Last updated: July 1, 2020

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Although smartwatches may not completely replace cellphones for tasks such as making calls, sending messages or reviewing social networks, they definitely have a place in this world. Smartwatches have been improving year after year and they now provide excellent features that can make your life easier.

Thanks to the growing popularity of smartwatches, the number of models available and the diversity of manufacturers producing these products has grown significantly. For the consumer, this has brought about many benefits as there are more choices and lower prices. However, with so much choice, you may find the smartwatch market overwhelming and be a little unsure about which product to buy. To help you out, we have prepared the shopping guide specifically to make buying a smartwatch easier.

Key Facts

  • There are two main types of smartwatches on the market according to their main use: sport and casual.
  • Most smartwatches work as complements to smartphones, whereby you can perform many tasks on your smartwatch that you would overwise do on your smartphone. However, recently there has been a shift toward independent smartwatches that allow you to perform many tasks without being connected to your smartphone.
  • The increasing popularity and future growth of the smartwatch market is almost a certainty thanks to the ever-growing technological world and reliance on technology.

Our Selection: The Best Smartwatches on the U.S. Market

In the following section, we present you with the four best smartwatches that are currently available on the market. We have selected these products based on their value for money, their features and customer feedback. In the list below there is a smartwatch to suit everybody, take a look and see which one is for you!

Best Value Smartwatch

The Amazfit Bip Smartwatch by Huami is a basic model smartwatch at a fantastic price. Available in four amazing colors, the Amazfit Bip is designed to be an extension of your style and worn everywhere. The standout feature of this smartwatch is the battery life, which is up to 30 days on a single 2.5-hour charge.

Best Apple Smartwatch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is arguably the most powerful smartwatch on the market. With an electrical heart sensor, it is designed to improve your everyday health and keep you safe wherever you go with the emergency SOS features. The fitness tracking features will ensure that you stay in shape and track your routines accurately while the sleek design means you can wear this smartwatch on any occasion.

Best Sports Smartwatch

The Fitbit Versa Smartwatch is by far the best sports option on the market thanks to 24/7 heart rate monitoring, GPS, 4-day battery life and the ability to store up to 300 songs on the device. The Fitbit Versa automatically detects when you start working out so that you can track your performance from the start and make the improvements you’ve been looking for. With a Fitbit, you will train harder, more often, and for longer.

Best Android Smartwatch

If you have an Android smartphone then the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smartwatch is the ideal wearable for you. The Gear S3 is connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth so that you can conveniently receive texts, emails, and alerts without reaching for your phone. With a customizable watch face, you can choose from thousands of beautiful colors and designs for the look that suits you.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Smartwatches

In order to buy a smartwatch that will last you for a long time, we think that it is important that you learn a little bit about these products. This will enable you to define what your needs are and to find a product that best suits your situation. Don’t forget that there are many different smartwatch models and each one offers different features that may or may not be suitable for you. Therefore, in the following section, we will explain everything about smartphones by answering the most frequently asked questions from consumers.

Sports smartwatches are perfect for outdoor activities and sports.
(Source: Maridav: 54454567/ 123rf.com)

What is a smartwatch exactly?

A smartwatch is a device that, in addition to the standard functionalities of a wristwatch, provides other features that you would normally find on a smartphone. Many smartwatches allow you to install certain applications and perform functions such as taking photos, record videos, read messages, and make phone calls.

Other features may include a compass, a heart rate monitor, a barometer, a step counter, and an altimeter. Some advanced smartwatches also contain a GPS, a loudspeaker, a microphone or a slot for an external memory card. Smartwatches can usually be connected to your smartphone via WiFi, Bluetooth or NFC.

A smartwatch can help you access the applications on your smartphone.
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Why do I need a smartwatch?

A smartwatch is ideal if you want access to many of the features of your smartphone directly from your watch. As an example, if you are wearing a smartwatch in a business meeting, you can read a text message or an important email, without having to take your phone out of your pocket and disrupt the meeting.

