How to Choose a Smartwatch?
By Nadia Hussein & Translation by Dina Amir
What’s a smart watch?
Of course, like any normal watch you will get to know the time; though the new tech will make it more of a small computer that’s wrapped around your wrist. You will be notified with all the phone calls, messages, new e-mails, and even the social media notifications. You can pair it with your smartphone or any tablet, using Bluetooth. Some smart watches will allow you to reply or reject phone calls as well. Some smart watches can even perform lots of things without being pair with other smart devices, like the latest model of Samsung gear S that connects to a network so you can perform all the needed tasks without being connected to any smartphone.
It has lots of features such as, (especially the ones with sensors), measuring blood pressure, speed, heartbeats, and atmospheric pressure. It can also follow your physical performance, through some of the wireless advanced technologies as NFC in the new apple watch.
Like any other digital device, they need software to process. Two of these versions of Android and Linux are: Tizen Samsung and Android wear, which google designed specifically for devices that can be worn. On the other hand, apple watches use Apple watch OS. Pebble watches use pebble which is a customized version of FreeRTOS. All of this software have their own applications and specifications that make every watch brand unique on its own, so you have to get the watch that matches your needs.
Smart watches are relatively new, but when they first started, all of them were perceived as big; some had many defects such as the difficulty of using the charger and connectivity with a limited number of devices. But the new watches seem more elegant, and lighter in weight. In the near future, these watches will even be more advanced, that it might perform much more than what it performs now. The more software updates, the better these watches will perform.
Criteria to choose your smart watch
Smartphones operating platforms
First, you need to know if the smart watch will work and pair with your smartphone or not! Some smartwatches don’t work with Android while others won’t compatible with iOS, or Windows phones and BlackBerry phones. However, if your smartwatch doesn’t pair with your smartphones, you can use unofficial applications. Some watches have an SIM slot on its own while other smartwatches connect specifically to certain mobiles as the Samsung gear (gear 2, gear 2 new, gear fit) that works with Samsung devices only.
Pairing smartphone/tablet with Smartwatch
When it comes to connectivity, most of the smart watches need to pair with a smartphone to work; except some watches as the Neptune that’s a full featured Android devices on its own. You can also use the Samsung gear as a device on its own, but it performs much better when it pair with a Samsung smartphone.
smartwatch operating systems
Smart watches have multiple operating systems, thus it’s not that important as most of the watches only show you the notifications that are on your mobile. Though the Android wear watches do more than just that, they also send you the notification to the watch around your wrist. The new amazing thing about Android wear watch is that it uses the same operating system for all the watches that compatible with it. So it’s not important if you’re using a Moto 360 watch, and you substitute it with a G watch…. At the end of the day, you will have the same experience with the same operating system.
All the smart watches show you the notifications that you receive on your mobile. Some watches as Android wear and Pebble will give you a detailed notification, that you will be able to read your new emails and all the other messages. Most of the other watches will tell you that you received a new email without giving you the chance to read it. When you choose between the Android wear watches, you will have mostly the same operating system, but the smartwatch quality and some of the features will differ.
Android wear is designed to pair with smartphones and tablets that use Android 4.3 or above. It can pair with devices that use iOS 8.2 or the more advanced updates as well. Android wear is the most popular system among all the smart watches, as it can pair with Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Motorola, Asus, Huawei, and LG devices.
Apple watches operate with watch OS and so they can only pair with the devices that use iOS system (mainly iPhone). The first version of this watch had a major defect, which is the limited battery life that worked only for 18 hours with the normal usage; but still loyal Apple consumers tend to buy this watch despite the flaw. Apple watch has a list of more than 3,500 available apps, such as Instagram, CNN, and Uber. Apple watch allows you to do everything from controlling the Philips lighting, through Philips Hue app to ordering lunch from Seamless and the app store has a lot of amazing apps.
The pebble operating system is unique for connecting to the pebble watches that uses both Android, and iOS. This watch has a long battery life. Pebble has more than 4,200 apps and watches faces in the store. This store is user friendly, and you can download apps easily from it. Pebble has attracted some of the big names as Buy Pal, ESPN, and the weather forecast channels. And Apple has the largest number of brands, and that’s an added value.
Intel, Vodafone, Orange and Samsung designed Tizen operating system. It’s a light operating system, and it works on watches as Gear S2 Sport, Gear S2 Classic and gear 2 Neo. It also compatible with Android devices from version 4.3 and, of course,the more recent updates. It also compatible with Samsung devices.
On the other hand, Windows 10 supports Microsoft Band 2 watch, which compatible with the Android devices from version 4.3 or more, as well as the iOS 8.1 or the more advanced ones.
