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Is it time for a Smartwatch?

 From taking up a whole room to being able to wear them on your wrists, technology has come a long way. 



Technology has paved the way to a place where computers are getting sophisticated in a matter of minutes every day.  These gadgets have revolutionized our daily lives over the years and made it quite clear that the time has come where it’s nearly impossible to pass a day without them. From waking up to phone alarms to closing our eyes texting goodnight to loved ones our life revolves around these devices. 


Perhaps the one device that amazes us the most at present is these smartwatches. At the time we were born, having thought of wearing a “computer” on the wrist was kind of a fairy tale, just a mind-boggling scenario from a James Bond movie. Controlling activities remotely, answering phone calls without the “enemies” noticing, measuring the walking distance to pinpoint a target, how can this be any less than a science fiction movie? Isn’t it too good to be true? 


Today these smartwatches or portable computers are getting increasingly faster and high-powered than before. With all these revolutions, the competition in the market has also become very tight. Choosing between fossil vs apple watch is even harder than choosing the major for their college for the millennials. Picking the perfect smartwatch among all the models, keeping all these features and colors in consideration can be a very difficult job. Besides, the way technology is upgrading all the time, the fear of falling behind from using the latest one makes the purchase even harder. 


When it all began?


William Stephe George Mann, a Canadian engineer, and inventor is debatably known as the “Father of wearable computing”. He designed the first Linux watch in 1998 and was given the title on 7th February 2000, after presenting the watch at the IEE ISSCC2000. But there were many other contributors throughout history




What is a Smartwatch exactly? 


A smartwatch is like a portable mini-computer that can be worn on the wrist. It comes with a touchscreen where all the information is displayed. They are usually paired with a smartphone from where they receive all the data and instructions. The early models could only perform simple tasks like running calculations, digital time showcasing, and a few simpler games. After 2010, these watches now have similar capabilities to a smartphone. Today’s smartwatches include apps, designated operating systems, biomonitoring functionalities, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity, and even mobile cellular options to receive and make calls. 


There are some models where you can connect your Bluetooth headset and enjoy listening to music or FM radio. Some even come with a camera to click pictures or shoot videos and send them directly to your smartphone or store it on the watch’s internal storage. Checking your emails or text messages on the watch is one of the easier tasks nowadays that these watches can handle while your phone rests in your pocket. 


Which is the one for you?


There are varieties of these watches available in the modern market. All of them function similarly to a smartphone. They add new features when an app is installed from the app store, for instance, if you want to get weather reports you will have to download and install a weather app but the built-in sensors add the actual value to this gadget. 


Some models actively measure the pulse rate on the wrist, others use GPS for determining the distance traveled or even the altitude using a barometer. But some high-end models come with all these features and functionalities.  We can categorize them into four main types that are currently available. 


Usual.


Starting with the simplest, their main function is to display time and data. Apart from this, those watches have a few more features like a stopwatch, alarm clock, and timer. But they can be connected to a smartphone, to receive incoming messages, calls and notify the user through vibration or a ringtone. A few models also show the starting of a text message like in the notification bar of your phone. One good thing about these models is that the battery lasts more due to the limited features. 


For the fitness freaks. 


There are some interesting features designed specifically for athletes. Newer models of the watch help the user to monitor the heart rate and steps walked while training. They also monitor the sleep cycle and offer solutions to improve your sleeping conditions. Not only this, these watches are fitted with a GPS transmitter that records the distance traveled and helps to attain your set goal of walking by a constant reminder.  Yes, they are water-resistant. 


One special feature includes sending all the measured data to a specific analysis program which can be seen on your phone. You can also connect them to the internet and set up your training plan directly. Apart from all these, they can also report your calls and messages like a personal assistant. The downside is that those models have a shorter battery life than the simpler versions and will last a few days only. 


The Classics.


If you are a classic gentleman then probably this is the one for you. These watches are usually made as an extension to your smartphone. They have an imitable retro outlook with a modern touch. All the usual features like getting notifications about your calls and messages or making calendar appointments can be done by connecting it to your phone via Bluetooth. You can also write messages by dictating through your watch using voice recognition. Besides these, all the sports features like pulse meters and step counters are preinstalled. 


The main difference compared to sport-watches is that you can install any app on them from the Android Wear from Google or the watchOS from Apple, depending on the operating system of your watch. Also, you will be getting a larger screen, probably an LCD or an OLED. But you will have to charge the device every two days or less because of the additional functionalities which will be draining out your battery life.  

Mini-smartphone.

People who are obsessed with the miniature version will find these watches very intriguing. Those are a miniature version of the classic smartphones, and they don’t need to be paired with a phone to function. They can work independently by installing sim cards in them. You can browse through the internet or download and install various features via LTE mobile technology. 


Although they cannot replace an actual phone since the screens are too small to navigate properly, operating the gadget is a little complicated and the main issue is the battery life. The housing of the watch is small as a result only a small battery can be used. So you might have to recharge the device more than once a day. 


Things to consider. 

If you are buying one, there are a few features you should look out for, first you should check to see if the device is compatible with your smartphone, unless you are going for the ‘mini-smartphone”. The market today is in the hands of android, apple, and windows operating systems. 

If you are an Apple user then you don’t have an option but to choose an apple watch since they are most compatible with your phone. On the other hand, android provides us with much more flexibility both in case of compatibility and with the options of apps it comes with. Both WearOS and iOS bring the best of their world to the table and depend on the user’s brand preferences eventually. You also need to consider the price. The expensive ones are always not the best. But if you are more into brand value, then you have already narrowed down your list.

Aside from compatibility and prices, you also need to look at the different features each of these models comes with, and what are your needs. If you are a fitness freak then you might want to settle with Fitbit, a much cheaper option than the apple watches. The battery life is also an important issue to think about. The more features you want, the more sacrifice you need to make with the battery. If you are someone who travels a lot and doesn’t have much access to a regular power source in your daily routine, you might want to reconsider what features you will eventually want and eliminate the others. 

Time’s up.    

The world is moving fast and all of us should keep pace with the technology which makes our life a little better and easier every day. So, are you considering getting one for yourself? Don’t forget to share your experience when you get to use one!  


Photo by David ┼ávihovec on Unsplash 


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