You may also find a smartwatch very useful when practicing sport or training, either at a professional or amateur level. By wearing a smartwatch while you train, you can control, plan and accurately monitor your body and how well it is performing. You can also review the results after your workout such as the distance traveled, top speed, average heart rate, and much more.

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Did you know that the first smartwatches could only perform very basic tasks such as translations, calculations, and very simple games?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of smartwatches?

One of the reasons why smartwatches are gaining so much popularity is due to the advantages they offer. Being able to use many of your smartphone apps directly from your wrist is a huge benefit. In addition, having the ability to accurately monitor your physical condition when you practice sport is a major drawcard for most people.

However, on the flip side, smartwatches still have some limitations that you should be aware of. As most smartwatches need to be connected to a smartphone, you’ll always need to have your smartphone close by for it to work. In addition, the battery life of smartwatches is not well advanced, so you’ll need to charge it frequently. The following table elaborates further on the advantages and disadvantages of smartwatches:

Advantages Disadvantages
They allow you to access some of the functionalities of your smartphone on your wrist. In general, they depend on a smartphone to perform most of their functions.
With a smartwatch you can accurately monitor your physical condition while you train. The battery life is much worse than a normal wristwatch.
With a smartwatch you have much faster access to notifications as you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket. You may feel like you can never get away from messages, emails or social networks.
They help to reduce the consumption of the mobile phone battery.
Some models allow you to make payments in stores.

Who should buy a smartwatch?

Smartwatches are highly recommended for those who practice sport regularly and would like to use the health applications that measure heart rate or the distance traveled. They are also perfect devices for anyone who needs the motivation to work out or someone who wants to monitor their sleep patterns.

Smartwatches are also ideal for people who don’t want to carry their smartphone absolutely everywhere. With a smartwatch, you can stay connected with your friends and family while your smartphone is sitting in another room of the house. By wearing a smartwatch you can read and respond to messages straight from your wrist.

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Did you know the first smartwatch was the Original Pebble? Thanks to its great success, companies like Samsung, Apple, and Sony decided to launch their own models.

What operating systems do smartwatches use?

Currently, there are two main operating systems that dominate the smartwatch market: watchOS and Wear OS. WatchOS is the operating system of the Apple Watch, developed by Apple Inc. As the Apple Watch is the best selling model, it is the most common operating system. Wear OS is Google’s Android operating system and this is used by many other smartwatch manufacturers.

Smartwatches are extremely practical and versatile.
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What types of smartwatches are there?

As previously stated, smartwatches can be broadly split into two main categories: sports watches and casual watches. The two types of smartwatches differ in the features they offer and the physical design. Sports smartwatches tend to have a better battery life, GPS and specialized applications for measuring distances traveled, heart rate, and calculating the number of calories burned.

Casual smartwatches often contain specific sports functions as well, however, these functionalities usually do not perform very well. The design of casual smartwatches tends to be more elegant in comparison to sports smartwatches. In the following table we breakdown a few differences between the two types:

Sports Casual
Design They have a more rugged design as they are made to be used while exercising or playing sports. Their dimensions are smaller and lighter. They are also far more stylish.
Applications Include applications to measure distances, heart rate, and calories burned Common applications allow users to read messages, emails, social networks and use a camera.
Battery The battery life is better, but they are also bulkier to accommodate a larger battery. In general, the battery life is shorter.

Buyer’s Guide

Once you’ve decided that you want to purchase a smartwatch, we recommend a few aspects in order to make a successful purchase. To help you out with this, we have selected the criteria that we think are the most important. We hope that the following section serves as a guide to you so that you can purchase the most suitable smartwatch.

Intended Use

As you are aware, there are two main types of smartwatches on the market: sports smartwatches and casual smartwatches. Thinking about how and when you will use your smartwatch will be decisive for selecting one or the other. In general, you should be aware that casual smartwatches are lighter and have a more attractive design.

