GPS, notifications, fitness — there's a lot of reasons to get a smartwatch. But are these perks worth the money?
We've seen a flood of new smartwatches released this year. Major players like Samsung, Sony, LG, and Motorola have just been joined by Apple in the battle for your wrist, and there are lots of lesser known companies out there trying to claim a slice of the wearables action.
As a new category, there's a wide range of styles and functionality on offer, from basic activity tracking to full-featured shrunken smartphones. Prices range from less than $100 to over $500, but the majority fall in the $200 to $350 range. Most are designed to be tethered to your smartphone, though many people will question the value in paying hundreds of dollars just to save yourself the trouble of having to take that smartphone out of your pocket.
For this reason, not everyone is convinced by the smartwatch crazy. But there are many ways in which this new technology can change your daily activities. Here then are some of the more compelling ways that a smartwatch can make your life a little bit better.
1. You'll Never Miss a Call Again
Do you ever miss a call when you're in the other room, or because you can't hear your phone in your bag? With a smartwatch, you'll get incoming call alerts directly to your wrist, so you'll never again feel the pain of missing out on a friend or family member trying to get in touch with you.
2. You'll Get Notifications at a Glance
If you're sitting at dinner or in a meeting, and you feel a vibration in your pocket, it's rude to slide that phone out and check it (though this fact is lost on many). With a smartwatch, you can surreptitiously glance at your wrist, so you aren't left wondering who called or sent an email. This also makes it easy to screen your incoming communications, and for people who get a lot of email or messages every day, that can be a real time saver.
3. Add Data to Your Fitness Routine and Get Better Results
How many steps have you taken today? How many calories have you burned up? This kind of data is useful if you're trying to stay in shape. Your smartwatch can collect it while you go about your business, providing clarity that you otherwise probably didn't have.
4. Get Smarter Health Tracking
Some smartwatches have heart rate sensors built-in, so they collect potentially important data for medical professionals, and they could be a useful early warning system for serious health problems. You can also set up reminders to take medication.
5. You'll Never Get Lost
Turn-by-turn directions on your wrist can get you where you're going, and a smartwatch can provide them hands-free — and closer to eye level.
6. Find Answers to All Your Questions
A lot of smartwatches offer voice commands enabling you to ask Google Now or Siri whatever you want to know. Granted these powerful digital assistants are already on your phone, but with a watch, the knowledge of the internet is on your person at all times. Whether you want to know who won the game last night or when the next train is due to arrive, has it ever been easier to get the answer you need?
7. You'll Never Lose Your Phone
Some smartwatches establish a link to your smartphone, which enables you to create a perimeter around it; your smartwatch can actually then warn you when you stray beyond a certain distance from your phone. It can also sound an alarm that helps you to find your phone in a hurry. No need to tear the sofa apart in a desperate rush to find your phone and get to work on time: simply have your smartwatch find it for you. We can extend this kind of functionality to include other devices, like a laptop, or even your car.
8. Control Everything From Your Wrist
The full extent of remote control possibilities varies from smartwatch to smartwatch. The ability to remote control the camera on your smartphone is a pretty standard feature, and it's handy for group shots. However, your smartwatch could potentially also control stereos and wireless speakers, TVs, home theater systems, game consoles, kitchen appliances, cars, and even home automation systems for things like central heating and lights.
9. Look Stylish — and Tech Forward
The existing wrist watch market is still huge, and one of the main reasons people buy watches is to make a style statement. It would be fair to say that many of the smartwatches on the market now aren't exactly what you'd call elegant, but there are some nice designs and we'll see more as the market expands. It's also worth remembering that many smartwatches are far more customizable than traditional watches, offering the chance to change the look of the watch face and really personalize it.
10. You'll Always Know the Time
Sure, a normal watch already provides this, but for many of us who don't wear a watch at all, the move to smartwatches means no longer keeping your phone out to track the time. It's also a lot less likely that you'll lose or gain time with a smartwatch because it can sync with an external time source to ensure it's always correct. You'll always have the right time with a smartwatch.
Not everyone is going to be sucked into the smartwatch trend, but there are a few compelling reasons that you might consider buying one. What do you think, readers? Are any of these perks worth the money? Let us know in the comments below.
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