Hackernoon logo5 Tips for Choosing the Best Smart Watch by@julie99

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Smart Watch

Julie Stephan Hacker Noon profile picture

@julie99Julie Stephan

Technologist and product experience leader that bridges business, engineering, and design. Part time researcher.

The popularity of smartwatches is on the rise, and so is the number of smartwatch models out there. This wealth of options is generally a good thing, but it does make it harder for buyers to figure out which watch will best suit them. This guide is here to help you with that problem; here’s how you can go about buying the best smartwatch for you.

1 - Operating systems

While the phone OS market has very much consolidated around two main players — Android and iOS — the smartwatch market is more diverse.  Apple has created watchOS for their devices and Google has created Wear OS, but Samsung, Fitbit, Huawei, and various other manufacturers have also created their wearable platforms.

This is made more relevant by the fact that each platform also comes with its separate app library. Wear OS and watchOS, being the dominant players in the market, also offer a bigger variety of apps and watch faces when compared to the competition.

Meanwhile, lesser-known operating systems are often optimized for a brand’s intended purposes. This means that Fitbit can get better performance out of their more affordable devices by using an OS that was designed to be as efficient as possible, which is achieved by sacrificing certain features and flourishes.

2 - Compatibility

Not every watch is compatible with every phone OS, so it’s important to check for compatibility issues before making your purchase. For example, while Wear OS devices do work on iPhones, an Apple Watch cannot pair with an android phone right out of the box. You’ll need to look up guides and workarounds to get your Android phone to pair with the Apple Watch.

3 - Main use

While smartwatches pack a variety of features, their two main functions are working as a fitness tracking tool and a wrist-bound digital assistant. And while many watches can perform both functions, you can often get better deals if you shop for a device that specializes in one of those two functions.

For example, the more affordable fitness trackers typically lack microphones or speakers but offer robust heart rate tracking options and longer battery life. Meanwhile, affordable digital assistant watches will pack a good microphone and speakers, but not a heart rate tracker. This Fitbit vs Apple Review gives a more detailed overview of this topic.

4 - Screen performance

A bigger screen does not necessarily make for a better watch. What you should be more worried about is how bright the screen is, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. After all, a big beautiful screen will be of little help if it’s hard to read under direct sunlight.

5 - Battery life and charging

Before you buy a watch, make sure you check independent product reviews performed by third parties to see how well the device’s battery performs in the real world. Manufacturers often post inflated battery numbers on their website, and you don’t want to pay extra for a watch that claims a 3-day battery only to end up having to recharge it every night.

Speaking of recharging, look up how the watch charger works before buying as well. Finicky connectors and proprietary cables can all become big sources of headache over the years, especially if you end up having to recharge the watch every night.

Julie Stephan Hacker Noon profile picture
by Julie Stephan @julie99. Technologist and product experience leader that bridges business, engineering, and design. Part time researcher.Read my stories


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