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What is a smartwatch? A Complete Guide

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Whenever someone is talking about smartwatches, you can’t help but feel like they’re talking about a magic wand or a genie that they can pull out and order whatever they want, right?

These groundbreaking wearable gadgets have been around for a while now, and companies have been dumping immeasurable amounts of money, time, resources into them. So, are they really more than just timepieces? 

We intend to delve more into the realm of smartwatches, so read on to get your answers.

What is Smartwatch?

Smartwatches, in their most recent form, are basically smartphones that you can wear around your wrist. 

They offer you all the features you need, like making calls, receiving app notifications, controlling your playlists, and many others in wearable gadgets that are handier and more accessible.

As you can see, they do more than tell you the time. Unlike regular watches, they operate on rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones and can pair with your smartphone, PC, or tablet via Bluetooth. Depending on their price, some models can last for days, while others offer a few hours of operation time before requiring a recharge. 

Using their touchscreen, you can go through your apps and have full control over your devices from your watch. However, there are still a few models that rely on physical buttons to operate.

 

A Glance at Smartwatches’ History

The 20s was the time when technology started getting smaller. The primitive form of a smartwatch was the Route Indicator Watch, which was launched in 1920 and used as a form of GPS gadget. It came with a scroll-map navigator that tells you instructions about which route to take.

In 2004, Microsoft created the earliest form of a smartwatch. Microsoft SPOT (smart personal object technology) used to receive and provide bits of information about the weather, sports scores, and stock prices to devices over FM waves.

This was a nice initiative that opened the door to more trials. Right after that, some companies managed to make models that can store memos or make phone calls. However, it wasn’t until 2012, when Pebble Time created a Bluetooth-connected model that could remotely control your phone, that smartwatches were back on the map.

To this day, smartwatches are a great challenge for massive corporates like Sony, Apple, and Microsoft.

They need to fit intuitive graphical interfaces and comprehensive high-tech features in a tiny gadget that can go around the wrist while still maintaining the aesthetic value of watches. 

Not everyone wants to wear a watch that screams “geek” in people’s faces. Some just want to look smart, wearing a smartwatch. Models like Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Apple Watch Series 5 managed to achieve this balance, so there’s hope after all. 

Why Do You Need a Smartwatch?

Smartwatches will keep you updated second by second on your emails and business deals. You won’t even have to retrieve your phone from your pocket as you can see everything on your watch’s screen.

If you drive a lot or do most of your work on the go, a smartwatch will allow you to manage your phone calls without removing your hand from the steering wheel. Besides, won’t you like it if your road directions are directly sent to your wrist, telling you where to turn next without having to check your phone?

But that’s not all. A smartwatch can be an athlete’s best ally. It can track your workout, manage your routine, and measure your heart rate and blood pressure. 

Furthermore, it allows you to access your music playlists and play back all sorts of media. 

And the best thing is you can change your watch face to match your outfit, whether you’re wearing a suit or a casual t-shirt with a funny Rick and Morty illustration on it.

Types of Smartwatches

A smartwatch is like a box that you can outfit with features according to your needs, and thus there are several types.

Classic 

This is the most basic type that doesn’t have much under its belt but does more than showing time. Apart from the primary functions like the alarm clock, calendar, calculator, and compass, this type can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

This connection won’t allow you to view your notifications or go through your mobile apps from your watch. However, it’ll notify you through a beep or an alarm about your incoming calls and messages. 

Due to its limited functions, it’s the cheapest type of the four. Moreover, it houses batteries that can last more than one month on a single charge. An excellent example of this type is the Casio G-Shock GBA-400 series.

General-purpose 

General-purpose smartwatches are the ones that rely on your smartphone and just act as a wearable extension for it. After syncing to your smartphone, this type can show you incoming messages, make phone calls, and check your emails. Some models allow text-to-speech functions and sport many apps according to its operating system.

Models from this type come at heftier prices, yet their display screens are larger and a pleasure to the eye. Moreover, their battery lives can last a few days before the need for a recharge. Example: Fossil Gen 5.

Standalone

Standalone smartwatches connect to the internet via WiFi on their own. They don’t need to be paired with any device to operate and have their independent functions and features. Those that support SIM cards can send and receive calls and messages. 

Generally speaking, they’re more expensive and cost even more to pay for their data and connectivity fees. They also house small batteries, so usually, their battery lives don’t cover a whole day. 

However, even without all these disadvantages, they’re still less popular than the former types because most people prefer having the option of syncing to their phones. Zeblaze Thor 5 Pro is an example of standalone smartwatches. 

Sports

This is the most fun type as it’s customized to suit the needs of individuals who play certain sports. Fitness trackers such as Fitbit Charge and Garmin Vivosmart act as smart bracelets for athletes that count their walking steps and running laps. They can also calculate their calorie consumption and measure their heart rate and sleep patterns.  

Some models are tailor-made for specific sports. For example, hiking smartwatches like Garmin Fenix 6 are built to be durable and resilient against water and dust. They offer longer batteries for extended trips and features like GPS, barometer, and vital activities tracker. 

Another example is diving watches like Garmin Descent MK1. These are highly waterproof gadgets that measure the water’s depth and temperature in addition to keeping track of your heart rate.

Final Thoughts

All in all, a smartwatch is your best chance of staying connected anywhere you go without dealing with your smartphone’s distractions. Instead of relying on your phone in everything, you can track your run, manage your business, listen to music, or know your direction with just a swipe on your smartwatch.

You might be wondering now about how to choose a smartwatch that works with your needs.