A smart watch offers a convenient way to stay connected, active, and informed. By connecting to your mobile device, you can stay in touch while on the go, track your fitness goals, and receive notifications and alerts at a glance. Plus, these sleek, stylish devices let you customize your wearables with apps, faces, and straps to make them your own.

In particular, smart watch users enjoy the following conveniences:

  1. Convenience: A smart watch can give you notifications for incoming calls, texts, emails, and other notifications right on your wrist. This allows you to stay connected without having to reach for your phone.
  2. Health Tracking: Many smart watches can track your steps and other health metrics like heart rate and sleep quality. This can help you stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals.
  3. Payment Options: Many smart watches now have payment capabilities, allowing you to make transactions quickly and conveniently.
  4. Apps: Many watches can run apps, allowing you to customize your watch and get the most out of its features.
  5. Style: Smart watches come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes, allowing you to express your personal style.

Types of smart watches available

When it comes to buying a smart watch the first thing you need to do is figure out what type of watch you want. Are you after a classic analog look with some smart features, or do you want the full digital smart watch experience with all the technology bells and whistles? Or perhaps you are a luxury buyer who wants the very best.

Analog Smartwatches

An analog smartwatch is a traditional-looking wristwatch that has built-in features such as Bluetooth connectivity, fitness tracking, and notifications. An analog smartwatch does not have a touchscreen or display, like a digital smartwatch does, but instead features physical watch hands for time-telling.

Examples of analog smart watches:

  1. Martian Notifier– This watch pairs with your smartphone and delivers notifications from your phone including calls, texts, emails, social media notifications and more.
  2. Garmin Vivomove – Track your steps, monitor your sleep and get the notifications you want with the Vivomove. The analog design is perfect for those who appreciate the classic look of a traditional watch.
  3. Casio Pro Trek Smart– This rugged and stylish watch was designed for outdoor activities, featuring dual-layer LCD display, battery life up to 2 months

Digital Smartwatches

A digital smart watch is a wristwatch that is equipped with a range of advanced features, such as a touchscreen display, wireless connectivity, health and fitness tracking, smartphone notifications, and even mobile payments. Many digital smart watches can be customized with apps, be used as a remote control for other devices, and can even be used to make and receive phone calls.

Examples of digital smart watches (with description of each):

  1. Apple Watch Series 5 – The latest in Apple’s series of smart watches, the Apple Watch Series 5 features an always-on retina display, a built-in ECG app, and a noise monitor to detect loud sound levels. GPS, heart-rate tracking, and water resistance are also included, as well as the ability to store music and podcasts. We’ve done a deep dive on all the Apple Watch options.
  2. Samsung Galaxy Watch – This smart watch features a classic circular design, with a rotating bezel that can be used to navigate around the watch’s apps. It also has a built-in heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, and GPS, as well as a long-lasting battery and dedicated fitness tracking apps.
  3. Fitbit Versa 3 – Fitbit Versa 3 is a smartwatch designed to help you stay active, sleep better and manage stress. It features an AMOLED display, continuous heart rate tracking, 24/7 activity tracking, and up to 6 days of battery life. It comes with a built-in GPS, contactless payments, and on-device music storage. It also has advanced sleep features and offers more than 15 exercise modes. It is available in black, navy and pink colors.

Hybrid Smartwatches

A hybrid smart watch is a combination of a traditional analog wristwatch and features of a smartwatch. It typically retains an analog face and includes some type of activity tracking, sleep tracking, notifications, light vibration, and compatibility with a smartphone application. Hybrid smartwatches aim to provide the look of a traditional watch with certain smartwatch capabilities.

Examples of hybrid smart watches:

  1. Fossil Gen 5E Julianna: This watch combines a traditional analogue design with smart features, such as activity tracking, voice assistant, and Google Pay.
  2. Skagen Hybrid Connected: This watch features an analogue design and includes a step counter, sleep tracker, and phone notifications.
  3. Garmin Vivoactive 4: This watch has a classic design and also includes fitness tracking and advanced health metrics such as VO2 max, respiration cycle length, and stress tracking.

Fitness Smartwatches

A fitness smart watch is a wrist-worn device that combines the features of a regular watch with the abilities of a fitness tracker. It allows the user to track their activity, track their heart rate, calories burned, and other fitness related data. They also have an array of other features, such as allowing the user to receive notifications, take calls, access apps and more.

Examples of fitness smart watches:

  1. Garmin Vívoactive 3: This fitness smart watch is designed to track your daily activity and provide valuable insights on how to optimize your workouts. It has an LCD touchscreen, built-in GPS, and multiple sports modes including running, cycling, and swimming. It also has a host of connected features including automatic uploads to Garmin Connect and compatibility with the Garmin Connect IQ store, enabling you to customize your watch with new apps and widgets.
  2. Apple Watch Series 4: The Apple Watch Series 4 includes features specifically designed for fitness and health tracking. It comes with an advanced fitness tracking app that tracks your heart rate, calories burned, and other metrics. It also has an ECG app, fall detection, and more.
  3. Fitbit Versa 2: The Versa 2 is a great fitness smartwatch for those on a budget. It comes with a built-in heart rate monitor, sleep tracker, and 6-day battery life. It also has GPS and access to Fitbit’s extensive library of workouts and health metrics.

