I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people saying smartwatches are a waste of money. Unfortunately, those who say this simply don’t understand just what a smartwatch is capable of doing.
There are two types of people who will be reading this post. Those who think they are a waste of money and those who want to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of smartwatches before making up their mind about buying one.
So go ahead and check out our guide below. I am pretty sure you will have a solid understanding of whether a smartwatch is right for your lifestyle by the end of the article.
The Big Smartwatch Benefits
So, what can a smartwatch do over say a smartphone that makes it a worthwhile investment? Let’s take a look at some of the key smartwatch uses that might persuade you to take the jump.
1. They don’t just tell the time
Many people prefer wearing a watch. The purpose is either functional (simply telling the time) or it’s because it’s fashionable. A good watch looks great on someone’s wrist.
But watches are becoming less and less popular due to the advent of the smartphone. Who needs to buy a watch when their phone tells the time, has a calendar, and has an alarm? It’s a valid point and one that explains decreasing watch sales in the last few years.
But, smart watches buck this trend as they offer something a little different. They offer all these basic watch features but they also do things that smartphones cannot. We’ll explain exactly what these things are over the course of this article.
2. A travel buddy right on your wrist
James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research described a smartwatch as being:
“Someone who knows more about what you need than you do.”
The Apple watch, for example, is able to deliver different vibrations to your wrist to tell you if you should turn right or left when following directions. Instead of constantly looking at a smartphone, for example, you are able to follow an invisible guide that informs you where to go. Look up and take in the scenery instead of staring at a map.
3. Finding a phone, key or device is even easier
As you well know, losing a phone or keys is an extremely frustrating experience. It always seems to happen before some important occasion that we just can’t be late for!
Thankfully a smartwatch can render this inconvenience a thing of the past.
Most of them have a “Find Phone” feature. You can connect your phone or any device with it and you will be able to ring it through your watch whenever you wish.
Lost your phone? Just press a few buttons on your watch to locate it in seconds.
4. They work as a good fitness tracker
Many smartwatches have fitness tracking as a core feature. It will help you keep up with your fitness goals. So if you are ever thinking of taking a fitness tracker or a pedometer, you can replace it with a good smart watch.
What exactly can a smart watch do? It can count steps, distance, calories, heart rate, pulse rate, sleep and some even go beyond this to calculate other important metrics you might need. We recently reviewed the LQM EX1 Fitness Tracker and I am sure a good smartwatch can offer you the same.
Garmin watches are especially good fitness based devices but most offer fitness tracking features these days as the technology is much cheaper to manufacture than it once was.
There are even models now that are completely waterproof and perfect for swimmers. Check out our guide to the ultimate waterproof smartwatches.
5. Reply to messages & receive calls instantly
If you have a smart watch on your wrist, you no longer need to bring your phone out of your pocket. You can receive calls or reply to messages on the go. This is especially useful if you are exercising or in a scenario where carrying a phone is just too awkward.
Some watches also have voice support. Like something out of Star Trek, you can talk to your wrist and communicate with someone thousands of miles away!
Just remember that all this is done on a much smaller scale than a smartphone so interface wise it can get a bit fiddly. A smartwatch will never replace a phone for these tasks (not in the near future anyway) but it’s certainly very capable when used for small amounts of time when carrying a phone is just plain awkward.
6. See your social media notifications
Who doesn’t want to see Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, SnapChat or other social notifications on his wrist? Well, me actually and this is always something I turn off, but for others, this is a “must have” function.
Some watches will simply show your messages and social media activity but others will allow you to interact with the application too. I don’t recommend using this as your primary method of interacting with people on social media as it is a bit fiddly but on those occasions when you are out running or something, it’s awesome!
Just be careful when finding a watch that does this properly. A lot of manufacturers will claim their watches are “connected” in this way but they actually need to feed off a Bluetooth signal from your cell phone. Truly independent, standalone smartwatches require a data plan and SIM card and tend to be on the more expensive side. You can read about our favorites here.
7. You are even connected while doing activities
When you are running, cycling, swimming or any other form of exercise, you might want to peek into your messages, calls or notifications. Sometimes it is not possible for you to keep a phone with you in those activities, and it’s just awkward and annoying when you do anyway. Here is where a smartwatch becomes really useful.
Are you underwater? No problem at all! The Apple Watch Series 4 has got a waterproof rating of 50 meters underwater. Just take a quick rest while swimming to check up on your messages without having to leave the pool.
Don’t miss our ultimate guide to waterproof smartwatches to see which models we think deserve your attention.
8. It keeps you connected longer than your phone
You might be thinking from the very first time, why would you need a smart watch when you already have a good smartphone?
Shake it out of your mind because some smart watches have such powerful batteries that a phone just can’t compare.
Going on a long trip? The Pebble Time Steel smartwatch can keep you connected throughout your trip for up to 10 days on a single full charge.
Actually, this isn’t even the longest lasting battery out there! We just think it’s a great watch that just so happens to have an awesome battery life. If you want to see some watches with truly exceptional battery lifespans then don’t miss this guide!
9. Your entertainment is on your wrist
Suppose you are walking and all on a sudden you want to watch a YouTube video that your friend keeps talking about. You are just one or two clicks away from playing YouTube on your watch.
You can watch videos and play music on the go. It’s never going to replace the big screen quality of your phone but for those quick moments, it’s unbeatable for convenience.
The latest models like the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music ( I own this watch and it’s awesome!) even have the ability to store music on them which can then be played through your Bluetooth headphones completely wirelessly. This never ceases to put a smile on my face when I go out running. This is sci-fi movie technology circa 20 years ago!
Are smartwatches worth it?
If you’ve never used a watch like this before, I bet you’re almost convinced now! From my experience what I can say is, if you are a fan of mobility and ease of use, there is nothing better than a smartwatch to keep you “connected”.
If you are sold with the advantages, I’d advise you to check which smart watch is right for you. The best is not always the perfect fit for everyone. Rather than that, identify your OS (operating system), check the specifications and choose your one.