Smartwatch has been gaining popularity within these past few years. With surging sales and all, more and more people are getting one and using it daily even though they already have a smartphone.
But then, what are the benefits of using a smartwatch? These are the 20 best features and benefits of a smartwatch:
- Show time
- Notifications for messages and emails
- Picking up calls using the watch
- Control music playback on phone
- Has water resistance rating
- As a fitness tracker
- Health monitoring
- Sleep tracking
- Always connected to your virtual assistant
- Check your daily calendar and appointments
- Payment via NFC
- Voice dictation to send messages
- Can be used as a torchlight
- Remote shutter for your phone’s camera
- Control your smart home devices
- Handy to find your misplaced phone
- Alarm clock
- Can be used for navigation
- Can customize dial or skins
- A very cool high-tech device
1. Show Time
The first and foremost feature is of course, to tell time – in a very cool way. As smartwatch is basically a small smartphone, there are tons of customization that you can do (more on that later) which makes the smartwatch a very different device than any other types of normal watches out there.
It’s basically a digital watch but the use of LED panels make the watch pop up and looks great with various colors and icons (no boring 7-segment number blocks here!). And yes, it can do all the things that normal watches can, plus lots more features thanks to the advance processor and connectivity to our phones.
2. Notifications for messages and emails
The major selling point for smartwatches is its connectivity to smartphones, and by extension, its ability to be notified of all incoming messages, emails and even social media notifications. This feature has made smartwatches a very useful tool especially for those busy individuals.
With this, you will be able to get connected even if your phone is not on your hands (or you just don’t want to take it out from your pocket). No more missing out on those important emails and messages as everything is delivered right to your wrist.
3. Picking Up Calls Using The Watch
And yes, since smartwatches are connected to our phone, it’s natural for it to be able to pick up calls right? This is the next benefit of smartwatches as you can easily pick up calls without the need to fumble around and get your phone out.
In my opinion, this feature is most beneficial when you’re doing something dirty or some activities in which you can’t immediately reach out and take your phone as your hand is occupied or dirty. Or another scenario is when you’re doing some home chores and your phone is in the other room.
With the smartwatch, you won’t miss any calls anymore as the calls will be notified to your watch and you can pick it up using it. Some smartwatches also have LTE connectivity so that it can be its own standalone phone (though there is a concern on battery life with this feature).
4. Control Music Playback On Phone
Controlling music playback on the phone becomes easier with the smartwatch. Although our phones are quite easy to control music to begin with, there are instances when you can’t really use your phone or its inconvenient to do so such as during workouts, in a crowded subway train etc.
In these instances, using your watch is much easier as you don’t need to take out a bulky smartphone out just to change the music or the volume.
5. Has Water Resistance Rating
Smartwatches have grown by leaps and bounds over the years. It has even gotten water resistance rating, with most of the watches having 5 ATM or 50 m rating. There’s always a risk that water will get into a watch that can be very detrimental even for normal watches so it’s very good that current smartwatches have this feature.
I mean, if a normal watch can get fogged up (a sign of moisture ingress), I honestly would be very scared that water will get into my expensive smartwatch which will make more damage on the internal electronics.
With the water resistance, the risk of water ingress into the watch is reduced and you can even use it underwater. This makes the watch a true all-in-one device that you can wear and use for all purposes. In addition, the water resistance enables the fitness tracker feature on the watch usable even for swimming activity.
Although swimming is OK, I’d be wary to bring the smartwatch for diving, even if it has a 50 m water resistance rating. Diving is different than swimming as it has more hydro static force imposed on the watch depending on the dive depth. I’d recommend leaving your smartwatch and use a dedicated dive watch instead for any diving activities.
6. As A Fitness Tracker
With the rising obesity problem, step count is one way to measure how active you are for the purpose of being healthy and fitness tracker can achieve that. With the current shift in fitness tracking device, currently, almost all smartwatches has a form of fitness tracking.
