Smart Watches: Useful Tool or Just an Accessory

The earliest iterations of smartwatch technology date back to the 1980s. Back then, they had rudimentary functions such as a calculator and basic video games. The world’s attention to smartwatches returned in the 2010s. Their popularity is rising every year. It’s estimated that their US sales jumped from 9 million in 2016 to 20.1 million in 2019.

While technology seems to gain momentum, it remains a divisive issue for many tech fans. The advocates claim that smartwatches are irreplaceable tools with various applications. Their opponents see such products as nothing more than overpriced accessories. Both of these sides have valid arguments that will be explored in this piece.

Smartwatch Pros

Smartwatches get new apps almost every day. Of course, there’s no way to browse the best custom writings options on them yet. With that said, these products adopt some of the best features smartphones have to offer. There are several things smartwatch users can do with their devices.

Answering Messages And Calls

One of the most obvious benefits of a smartwatch is that they allow responding to messages. Advanced models have built-in speakers and mics. They allow answering phone calls from the wrist. It’s a nice feature, especially if your hands are dirty or holding other items. Some of the models allow dictating messages via voice commands.

Credit: Marek Levak

Contactless Payments

Another facet of smartwatches is their integration with contactless payment systems. There’s no need to get out a smartphone or credit card when you need to buy something.  Apple, Google, and Samsung added payment apps to their watches for this purpose. It’s a great time-saver when you want to buy water on a daily jog.

Health Tracking

Many choose smartwatches to keep track of their health habits. Smartphones have many apps that work with smartwatches. Both devices need the same OS to work. Such products come with various apps that track such data as:

  • Body weight
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • The number of daily steps
  • Heart rate and stress levels

The level of detail in data depends on the product manufacturer. This information is valuable for people who want to take better care of their health. There are models for professional athletes, such as cyclists, swimmers, and CrossFit enjoyers.

Notifications

One of the attractions of smartwatches is that they display smartphone notifications. These things can be accessed from the watch display. Users can quickly read Facebook updates, messages, and other things. But, these pop-ups can become a distraction when a user has many of them activated. Luckily, one can leave only the most important alerts working.

Media Control

Another great feature is the media control they give. For example, users can change the volume settings or skip songs on Spotify playlists. It’s a perfect option when listening to audiobooks on a stroll or doing active exercise. Some of the latest models have apps for watching movies. But the small screen and battery life make this addition almost pointless.

Tracking Capabilities

Another application of smartwatches lies with the in-built GPS sensor. The built-in chip is used to track the distances you ran, hiked, or walked. It can also track the location of your family members and pets. This feature makes consumers feel safe about their loved ones. This tracking is also used to measure several health indicators.

Smartwatch Cons

While there are plenty of features to explore, there are drawbacks. Most models have poor battery life. On average, a fully charged smartwatch will last only 24 hours. Unlike smartphones, such products have to be recharged on a daily basis. The use of extra apps can drain the battery even faster. A smartwatch can suddenly die on you at any point in the day.

Another drawback is that most products need a smartphone to work. That also means that apps have to be present on both watches and smartphones. If a mobile device is dead or out of reach, the watch won’t work. In this regard, smart bands are better as they work autonomously. It’s a serious downside, considering that watch models can cost between $300 to $400.

This brings the issue of most models being largely overpriced. They have about a third of the screen space offered by smartphones. Additionally, they can’t function without being connected to a smart device. For the same price, a consumer can get a Samsung Galaxy A42 5G or a Nokia 5.4 model.

Finally, smartwatches aren’t completely water resistant. The devices can take some liquid on the surface, but nothing too serious. This makes them a poor choice of taking a swim. Smartwatches are still good to take a jog with, as long as you don’t fall into any ponds.

Smartwatches As Accessories

These products have quite some power under their hood, even with a few setbacks. But what about their role as an accessory? Watches have been a piece of fashion for a while. Smartwatches continue this tradition with several customization options. Users can change store-bought bands to those made of stainless steel and other materials.

But there’s no way of changing the color of the casing or other pieces of hardware. With that said, users do have more options when it comes to changing software settings. Here one is able to tweak several things, including screen brightness, sound, and alert signals. Yet, there are plenty of options for changing the face of the digital clock through apps or settings.

Credit: Photo by MOHI SYED

Final Thoughts

Recently smartwatch technology has begun to move to autonomous work. This will make the pairing of watches with smartphones obsolete. But, this innovation is now reserved for the high-end models of an already pricy product line. Sales may pick up when the devices are more affordable.

In the meantime, smartwatches can only be considered a modern accessory to smartphones. They’re too dependent on them, and the battery life is nowhere near where it should be. There are better devices that perform some of their functions autonomously. The time of smartwatches will come, but not anytime soon.

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