Design and Specifications
Many smart watches have more than one wristband so you can change it to suit your outfit or just to change how it looks. Pebble Steel smartwatch comes with two different bands, one leather,and the other steel. While the original Pebble smartwatch supports all 22mm bands. Sony 3 watch has a sportive and a steel band. Apple watch provides most of the design options, with 2 different sizes along with 3 different materials: steel, aluminum, and gold with 6 different styles.
We take in consideration that comfort is the most important aspect here, so you need to make sure that you can move your wrist well with the watch wrapped around it. Avoid the watch that can’t be opened easily. Unfortunately, Sony and Samsung are not easily opened, as their bands aren’t so friendly; but moto 360 has a traditional band.
Unfortunately, you will notice that most of the watches are big and rectangular, which makes you feel as if you have your smartphone around your wrist. Some watches as Motorola moto 360, LGG watch R are smaller than most of the other smartwatches. If you have a skinny small wrist, probably these watches will be cozier, though many people with small wrists prefer big watches. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice.
Interface (Touch or buttons)
When it comes to anything nowadays, we tend to choose the touch screens. Be aware, when it comes to smartwatches, it is not always the best choice to get a touch screen. A Pebble watch, all you have to do is a deal with the scroll buttons. However, the Smartwatch with physical buttons tend to be easier to use than those with touch screen watch, Some people tend to prefer the classical appearance of traditional smartwatch.
Usually, smartwatches with buttons are much more user friendly than the touch screen, because the screen is already small and it won’t be as easy to choose whatever you want as it’s with your smartphone. When you’re dealing with an Android wear watch, you can check notifications, but if you have a lot of notifications on the screen at the same time, it won’t be easy to choose what to check. With the new android wear update, you can switch between notifications by quick clicks.
Apple watch is a mix of practicality and the advanced digital tech. It has a touch screen, and a crown on its right side. You can use this crown to zoom in. The touch screen recognizes the pressure you apply, whether it’s strong and for a long time or a light one.
Notifications and alerts
Some smart watches provide other specifications. Samsung gear 2, allows you to choose which notifications will be transferred to your smartwatch, using gear Manager App. The smart relay feature allows you to open the notification you chose from the screen of your smart watch, on you mobile so you can see it clearly. You will be able to check the latest notifications, as in the Pebble watch you can see up to 50 notifications. Apple watch allows you to scroll down to see the source of the notifications as well.
– Any smartwatch will notify you with the phone calls, messages, e-mails, with a little vibration around your wrist, so you are able to reply or reject, according to the importance of the notification.
– You will receive social media notifications as well, from Facebook, twitter, and so on.
– Some watches can display the actual text on the screen, so you can go through it, and respond with quick responses, such as “I’m busy” or “I’ll call you later”
– You can even accept or reject phone calls, and even make a phone call through your watch when it’s pairing with your mobile. This is not the case with all smart watches.
Apple watch and all the smartwatches work with Android wear that allows you to use voice commands to surf the internet, send text messages, access apps on the watch, and much more. Other models as Sony watch and Martin work with voice commands.
Do you want to use your smartwatch to make phone calls? Samsung gear2 and gear new will allow you to do that when it’s connected to your smartphone. It also has a service similar to Siri that works by voice commands. If you have a Gear S, you won’t need a smartphone, as it has its own sim card, unfortunately, it’s relatively big.
A lot of these watches can track your steps, movement, your physical performance, and your heart beating rate. It can also measure the atmospheric pressure, Identify your location, and many fitness apps that save your records can also help measure a number of calories in your food, and the number of calories you burn. Some watches claim that they are able to detect how long you slept at night, and if your sleeping is healthy and cozy or not!
When it comes to buying a smartwatch, price is very important; because it’s not as your smartphone that works alone, it has to be pair with a smartphone, so you might not want to spend too much on it. Smart watches became very advanced, which resulted in a high price as well. But you can find a smartwatch that fits within your budget. From time to time you can find discounts, especially during holidays, or the release of a new model, For instance, the Pebble watch is still an option to many, because of its good specifications, along with its affordable price. You can also check smartwatches on Yaoota website, and choose which price and features that you need.
From the essential aspects when it comes to buying a smart watch is the battery life. Yes, we recharge most of our devices daily, yet we might not want to recharge or watch daily too. The most attractive watch will be the one that has a battery life of 2 to 3 days. You have to choose the battery life that suits you, so you won’t be shocked. Battery life depends on how technologically advanced is the watch, the amount of energy it consumes, battery model, and your usage.
Recharging the battery
Many watches come with a wireless charger, but most of them need to be connected with a cable to the charger, as the traditional way.
