Unfortunately for the companies selling smartwatches, most consumers don’t get the opportunity to try-before-you-buy. We’re here to help with a number of useful, real-world benefits that we’ve discovered, which should be enough to convince even the most ardent smartwatch detractors.
For us, notifications are the main reason you’d buy a smartwatch. The ease of having them sent to your wrist and being able to identify their importance without removing your phone from a pocket or bag is invaluable. It simplifies your life and it saves time – and time is important.
2. Social etiquette
Checking your phone can be rude. Replacing that with a quick glance at your wrist is quicker, simpler and subtler.
3. Internet of Things
I can control the volume of my Sonos sound system with a few taps on my wrist, I can also turn Hue lights on and off. Again, it’s quicker and simpler than retrieving a phone, and the Internet of Things and ‘Smart Home’ technology is only set to expand.
During Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event, Tim Cook demonstrated the Apple Watch being used to get through airport security by displaying the user’s boarding pass directly on the watch screen. Anything that makes the airport security process easier is a benefit.
5. Answering calls
Various smartwatches handle answering calls differently. The Sony Smartwatch 3, for example, allows users to accept and decline calls on the watch, but activates the phone’s speaker and microphone (or headphones, if plugged in) for the conversation. This is helpful when walking around with headphones on, or while driving, when your smartphone isn’t easily accessible.
Others, such as the Apple Watch, allow users to answer and carry out conversations directly from the watch (the phone may remain in your bag). This may make you feel like Dick Tracy, and it’s not the ideal way to answer every call, but it does come in useful for quick conversations when you can’t get to you mobile.
I’ve had a Fit bit, worn it for several weeks, then forgotten about it – it’s a common problem with dedicated fitness trackers. All smartwatches are capable of step counting, and most will run fitness apps such as Endomondo and Strava. The benefit of smartwatches is that they hook users in with other useful features, making them less likely to be sidelined.
You can walk around town listening to music on the phone in your pocket, if a track comes on that you don’t like then simply hit ‘next’ on your smartwatch. You can also pause, adjust the volume or line-up the next track. It’s sounds trivial, but it really does make listening to music easier.
8. Battery life
One of the biggest drains on your mobile’s battery life is that big, high-resolution display – as a smartwatch reduces the amount of time that large screen needs to be on, it can have a significant impact on battery life.
And before you question whether being connected to a wearable all-day drains the battery – most use efficient Bluetooth 4.0, which isn’t power hungry at all.
Being able to change your watch face everyday is surprisingly fun, on the weekends I can walk around with a dancing Micky Mouse on my wrist, but at the Monday morning office meeting I can wear a more professional watch face.
Ever found yourself in a rough area at night and too afraid to get your $800 smartphone out? Luckily a smartwatch is a lot more discreet (well, as long as you don’t go flashing your $500 Apple Watch around).
And finally we come to navigation – getting around an unknown city is much easier with a smartwatch. Directions are sent to your wrist, telling you when and where to turn next.
Walking around while following directions on your mobile increases the chance of that glass and aluminium baby meeting the cold, hard concrete. Reducing the chance of this happening is another major benefit to wearable.
Of course, the main argument against smartwatches is that they simply do everything a smartphone can, which is true, but they’re not there to replace your phone – they’re there to complement it, and make your life that little bit easier.