With rapidly advancing technology, it’s reasonable to assume that smart-watches will eventually replace mobile phones as our go to device for making calls, sending messages or keeping up to date on current events. However, we won’t know for sure until that time comes. What we do know, is that smart-watches are here to stay and their future is looking brighter by the day. With their ever growing popularity, manufacturers are pumping out newer models with the latest technology. Today, it’s not hard to find an intelligent, smart-watch that provides you with everything you could possibly need and more.
However, precisely because of all the options, choosing the right device can prove overwhelming and sometimes difficult. You’ll want to familiarise yourself with all the possible features a smart-watch can offer you. Deciding which are the features you need, and then find the smart-watch that matches your needs, style and personality the best. To make this easier, we’ve compiled an all encompassing guide that will provide you through all the information you need have in order to find the perfect watch.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our selection: The best smart watches
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smart-watches
- 5 Purchase Criteria
- 6 Summary
- In general, there are two categories of smart-watches, differentiated according to their main use: sport watches and casual watches.
- Although most of them work as complements to smartphones, there are more and more models on the market that allow you to utilise all their functions without the need to connect to a mobile phone.
- The popularity and future prospects of smart-watches go hand in hand with the development of what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), the extension of internet connectivity into external, physical devices.
Our selection: The best smart watches
Below, you’ll find our compiled ranking of the five best smart-watches currently available. We have meticulously prepared this list making sure to include the most varied range of watches possible. As always, selecting those that offer the best quality and the most value for your money.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smart-watches
When buying a smart-watch, it's important to consider a number of factors. There is an extremely wide range of models available, and each one offers different — as well as some overlapping features. In the following sections, we’ve broken down the main components of smart-watches, their distinguishing features, and how you can go about finding the best one for you or your loved ones. This next section covers all the most frequently asked questions among users.
What is a smart-watch exactly?
Many models have the ability to connect to other devices via WiFi, Bluetooth or NFC, allowing you to extend the power of your smart-watch. Keep in mind that some devices may also offer extended features like geomagnetometre, (GPS), loudspeaker, microphone or a slot for an external memory card. These are just a few of the extended features you can look for, depending on how you plan to use your smart-watch.
Who would benefit from the use of a smart-watch?
With a smart-watch, you can control, plan and monitor every aspect of your training session. This allows you to analyse and course correct in real time to optimise your performance. It is always useful to go over data from your session in order to make the next session more efficient than the last. This feature also helps you track your changes, so you can easily track your progress.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of smart-watches?
Another thing to keep in mind is that the battery life is significantly shorter than those of traditional watches, which in most cases, don’t even requiring that you charge them. Smart-watches however, must be charged regularly, each battery life varying from model to model. Nonetheless, it should be noted that even though we must charge them, it’s still not as frequently as our beloved smart phones.
|These devices provide many of the functions of a phone right from your wrist.||In general, they depend on a smartphones to perform most of their functions.|
|With smart-watches, you can monitor your physiological state while training.||These watches have a much shorter battery life than that of a normal watch.|
|Notifications are accessed much faster. You don't have to take your phone out of your pocket to see them.||They have less performance power than a smartphone.|
|They help reduce your mobile phone's battery consumption. Some models even allow you to make payments in stores.||You are constantly connected to your device.|
Who should buy a smart-watch?
Remember the last time you searched endlessly for your phone in your house or purse just to do one simple thing? Smart-watches are ideal for people who do not carry their phones around with them constantly, but want to access them at the touch of a button.
Which operating systems do smart-watches use?
Lately, however, some manufacturers have decided to give up the Wear OS. This is because it is a system that has become a bit stagnant in terms of its technological compatibility. Manufacturers such as Samsung or Fitbit have chosen to develop their own operating systems to ensure that their devices offer better performance.
What types of smart-watches are there?
Other, more casual smart-watches, can also include specific sports functions, but in general they do not do so in such an effective and advanced manner. In addition, its design tends to be more elegant, while that of sports watches tend to be more ostentatious. In most cases, the difference is quite obvious.
|Design||They present a more ostentatious design, as they are larger, bulkier and heavier. Although the latest models are becoming lighter and lighter.||These tend to have a more elegant design. Their dimensions are smaller and lighter.|
|Applications||They include applications to measure distances, heart rate and calories burned.||They do not usually include applications to track physical activity and, if they do, they are not as effective.|
|Battery||They have batteries with a greater capacity, hence, their larger size.||In general, the battery life of these devices is significantly less.|
When it comes time to purchase a smart-watch, we recommend that you consider a number of important criteria. In order to make the selection process easier for you, we have listed all the factors we believe are most relevant when purchasing a smart-watch. We hope that they will serve as a guide for you to choose the best watch to satisfy your needs.
