Wearables are all the rage these days. What’s a wearable? It’s any type of electronic device worn near or touching the skin that can analyze and transmit data from body signals (pulse, temperature, movement, etc.), that then provide biofeedback for the wearer and/or their caregivers and healthcare professionals.
Smart watches, one of the most popular types of wearables, are a fun and functional way to manage a variety of health aspects – weight, activity, fitness, stress, etc. – while also allowing for practical functions such as answering the phone or paying for your Starbucks. There are so many choices on the market, however, it can seem overwhelming, so we created this quick guide to help you find the best smartwatch for you.
SIMPLE SMARTWATCH SHOPPING GUIDE
START HERE: Compatibility
All the major smartwatches today pair with a smartphone, so you have to start by choosing one that is compatible with your operating system. If you are shopping online, or you are working with someone in retail sales in a store, start with making sure you are only looking at watches that will pair with the smartphone you have.
- Apple Watches only work with iPhones
- Wear OS devices work with both iOS and Android
- Watches made by Samsung, Garmin, Fitbit and others are also compatible with both Android and iOS, but you’ll have to install a companion app.
NEXT: Know Your Budget
Budget smartwatches usually cost between $100 and $200, and have basic fitness and goal-tracking capabilities. The better smartwatches generally cost between $200 and $400 and have advanced features such as music, communications, GPS, and NFC for making purchases with your watch.
FINALLY: Know What Features You Want
You can get a lot of bells and whistles on smartwatches. The key is to decide which features are ones that you actually need and will support your life and health goals. Knowing this will help you narrow down the field even more and find the perfect smart watch for you.
FITNESS TRACKING: This is usually one of the first reasons people want to get a smartwatch. Most devices you can buy today will log steps, calories and workouts, and can even monitor your heart rate and level of exercise.
GPS TRACKING: Some smartwatches also have GPS tracking, which is useful for runners, bicyclists, and swimmers who would like to map their routes. The pros of GPS watches include route and distance tracking, incident detection, and location-based features. On the other hand, some cons include higher cost for the watch, cell service required for it to work, battery life, and privacy concerns that others can track you too.
SLEEP MONITORING: Good quality sleep is linked to general health, mental wellbeing and even avoiding serious long-term illnesses, so using a sleep tracker to check you’re getting enough rest can be a genuine help. Smartwatches with sleep tracking modes usually give insights and personalized tips on how to improve your rest time, some can even monitor blood oxygen levels to determine if you are one of the estimated 22 million Americans who have sleep apnea and don’t know it.
BATTERY LIFE: How long you want to go between charging your watch is a big consideration when choosing a smartwatch. Most watches under normal use can last at least 2 days before needing a charge, but some say they can go up to a week. Charge times can vary greatly depending on how you use the watch, so be sure to discuss this with your sale rep.
MUSIC: For people who like to travel light, some smartwatches allow you to download your workout music and transmit to your earbuds without having to bring your phone. The watches also have controls so you can pause, skip and adjust the music to your liking.
NFC (Payment System): Many smartwatches have NFC, letting you pay for things by holding your watch up to a specialized reader. It works by saving your credit or debit card information and connecting that so you can pay on any NFC reader.
COMMUNICATION: Texts, phone calls, and alerts can be handy, and there are many smartwatches that have these features. Alerts delivered to your smartwatch let you glance down and see if you absolutely need to check your phone right now. Text alerts do the same, and some smartwatches let you send short replies directly from your wrist. Some can even let you answer calls as well.