A Guide to Smartwatches

Date

Smartwatches add another dimension to the wristwatch, allowing the wearer to receive important notifications from their smartphones, keep track of their health, and even entertain themselves. A new version of traditional mechanical watches, such as Fossil Hybrid HR, now integrates smart features like fitness tracking with message and call notifications. 

What used to be an accessory for tech-nerds has now been embraced far and wide. Apple takes the throne in the smartwatch market nowadays (despite the need to own an iPhone) with its comparably affordable watches and Apple Watch Series 6 topping many best smartwatches media lists. Here, we present a guide to buying a smartwatch in 2021.

Budget

The wealthy millionaires or billionaires among us can go all out to invest in status-boosting buys like Tag Heuer Connected Modular ($180,000) or the diamond-studded, customized Lux Watch Omni 18K Yellow Gold ($114,000) by Brikk, a company specializing in creating luxurious versions of several product categories of well-known brands. For those with budgets under ten thousand dollars, there is Tambour Horizon Black by the renowned luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton, or Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire – Unisex. In the range of $300 to $500, Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are the brands to buy.

Compatibility and Performance

Your smartwatch must be compatible with your smartphone. With Apple Watches, you are restricted to pairing them with iPhones. With your Android smartphone, you can choose from a wider selection of watches. Battey life is a crucial aspect. However, the longest battery life is up to 18 hours in most smartwatches, leaving a lot of room for improvement in smartwatch battery life overall.  Most processors on the market are either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, Samsung’s Exynos, or Apple’s own. The best processors take up less energy and perform tasks at a fast pace. When it comes to operating systems, Wear OS by Google and watchOS by iPhone are the two dominant ones, surpassing other proprietary systems.

Design and User Interface

The most important feature of a smartwatch is its design and UI, given that smartwatches are a style statement for most wearers. Also, the look of a smartwatch must blend in with the setting. Smartwatches branded as sporty most often lack the sophistication of design expected in watches worn to a business meeting. Available in gold and silver tones, the stainless steel Fossil Juliana HR Gen 5 is a budget-friendly option worth flaunting at your next business presentation. A watch suited to a more active lifestyle is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. Apple’s collaborations with Hermès and Nike are also a case in point for business versus fitness. A point to remember is that many Android watches offer plenty of strap customizations so that one could swap out different options according to the occasion.

Features

While the connection with smartphones to display messages and notify of calls is now expected, smartwatches have advanced from just tracking fitness to performing medical services such as monitoring oxygen levels in the blood and displaying ECG reports. The former helps ascertain the condition of the respiratory system and the latter for keeping a check on abnormal heart activity. Moreover, potential life-saving features such as emergency calls at the touch of a button, fall detection, and GPS tracking can come in handy in times of trouble. While Apple’s latest offering is undoubtedly the most well-rounded, the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 comes in a close second.

Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer

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