- Intended Use
- Operating system and synchronisation
- Design, weight and size
- Battery life
- IP certification
- Type of display
You may be considering buying a sports smart-watch. Or maybe you're thinking of a more casual model. In any case, the use you are going to make of it will dictate which watch you should buy. In general, you should know that casual models are often much lighter and have a more attractive design.
If you want it for sports, make sure it has GPS and apps that allow you to measure each parameter of the training session you want tracked; the distance you travel, training routine, calories burned or perhaps the heart rate. Of course, it's better if you have a battery that lasts for an extended period of time. Most models today allow you to transfer the data directly to your phone or a PC.
Operating system and synchronisation
Currently, the two most popular operating systems are watchOS and Wear OS (Android). If you don't want to opt for either of these options, you can choose one of the manufacturers that has developed its own operating system. This is the case for example, of Fitbit, who’s success has been quite evident in the last few years.
Thus, when buying a smart-watch you should not focus solely on the two most popular operating systems. You should think about what its features are and if it has the capability to efficiently synchronise notifications with the operating system of your phone. You can then receive notifications for incoming calls, WhatsApp messages and whatever other apps you decide to sync from your phone.
Today, all smart-watches have the ability to connect via WiFi and Bluetooth. Recently, models with 4G LTE connectivity, such as the Apple Watch Series 4, are also starting to appear on the market. With these functions, a SIM card can be connected to the watch to receive calls and messages directly.
There is no doubt that making purchases with your mobile phone is more convenient than paying with a debit or credit card. And of course, a lot more efficient than doing so in cash. Paying with a watch is not only more convenient than that, but it is also a faster and more comfortable option. In order to do this, you need it to have an NFC connection. Models like the Xiaomi My Band 3 already include this feature.
Design, weight and size
In the case of a smart-watch, design is a fundamental aspect to take into account. You certainly won't want to wear a smart-watch that you don't like and doesn’t match your style. Fortunately, manufacturers are offering an increasing amount of different styles for all audiences and occasions.
Weight is another very important factor to consider, since this is a device that you wear on your wrist throughout the day. Last, s far as shape is concerned, there are models that are square-shaped, which look more like technological gadgets than watches, and others with more rounded designs. Each comes with their own range of colours.
This is undoubtedly one of the key aspects to consider when choosing a smart-watch. It won't do you any good to have a watch with multiple functions if it dies on a regular basis. Luckily, there are already models that have a battery life that lasts up to a week, if you’re willing to pay for it.
Keep in mind, that if you want to take advantage of apps that measure sleep, you won't be able to leave them charging at night. In this case, you must keep in mind not only battery life, but also the devices re-recharging time.
A smart-watch is not like a mobile phone that you carry in your pocket or leave in your purse when not in use. A smart-watch is a device that is always with you, wherever you go. That means being able wear it to the pool, the beach, the shower, while you cook or even while scrubbing the dishes.
In such vulnerable environments, it is important to opt for a model with an IP68 certification to protect it from water damage. You won’t have to worry about submerging it under water and can keep it on your wrist always, even while you're taking a bath. In general, most high-end models have this certification, but the same cannot be said for cheaper models.
Type of display
As far as the screen is concerned, there are three things to consider: the size, the type of panel, and the protection of the panel. The panel influences the visual outcome of the images, often eliminating reflections and helping to preserve battery. Right now, the best type of panel for smart-watches is the OLED screen.
However, it is still essential that you have extra protection against drops and scratches. A good option is the Corning Gorilla Glass. There are several versions of this, the most current is the Gorilla Glass 5, powerful enough to survive big falls.
The performance and applications of smart-watches continues to grow. It is not hard to imagine that the popularity of these devices will only keep increasing more and more. It is true, however, that their presence in our day-to-day life is still very small compared to the omnipresence of mobile phones.
We must always keep in mind the relationship smart-watches have with what is known in the technology world, as the Internet of Things (IoT). The ability of smart-watches to connect and link to outside devices is their biggest advantage. It's no wonder that new models with new features keep appearing year after year. This is great news, but it can also make it more difficult to select the right smart-watch to buy if you’re not properly informed.
We hope this guide will help make your decision much easier. If you think it has, don't hesitate to leave us a comment with your thoughts or to share it on social media.
(Featured image source: Ivanov: 104399997/ 123rf.com)