep in mind that LTE and other higher-level features might cost you in terms of data plan fees and battery life, but to have what amounts to a more compact version of your smartphone attached to your wrist is worth the trade-off for many people.
Smartwatch Design and Style
While wearable technology might be a beautiful thing in terms of convenience, smartwatches often fall short of the mark when it comes to aesthetics. Luckily, today’s latest smartwatch designs are becoming more and more fashionable.
Many smartwatches sport an all-black design; the wristband and bevel (a dial you can turn around the face of the watch to navigate the menu) are also black, making for a sleek design that can take you from the office to a night on the town effortlessly. Is minimalist black not your style? Not to worry. From luxury leather watchbands to elegant stainless steel, there are smartwatch designs to suit just about any personality.
Some smartwatches even feature a classic watch face, complete with a long hand and short hand just the way you learned to tell time in elementary school. Nobody will even know you are wearing a computer on your wrist.
Other Considerations When Choosing Your Smartwatch
It goes without saying that the more you utilize your smartwatch, the faster your battery is going deplete. If having a longer battery life is important to you, see what other users have to say about the battery longevity with specific settings turned on (for example, screen brightness, certain apps, etc.).
From screen protectors to charging docks to warranties, it is always good to see what accessories your new smartwatch comes with and how much it might cost to replace existing accessories once they wear out.
The average smartwatch comes equipped with 4GB of storage and this is usually sufficient for most users. However, there are instances where greater storage might be necessary (for example, if you will be downloading music directly to your device).
Trusting Our Top Pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons. Join the millions that have trusted BuyersGuide.org to help them make smarter buying decisions. We help our readers spend their money wisely and find the right product to suit their specific needs. Our independent expert reviews and data-driven shopping recommendations empower you find the smart watch that's right for you.
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