This is something I was pondering for a while.
When I first heard about the Apple Watch I immediately discounted it as a gimmick, “what’s the point in that?” was one of the first thoughts that ran through my mind.
However, as time has gone on, I can see now that the smartwatch, while still being somewhat of a gimmick, does have a lot of good uses and benefits.
In this post, I’ll go through the various things I’ve found to be both good and bad with these devices, although please bear in mind that I’ve not used the Apple Watch as I’m an Android user.
I will, however, try to be fair as I’ve heard some very good things about the Apple Watch, from the majority of reviews on that product that I’ve read it’s a good device and works well.
Smartwatches: What is the point?
As I mentioned earlier, this was my immediate reaction when I saw the announcement of the Apple Watch.
I’m not sure if any of you remember the old calculator watches or the watches that could be used as a TV remote back in the 1990s?
They were “amazing” at the time but were ultimately on the road of an evolutionary dead end.
It was my belief that smartwatches were on this same path.
However, as time has passed, the technology has evolved.
It’s now at the point where it genuinely is becoming beneficial (in my opinion at least).
How could I use a smartwatch in daily life?
You’re probably thinking about the uses that you would get out of owning a smartwatch. It’s a fair question.
From my experience, the answer will be different for everyone.
The watch can be used for making calls, fitness tracking, heart rate monitor, controlling audio playback on your phone and lots of other things.
I’ll go through a few different uses below, it won’t be an exhaustive list but should give you an idea of what to expect.
No doubt you’ve seen the rise of fitness trackers over recent years.
These have evolved over time into being extremely useful for people who are working on getting in shape and would like to keep a record of their performance.
Many of the more recent smartwatches have this functionality built into them (although perhaps not as thorough as a dedicated fitness tracker like a Fitbit for example).
This will link up wirelessly with an app installed on your phone and keep track of your workouts, jogs, calorie-burning, etc.
These apps can be a great way to keep you motivated if you are trying to get in shape as you can see the progress you are making over time.
This is a really useful feature of smartwatches as it allows you to see when you’ve received new messages, emails, etc.
You may think that this is a bit of a novelty but you’d be surprised with just how quickly this becomes an almost “must-have” function.
You can keep your phone in your pocket or bag and when you get a new email or message then your smartwatch will vibrate to alert you.
It will also notify you of incoming calls, and if you are also using a Bluetooth headset then you can choose to answer the call by pressing the corresponding button on the watch.
This means that you can leave the phone in your pocket and easily check if the incoming messages are something that must be dealt with or if getting a phone call if it’s one you need to answer.
An example of how this can be useful is as follows; let’s say that you’re outside and it’s raining, you have your hood up or your hat on when your phone rings.
Clearly, you don’t want to have your phone getting all wet but what you can do is choose to answer the incoming call on your watch.
The call will then link from your phone to your Bluetooth headset/earphones and you can chat without the risk of getting the phone saturated.
As I mentioned in the previous section, there are some quite nice audio functions that the smartwatch can assist you with.
Besides the ability to answer incoming calls without the need to take the phone from your pocket. You can also control audio playback on your phone via the smartwatch.
So, if you have a library of music stored on your phone, or even if you are listening to something like Spotify or another streaming service, you can control the playback with the smartwatch.
You can pause, rewind, fast-forward, etc. without needing to take the phone from your pocket.
As I mentioned earlier, this may seem like a frivolous benefit, but once you get used to having that ability then you will quickly grow to love it.
Apps on the watch
The number of available apps for your smartwatch will vary depending on the model and the Operating System that it uses.
For example, there will be apps available for the Apple Watch that won’t be available on the Samsung Watch.
Also, there are some apps that would be available for the Samsung Watch which wouldn’t be available for other Android OS based watches.
Telling the time
Although it probably sounds silly, smartwatches also tell the time.
Many of the watches will allow you to view times in different locations.
As it links to your phone, the clock will update once you have access to wifi/mobile data. The same is true for automatically applying Daylight Savings Time.
Something that’s worth noting is that currently (early 2020), quite a few of these smartwatches are still pretty expensive.
I’ve no doubt that this will change over time but at the moment, the flagship smartwatches are costing about the same as a good mid-range phone.
This price goes up quite a bit if you decide to go for a smartwatch that includes an E-SIM (will allow you to make phone calls even if not connected to an existing phone).
This is something that does need to be addressed.
The battery life on quite a lot of the smartwatches currently available is pretty bad. There are a few exceptions of course but in general, it’s not great.
If you do decide to go ahead and purchase a smartwatch then I’d highly recommend that you do some research and check the reviews on Amazon before you make a final decision as these should help give you a better idea of what to expect.
From what I’ve seen, in regards to smartwatch battery life (not dedicated fitness trackers), the Samsung Watch seems to have one of the best batteries out there. A friend of mine has one and says he will usually get around 4 days from a full charge (it also has wireless charging).
However, in the end, it may come down to your own personal preference, you may find a watch with not so great a battery life but it has other features that you want. Or indeed, you may just like the look of it.
For the most part, smartwatches genuinely are an excellent addition to your tech arsenal, especially if you have that nerd-ish sensibility in you.
They will allow you to check your notifications from various Social Media accounts, check your text messages, control the audio from your phone and answer calls. All while the phone is sitting in your pocket or bag.
I’d recommend picking one up, but definitely do some research on the different models as there can be some compatibility issues and the battery life can be fairly poor on some smartwatches.
You can find a good selection of Smartwatches on Amazon here.