What is a smartwatch and do I need one? The ultimate beginners guide.
If you’re somebody who likes to keep up-to-date with the latest technology, you’ll probably already know what a smartwatch is. If you’re really into technology you might even own one already!
On the other hand, if you’re somebody who isn’t as technology savvy then you probably don’t know much about them. You might be wondering what smartwatches are and whether or not you need to go and buy one.
Fear not, as in this article we will be going over everything a beginner needs to know about smartwatches. By the time you’ve finished reading this article you’ll know what smartwatches are, what they can do, and whether you need one or not.
Now, before we jump into the good stuff we need to be on the same page when it comes to smartwatches. Let’s have a brief look at an explanation of what smartwatches are and their general purpose.
What is a smartwatch exactly?
To put it simply, a smartwatch is kind of like a smartphone on your wrist. Much like a traditional watch, you wear a smartwatch on your wrist. However, it doesn’t just tell the time like a normal watch; no, it does a lot more than that! A smartwatch has many cool features and functions that are similar to your smartphone. For example, a smartwatch can make phone calls, send messages via text or video, tell you the weather forecast, plus a whole lot more. And of course, just like a normal watch, it can tell you the time.
There are many different smartwatches on the market, each offering something a little different in terms of features. Most of them connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone, which is how they’re able to make calls, send messages, etc. Different brands and models cater to different audiences, for example there are smartwatches that monitor your fitness, which is perfect for athletes or people who are health conscious.
Things to consider before you buy
Before rushing out to buy the first smartwatch you see, take some time to explore what features the smart watch offers. It’s important to consider the points below before buying one, as you need to make sure it can do everything you want it to!
Confirm the smart watch is compatible with your smartphone. Double check if the smart watch will work with your make and model of smartphone, as some will only work with certain brands. For example, an Apple Watch will not work with any phone other than an iPhone. On the other hand, Samsung’s smartwatches will work with both Android and iPhones, however they may offer less functionality with an iPhone than an Android phone.
Get a sports smart watch if you’re into fitness. Many smartwatches on the market today come with built in technology, like GPS trackers and heart rate monitors, which is extremely useful if you want to keep track of how fit you are! Most of the major models, such as the Samsung Fitbit, will sync to health apps on your smartphone so you can monitor your health and fitness throughout the day.
Check how long the battery will last for. If you’re somebody who will be checking your smart watch all day, using it to send messages and make calls regularly, then the battery life will be an extremely important factor to consider. Some smartwatches have superior battery life than others, which means certain models will run out of juice very quickly. If you’re not too bothered about having a touchscreen you can opt for a hybrid smartwatch. A hybrid smartwatch is similar to a traditional watch in some ways, due to it not having a touchscreen, resulting in excellent battery life compared with the more advanced smartwatches that have big touchscreens.
Look at the features and functionality on offer. Even though most smartwatches offer very similar features, some models will do a lot more than others. It’s very important to consider what you will be using it for. For example, if you want to be able to listen to music make sure it has a music player built in, or it can at least connect to your phone to stream songs.
These are all important points to consider, as most smartwatches are expensive so you’ll want to maker sure you pick the right one based on what you’re going to be using it for!
The different types of smartwatches on the market
As you’d expect there are lots of different types of smartwatches currently on the market. While most of them offer the same basic features, some of them come with extra features and functionality that may be more appealing to certain people depending on their needs.
Below you’ll find the main categories of smartwatches on the market today.
Sports smartwatches. These smartwatches are typically aimed at athletes or people who are into fitness. They have a GPS transmitter which can help keep track of the distance you’ve travelled. This is useful if you go for long walks or runs and want to keep an eye on how far you’ve gone. They also come with a heart rate monitor so you can keep an eye on how hard you’re working out. They are water-resistant, making them ideal for wearing outdoors.
Basic smartwatches. These smartwatches don’t have all the bells and whistles but that means they’re generally much cheaper to buy. Their primary use is to tell the time and date, as well as function as a timer, stopwatch, and alarm. These smartwatches pair to smartphones via Bluetooth, enabling the user to keep an eye on messages they’ve received.
Advanced smartwatches. An advanced smartwatch is kind of like a mini smartphone on your wrist. They also connect to your phone via Bluetooth and provide access to recent messages, calls, notifications, and a lot more. They can do everything the sports smartwatches can which makes them a perfect allrounder. However, due to their much larger touchscreens the battery life suffers.
What is a hybrid smart watch?
