Even as far back as the mid-1980s, people have dreamed about wearable technology. Instead of taking your time and finding space to use your gadgets, they can travel with you. In this sense, the technology integrates into your life, rather than working around it.
As we’ve grown more aware of the impact, both physical and mental, of focusing on our phones, smartwatches help us stay present and remain connected.
If you’ve been considering investing in a wrist-worn device, let’s take a look at the reasons why you should get a smartwatch.
1. Notifications on Your Wrist
When it’s time to buy a new phone, you have to choose between a device running Google’s Android operating system and an Apple iPhone running iOS. You have a similar decision to make when it comes to smartwatches, although your best option will depend on which smartphone you use.
As you’d expect, the Apple Watch, running watchOS, integrates tightly with other Apple products. As a result, it is often the best choice for iPhone users. You’ll likely opt for a smartwatch running Google’s Wear OS operating system for anyone using an Android smartphone. Although you can use a Wear OS device with your iPhone, there is an excellent reason to stay in line with your smartphone—notifications.
Both styles of smartwatch integrate with their related smartphone, enabling you to receive notifications on your wrist. On a basic level, you’re able to screen incoming calls, view new messages (and potentially respond to them), and interact with persistent notifications like music controls.
So, rather than always being alert for the sound of your phone ringing, or vibrations signaling incoming messages, you can leave your phone in your bag or pocket. To view your notifications, you just need a gentle flick of the wrist, and you’ll be able to decide whether you need to deal with an item right away or wait until later.
2. Enhanced Fitness Tracking
Fitness trackers are affordable wrist-worn devices that allow you to track information about your daily physical activity. There are Fitbit trackers with features designed to help you keep healthy throughout the day. These units are so effective that, for many people, they are the first wearable device. If that’s on the cards for you, take a look at our Fitbit tracker comparison
Smartwatches come with all of the same features built-in. You’ll be able to track your steps, monitor your heart rate, and analyze your sleep. Unlike fitness trackers, you can also make use of the apps installed on your smartphone and smartwatch. So, while you can purchase a Fitbit, it’ll only work with Fitbit’s app and services.
On the other hand, a smartwatch can run a range of apps, including popular fitness tracking services like Strava. If you appreciate cross-platform and multi-device support, then a smartwatch is often the better choice, even if it is sometimes more expensive.
The wrist-based fitness experience is often more interactive on a smartwatch, too, as the larger color screen enables some degree of personalization. If you aren’t sure which device is best for you, check out our smartwatch and fitness tracker comparison guide
3. Improved Navigation with GPS
An increasing number of smartwatches are available with a GPS sensor built-in. For a long time, the only way to get the benefits of fitness tracking apps was to keep your phone with you and your smartwatch connected via Bluetooth. If you opt for a watch with GPS, you can install your preferred fitness tracking app, leave your phone at home, and still get accurate distance and location recordings.
The inclusion of GPS also allows you to view, and interact with, turn-by-turn navigation. Like most people, you probably use Google Maps or Apple Maps to make your way to your destination. While this is acceptable when driving, it can be challenging when walking, running, or cycling.
In those situations, continuously looking at your phone is a distraction and means you may miss physical obstacles or dangers. Smartwatches with GPS often cost more than those without, so you may prefer to forgo that feature. However, you can still get some of the same benefits.
Both Apple and Google have developed smartwatch editions of their navigation apps. If your smartwatch is connected via Bluetooth, your phone can load the route and send it to your watch to keep your eyes on the path ahead. This is also one of the major factors when considering whether the Apple Watch is suitable for kids.
4. Easy Contactless Payments
One of the primary reasons you should buy a smartwatch is to make your life more convenient and reduce your smartphone reliance. That’s why many wrist-worn wearables support contactless payment systems. Services like Google Pay and Apple Pay rely on Near Field Communication (NFC) chips.
Most smartphones come with NFC, and, increasingly, so do smartwatches. While NFC is great for contactless payments, there are plenty of other uses for NFC that you may want to consider
. Opting for a watch with NFC means you can enable Google Pay or Apple Pay (depending on your smartphone operating system) on your smartwatch too.
This functionality resides on the watch directly, so you can use contactless payment by presenting your watch to the terminal, whether you have your smartphone with you or not. Consequently, leaving your smartphone at home is even more practical and convenient, especially when out exercising.
Should You Buy a Smartwatch?
Smartwatches are a great way to reduce your screen time and be more present. However, they also help you stay connected and up to date, even allowing you to respond to messages, access turn-by-turn navigation, and track workouts directly from your wrist. As a result, you can put down your phone and enjoy the world around you.
In most cases, the Apple Watch is the best option for iPhone users. However, since Google smartwatches also support iPhones, you have a range of smartwatches to choose from. That said, if you use an Android smartphone, consider one of the best smartwatches for all budgets
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