How to choose a smart watch: features, tips, nuances

As if by magic, the smart watch  entered everyday life from science fiction books and films about James Bond. By the way, “smart” watches are not an achievement of the last few years, as it may seem to us. The first such devices appeared back in 1982 and were developed by Seiko.

Of course, no Internet or wireless connection existed then, but for those days, a device that could remember up to 24 characters was a real sensation!

We are not surprised by today’s “technology miracle”. But over 35 years, technically, mankind has taken not just a step, but rather a record high jump. With its modest size, modern wearable electronics has such capabilities that one could only dream of relatively recently.

Most smart watches work in tandem with smartphones (although more and more independent models are appearing), and the latter can “blindly” delegate to such a watch a rather strong part of their powers: display incoming calls, messages, mail and notifications from applications, manage music, determine location and viewing the route, support for multimedia and other, and other.

Modern smart watches take care not only that you always stay up to date with the events, but, having many characteristics of fitness trackers, and about health. Now it’s fashionable! Tracking activity throughout the day, calculating the distance traveled and calories burned during this time, monitoring the sleep phases, tips and tricks to achieve your sporting goals – this is just a small list of the opportunities that the current “smart guys” boast of.

It is curious that in addition to venerable players, various start-ups began to appear on the market, some of which compete on equal terms with the largest brands. Almost every month new models (or even new manufacturers) of wearable gadgets appear, and today the smart watch market is literally overwhelmed with a variety of offers, successful and not so successful.

To understand this riot, we tried to highlight the most important parameters when choosing the “right” smart watch. Well, by tradition, consider the five most successful models in our opinion from different world companies.

Content

  1. Design
  2. Water protection
  3. Display
  4. Smartphone Connection
  5. Autonomy
  6. Top 5 best smart watches according to Allo
  7. Summary

Design

A variety of forms and spectacular design solutions, which are replete with the modern market of smart watches, allows us to clearly understand that these devices are not only multifunctional, but also an excellent complement to the style. A full accessory, the same as a tie or belt. And if in the first models of smart watches the emphasis was on expanding capabilities, now now in terms of external indicators they can easily compete with the chronometers of famous watch brands. For example, with Tissot , Rado  or Epos .

The bulk of smart watches have a square, rectangular or round shape, and some of them can be confused with analogue manual watches. For greater resemblance to classic chronometers, “simulator models” are executed in a classic style and even have side buttons-wheels for greater credibility.

Cases are most often made of plastic (in budget models or sports-oriented) or metal. Ceramics are used less often – a fairly new material for the production of gadget cases.

The straps have more variety in materials: they use leather, stainless steel, silicone, nylon or plastic.

In addition, many models support the replacement of a strap or bracelet, which gives free rein to imagination and allows you to change the look of the watch depending on your mood or image. Some of them, by the way, initially come with several strap options in the kit.

And a few more words about the materials. Wrist devices are more prone to scratches and damage than the same smartphones. In extreme cases, the smartphone can be “put” in a case  and protect the display with additional glass or film . And what do manufacturers usually protect the display of a gadget with?

Many models traditionally use plastic. And this is the prerogative of not only budget, but also sports smart watches, for which weighting with glass is more likely a minus than a plus.

More advanced smart chronometers are protected by sapphire crystal, which, for a second, has 9 points on the Mohs scale (the highest score is 10 on a diamond). Damaging such a watch is extremely difficult.

Not without branded chips in this matter. So, Apple has developed a protective coating for the Apple Watch  ION-X, which has many similarities with the Gorilla Glass used in tablets and smartphones.

By the way, Gorilla Glass is also used by some brands that do not intend to spend money on their own development, but pride does not allow to put simple plastic.

Water protection

Portable devices are now more and more often made dustproof and waterproof. Fearless devices for water are in the ranks of smartphones  and portable acoustics , and if we talk about smart watches, then almost all models are protected from dust and at least splashes.

This is logical: gadgets worn on the wrist often run the risk of being “bathed” even during normal hand washing. In order not to remove the watch during such a routine daily rite, many manufacturers give their offspring an IP67 protection class that will protect the device from splashes and small drops of water.

However, for a more intense “bathing” you will need a higher protection class – IP68. Today it is the most serious water protection for consumer electronics, which guarantees the safety of the device when immersed to a depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes.

For the user, this means that with protected smart watches you can take a shower and swim in the pool. But it is worthwhile to understand that if you like to go scuba diving or diving, then it is better to leave your watch on land – water pressure will not do them any good.

Display

The role of the dial in the watch with the prefix “smart” is played by the display. Most often, its diagonal varies from 0.5 to 1.5 inches – more impressive displays in size for a wrist device are inconvenient.

