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Smartwatches have been around for quite a while but with the incresing competition, brands are trying to add more features and outdo one another. With so much variety, it is important to remember what you need a smartwatch for and buy one that suits your requirement and budget.

Here are a few guidelines to help you.

Firstly, what is a smartwatch?

A smartwatch is a computerized wristwatch that can perform beyond the basic functionality of timekeeping. Early smartwatch models can perform tasks such as calculations, translations, and playing games, but today’s models are effectively wearable computers that can run many mobile apps using mobile operating system. They function as portable media players like FM Radio, audio or video playback to the user through USB or Bluetooth headset. Some mobiles feature full mobile capability offering making and answering calls, also called as “watch phones”. It also helps you keep a tab on your health with built-in fitness features such as pedometer or heart rate monitor.

Operating System and Device Compatibility

Device compatibility is really important because most of the smartwatches are designed to serve as companions to your smartphone. Android Wear watches work on Android 4.3 or with higher smartphones. Google makes it easy to check if your smartphone is compatible or not just by visiting from your smartphone browser. Android Wear does work with iPhone but few features get restricted when linked with a different OS. Android Wear can really anticipate your needs using Google Now-style cards and with the increasing number of third-party apps, the number has grown suitably. Talking about Apple Watch, they work only with iOS devices. They are loaded with many apps, but mostly focusing on fitness and social interaction ones. In short, don’t buy a smartwatch that is not compatible with your smartphone, as it will either be restricted to some apps or won’t even be able to work after future upgrades.

Display: Lcd or E-ink?

Most number of smartwatches come with either LCD screen or AMOLED display, but there are brands that offer E Ink or e-paper display. E-paper screens are usually monochrome or colour, which is easier to read in bright light without worrying about the glare and also works on less battery life. These screens have built-in backlight while LCD screens are brighter. The only difference is battery life, colour displays use so much of power that their screens are turned when the watch in inactive and so you can’t even see the time. Opt for a smartwatch that shows you the time even when not in use and preferably at dimmer brightness.

User Interface: Buttons Vs Touch

A touch display is easier to navigate as well and sometimes it becomes difficult to target apps on the small touch display, where even gesture-based interfaces aren’t intuitive. Still, there are smartwatches that come with physical buttons, giving it a classic feel and look. Nevertheless, if you want something simple and old-school, then physical buttons can do the trick.

Design and Personalization

Most of the smartwatches offer many options for customization, some better products offer you the choice of straps or the ability to swap them with some third-party alternative. This enables you to redefine the look of your device and in return, yours as well. You do not need cumbersome clasps, which requires more force to get open or close. Newer models are getting slimmer and smaller now with most of them sporting round faces, just like the traditional timepieces. Design variations and personalization options are going to be next thing to look for because the style is what is worn today.

Notifications and Alerts

A smartwatch should be able to alert you to incoming calls, emails, text messages, and notifications. You are notified by a quick buzz of the device, and then you can decide if the current alert requires your attention or not. Also, look for social media integration, like Facebook and Twitter, for quickly checking up on recent notifications, even though you missed them the first time. Many smartwatches now let you customize on what or which notifications to come to you through the companion app. Every OS design has now made it possible for much easier usability and device convenience.

Special Features: Fitness, Voice and More…

Fitness trackers are the go-to gadgets when it comes to measuring and keeping track of your daily activity. Smartwatch makers are also getting into this race by integrating some activity-monitoring functions. Most of the smartwatch come with a built-in pedometer for keeping the count of steps. Android Wear does come with built-in heart rate monitor, but it is not as reliable as a fitness tracker. If you want to make phone calls, some smartwatches, like Apple Watch, enables you to do so if you have your device nearby. Android Wear, like Huawei Watch, also have the ability to make and receive calls and it comes with built-in mic and speaker for better audio. While making calls, it is necessary to inspect for the volume, that’s why we suggest for a built-in mic for voice commands.

Battery Life and Charging

Smartwatches with E Ink or E-paper lasts for four to five days on a single charge. Those with LCD or colour screens run up to one or two days (sometimes less than one). Devices with voice capabilities can’t last even a day if you use them as your smartphones. We suggest smartwatches with USB cable for charging because they are easy to plug-in and when you can’t find the cable that came with the device, it is easier to find an alternative.

These are the main factors that you need to consider before buying a smartwatch for yourself. Device compatibility is of the utmost importance because without that nothing can work smoothly or efficiently. Also, try to look for a water-resistant smartwatch, if you work out a lot or swim often.

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