Ever since the days of Dick Tracy, or a few years later Michael Knight, talking to your watch or having it talk to you has been an exciting thought. Many companies have tried to make this dream a reality. In the 1980’s Seiko developed a number of watches followed in the 1990’s by IBM’s WatchPad. In 1999 Samsung created the first watch phone. I don’t have to explain that none of these watches had an explosion of sales. Many other companies tried to create a watch that would be so useful that everybody would want one.
The first smart watches that started to become real contenders were from Pebble and Samsung in 2013. Over the years, I’ve had calculator watches, pager watches and other fancy digital things to strap to my wrist, but the Galaxy Gear 2 was my first modern-day smart watch. I could answer the phone with it, read my notifications on it and play games on it. I was happy. That is until a better one came out.
Just like there are two major phone camps out there (Android & iPhone) there are two major watch camps out there as well (Android Wear & Apple Watch). There are more choices out there (Tizen, Pebble, Etc) but in this article I’m going to address the two main camps.
Android Wear watches are manufactured by a number of different companies (Motorola, LG, Asus, Huawei, Sony). The thing they have in common is their operating system. Google’s Android Wear operating system runs on them. They work with any Android phone (4.3 or later) as well as with iPhone (8.2 or later). They come in a wide variety of colors & styles (round & square) and in many different price ranges ($149-$399).
The Apple watch was released in 2015, about a year after the first Android Wear watches were released. In true Apple fashion, the announcement was huge and people got up early and lined up to get their hands on one. The Apple watch comes in three collections: Apple Watch Sport ($349-$399), Apple Watch ($549-$1,099) and Apple Watch Edition ($10K-$17K) and in two different sizes (38mm & 42mm).
I love my smart watch for these purposes:
- Notifications – By far, the number one reason I love my smart watch. When I get a text, email or other notification, I can quickly glance at my watch whether I’m in a meeting or making dinner and see what’s going on without having to get my watch out of my pocket. When you are at home and your phone is charging on your desk, you watch can still notify you.
- Health & Fitness – Your watch can help you stay healthy and measure your progress. It’s like a Fitbit and a lot more.
- Social Etiquette – Checking your phone during a meeting or while talking to friends can be very rude and disruptive. Glancing at your watch is quicker, simpler and subtler.
- Security – If you leave your phone on a table at a restaurant, your watch will notify you when you leave that you forgot your phone. Also, when I’m wearing my watch, my phone knows it and can temporarily bypass certain security features making the phone easier to use.
- Siri & Google Now – I do often find myself using my watch for simple inquiries or tasks such as setting an alarm or timer.
From my experience, just because a smart watch is capable of doing something, doesn’t make it the best way to do it. There are many features and apps on a smart watch that you just aren’t going to use. The screen is just too small to accomplish all the things you want to do. Your smart phone is a way better size to use in most situations. I wouldn’t suggest you getting a watch to replace using your phone in every situation.
A watch is nice but it’s definitely not a necessary purchase for most people. I wouldn’t break the bank on it. If you have the money and you like the latest tech, then it could be for you.