A basic fitness tracker can only measure steps – which our smartphones can do too. But smartwatches can go a step further by offering tracking for other activities too such as jogging, swimming and cycling. This data is useful for the next feature that smartwatch offers: health monitoring.
7. Health Monitoring
The next good benefit of smartwatch is health monitoring. The watch uses the activity data from its fitness tracker and calculates nifty information about your personal health such as calories burn and others.
In addition, it can also track heart rate and correlates that with your activity level to pinpoint any underlying issue with your health. A cool feature is the ability to alert you if your heart rate is too fast or too low so that you can take corrective actions immediately.
8. Sleep Tracking
Another great feature of smartwatch is sleep tracking. Via its actigrapher or acclerometer, a smartwatch can detect the body’s movement to know if you’re asleep or awake. And with its heart rate sensor, it will be able to tell how is your sleep, either restful or restless. This data can be shown by a graph showing how long you’ve slept and the length of the 4 sleep stages that you were in.
But that’s not all. Through dedicated sleep tracking apps, you can use this data to get a wholesome outlook of your daily lives such as how do you sleep when you did a strenuous activity in the evening? Does it give you the best sleep or not? This analysis of your life and sleep pattern is very powerful to get the best activity that you should do in order to maximize the efficiency of your sleep time.
Although it looks great on paper, there’s always the concern of wearing the watch during our sleep. Some people are okay with this while some are not – personally, I’m not comfortable wearing a watch to sleep. Some people might also prefer to take off the watch to charge it overnight. So although sleep tracking is a great feature, its actual uses will depend on the individual’s preference.
9. Always Connected To Your Virtual Assistant
Love using Google Assistant, Siri or (gasp!) Bixby? Then you can still use them even though your phone is not with you via your smartwatch. As it’s connected to your phone, your virtual assistant is always connected and you can use them anywhere.
10. Check Your Daily Calendar And Appointments
This next feature is a great one especially for those with busy schedule. The ability to sync your calendar and appointments make smartwatches a very convenient and powerful tool. As smartphones have been increasing in size and weight over this past years (even IPhone are becoming bigger!), it becomes unwieldy and not easy to be used anymore.
Here comes the smartwatch. If you’re having a very busy day, the watch will be able to notify you with all of your appointments. And since it’s always on your wrist, you won’t miss any appointment notifications at all.
11. Payment via NFC
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that is used in contactless payment and have been around sometime in many smartphones. Now, the same technology was implemented in smartwatches so that you can easily pay for stuffs without the need to bring out your credit card. It’s it convenient?
12. Voice Dictation To Send Messages
The next cool feature with smartwatches is the ability to dictate and send messages. Dictation has been around with smartphones and having this feature on smartwatches is great as it makes the watch more usable. Although you can still send messages with the watch, the small screen real estate makes typing on it not a feasible option.
Then enter dictation. With this, you can just say the words to the watch and it will dictate it into a message. This is especially powerful if you’re in a situation where you can’t stop and pick up a phone to reply, such as driving.
13. Can Be Used As A Torchlight
Another handy feature with smartwatch is the ability to use it as a torchlight. Now, not all smartwatches have a dedicated torchlight function but some (such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch) can light up its screen to the max and use it as a sort of torchlight. Yes, it’s not a real torchlight and it has serious range limit but when you’re in a pinch, this feature is something that you’d wish you’d have.
14. Remote Shutter For Your Phone’s Camera
The next feature is my personal favorite: making your smartwatch a remote shutter for your phone’s camera WITH the ability to show what’s it’s taking. Without a doubt, this is a great feature that can easily justify the purchase of smartwatch, if you’re taking lots of pictures of course.
Taking pictures for groups and wanting to be part of it is an age-old problem. You can ask a passer-by to take your picture for you but what if there is no one else besides you and the gang? You can use a timer for it but then you’ll have to run to your position once you’ve pressed the shutter – can you still give a great pose then?
