Should You Buy a Smartwatch? Some Things to Consider

In case you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon quite yet, smartwatches are the new, hot thing. Between the Apple Watch, the Pebble Smartwatch, and the dozens of other smartwatches on the market, there’s a lot to choose from. But sometimes it’s hard to know whether or not a smartwatch is a handy, life changing tool or just a neat little toy. Here’s a few things you might want to consider before adopting a wearable.

Okay, So It’s Not a Matter of Life and Death

If you are going to buy a smartwatch, you need to admit one thing. Unlike a smart phone, owning a smartwatch isn’t necessarily a matter of life or death. We haven’t gotten to the point where smartwatches are a necessary thing to have in order to really get around these days. Whatever your smartwatch can do, your phone can do it better.

But here’s where things get interesting. A smartwatch might not be more functional than a smartphone. But in many cases, smartwatches offer a simple convenience that smartphones just haven’t obtained yet. You can’t, for instance, check the time by just flicking your wrist and rolling back your sleeve with a smartphone. If you want to use an app like Apple Pay, for example, using a smartwatch allows you to make a quick and easy payment at retail locations that accept Apple Pay hands free. You can live without a smartwatch but you’ll probably enjoy all the little, minute ways it helps you out throughout the day.

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Consider Your Phone

In just a short space of time, dozens of smartwatches have hit the market. In this case, you’ll want to consider the individual features each watch offers and what you’re looking for. Consider what kind of smartphone you own since many smartwatches need a phone to work. For example, if you have an iPhone you’ll obviously want to consider the Apple Watch. Have an Android? Consider an Android Wear (although some Android Wear watches are actually compatible with the iPhone too). If you want a wearable that works with all kinds of phones, consider a Pebble, which runs an operating system compatible with both iOS and Android devices, or the Vector Luna.

Features Matter

You’ll want to consider the features available on your potential smartwatch too. For example, if you’re athletic and want to use your watch while working out, you’ll want to consider a wearable that tracks your heart rate, activities, and more. Consider models like the Garmin Vivoactive or the Misfit Flash (which has the added bonus of being waterproof).

If you want a smartwatch with a flashy, graphic heavy interface, consider one of the Android Wear watches or go for the Apple Watch. Their batteries might not last as long as their competitors but the Android and the Apple watches also have the ability to download and use thousands of popular apps, including Facebook, making it the ideal choice for the busy professional or millennial who has an active mobile social life.

But if you’re looking for something that’s a little more simple, consider the excellent Pebble. While the Pebble uses an e-paper interface similar to what Amazon’s Kindle e-readers use, it can hold dozens of apps and has a very long lasting battery life, making it great for someone who needs an inexpensive and simple introduction into the world of smart watches.

Remember, do your research. It pays to take some time thinking about what you want and what model of smartwatch will best fit your needs, budget, and personal taste. Buying a smartwatch can be a hefty investment and if you’re going to plunk down cash for one, do it right.

Does your household have other devices? Learn how to spy on a cell phone without having it.