Ever since the technological revolution, humans have developed gadgets for everything. The internet, radio, television, computers, and cell phones were all built to connect, learn, and evolve. We are weaved into these technologies as they make our lives easier and more accessible. One such marvel of the human mind is the smartwatch.
In the era of technology, you can roam around with an entire computer strapped to your wrist! While previously, we marveled at the thought of ‘the world disposed of in our palm’ with a cellphone, we find ourselves in awe of the latest trend. We can now fit our entire lifestyle necessities in a smart square dial!
Gone are the days when a watch served the single purpose of time-telling. Unfortunately, with the advent of smartphones, the primary wristwatch became redundant. Most of us are now in the habit of glancing at our smartphones to tell the time. The evolution of smartwatches, however, has changed the game entirely. The world is as dynamic as it could ever be, the flood of information increasing by the second. Smartwatches are the latest wearable tech in the world of electronics, keeping up with the dynamic information. They also serve as a sleek fashion statement!
We will now walk you through the details about a smartwatch ranging from what it is and what it does, how it works, the types, etc. So, ‘gear’ up!
What is a smartwatch?
A smartwatch has a touch-screen in place of a regular dial, with in-built features of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and connectivity. The screen usually has a sleek display with tapping and swiping features, just like a full-fledge cell phone or tablet. The shape and size of the dial varies from brand to brand. It has to be paired with a smartphone that sends data to the screen through a wireless connection. It usually has a lithium-ion battery and is charged like a regular smartphone. Depending on the type and purpose, a smartwatch has a wide variety of features.
The latest smartwatches are more advanced than the original 1972 Pulsar, named as the first digital watch. The height of premium fashion and technology back then! Over the years, it has been morphed by many companies that have added more features such as a calculator or a game-screen.
By 2013, tech giants such as Google, Acer, BlackBerry, Apple, Samsung, and Sony were competing for the most user-friendly smart tech development. And today, hundreds of these watches have flooded the market, each with its own remarkable features. There are separate watches for men and women. And recently, kid-friendly versions have also raided the markets.
How does a smartwatch work?
A smartwatch bears a lot of resemblance to the workings of a smartphone or a tablet. So if you’re wondering how a smartwatch works, we’ll guide you step by step through the process.
First things first, you have to identify the type of watch you will need. Do you prefer an OS or an Apple product? Do you have a certain brand preference? A certain style preference? Figure these preferences out and go buy yourself a smartwatch!
Next is the setting up process. Now this works just like setting up a new phone. Connect your devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to get all your important notifications in real-time on your watch screen. If your smartwatch is connected to a certain application, for example, a FitBit, you will first have to download that application on your phone. Follow the guidelines in the app to connect your devices. Once your smartphone is in sync with your smartwatch, you can use it to track your phone in case you ever misplace it. Most watches come with this interesting feature of phone-locators.
If you wish to be updated about social media happenings, you just have to link your accounts to the applications present in your device. Similarly, if your smartwatch has health trackers or heartbeat sensors, it is best to personalize your application and initiate the tracking. But for these features, you will most likely have to be connected online via the internet.
What does a smartwatch do?
Let’s get into the workings and aspects of the watches. As an extension of a smartphone, a smartwatch displays time, date, alarms, and multiple notifications. When connected to a phone, it notifies any incoming calls, emails, or messages. It displays a calendar/planner as well as a calculator. Another interesting feature is an in-built GPS, which makes navigation even easier while driving. These basic features are available in almost every smartwatch.
When connected with the internet, your smartwatch can update you about Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media apps you wish to connect to. It can send reminders and alerts as long as the online connection remains. Most watches come with a built-in speaker that can be used to receive calls or send voice messages on the go.
It rids us of always having to carry our smartphone in our hands. It is especially ‘handy’ while running, jogging, or even swimming. Most smartwatches come with the brilliant new feature of waterproof dials.
Certain smartwatches, such as Garmin Forerunner or Fit Bit, also have amazing health features that can measure your heart rate, pulse, and temperature. These are suitable for athletes as it can ease their training sessions with constant physical updates and lap timing. It can serve as a health tracker as well. At this point, one may ask, is there something a smartwatch cannot do?
Kinds of Smartwatches You Can Buy
Let’s take a look into some smartwatches that you can go for.
1. Smartwatch Without Phone
It depends on the type of smartwatch you own whether or not it can function without a phone. The older versions were more dependent on cell phones; they were mostly powered by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections. You could only be notified about texts or calls as long as they remained within a certain distance. The paradigm shifted with the introduction of Standalone or 4g LTE smartwatches.