If you have decided that you want a smartwatch for sports, you should think about the functions that it performs in order to find a product that does everything you want it to do. We recommend choosing a sports smartwatch that has a GPS and applications that allow you to measure the distance you travel, plan your training session, calculate the calories burned and measure heart rate.

Wearing a smartwatch will reduce your cellphone battery consumption.
(Source: Scyther5: 42356371/ 123rf.com)

Operating System and Synchronization

Currently, the two most popular operating systems are watchOS (Apple) and Wear OS (Android). If you don’t like any of these options, you can opt for one of the manufacturers that has developed its own operating system, such as Fitbit. Their devices are highly recommended if you are looking for a sports smartwatch.

If you do opt for a watchOS or WearOS devices, you should choose the operating system that you have on your smartphone (iOS or Android). This will ensure that the synchronization between your smartphone and smartwatch is smoother and notifications will work correctly. By doing so you will be able to receive notifications of received calls, WhatsApp messages, and many other functions.

Connectivity

All smartwatches have the ability to connect via WiFi and Bluetooth, however, recently, some models started using 4G LTE connectivity such as the Apple Watch Series 5. By doing this, a SIM card can be connected to the device to receive calls and messages directly from the smartwatch.

Most people will agree that paying with your smartphone is more convenient than paying with a debit or credit card. Well, paying with a smartwatch is even more convenient! To be able to pay for things directly with your smartwatch you need to purchase a device that has an NFC connection.

Design, Weight, and Shape

Design is a fundamental aspect to be taken into account when talking about smartwatches. You won’t wear your smartwatch as often if you don’t like the design or it doesn’t fit in with your style. Thankfully, smartphone manufacturers are forever striving to improve the designs of their products.

Weight is another important factor to consider, as this is a product that you’ll wear on your wrist all day long. When it comes to the shape of a smartwatch, there are square-shaped models like the Apple Watch, which look more like technological gadgets than watches, and there are others with a more traditional, rounded design.

Battery Life

The battery life is undoubtedly one of the key aspects when choosing a smartwatch and one of the most talked-about aspects among tech bloggers. Having an amazing smartwatch with multiple functions is no use if you have to charge it every day. Luckily, there are already models, such as the Fitbit or Garmin sports models, that only need to be charged once a week.

The battery life is critical if you want to take advantage of applications that track your sleep. You won’t be able to wear your smartwatch at night while you sleep if it needs to be charged every night. An equally important aspect to the battery life is the charging time. Our advice is to opt for fast-charging models.

IP Rating

Unlike a smartphone, that you carry in your pocket or leave in your purse or backpack when you don’t use it, a smartwatch is a device that goes with you everywhere. This means wearing it in the pool, at the beach, while you take a shower or while you wash the dishes.

That’s why we highly recommend choosing an IP68-certified model as you can be sure that it is completely waterproof and that you can always wear it, even while showering. Generally speaking, the top-of-the-range models are IP68-certified, but you should read the product description to confirm this.

Screen Type

When it comes to the screen of a smartwatch, there are three things to consider: the size, the type of screen, and the screen protection. The type of screen influences the quality of the display of images, the ability to remove reflections, and battery consumption. The best type of screen for smartwatches is considered to be the OLED. When it comes to protecting your smartwatch screen, devices that use Corning Gorilla Glass will be well protected against knocks or scratches.

Summary

As smartwatch performance continually improves and the number of available applications continues to grow, the popularity of these devices will continue to increase. Many people realize the benefits that they can offer and how they can simplify some basic tasks. With a smartwatch, you can do things such as accurately track your fitness routine, set reminders, measure your sleep patterns, read messages and much more.

If you have ever considered a smartwatch, now is a great time to enter the market and reap the benefits that these products offer. With amazing deals on sites such as Amazon, these devices are well within reach for most people. Keep the advice we gave you in mind and you’ll definitely be able to find a product that serves you well for many years.

We really hope that you enjoyed reading our guide on smartwatches. Please don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below or share this guide on your different social networks.

(Featured Image Source: Ivanov: 104399997/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.