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how to choose a smartwatch

Choosing your perfect smartwatch

There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a new smartwatch. Before you begin, make sure you’re actually looking at smartwatches, not fitness trackers.

  • Fitness trackers only help you keep track of your health, but they do it well. They monitor your heart rate, your workout details, and other data. When you use a fitness tracker, you’re interacting with a single app that connects to an app on your phone.
  • Smartwatches can also track your fitness info. But they can manage your text messages, forward your phone alerts, and run many other smartwatch apps, too. A smartwatch can even place calls if you choose one with that feature.

The features you need

Your top concern is probably matching your smartwatch with your smartphone. You don’t always have to, but it helps. For example, if you the latest Apple® iPhone®, you’ll be able to use all the features of an Apple Watch Series 3. If you own a Samsung phone, you might choose a Tizen-based watch like the Samsung Gear S3 or Sport, or a Wear OS by Google Smartwatch (formerly Android Wear).

After that, you balance your most important features—like advanced fitness tracking or a long battery life—with the look and feel. Is it easy to understand and use? Does it look nice on your wrist? Smartwatches have already come a long way from their bulky, blocky beginnings. But some pay more attention to appearances, while others focus on function.

From your job

Would you appreciate a work helper who goes everywhere you go? Most smartwatches offer a digital assistant app. If you use voice recognition, you can do hands-free searches and take notes. Plus, smartwatch notifications can link to your email, texting apps, calendar, and more.

To your health

Today, even the most basic smartwatches have heart rate sensors. But if you’re looking for advanced features, check for:

  • Workout activity, distance, and duration
  • Swim-tracking (waterproof IPx8 recommended)
  • Calories burned
  • GPS tracking
  • Music streaming or storage
  • Sleep monitor

The perks you love

So, can a smartwatch replace your phone? Not without a bigger investment, and even then, not entirely. The top-of-the-line smartwatches include high-speed data, so you can make and receive calls, browse online, and much more.

  • Hands-free navigation
  • Mobile payments
  • Voice recognition

Plus, depending on your brand or operating system, you can probably download hundreds if not thousands of third-party smartwatch apps. Unfortunately, smartwatches aren’t digital cameras. Not yet.

In the end, how your smartwatch looks might help you make your decision. Do you want an ultra-tech look … or one that looks like a traditional watch? You can change some watch faces with a tap or a swipe, choosing from dozens of colors and designs. Switch out your smartwatch band as well, because they offer traditional metal or leather bands, as well as the more casual silicone styles.

Here’s my feature list:

  • Works with my phone
  • Makes and receives calls
  • Runs plenty of apps and games
  • Tolerates swimming
  • Supports voice recognition
  • Offers GPS and hands-free navigation
  • Looks like a classic watch

What does your list look like?


This article was written by an AT&T employee. The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.

Mireille Larkins

Bitnami