The screen itself can be either a full-fledged color or a simple monochrome. By the way, some manufacturers (such as Withings or Pebble ) use E-Ink electronic paper in their models, which is characterized by low energy consumption and in terms of autonomy will give odds to any other type of display.

The touch screen often becomes the main “control body” of a smart watch, which makes such devices more interesting, more convenient and a cut above the button counterparts with a regular screen. Although advanced smart watches already support voice control and brush gesture control.

Smartphone Connection

Despite the fact that there are already completely independent and independent smartphones smart watches (which are more logical to call watch phones), the bulk of them still need a “big brother”. In a smartphone, I mean.

To connect these two devices, the most commonly used is a Bluetooth connection, less commonly Wi-Fi. And here it is important to clarify whether your smartphone will make friends with a smart watch. There are models that support connection with only one of the operating systems. For example, the same Apple Watch, which are paired exclusively with iOS-devices.

It is good that the bulk of smart watch manufacturers are less categorical and most models are equally “sociable” with both Android and iOS .

It is more difficult for owners of Windows phones – smart chronometers tailored specifically for Microsoft’s operating system can be counted literally on the fingers of one hand, so you will most likely have to choose from universal watches that are friendly to all operating systems. Such gadgets can be found, for example, in the ranks of Garmin  or TomTom .

Autonomy

Say what you like, but for portable devices, battery life remains a very priority issue. Smart watches have a simple logical rule – the more advanced and “stuffed” with all kinds of functions, the faster the battery will melt.

As mentioned above, the most “tenacious” are watches with an E-Ink display (for example, Withings Go without recharging costs up to 8 months!), However, there are “tough bugs” among models with colorful displays. True, their autonomy depends on the intensity of the gadget load. So, let’s say, the Garmin Forerunner 630 smart watch  in the “hours with notifications” mode will last about a month, but it’s worth turning on the GPS, and this figure drops to 13 hours.

Top 5 best smart watches according to Allo

Smart chronometers are said a lot. Now we can use the examples to consider the most curious of them and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Fitbit blaze

Ruler Blaze  from Fitbit  rather represents the fitness devices with smart clock functions, rather than vice versa. However, the design cannot be overlooked by us – it is truly universal and is perfect for a jacket, t-shirt, and women’s blouse. In addition, the variety of straps and bracelets allows you to complement almost any look to your mood.

First of all, Fitbit Blaze belong to those few universal watches that are communicative with smartphones on any OS – both on iOS, Android, and Windows. The watch has a waterproof case, a touch screen, built-in GPS, show notifications and reminders, and also allow you to control music on your smartphone.

The main features of the model as a fitness tracker are a constantly working heart rate monitor, recognition of various types of loads (including tennis, yoga and cycling) and the function of a virtual trainer. Depending on the load, a smart watch can last on a single charge for up to 5 days.

As a result, Fitbit turned out to have good fitness watches (smart functions are presented only in the basic set) with an attractive price tag. Thanks to the sensible “stuffing”, they are good for playing sports regardless of the athlete’s level of training, and thanks to the aesthetic unisex design, they will make a stylish emphasis in both male and female images.

Xiaomi AmazFit

Xiaomi company always keeps abreast of the modern consumer electronics market and often produces such gadgets that take into account the most trending and sought-after characteristics. The manufacturer has combined accessibility and fun performance in their AmazFit smartwatch. What can they boast of?

Xiaomi smart watches have a full range of smart watch functions and allow not only to receive notifications, but, thanks to the touch screen, and work with them. By the way, the user has the opportunity to download favorite music to flash memory (4 GB) and use the watch as a wrist player.

At the moment, the device is only compatible with Android smartphones, but developers are already working on iOS support.

The “sporting” characteristics are presented in a wide variety: a rich list of automatically recognized activities, heart rate monitor, acceleration sensor, compass, pedometer, geomagnetic sensor, calorie calculation and GLONASS and GPS support.

For such opportunities, the model offers good autonomy: more than 11 days in watch mode, about 5 days in active mode, or 35 hours with GPS turned on. By the way, in most models with GPS tracking, autonomy has more meager indicators.

The black ceramic case of Xiaomi AmazFit is framed by a contrasting red  bracelet or a conservative black .

As a result, Xiaomi offers unexpectedly wide functionality for very reasonable money, which makes the watch attractive for daily use and for playing sports. Perhaps while they lack more serious water protection (the device is certified according to the IP67 standard), but in all other respects – they are excellent.

