How to choose a smart watch

When choosing a smartwatch, you should pay attention not only to its compatibility with a smartphone, but also to the technical characteristics of the device itself.

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  1. How to choose a smartwatch: what to consider
  2. What is a smart watch
  3. The main criteria for choosing a smart watch
  4. Specifications
  5. Ergonomic characteristics
  6. How to choose a smartwatch for 'Android'
  7. Where to buy a smartwatch
  8. Smart watch from China. Choosing on Aliexpress
  9. What tariff to choose for smartwatches
  10. The best manufacturers of smart watches
  11. Smartwatch selection video

How to choose a smart watch

How to choose a smartwatch: what to consider

When choosing a smartwatch as a companion device, you should pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. Type – a smart watch itself (the so-called smartwatch) or a smartphone in the smartwatch format (smartwatch phone);

  2. Compatible with smartphone operating system;

  3. Specifications;

  4. Display characteristics;

  5. Protection against moisture and dust;

  6. Battery capacity;

  7. Design;

  8. Strap features.

  9. The manufacturing company is also important.

What is a smart watch

It is worth distinguishing directly between smartwatches and smartphones made in the smartwatch format.

A smart watch is a companion device. That is, they practically do not work 'apart' from a smartphone (apart from a limited number of models with an LTE module or eSIM). Such smartwatches are designed for quick access to smartphone functions – viewing and responding to notifications, searching the Internet, interacting with virtual assistants, and launching a number of applications.

Smart watches can be roughly divided into two generations:

  1. First. Devices with their own firmware (operating system). Examples – Sony Smartwatch mn2, Pebble, Xiaomi AmazFIT. They have limited functionality depending on the developers of the firmware itself and third-party software. That is, such a watch, in fact, is designed to view notifications from the phone;

  2. Second. Devices with special global firmware Android Wear or Apple watchOS. Examples – LG Watch Style, Huawei Watch, Apple Watch. They have broader functionality that allows you to respond to notifications, search the Internet, launch various applications, etc.

Such devices are a good solution for people who just need a companion device. All the functionality of a smartwatch is directly dependent on the smartphone.

A smartphone in the format of a smart watch (smartwatch phone) is a completely autonomous device that is equipped with a full-fledged GSM module for making calls, receiving or sending SMS and accessing the Internet. They do not need any connection with another phone. Moreover, many models of such 'smartwatches' are in principle not designed to be connected to a smartphone.

An example of such devices is most of the 'Chinese' smartwatches – for example, models from NO.1, Uwatch or Texet.

An important advantage of such devices is their autonomy. So, in the presence of a SIM-module and in conjunction with Bluetooth – headphones, they turn into an almost full-fledged phone for calls or listening to music.

The disadvantage is obvious. Since the vast majority of such devices run under the operating system Android, they can be inconvenient to use – the small screen leaves no room for action. Almost all applications are displayed incorrectly, and the keyboard is not optimized at all and is not shown in full.

In general, distinguishing between these devices is simple:

  1. Classic smart watch – works together with a smartphone;

  2. Smartphone in smartwatch format – works instead of a smartphone.

The main criteria for choosing a smart watch

Criterias of choice

When choosing a smartwatch, you should pay attention to the following characteristics:

  1. Operating system and smartphone compatibility;

  2. Specifications;

  3. Ergonomic characteristics.

Operating system and smartphone compatibility

The operating system of the watch directly determines the compatibility with the smartphone. So:

  1. The clock is on its own firmware. In the characteristics of such devices in the “Operating system” column, there is most often a dash. Such devices may be compatible with Android or iOS depending on the manufacturer's support. For example, Pebble 'communicates' with almost any smartphones, but Sony mn2 only with Android. Limited compatibility;

  2. Watch on Android Wear. This is a companion device. Compatible with smartphones on Android 4.3 and newer, and also on iOS 9 and newer;

  3. Watch on Apple watchOS. This is a companion device. Compatible with smartphones exclusively on iOS 9 and newer (Apple iPhone 4S and newer);

  4. Watch on Android (not Wear). It is a stand-alone device. In most cases, it does not communicate with smartphones. May have limited compatibility with Android 4.3 and newer and iOS 9 and newer.

Limited compatibility means that you can only view some notifications, not even interact with them. But the specific functionality depends on the firmware developers and varies from device to device.

Specifications

The main technical characteristics of smartwatches that can determine practical qualities are:

  1. Battery capacity;

  2. Display size, shape and type;

  3. Body material and moisture protection.

Watch battery

The battery capacity affects the battery life of the watch. And the optimal value of this parameter is determined by the operating system of the device.

A Android Wear 2.0 watch can last up to 2 days when connected with a 500 mAh battery or less. For a companion device on previous versions of this operating system, the optimal battery capacity is 500-700 mAh. Smart watches with a battery of 300 mAh or less are not recommended for purchase.

Smart watches with a full Android should be equipped with a more capacious battery. So, devices with a battery less than 800 mAh will be able to work less than a day. However, watches equipped with a battery of 1000 mAh or more are too large.

Screen characteristics

smart watch screen

The screen is the most resource-intensive element of the smartwatch design. The autonomy of the device depends on its resolution and type.