Smartwatches operating without a phone are called Standalone smartwatches. These have an inbuilt SIM card holder, which allows you to connect directly to your local service provider. Apple watches series 4, Samsung Gear S and S2, Samsung Gear s3 Frontier LTE, and Ticwatch E are some of the best smartwatches that can operate without a phone.
2. Cheapest Smartwatch
A good quality smartwatch with excellent features doesn’t always have to be heavy on your pocket. The market today is flooded with new brands and new technology promising better features every day. Gone are the days you had to splurge a chunk out of your savings to keep up with the smart world. Here is our pick of the best quality smartwatches at a reasonable price.
Starting with the Apple Smartwatch series, which serves the best functions at its price. It includes GPS tracking, fitness tracking, an optical heart rate sensor, as well as an accelerometer and gyro meter for precise workout readings. Apple watches series 3 is also waterproof and can be taken for a swim. It has a sleek design with an HD screen that can be used for notifications, texts, Siri, and receiving or making calls.
Fitbit Versa lite is our next best option for a cheap smartwatch. It isn’t the most comprehensive smartwatch in experience as notifications are limited, music features are not available etc. If you want a sleek and stylistically game smartwatch that tracks your workouts and manages your health updates as well as offering a few basic smartwatch features, this may suit you.
The Garmin Forerunner 30 is the next on our list for you. It is a dedicated fitness smart wear, and this is mostly built for athletes who want to keep track of their jogging, running, or even cycling habits. It has GPS on board, a heart rate monitor, and tons of other cool features that, along with its low price, make it one of the most desirable running watches in the market. A feature that caught our attention is its ability to record your fitness level over time. That’s usually reserved for top-end, elite devices, and this is one of the cheapest devices to feature. However, this timepiece lacks touch-screen interaction and has to be moderated through a phone app.
Samsung smartwatch makes it to our list because of its diverse features, beating Apple as well. It has a clear screen interface, smart and sleek design. It has a built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well as a barometer, gyro, HR sensor, light sensor, microphone, speaker, NFC, GPS, and much more. The latest addition in their series is Samsung voice assistant Bixby, which has a few activation flaws but still does not override the range of amazing features provided by the brand.
3. Fossil Smartwatches
Fossil is one of the biggest companies in the timepiece business, yet nobody knows much about it. The company has grown into a giant in its vicinity, presenting excellent products multiple times a year, every year. Their products, owing to their uniqueness and timelessness, have a greater shelf-life in the watch market.
Fossil was founded in 1984 by brothers Tom and Kosta Kartsotis. They brought to the market, fashion and value at a time when they lacked immediate competition. The image the company communicated was vintage Americana, which initiated a huge success. Fossil designed and manufactured unique timepieces as well as fashion statements that could be mixed and matched, and repurchased when fashion changed. Since 1984, the company has undergone immense growth. Today, the company sells various accessory products under multiple owned and licensed brand names across over 90 countries around the world.
Fossil has always made great watches, but the company didn’t start getting into the smartwatch game until a few years ago. The journey began with hybrid smartwatches, and later, Fossil eventually transitioned to full-fledged smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS platform. In fact, Fossil is one of the only brands keeping Wear OS afloat in early 2020. It has a whopping two-year International warranty.
The brand has a diverse buying community, but here are our hand-picked Fossil smartwatches for men:
If you’re in the market for an OS smartwatch yet prefer classically styled watches, then the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is going to be for you. The Carlyle has an elegant look that can work for almost any occasion owing to swappable wristbands and its snappy performance. The watch is equipped with a speaker for calls. Fossil has some other great choices as well, depending on the wearer’s preference for features.
The new Diesel Fadelite is one of the smartest Fossil inventions. It doesn’t even look like a smartwatch! It comes in multiple colors; transparent blue, black, and red colors if you would prefer a preppy outlook! It has the latest Snapdragon 3100 processor and 512GB of RAM.
The Skagen Falster 3 is our next pick, which comes after the first two versions. Fossil fixed the overall performance and battery issues that were highlighted by its users. It has essentially the same specs as the Fossil Gen 5 we mentioned above, as well as its fantastic custom battery modes. This version also comes with an in-built speaker which can be connected to Google Assistant.
4. Women’s Smartwatches
With the boom in the smartwatch business, high-end fashion brands such as Fossil, Michael Kors, and Kate Spade, as well as tech brands such as Apple and Samsung stepped in to introduce a feminine collection. Previously built designs were monstrous, bulky dials, and large metallic straps that did not attract a greater community. I believe back then, only tech-addicted individuals compromised on the outlook.
Apple was the first-ever tech brand to build female-friendly designs of their smartwatches. Soon after, it was joined in by Samsung that introduced its own unique feminine designs. Perhaps the only prominent difference between men and women smartwatches is the outlook and overall weight of the device. Lighter dials and thinner straps were introduced by fashion brands as well.