Asus ZenWatch 3

The new generation of smart watches from ASUS , in comparison with the first and second ZenWatch, pleases with a fundamentally new design – the round “dial”, decorated in the style of classic hand-held chronometers, looks impressive and expensive. Thanks to interchangeable straps, the watch looks elegant on both the male and female wrist.

The device runs under Android Wear and is compatible with both Android devices and iOS. The company has developed two applications for its watches: ZenWatch Manager for controlling the gadget from a smartphone, and ASUS ZenFit for tracking activity and sports.

The 1.4-inch AMOLED display with impressive resolution (400 × 400) gives a beautiful and incredibly clear picture. However, as a fitness tracker, ASUS ZenWatch 3  is equipped with only a standard set of functions: the watch recognizes the basic types of activity, but at the same time reminds you when it is time to move, they can count steps, distance and calories burned.

In general, ZenWatch 3 is not bad as a smart watch and can do a lot of things without the help of a smartphone, but their main feature is design, and their price policy can be safely attributed to the “middle peasants”. They are more suitable for daily wear and amateur training – professionals may not have enough athletic performance.

Samsung Gear S3

The latest version of smart watches from the South Korean brand has something to surprise connoisseurs of style and functionality. Samsung Gear S3 look just perfect and are presented in two formats – Classic  and Frontier .The design of the Classic version is stylized as an expensive wristwatch and fits perfectly into the strict business image, while the Frontier received a more aggressive sports design. For both smart watches, you can pick up additional straps and personalize the interface using different widgets.

In terms of functionality, both models are identical: they work on the proprietary Tizen OS, are friendly to Android and iOS devices (huge plus!), Waterproof (IP68), display notifications both about messages and calls, and from third-party applications.

Gear S3 has a lot of sensors and capabilities for monitoring and analyzing physical activity: a pedometer, heart rate monitor, altimeter and GPS, and the Samsung Health brand app took over the task of a fitness adviser. By the way, you can’t even take your smartphone to training – the built-in 4 GB flash drive allows you to download your favorite tracks and play them through Bluetooth headphones.

Generally speaking, Samsung managed to present an excellent functional device with a premium design that can easily compete with the Apple Watch. Although the flagship Gear S3 smartwatch will cost a little cheaper than its rival “apple”, the language doesn’t turn out to be cheap.

Learn more about the Samsung Gear S3 by reviewing the video comparing Classic and Frontier models .

Apple Watch Series 2

Let’s talk frankly – a rare “top” does without an intriguing “apple” representative. The Cupertinians always have something to offer “delicious” to their fans, and the ranks of smart watches have replenished with the Apple Watch Series 2 series .

Let’s start with the design. Although the form factor of the entire line is exactly the same, the variety of design styles will impress even a demanding (or even a moody) user. One gets the impression that the designers sought to create a real wardrobe for their Apple Watch – you can select and change the straps for any look.

The watch works on the Watch OS branded system and is presented in two sizes – 38.6 mm (the so-called “women’s”) and 42 mm (“men’s”). As mentioned above, the gadget is compatible only with brothers on iOS. A waterproof Apple watch is controlled using the touch screen and Siri voice assistant, and the battery lasts for 18 hours.

Smart watches display notifications from a smartphone, provide the ability to quickly respond to messages, allow you to control music and customize widgets to your taste.

The device is also a “manual” fitness trainer that monitors activity throughout the day and motivates new sports achievements. Fitness features include a heart rate monitor, pedometer, GPS support and an impressive range of smart sports apps. By the way, you can swim in them.

Apple Watch, as usual, offers a set of top-end features and just can’t help but like it. This is a Rolls-Royce among smart watches! One drawback is that acquiring an “apple” device will hit your pocket sensibly. But the game is definitely worth the candle.

For more details on all the chips of the second-generation Apple smartwatch, see the Move your body review . Review of Apple Watch Series 2– a new version of the popular “smart” watches.

Summary

Summing up, we can say that everyone will find something attractive for themselves in a smart watch. Someone likes that the watch always allows you to be on a stream and less likely to use a smartphone (thereby saving its charge), someone chooses first of all a wrist fitness trainer who will motivate (in the worst case, kick) for sports training , and someone just doesn’t want to pass for a loser and buys them without any specific purpose.

However, if you think about it sensibly, then smart watches are still difficult to classify as “must have” devices  now they are only on the way to this. It is still difficult to say whether smart watches will succeed in crowding out ordinary wrist watches, but it seems that such ambitions are taking place.

And what kind of wearable gadgets do you like? Perhaps you have already become the proud owner of any of them and are ready to share personal experience with us? Do not be passive – share your thoughts on this subject in the comments!

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