Hybrid smartwatches are becoming increasingly popular as they offer most of the functionality of a normal smartwatch, but still retain the look of a more traditional watch. A hybrid watch doesn’t have a touchscreen display; however, it can still connect to your smartphone, which means it can still provide you with notifications, alerts, fitness tracking, and many of the other features regular smartwatches have to offer.
Why would somebody choose a hybrid smartwatch over one that has a touchscreen? The main reason is that hybrid smartwatches still look similar to analog watches. This is because there’s no touchscreen. Having no touchscreen offers another benefit, which is that hybrid smartwatches have a much better battery life compared with regular smartwatches. A regular smartwatch may last one or two days on a full charge, as the screen will zap a lot of the battery power, whereas a hybrid smartwatch can last for months at a time between charges. This is a massive plus for many people.
What can smartwatches be used for?
There are many reasons why you may want a smartwatch. Perhaps you want to check the weather on the go, or catch up with messages without having to take your phone out of your pocket. Or maybe you just think they look cool. Below are a number of things you can do with a smartwatch.
Check notifications. One major selling point of smartwatches is that you can very easily check your notifications, including text messages, recent calls, social media feeds, and more. Rather than dig into your pocket to get your phone out you can simply look at your wrist and swipe to see what’s going on.
Keep track of your health and fitness. Another major reason people buy is that they enable you to keep track of your health and fitness. Many smartwatches incorporate sensors to monitor your heart rate and the steps you’ve done throughout the day. When paired with a specific health app, such as Samsung Health, they can give you an insight into how fit you are. Making goals and keeping track of them without much effort will put you on the right path to better health.
Listen to music. Love listening to music? You can sync your smartwatch to your smartphone which will allow you to listen to the music on your phone all controlled by your watch! If you want to skip a song you can simply swipe to the next track without having to get your phone out. You can also increase the volume, pause the song, and much more. Many smartwatches will directly connect to Bluetooth headphones meaning no more annoying wires to deal with. Perfect for listening to music while you’re on a run!
Stay up-to-date with business matters. This might sound a bit different from the other points, but it’s a very good reason to use! Imagine you’re in a business meeting or some other important environment where you can’t easily check your phone. You can keep up-to-date with what’s going on by simply looking down at your smartwatch. Check messages, the news, and more without disturbing anybody.
Customization and personalization. Many smartwatches are embedded into a wrist strap that can be changed. Perhaps one day you feel like having a rubber wrist strap if you’re going on a run. The next day you might go out for a meal and opt for a metal or fabric wrist strap. Not all smartwatches have changeable wrist straps, so be sure to check. Most smartwatches also let you change the watch face; this means you can change the colors and display, for example from the default view, which might just be the time, to your latest messages on WhatsApp.
There are many other uses of smartwatches, however what each smartwatch offers depends on how complex it is. Some smartwatches can do just the basics while others can do a multitude of different tasks.
Do I need a smartwatch?
Now that you know everything you need the burning question on your mind will be “do I need a smartwatch”? The answer to that question depends on a few factors which we’ll explore below.
If you think you can live without one then perhaps not, however many people don’t realize how useful they are until they’ve got one! It might seem like such a trivial matter being able to check your messages without looking at your phone, but in everyday life it adds up to a lot of saved effort!
Another important point to consider is affordability. The prices of smartwatches range from $50 for the cheaper brands all the way up $800 or more for top of the range smartwatches. If your budget is only small then it’d be a good idea to go for one of the cheaper brands, as they still offer a plenty of features. Just remember that a cheaper watch will have less functionality than one that costs 10x the price!
Make sure you do some research on the different smartwatches on the market; it’s important to get one that offers all of the features you want and of course, make sure you check it’s compatible with your smartphone before buying!
A wide range of people can benefit from using a smartwatch. For example, parents can keep tabs on their child’s location if they’re wearing a GPS enabled watch. This gives parents peace of mind knowing where their child is at all times. Athletes can benefit from wearing a watch as it enables them to keep track of their health and fitness, assisting them in reaching their goals. Even everyday people will find a smartwatch to be a useful addition in their lives, enabling them to keep connected to others without having to use their smartphones.
The fact of the matter is that smartwatches are an exciting area of technology that keeps on improving year after year. All of the major smartphone and technology companies either already have or are bringing out their own smartwatches, offering even more variety to consumers.
Everybody can find a reason to wear a smartwatch, including listening to music, sending messages to friends and family, and keeping an eye on fitness progress. There’s a watch for everybody.