All You Need To Know When Shopping For A Smart Watch

The age of the Smartwatch is officially upon us. Whether you’ve noticed any hype or not, big brands have been ironing out flaws and improving the functionality of these high tech timepieces and we’re pretty sure they will reach a stage soon where no one will be able to say no to buying one.

A smart watch is a wrist worn device that looks like a watch on the surface but actually couples wirelessly with your phone to offer many of your phone’s functions to you when you’re on the move. Some, of course, offer more functions than others.

The issue with shopping for a smart watch is that there’s a very real chance that you could order a piece of gear and when it arrives you’re unable to use it because you didn’t do your research. The point is, you need to know your stuff. That’s what we’re here to help you with.

How A Smart Watch Works

Now, today’s smart phones all run on one of three interfaces, iOS, Android and Windows. Smartwatches make use of multiple platforms or interfaces, each of which is going to be compatible (or able to link with) one or more of those common smartphone platforms.

These smart watch platforms include WatchOS (for iOS devices only), Android Wear (for certain Android Phones and certain iPhones), Pebble OS (for certain Android phones and Certain iPhones), Microsoft Band (for Windows phones) and that is just to name a few.

Most allow you to interact by a rectangular or circular touchscreen, some use buttons and some use both. Newer models employ special gesture sensors that will, for example, perform a function with the flick of a wrist.

What happens is your watch and phone synchronize, allowing you to receive notifications on your wrist via the apps you know and love, like Facebook, Instagram and Gmail. You can read the news and check the weather and never miss a call from your wife again!

Whether or not there is two way functionality depends on the app you’re using and it also depends on the brand and model of your smartwatch.

Some smart watches allow you to actually answer and make calls directly on the watch through built in speakers but this is not a feature on most devices, although that looks to be changing. Android Wear and Microsoft Band devices often don’t have speakers on board, however some can be paired with bluetooth headsets and even allow for calls. The fact is you’ll need to do the research!

Things To Consider before Purchasing A Smartwatch

1. Will Your Smart Watch Sync With Your Phone

This factor is of utmost importance, so double check your smartphone’s compatibility with your potential purchase before making any hasty moves. A little research on this front can save you a lot of time and money. The site or dealer where you plan to purchase your watch should feature all this information prominently and if not, it may not speak well toward their credibility.

2. What Functions Do You Need Your Smart Watch To Perform

Do you plan on using it mostly for fitness purposes, to track your heart rate and take calls when you’re on the jog? Are you an Instagram lover who can’t stand to be separated from your feed? Decide on which apps and functions you’re gunning for and do the research to ensure that your potential smartwatch has them all available or will allow you to download them in future.

3. Are You Willing To Wear The Design Every Day?

It’s important that you consider what shape and design you’ll be comfortable with on a daily basis. Remember, you’ll be wearing this smart watch all the time. Do you want a classic watch look with a rounded face or should you opt for the more modern rectangular or square face?

Your Chosen Smartwatch either needs to have a look that fits your wrist size and will match with everything in your closet or you need to ensure that the strap is customizable and that you’ll have access to alternatives. Most smartwatches feature entirely customizable straps and with a little browsing you’ll find some really exciting and trendy designs.

Important Features To Look For In A Smart Watch

While you may not require every one of the following features, some of them you won’t want to do without!

1.Fitness Features

A heart rate monitor is a standard feature on any smart watch with a sport or fitness focus, this is one to look for if you want to make the most of your smart watch during workout. Some watches also have sleep monitors, calorie counters, step trackers and various other useful functions that will help you on your road to a healthy lifestyle.

2.GPS

As an avid hiker or traveler of any sort, you cannot deny the usefulness of a wrist borne GPS. Many smart watches, especially those with a sporting focus, such as the LG Watch Sport, feature GPS functionality. No more getting home after dark because you lost your way!

3.Full Time Watch

During the time when you’re not actively using your smart watch, it should double as a normal wrist watch…other wise it isn’t really a smart WATCH. So, watch out for this!

4.Make And Receive Calls

Here’s a function that’s only now starting to become an industry standard and it’s certainly a function that we’d all prefer to see on our smartwatch. It’s a huge convenience to be able to take and make voice calls when you’re on the move and it’s features like this that make you feel like you’re a special agent or a sci-fi character, definitely a plus!

While some options will allow you to answer or make calls directly, smart watches such as the Samsung Gear S3 will allow you to do so as soon as you connect up to your bluetooth headset.

5.Make And Receive Texts

A good deal of our communication these days is done by text message of some kind, whether through an app like WhatsApp or through SMS. The Samsung Gear S2 will allow you to receive and reply to texts not only via SMS but also through various downloadable apps.

6.Realistic Battery Life And Convenient Charging

You don’t want a smartwatch that you can only wear for half the day before it needs to charge, only to require 6 hours on the plug. The Asus ZenWatch 3 is a prime example of a watch with approximately 24 hours battery life with average usage and more in power-saving mode. It even has the ability to charge to 60% in only 15 minutes. With standards like this being set, you should aim high when it comes to battery life and charge time!

7.Voice Commands

Not every one has dainty fingers…some of us simply couldn’t dream of formulating a readable text on a touch screen the size of most smart watch faces. For us, there should be a voice command option. Check whether your potential smart phone will allow you to do voice reply, voice command and Google Voice Search.

While some smart watches will allow you to do this directly, others will allow you to do it when you’re connected to a headset via bluetooth.Voice command capability on a smart watch is a true convenience, even when you don’t have clumsy fingers.

8.Gesture Command

The gesture command means that you don’t need to type, swipe or use your voice…it’s a convenient new feature we’re seeing on the latest releases that allows you to, for example, answer a call with the flick of a wrist.

9.Media Playback

A standard on most smart watches and something that you shouldn’t be willing to do without, especially if you use your watch for fitness. Your smart watch should double as a sound media player so that you can listen to songs on or off line with apps like Google Play or Soundcloud.

10.Headphone / Headset Compatibility

Check on your potential smart watch’s compatibility specs and make sure you also purchase headphones for media playback or a bluetooth headset for answering calls. If you already have a headset, do a Google search to check compatibility or contact the dealer if you need to.

11.Special Features

Most smart watches will have one or more special features that are unique to brand and model and you should make an effort to research these because there might be one that you don’t want to live without. The marvelous Moto 360 allows you to send emojis that you’ve made by yourself, simply by drawing them on the touch screen.

Conclusion:

That concludes our list of common features to look for, however you’re going to find a host of options on the market that offer incredible features above and beyond these. We’re truly excited about what the advent of smart watch culture means for the modern lifestyle. Smart watches are a time saver, a security system and a huge convenience that we’re sure (once you’ve tried one on for size) you won’t want to do without.

We wish you all the best with your first smart watch purchase!