Over the last decade, smartwatches have advanced significantly. They used to be mere accessories for your phone, being able to enhance an app or feature slightly whilst also telling the time. These days, smartwatches can do mostly what your phone can do and more - with heaps of functionality being added to make them standalone devices in their own right.
This surge in development has resulted in a huge market of different types of smartwatches. Manufacturers now create them for specific purposes and prices can range considerably. For example, the comparison site Smartwatches4u.com has a variety of different categories that compare smartwatches based on things like the type of device, price, build-quality, and other factors. There's never been as much choice as there is now, with developments almost certain to continue.
But, in terms of features, just how far have they come and how are they useful? Here, we will outline 4 benefits of a smartwatch in everyday life.
Health and fitness metrics
Perhaps the most well-known benefits are to do with health and fitness. With more people counting the steps they take every day, a smartwatch is generally more precise at tracking this than a phone. That's because they are attached to the wearer more often, so they are able to give a more accurate representation of your daily step count.
But smartwatch health and fitness capabilities far exceed this simple upgrade. In fact, many can produce some extremely useful metrics that help to monitor some critical bodily functions. Here are a few examples:
● Heart rate - Smartwatches can track your heart's beats-per-minute in real-time, giving you detailed analytics of how the rhythm has changed throughout the day and night.
● Sleep - You can set some devices to track your quality of sleep, with a rating of how well you slept in the morning. The more advanced smartwatch can even measure your blood oxygen via special sensors, with low blood oxygen potentially being an indication of sleep apnea.
● Calories - Most smartwatches keep track of the number of calories you've burned in a day. This can be very helpful for weight loss goals.
● Reminders - From asking you to stand up and walk around to telling you to take your medication, there are a variety of reminders that can be set up.
● Mindfulness and mediation - Your device can help you to keep calm and stay relaxed with stress management and mindfulness apps.
● Gym companion - Get personal workouts from sports apps to track your fitness and drive your progress.
There's no doubt that health and fitness is one of the most important parts of a smartwatch. In fact, we recently reported on how the Singaporean government was using smartwatches as an incentive for their citizens to participate in a national health initiative. It's only likely that smartwatches will continue to be a driving force in the health and fitness industry in the years to come.
Stewart Dunlop, CEO of PPCGenius says "The best feature of Smart Watch for me is that is makes me easy-to-see notifications. My watch notifies me whenever someone sends me a message, calls my phone or comes to the front door. If the message requires just a short answer of if there is any urgency, I can usually do that from the watch, too."
Listen to music offline
Nearly all smartwatches come with some internal storage space. How much you get depends on the model, but there should always be enough for a few personal files. If you install a music app like Spotify then you'll be able to use this storage space to download music for offline listening. This is perfect for certain situations where you want to listen to music but don't want to take your phone, like going out for a run. You're able to put an album or podcast on and hear it using wireless headphones.
Although some smartwatches have several gigabytes of internal storage space, you won't be able to download a big library. Instead, you will need to pick and choose what to listen to first and sync it from your mobile.
Of course, some elite smartwatches have onboard SIM cards, meaning you'll get cellular connectivity without your phone around. This allows you to stream music straight to your watch so you won't have to worry about storage space or syncing.
Keep your phone in your pocket
People generally spend three hours and fifteen minutes a day on their phones on average, according to The Guardian. A smartwatch can help you to reduce this by taking certain tasks away from your mobile, so you're not tempted to then keep it out and browse through Facebook.
A prime example of this is contactless payments. Many smartwatches have mobile payment services included - such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. You can quickly tap your watch at the checkout to pay for the items, leaving your phone in your pocket.
If you ever get lost then you can also turn to your watch for directions, rather than your mobile. Simply install a maps app on your smartwatch to be given turn-by-turn directions from your wrist until you reach your destination.
Again, if you have a SIM card in your watch, these features will be available without your mobile too - so you can leave it at home entirely if you wish.
Shayne Sherman, CEO of Techloris says "You can even reply to your messages by your voice or even ask your Google Assistant to make a call which you missed earlier.. the possibilities which you can do with your smartphone is endless let me leave the rest for you to figure out by yourself"
Find your missing phone
Although your smartwatch can do a lot of the same tasks as your phone, it's still not an outright replacement - yet. However, they can come in very handy if you ever misplace your mobile nearby by acting as a tracker.
If your phone and watch are still connected, you will be able to locate your larger device easily via the Find My Phone app or similar. Simply tap from the watch to make your mobile emit a ringing sound that you can use to locate it. This is a very simple feature, but one you'll likely end up using time and time again.