5 Things To Know Before Buying A Smartwatch In 2023
Whether it's fitness, triage notifications or tracking your important stuff, there are plenty of options if you're looking for a good smartwatch. However, there are a few things you should consider before choosing the right one. Some of these considerations are not new, such as choosing the watch that best suits your lifestyle. Other topics are relatively new, such as the security of weather data for health predictions.
Finding the best smartwatch isn't as easy as it was a few years ago. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of considerations for the smartwatch buying process in 2023.
1. What operating system does the phone use?
Smart watches usually connect to your phone. This could be sharing notifications, downloading playlists or syncing with your calendar. Either way, you need something that works well with your phone, so you need to know what operating system or operating systems you're using.
In true Apple fashion, the best Apple Watch is a great device if you have an iPhone on your belt. You can set things up with an iPhone before passing it on to a friend or family member, but many of the device's best features are tied to its rectangular big brother that fits in your pocket.
On the other hand, Huawei devices also have limitations and naturally pair better with Huawei phones with EMUI. Otherwise, you won't be able to use some Huawei Watch features, such as contactless payments.
Android is a little more open, but some manufacturers offer additional features. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is great, but it's even better if you have a Samsung phone. The same can be said for the Google Pixel Watch.
Fitbit, Garmin and others, however, use apps available on every mobile platform.
2. How do you like to play sports?
Of course, the type of exercise you prefer will make a big difference in your choice of tracker. Runners have access to some great gear, and some of the best running watches can be found relatively cheap, but serious athletes will spend a lot more money for more advanced features.
Running watches have a GPS tracker that can not only help you mark your run, even if you get lost on trails and walks, and it's also a lightweight design that sometimes allows you to avoid touchscreen interfaces for buttons altogether . They allow for quick adjustments and even music control with sweaty hands or gloves.
On the other hand, you can find watches that are connected to fitness apps and exercise programs. The Apple Watch, for example, can display your next set and your rep ticks you off as you go. This watch can track heart rate and calories burned, but it doesn't need advanced GPS capabilities. Partly because it's connected to your phone, but also because you don't need the feature if you want to train indoors.
3. What health information is important to you?
Everyone is different and everyone's body is different, which means the health measures that are important to you may be low on someone else's priority list.
If you want to monitor your heart rate, many fitness trackers and smartwatches can do that, but you may want to find an EKG to keep in check. Huawei Watch D has a wrist blood pressure link, so it can determine a more accurate BP result on demand.
Sleep tracking requires consistent battery life (or at least a quick charge before bed), but it's not a priority for many people. Many apps store this data in their logs, but some can record your medical history through the Health app on iPhone or Google Fit on Android. This can be useful if you need to share this information with your family or doctor.
It should be noted that there are few smartwatches certified for medical use; these readings are only a guide. However, they can be very useful data to see a doctor about, for example, if you notice that your heart health history data shows an irregular rhythm pattern.
4. Is my data secure?
In terms of data sharing, there has been much discussion about what data fitness trackers collect and how it is used to maintain digital profiles. Some smartwatches and wristbands track menstrual cycles and ovulation, and it's especially important to encrypt them (here are four ways to get started to keep your period tracking data safe).
The Google Pixel, for example, treats your Health Connect data as private and sensitive, as you'd expect. This means that your apps and services will only request the data they need and it will not be shared with any advertising providers or data brokers.
It may seem like an obvious statement, but for a company that makes a lot of money in data transfer and advertising, it's good to know. Most other smartwatch manufacturers are following suit.
Apple, as you might guess from a company focused on privacy, is the same: health data is encrypted on your device and through iCloud and in transit. However, it's best to research where your chosen device's data goes before making a purchase.
5. Need LTE?
Most smartwatches connect to your phone and any connected Wi-Fi, often leaving your phone off.
However, some offer LTE connectivity, meaning you can leave your phone at home and use it to make calls, send messages and stream audio.
The LTE model is more expensive than Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but depending on your use case, the ability to connect at all can be valuable. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Google Pixel Watch and Apple Watch all offer LTE versions.
You should also consider the cost of your watch's data plan, although many carriers may add a small extra cost to your airtime bill to cover your smartwatch's data plan.