The highest energy efficiency is shown by AMOLED – screens. However, due to their high cost, they are found only in smartwatches of the middle or premium class (Huawei Watch of the latest generations, LG Watch Style, LG Watch Sport, Moto 360 gen . 3).

Screens made using IPS technology or the like show significantly less energy efficiency. Therefore, display resolution is key. Screens that have a resolution of 192×192 pixels up to a diagonal of 3 inches are best.

It should be borne in mind that round screens are 'interpolated' to a square shape when the resolution is specified. That is, the actual number of pixels they have is lower than indicated in the specification. This means less power consumption and more autonomy for the watch.

Readability in the sun also depends on the type of screen. The best value shows the same AMOLED thanks to the 'lighting' of only active pixels and a completely black background. But IPS, TFT and similar screens are fully backlit and therefore have much worse readability.

Body material

The watch case can be plastic or metal. Both of these materials show approximately the same strength characteristics in everyday use.

However, the metal case of smartwatches on full Android gets pretty hot, which leads to discomfort, especially on hot days.

Dust and moisture protection

Protection against moisture and dust penetration is the most important parameter for smart watches that are planned to be used in extreme conditions (or at least during rain). It is certified according to the international IP standard. The level of protection looks like this: IP67 (instead of 67, there can be any other number).

In IP standardization, the first number stands for dust protection, and the second stands for moisture protection. In addition, there are devices that are absolutely dustproof. They are not marked with a number, but with an X.

The following devices are recommended for purchase:

  1. IP66 – withstands falling into dust and slight getting wet (for example, when washing hands);

  2. IP67 – resistant to falling into dust and significant getting wet (for example, during a shower);

  3. IP68 – withstand falling into dust and short immersion in water (for example, when swimming without diving);

  4. IPX7, IPX8 – withstands immersion in dust or sand, and significant getting wet.

It is worth remembering that some Chinese manufacturers significantly overestimate the protection values ​​of the device, and watches standardized to IP68 and higher cannot be immersed in water.

Ergonomic characteristics

smart watch design

The characteristics that determine the usability of the device (ergonomic) include the design and material of the strap.

Design

When choosing a watch, it is worth considering that only round models look serious enough and are combined with a classic style of clothing. Square devices seem more geeky (with the exception of Apple Watch, but the marketing campaign played an important role there).

Besides, only on round watches do 'analog' dials (with hands) look beautiful.

Strap

The strap can be made of rubber (as well as silicone and similar materials), natural leather, imitation leather or fabric.

The best contact with the skin without overheating or discomfort is ensured by leather straps. But they are distinguished by a high price and a limited number of design solutions. Rubber and silicone are both very reliable materials, but not always pleasant to the touch. Artificial leather (leatherette, eco-leather) is not recommended for purchase, as it quickly loses its attractive appearance. The fabric is distinguished by a variety of design solutions, but it is not always pleasant to the touch and gets dirty very easily.

If the watch strap has no functional elements (cameras, sensors, etc.), it can be replaced with any other one. But only if the device is equipped with a standard mount. Its width (the distance between the 'ears' on the body) is 22 mm.

How to choose a smartwatch for 'Android'

Versions Android newer than 4.3 inclusive are fully compatible with smart watches. When choosing a device, it is recommended to pay attention to the following options:

  1. The best solution is a smart watch with Android Wear;

  2. Optimal – first generation smart watch;

  3. Acceptable – Smartwatch-style smartphone.

  4. Apple Watch c Android not compatible.

Where to buy a smartwatch

Second generation smartwatches are available in offline stores. The first generation and smartphones in the smartwatch format – in online stores (for example, on Aliexpress).

Smart watch from China. Choosing on Aliexpress

Choosing on Aliexpress

On Aliexpress are mainly smartwatch phones – smartphones in the smartwatch format. Therefore, the main thing to consider when choosing:

  1. Notifications that the clock can display – only calls and SMS, or also calendar notifications, social networks, etc.;

  2. Operating system – clean Android, Android with deep interface modification (preferred) or own firmware;

  3. Battery capacity (from 700 mAh);

  4. Camera (not needed);

  5. The presence of a SIM tray (a controversial issue, needed if necessary);

  6. Fitness functionality (if needed).

  7. The material, dust and moisture protection, the type of strap should be chosen based on your own wishes and operating characteristics.

What tariff to choose for smartwatches

For smartwatches of the first and second generations, a separate tariff is not required. It should be noted that devices on Android Wear periodically download new firmware versions via a smartphone, but they do this when connected to Wi-Fi.

For smartphones in the smartwatch format, you will need a tariff with the Internet. But not too much, as they won't be able to 'surf on social media' due to their tiny display. Therefore, a tariff with 1-4 GB of Internet is enough.

The best manufacturers of smart watches

The best smartwatch manufacturers are:

  1. 1st and 2nd generation: Apple, LG, Huawei, Sony, Motorola, Xiaomi, Samsung, Pebble , Garmin;

  2. Smartphones in smartwatch format: NO.1, UWatch, DZ, GV.

It is better to choose smartwatches of the first and second generation, as they provide the deepest interaction with a smartphone.

In the following articles, our experts tell you what to choose – a smartphone or a tablet and the secrets of choosing an e-book.

Smartwatch selection video


Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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