Guide to Smartwatches

Nowadays, the smartwatch has taken over mobile technology. It is smaller, more convenient to carry around (simply strapped to your wrist), and quicker than some phones.

Last updated: 17th Sep 2020 at 10:23am

Today, we have a variety of brands to choose from, all with their own unique aesthetics and functions, but the Apple Watch and Samsung seem to be the best on the market. But before you even dive into what type of smartwatch to get, you need to know exactly what a smartwatch is.

We feel a little bit sorry for the good old watch – they have been around since the 16th Century (read the ‘fascinating’ history of the watch – if you have the time), but when someone says “what’s the time mate?” people typically pull out their phone rather than check their wrist. But then, the smartwatch was invented, and watches came back with a bang, doing so much more than the traditional timepiece.


What is a smartwatch?

A smartwatch is essentially a miniature computer that is worn on the arm. They perform many of the functions seen on smartphones, but some features are limited by the smaller screen size. This, however, hasn’t put people off - smartwatches are still selling out fast across the globe. Using a smartwatch is easy - just a combination of taps on the touchscreen, or the twisting and pressing of buttons.

If you are looking to buy a smartwatch, you should consider the two main types:

  1. Wi-Fi only smartwatches - These can access the internet over a Wi-Fi network, but need to be next to your smartwatch if you want to answer calls.

  2. 4G e-SIM smartwatches - These have an electric SIM built inside and can have the same telephone number as your smartphone. This means that you can leave your smartphone behind and make and receive calls with true smartphone-less freedom.

The latter of these two types of smartwatches is clearly more desirable for efficiency purposes, but they are a little more expensive than the Wi-Fi only options. Examples of 4G e-SIM smartwatches include the Apple Watch 3, Huawei Watch 2, Samsung Gear S2 and Samsung Gear S3.

But, if you’re going to be spending so much money on a mini wrist phone, we’re sure you’d like to know what sort of features are usually included on a smartwatch.


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Sports and fitness

Almost every smartwatch has a sports and fitness tracking feature. In fact, this feature drives many people to buy a smartwatch in the first place. You can go running or cycling and leave your smartphone behind, while your smartwatch will record data, such as steps taken or calories burned.

If this is why you are looking to buy a smartwatch, then take care to make sure that the one you choose has the exact features that you want. Some smartwatches estimate the calories you burn from steps alone, while others incorporate a heart rate sensor, GPS tracker and elevation, so it is useful to research the specifics before purchasing.


Virtual assistant

If you buy a smartwatch then you will need to get familiar with its virtual assistant. On the Apple Watch this is Siri, and on Android Wear devices it is Google Assistant. Both assistants are innovative and will save you a ton of time.

If you want to send a message or email, then the assistant can do this for you and you don’t need to type a word - simply call on them and speak your request. Aside from dictation, the assistant can answer questions, add items to your shopping list, find hotel and restaurant reviews, check the weather and much more.

While Siri and Google Assistant do differ slightly in what they offer, both voices are helpful and beneficial additions to any smartwatch. 


Contactless payment

The latest smartwatches include a technology called NFC (near field communication), which will allow you to make contactless payments, just like many smartphones and bank cards. 

For Android devices, this feature is called Android Pay.

For Apple devices, it is called Apple Pay.


Smartwatch apps

You can download a variety of apps on a smartwatch that can assist with your daily routine or hobbies. There are many apps available covering areas such as music, sports, shopping, transportation, education, productivity, news, and travel. If you need to do something specific, then chances are that there will be an app to help you do it.

You’ll need data to use and download apps via your smartphone, and an Asda Mobile SIM is the perfect solution – order for free today.

It is unlikely that a smartwatch will ever replace your smartphone altogether, due to size restrictions and other limitations for certain features, but they are always improving in functionality and consumer adoption – so keep an eye out for the latest smartwatch updates.

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