Luxury Smartwatches

Luxury smart watches are high-end watches that combine the functionalities of traditional watches with the latest technology, such as GPS tracking, fitness tracking, and access to popular apps. They typically feature touchscreens and vary widely in design, depending on the brand. Luxury smart watches are made from premium materials such as stainless steel, titanium, and even gold. They can range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Examples of luxury smart watches:

  1. TAG Heuer Connected: This luxury smart watch features a 41mm case with a titanium finish, and a blue dial. It has Google voice commands, NFC payments, a fitness tracking app, and up to 25 hours of battery life. In addition, it also has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, water-resistant casing, and a built-in microphone for hands-free calling.
  2. Breitling Exospace B55: This luxury smart watch has a 46mm titanium case and black rubber strap. It is equipped with an analog and digital Quartz Chronograph, Bluetooth connectivity, and access to Breitling’s app store. The Exospace B55 also has a fitness tracking app, NFC payments, and a host of other features.
  3. Cartier Tank: This luxury smart watch is designed to look like a classic Cartier wristwatch. It has a quartz movement and a 25mm stainless steel case. It also has a GPS module, a fitness tracking app, and a variety of other features. The Tank also has NFC payments, Apple iMessage integration, and a water-resistant casing.

Kids Smartwatches

Kids smart watches are wearable devices designed especially for young children. They usually feature basic functions such as a time-telling device, a step counter, or even a built-in camera. Many also have additional features such as GPS-tracking, video chat capability, and even educational games and activities. They are designed to give parents peace of mind while still allowing kids to have fun and stay entertained. We’ve written indepth on smart watches for kids.

Examples of kids smart watches:

  1. Garmin Vívofit Jr 2: This durable, water-resistant watch helps kids stay active with fun challenges and rewards. It features an easy-to-read color display, a parent-controlled timer to limit usage, and a secure kid’s app which provides access to chore reminders and reports on school schedules, bedtimes, and more.
  2. Kurio Watch 2.0: This fun, interactive watch is perfect for kids to stay connected with their family and friends with the included messaging, voice recorder, and camera features. It also provides access to learning activities and games, as well as 6 different customizable watch faces. This watch is also water-resistant and compliant with US CPSC standards.
  3. LeapFrog LeapBand: This watch is designed for younger children and helps them stay active with fun physical challenges and rewards. It allows parent’s to set up challenges for their kids each day to encourage them to get up, get moving, and burn off energy. The LeapBand also includes 50+ activities, challenges, games and songs.

Smart Watch Operating Systems

There are two main operating systems for smart watches, Apple’s WatchOS and WearOS which is the Android based OS for wearable technology. They are not the only players though and other manufacturers have also developed their own operating systems.

WearOS (previously Android Wear)

WearOS is Google’s mobile operating system for smartwatches, developed in collaboration with several tech companies including LG, Samsung, Asus, and Motorola. It runs on a modified version of the Android OS and has access to the Google Play store for downloading apps, including many fitness and health tracking apps. Android (WearOS) smart watches come in a variety of styles and sizes and support both touchscreen and rotating bezel interfaces.

Apple watchOS

The Apple Watch is Apple’s smartwatch offering. It runs the watchOS operating system, which is a modified version of Apple’s iOS. It offers a wide range of apps and can integrate with Apple’s other devices, including iPhones, iPads

Garmin Watch OS 4

The Garmin Watch OS 4 operating system is a high-performance operating system specifically created and optimized for the Garmin Wearable range. It comes with innovative features and capabilities that are designed to help individuals stay on top of their physical and mental health, enabling them to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. Some of the key features of the OS 4 include all-day Stress Tracking, Body Battery energy monitoring, and guided breathing exercises. Additionally, the OS 4 provides access to numerous apps that allow users to access and monitor their health, fitness, and activity data.

Fitbit OS 2.0

Fitbit OS 2.0 is the latest version of Fitbit’s proprietary operating system designed specifically for its range of wearables. It is designed to provide users with a smoother, more intuitive experience than previous versions, allowing them to take advantage of new features such as Sleep Scheduling, Stress Management, Female Health Tracking, and more. Additionally, the OS includes on-device music, access to Fitbit’s App Gallery, and a greater number of integrations with third-party services. Fitbit OS 2.0 is available on a select range of devices including the Charge 3, Charge 4, Versa Lite, Versa, Versa 2, and Ionic.

Samsung Gear OS

Samsung Gear OS is the operating system used on Samsung’s line of “smartwatches,” such as the Gear S3. It is based on the Tizen operating system and is designed specifically for wearables. It features a customizable user interface and easy access to a variety of app and fitness tracking features.

