The world of smartwatches has expanded a lot in recent years. The possibility of always having, around the wrist, not only a device that indicates the time and at most the date but also display SMS, emails, notifications, even allows us to play and control our physical activity, is something that in the past we could not even imagine.
Due to the great variety available, in this article we will consider various features and try to understand how to choose a smartwatch, obviously considering the numerous uses that can be made of these devices.
Smartwatches: What They Can Do
Based on the built-in hardware, a modern smartwatch can do a lot of cool things too. It can play your music playlists, both in streaming and from internal memory, perhaps while you are doing physical activity (which the device is recording, through the sensors). If your watch has an NFC chip, you can use it to make purchases without carrying your credit card.
Once connected to the phone, a smartphone can both show notifications and allow you to answer calls (and hang up) without taking the phone out of your pocket or bag.
Round or square smartwatch?
For a high-tech watch, the shape of the display is not a pure and simple aesthetic issue, but it is very important from the point of view of functionality.
In general, a round display is more elegant, reminiscent of classy watches and is therefore more beautiful to see but, on the other hand, it makes it difficult to read the information by cutting the writings or, alternatively, leaving them too little space.
So, if our aim is to have a watch and occasionally use the technological functions, it is better to prefer it round; but if you want to use it extensively without taking the phone out of the pocket, and maybe even answer messages directly from the watch, it is worth sacrificing the aesthetic aspect and choosing a square hi-tech watch.
What material for the strap?
As for the strap, there are essentially two categories of material that you can consider: the sporty ones, essentially plastic, and the elegant ones, from metal to leather, which are more expensive.
If you are looking for something like a classic wristwatch, sports materials are to be excluded. Many watches, in this sense, allow you to remove the default strap and replace it with other compatible ones that can be purchased separately: customization, in this sense, is maximum, and you can aesthetically recreate a wristwatch without particular problems.
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Operating system and cell phone compatibility
An often-sore point of smartwatches is being compatible with the smartphone you have; it is essential, because notifications necessarily come from the phone.
In principle, smartwatches with the WatchOS operating system, i.e. the Apple smartwatch, are only compatible with iPhones and with no other devices, including iPads and Android phones. So, if you want an Apple Watch, you need an iPhone as a phone.
Android Wear smartwatches come with the Android operating system for watches and are usually compatible with both Android & iPhone, but not with Windows Phone. When you buy one, pay attention to compatibility with both the mobile phone and the version of the operating system. If the smartwatch is compatible with iOS 8, it will not go with iPhone 4 which maxes out to iOS 7.
Other operating systems
The other operating systems, such as Tizen or proprietary systems, are finally the worst, because they are very limited in compatibility. In addition, being little known, they will probably not be updated, and if you update the smartphone, compatibility will fail; in general, they are not recommended.
Apps, sensors and features
For each smartwatch there is a dedicated app store, which can usually be reached from the mobile phone that is connected.
The basis, however, are always the sensors. Among the most common are the ones that recognizes the heartbeat, the one that recognizes the steps (accelerometer), the position of the arm (gyroscope), the position (GPS), the ambient light (brightness sensor), etc. Then, there are other characteristics such as waterproofing, vibration, resistance, the material of the display, the presence of a microphone and the presence of a dedicated SIM to surf the internet.
When choosing a smartwatch, it is important to think carefully about all these functions and understand which ones you need, so as a result you will understand which is the best smartwatch for your needs.
The functionality of the apps will often depend on these sensors: if there is no heartbeat recognition function, for example, the apps connected to it will not work and the smartwatch will therefore have one less function.
Our advice is to take a pen and paper and make a list of all the features of the smartwatch that interest us, based on the use you want to make of it: and choose the best one for your specific needs.