So ladies, here are our best smartwatch picks for you:
Apple has our respect as it spearheaded the women’s smartwatch movement. It is equipped with an always-on screen and a slimmer dial. It comes in sizes of 40mm and 44mm with customization varieties. In the health department, it features an ECG app, a noise monitor, and a workout tracker to promote a healthy lifestyle. However, like other Apple products, this watch can only be connected to iPhones.
If you’re an Android user who wants a female-friendly smartwatch, Fossil has the best answer for you. Watchmakers have been making great Wear OS smartwatches in the last few years. However, Fossil’s smartwatch line continues to grow each year, and the new Q Julianna HR is its fifth-generation model. It, too, offers a waterproof, slim, and sleek dial casing equipped with a heart rate sensor, GPS, and connectivity. It can be customized to the user’s preference through multiple unique casings and strap options available online.
This smartwatch runs on Android OS and works with thousands of apps on the Google Play Store. One of its most engaging features is its ability to work with both Android phones and the iPhone, but it’s best with Android devices. When Android Wear watches are paired to the iPhone, a lot of functions are mismanaged.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 and the Fitbit, both are equipped with next-level health moderating services; sleep-tracking analysis that offers insights into how you sleep. Stress level monitor and the calm app are excellent features by Samsung. Fitbit has separate modes for running, swimming, or recording workouts. They are sleek, pretty, and comfortable to wear, but more importantly, they are designed to help us better understand our fitness goals. The technology uses sensors to track and monitor, and also has alerts to detect high or low heart rates. What more could we ask from a smartwatch?
5. 4g Smartwatch
Even though smartwatches have not ruled the market for that long, new features and updates spring up every day. With Bluetooth and Wi-Fi dependency, the full usage of smartwatches was not possible everywhere. Plus, your phone has to be in a certain range for you to access the call or text features. To battle these discrepancies, the latest update, 4g smartwatches was introduced!
4g or LTE smartwatches connect directly to cellular networks as most smartphones do. This means you can take calls, listen to music, use online applications, send or receive messages, and take part in all the other usual smartphone features without being chained to your phone. You can even choose to have a different number for your phone and your watch, yet get notified for both numbers if you wish so.
This feature is relatively new but promising enough to be followed by all major smartwatch brands. Apple and Samsung have already launched their 4g smartwatches. Because of its novelty and infancy, these watches are costly. The only setback so far is the increased battery usage due to LTE connectivity.
It is important to consider whether you truly require a 4g smartwatch. A regular watch is equally potent to carry out all essential activities smoothly. However, if your lifestyle requires you to be aptly connected everywhere you are, irrespective of the availability of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections, then this is a smart choice for you.
6. Nixon Smartwatch
With each brand taking it a step further, Nixon took a giant leap in the world of smartwatches. Its mission: to build the most rugged, action sports smartwatch. The timepiece market already had promising features such as waterproof watches for swimming or sturdy dials for training sessions.
Nixon smartwatches have done justice to their hype. What may look like just another rugged smart piece is built with 1.39-inch Corning Gorilla Glass. Underneath the sleek design lies the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC and Google’s new Wear OS. As a sports smartwatch, it also has a thermometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, gyro meter, and accelerometer, and humidity sensors. It also has a GPS system so you can run Google Maps. It is compatible with a number of popular fitness apps as well.
Two unique and new features in the Nixon Mission are two apps: Mission and Trace. Mission is an application that is powered by Surfline and Snocountry and designed specifically for surfers, snowboarders, and skiers to withstand tough conditions. It shows real-time snow and surf situations. Trace is a powerful action sports activity tracker.
Voice search feature can be initiated by saying ‘Ok Google’ and the photography feature can be operated this way as well. The timepiece can be customized according to the preference of color and design.
In conclusion, Nixon watches have succeeded in their mission of creating the strongest timepieces. If you are looking for an attractive smartwatch that can withstand tough conditions, your best option will always be a Nixon smartwatch.
7. Slide Smartwatch
These are a relatively cheaper and simpler type of smartwatch. They are called so because of their sliding application feature. A slide smartwatch has all basic features such as Bluetooth, calendar, calling, text messaging, health tracking, and even a low-quality camera in some watches. These are user-friendly and easy to operate; hence can be used by all ages.
Buying a smartwatch is a heavy investment, so one should be appropriately aware of the tech nitty-gritty before diving into the tech world. By now, you have understood the different types, features, and workings of smartwatches. In the end, it depends majorly on your lifestyle and your needs. You are now equipped to make a ‘smart’ decision!