You will find all types of screens, from the LCD, to the old black and white, as well as the retina and the super AMOLED; Which means there is a huge spectrum of screens, some display in colors, others in black and white, small screens, screens with low resolution and quality, other bright clear screens, some have clear display under sunlight while other don’t. You have to decide what features you need, if you want to see your notification in colors, or black and white would be enough? Will you use the screen outside under sunlight so you need a very bright screen? Do you need a small or a large screen?
AMOLED and OLED screens display without a background lighting, which may result in very dark black colors and a high contrast rate. Usually, thin watches consume less energy. OLED screen can display in black and white, full colors, or even half colors. While AMOLED is a full colored screen, like the Huawei TalkBand smartwatch.
LCD screen uses a background lighting to display your content. Its design enhances its performance and reflects sunlight, and ability to control brightness as the Moto 360 watch
Black and white screen usually has a longer battery life, usually longer than the other types of screens. Some watches use the electronic ink, which you can see during daylight or in a bright lighting as the Pebble smart watch.
The size of the screen and its resolutions might not be a big deal when it comes to smart watches. You probably need it to check your notifications, not to watch a video. Most of the watches do that, though some display it in a more beautiful way than others, depends on your priorities and preference; A watch like the Pebble, it displays using electronic ink (black and white) and your notifications will be seen simple and clear. Android wear watches have colorful bright screens while Meta watches have an anti-glare mono display.
If you intended to buy a smart watch with a sim card as the Neptune Pine and Omate Truesmart, you need to think about the specifications of the screen because reading, writing e-mails, and surfing the internet, require a larger screen in some cases.
Smart watches can do more than just notifying you. You can check in a place on Facebook, or foursquare, by clicking one button. It helps you find your lost mobile or play music directly from the watch. Some watches have a voice control, just like smartphones. Depending on the model of your smart watch, it will perform many duties. For instance, MotoACTV is designed to help you exercise, monitor your health condition and a lot of other features related to that. If you’re not interested in sports, or you don’t exercise often, you will probably be disappointed if you bought the MotoACTV. Buy the watch that meets your expectations, and that is beneficial for you.
Water resistance and anti-scratch
If you want to buy watches that are waterproof, you need to check the specifications, the depth and the amount of water that the watch can handle.
Watches with anti-dust and anti-scratch screens are usually protected with a gorilla glass, and it’s a very important feature to protect your watch during your day. Check the Sony SmartWatch MN2.
Which Smartwatch suits you best?
Thinking and research will save you a lot of money, instead of buying a watch with features that you don’t need.
– If you only want notifications about your phone calls and messages, in order not to pull your mobile out of your pocket, then you need a simple smart watch that performs this task only.
– People, who like monitoring their health and activities, get notifications, listen to music, and more advanced features, probably need a light weight, a shock and sweat resistant watch.
– If you like Android system, then the Android wear watch will be convenient for you; there are many brands that compatible with Android, such as: Motorola, LG, Asus, and Samsung. And they connect easily with your Android smartphone. Also, you can benefit from Google now because it receives voice commands just like Siri.
– Apple fans can buy the apple watch. There’re many watches that can connect with your iOS smartphone as the Pebble, and Martin; but, of course, it’s not as advanced as the apple watch, but they can be sufficient in many cases.
A list of different Smartwatches according to their prices
Less than EGP 1,000
It doesn’t look that fancy, but it has a decent design. The band is made of silicon, which you can substitute with any 22mm watch band. Works with electronic ink, has a black and white screen, side buttons to control the screen. It charges from the left side, and this cable protects the watch from the water. It pairs with other Android or iOS smartphones. Receive notifications from your email, phone calls, text messages, apps as Facebook and Instagram. pair with mobile through Bluetooth. Pebble app allows you to control your applications and your wallpaper. Pebble store has many types of watchfaces and they’re all free.
Price: EGP 999
Less than EGP 2,000
More or less similar to Gear 2, with minimal differences; It’s more elegant than LGG watch though its band is not comfortable, but you can substitute it with any other band. Not a heavy watch and looks good around your wrist. The bright clear screen uses Android wear system. You will get notifications about everything from your phone calls, including your messages, and the social media. It has a touch screen that’s a Super AMOLED type.
Price: EGP 1,900
Less than EGP 2,500
One of the most advanced smart watches, with a huge number of users, especially Android users. It uses Qualcomm system, and its touch screen is a Mirasol, which is one of the advantages of this watch; since it saves power, which means an extended battery life (up to 3 days). You can recharge it wirelessly. Unique design. Using the Toq app on your device, you will be able to control the notifications you want to receive through your watch. Full color screen. Ability to respond to SMS by voice. You can also monitor your fitness performance.
Price: EGP 2, 075