Choosing the perfect smartwatch
Choosing the perfect smartwatch is not as simple as it used to be. Besides a huge choice of colours, styles and materials, the technology in smartwatches is evolving all the time.
A smartwatch is usually a considered purchase. So, this article is aimed at helping you through the decision-making process. Highlighting some of the key things you should ask yourself before buying.
Is the smartwatch compatible with my phone?
This is the most important question to ask. If you buy a smartwatch that doesn’t talk to your phone, then you’ve wasted your money.
There are Android and iOS (Apple)-specific smartwatches and some Windows-compatible models, too. Generally, smartwatches aren’t exclusively one or the other but tend to have more features for Android users, such as replying to messages, for example.
If you’re an Apple user, you’re naturally going to be considering the Apple Watch (See the latest apple model comparison here). Apple products, on the whole, don’t tend to play well with others. However, Android is more inclusive when it comes to connecting with other brands.
What software is best?
WearOS (or Android Wear), is Google’s creation. You can benefit from Google Fit, Google Pay, Maps and Music from either Spotify or YouTube.
Tizen OS gives Android users even more. Seen on Android devices, it’s Linux-based and while it isn’t as elitist as Apple, it was created for Samsung products. You’ll see Tizen OS on the likes of the Galaxy Watch Active 2.
watchOS is exclusive to Apple users and allows the use of services like Siri, which allows you to dictate text, open apps and control smart devices in much the same way as on your iPhone. The watchOS supports more of the third-party apps that you’ve come to love on your phone, but WearOS seems to offer more convenient voice commands. Neither is better than the other, it comes down to brand preference.
How much does a smartwatch cost?
The most expensive isn’t necessarily the best. There are some fantastic budget smartwatches like the offering from NuBand with Tag Huer’s offerings at the other end of the price spectrum. As a rule of thumb, a budget smartwatch will set you back between $70-100 (or GBP).
Mid-range devices, like that those from Nokia can be full of features at a reasonable cost. You’ll find these devices between $100-200. At the top, designer label end of the market – such as Apple’s Watches – expect to pay $200 to $500 at the top end.
What about a hybrid smartwatch?
Are you certain you want a full smartwatch? Are you aware of hybrid smartwatches? You can have all the style of a traditional timepiece but with a few hidden smart features. Hybrid smartwatches are for those who aren’t looking for the bells and whistles of the analytical and interactive power of a smartwatch but would like to know what’s going on on their phone.
Check out our guide to the best hybrid smartwatches.
What features do I need?
After compatibility and cost, this is where you need to dig into what you actually want your smartwatch to do. The features on offer are as different as the designs and it helps to ask yourself what your main priority is.
Not all fitness trackers are smartwatches and vice versa. If you’re looking for something that’ll monitor your health, there are devices geared toward fitness like Fitbits. You want to look for features like a heart rate monitor, GPS (to analyse your running routes), sleep rhythms, steps and calories burned. You’d also probably want it to be waterproof to swim in.
Within the fitness tracking world, there is also a lot of variety. If you’re a triathlon runner who’s serious about analytics, you’d benefit from the Garmin fēnix® 5. However, if you’re a more casual runner the Fitbit Versa 2 might be more aligned to your needs. Check out the latest comparison of Fitbit models.
If you’re into gadgets and tech you might want to be able to use your device for contactless payments, to receive notifications for calls, text and social media and respond to them without picking up your phone. Maybe you want to make a video call? A smartwatch can be like a personal assistant on your wrist. If you’re looking for clever tech, you might want to look toward the Samsung range. Here we’ve looked at the best options for women.
You’ll need to consider battery life too, as this can vary enormously. Style-wise, fitness trackers have to be durable so you’ll find chunkier more rugged styles. Smartwatches tend to have more freedom in the design as you’re more likely to treat them delicately. Hybrid watches can be a beautiful-looking middle ground.
Choosing the perfect smartwatch for you is entirely dependent on what you want it to do, how compatible it is to your existing devices, your lifestyle and, of course, your taste and budget. Think about all the considerations mentioned above, and you’ll find many helpful reviews on the Superwatches website on the specific devices you might want to purchase.