Tizen OS

Tizen is a Linux-based open-source operating system developed by the Linux Foundation, with support from its Tizen Association members. It is designed to run on a wide range of Samsung devices including smartphones, tablets, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) devices, smart TVs and smartwatches. It is also used for other non-Samsung products such as smart appliances.

Tizen is designed to support HTML5 web applications and native applications written in C and JavaScript, as well as applications written in other languages like C# and Python. The OS has a growing app store, supporting both Tizen and Android apps, as well as various HTML5 apps. Tizen provides various features such as multi-user

Features to Look for in a Smart Watch

  • Heart Rate Monitor: monitors pulse rate and other biometrics for health tracking
  • Notification Alerts: vibrates or lights up when you receive a text or email
  • GPS Tracking: tracks your movements and logs locations
  • Sleep Tracking: monitors sleep patterns, quality and duration
  • Water Resistance: able to withstand wear and tear while swimming or in the rain
  • Music Player: stores and streams music
  • Fitness Tracking: records steps and other physical activities
  • Battery Life: long battery life to ensure it can keep up with your lifestyle
  • Interchangeable Bands: ability to change bands and styles to match your outfit
  • Voice Command: ability to make commands or ask questions via voice commands
  • Smartphone App: syncs with a smartphone app to customize, monitor, and sync data

Smart Watch Buying Considerations

  1. Functionality: When shopping for a smart watch, it’s important to consider what features you need and what functions you will use the most. Consider activities like tracking fitness, monitoring your heart rate, receiving notifications, playing music, and managing phone calls. Different smart watches have different capabilities and levels of functionality, so make sure to read reviews and product descriptions to ensure the watch you choose meets your needs.
  2. Design: Smart watches come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as different materials such as steel, silicone, plastic, and more. It’s important to consider the design of the watch and how it looks on your wrist, as well as how comfortable it is and whether it is water-resistant and able to withstand wear and tear.
  3. Price: Price is another important factor to consider when shopping for a smart watch. Smart watches can range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Consider your budget and what you are willing to pay, as well as the features that you need in order to avoid overspending.
  4. Battery Life: The battery life of a smart watch is usually determined by how often it is used and how many features are enabled. Look for watches that offer at least a few days of battery life so you won’t have to worry about charging it often.
  5. Operating System: Different operating systems are designed for different watches. Consider the pros and cons of each operating system and decide which one you prefer. Some of the most popular operating systems for smart watches include watchOS, Samsung Gear OS, Tizen OS, and Fitbit OS.
  6. Returns and Warranty: A good returns policy and warranty are important when buying a smart watch because they provide protection against any malfunction or other product defects that could occur. Returns policies provide buyers with assurances that they can get a refund or replacement if their watch is not working as promised or is otherwise defective. Warranties also give buyers peace of mind that they can get the watch repaired or replaced if the product fails within a specified period of time. Having both a returns policy and warranty can give buyers the confidence to make a purchase with the assurance that they are covered against any potential issues.

When it comes to buying a smart watch, there are many factors to consider. Review the different operating systems and features to find the watch that best fits your needs. Consider the design, functionality, battery life, price, and other factors to find the perfect watch for you.

E-payments

Epayments on a smart watch typically involve pairing the watch with a compatible smartphone via Bluetooth or NFC. Once the phone and watch are connected, users can press a button or swipe their watch to initiate the payment. The payment is then processed through the phone’s connected financial services provider, such as a bank. The payment can then be verified and confirmed by the user before completion.

If epayments functionality is important to you you should look out for the following brands:

  • Apple Watch: Apple Pay on the Apple Watch allows users to make contactless payments with their watches. By double clicking on the side button and holding the watch face near the payment terminal, users can securely and quickly pay for their purchases without having to take out their wallets.
  • Samsung Gear: Samsung Gear devices come with Samsung Pay, which can be used to make contactless payments with the watch at participating retailers. Like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay provides a secure payment process that can be completed quickly and easily.
  • Garmin: Garmin devices run Garmin Pay, which is a similar contactless payment system to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. With Garmin Pay, users can store credit and debit cards on their device and use them to make purchases with a tap of the watch.
  • Fitbit: Fitbit devices come with Fitbit Pay, which is a contactless payment system that allows users to make payments with their watch. Fitbit Pay is compatible with a range of credit, debit, and transit cards.

In short…

The most popular smart watch brands are Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. Apple offers a sleek design and powerful features such as cellular connectivity, a customizable watch face and health tracking apps. Samsung has a wide selection of watches with a focus on style, durability and advanced fitness tracking. Fitbit focuses mainly on fitness tracking and is the ideal choice for active individuals.

When choosing a smart watch, it is important to consider the features that best fit your lifestyle and needs. Consider battery life, display size, size and weight, and compatibility with your smartphone. Additionally, factor in the costs and consider any additional features like cellular connectivity or fitness tracking. Taking these factors into account will help you find the perfect smart watch for you.