You can also get a Bluetooth shutter for this (the Samsung Note 9 last year introduced its Bluetooth-enabled stylus that has this purpose) but you can’t see how your picture looks like.
Now enter your smartwatch. With it, you can sync your phone’s camera to see in real-time what your camera will capture. You can then use it as a remote shutter and even change some of your camera’s settings. Now that’s one real convenient feature for a classic problem =)
15. Control Your Smart Home Devices
Controlling your smart home devices is also possible with the smartwatch. Since it’s connected to your phone, you can get the same control over your IoT devices just from the wrist of your hand. From there, controlling your lighting fixtures, TV, robot vacuum cleaner, air conditioner and other devices are easy.
16. Handy To Find Your Misplaced Phone
The next benefit of having a smartwatch is the function to trigger where your misplaced phone is at. As both devices are connected, you can trigger your phone to give an alarm sound even though it’s on silent mode. No misplaced phone anymore!
17. Alarm Clock
And yes, you can use your smartwatch for alarm clock too. In fact, I’d think using the watch as alarm will work even better as you can strap it on your wrist and when the alarm goes off, the vibration from the watch with the noise it makes will wake you up more effectively.
18. Can Be Used For Navigation
The next feature that a smartwatch has is the ability to be used for navigation. As most smartwatches have an in-built GPS (Global Positioning System), the watch can be used as a handheld navigation device simply by loading up the apps on it.
Although I don’t think this is useful for those driving since we can easily arrange our phones in front of us while driving which is easier to look at, I can see that this feature will often be used by tourists or those walking and using public transport.
As these people need to be wary of their surrounding, it’s better for them to be using their smartwatch as a navigation device instead of taking out their bulky smartphone. Smartwatch is always strapped to our wrist and simply flicking it will be enough to let us see the navigation commands. In comparison, smartphones is heavy and there is a risk that it could be dropped on the floor while you’re busy trying to find your way around foreign place.
19. Can Customize Dial Or Skins
One of the most fun features in a smartwatch is the ability to customize its dial using skins. Just like a wallpaper on your computer or phone, smartwatch also has its own wallpaper that can be changed on the fly. If you’re bored with the stock dial out of box, just change it with some other dial. In fact, you can also download other dials and use it as you wish.
With a smartwatch, you’re essentially getting hundreds of dials for the price of one!
20. A Very Cool High-Tech Device!
Last but not least, a smartwatch is a very cool high-tech device. With all the features above, we can say that smartwatch nowadays are just a bit below smartphones in terms of raw capability. Of course, it’s lack of screen real estate is a big disadvantage but when you look at what it can do, you just can’t stop being in awe with it.
Having one of the latest smartwatches will definitely increase your status among your colleagues or friends as someone that knows the direction of technology nowadays.
I would have to highlight that not all the smartwatches in the market right now supports these features. So you should always double check the product specification of the watch you’re interested in first before purchasing it.
The Future Of Smartwatches
I definitely am in awe with what smartwatches can do currently. In fact, the industry is continuously innovating it so much so there’s so much innovation now compared to the past few years. True enough, until a way to make the screen bigger than it is now, smartwatch’s adoption will still be limited as not many people will find it really useful, as most already have a smartphone at their disposal.
Another factor that could reduce acceptance to smartwatches is battery life. As of now, the maximum battery life is around 10 days, though it can be increased if you opt to only use the watch as a watch without the various apps and connectivity (which is quite illogical to be honest as there’s no point to buy it then). But most smartwatches on the market have an average battery life of around 3-4 days which is still okay but not great.
There’s also the concern that the connectivity to LTE or smartphone on a device that’s located next to our body can bring some form of harm to us, considering it’s continuously strapped on our wrist. Whether this claim is unfounded or not remains to be seen as no definitive research was published on this matter to my knowledge (if you guys have any info about this, do let me know in the comments below).
I hope this article about the benefits of smartwatches is useful to you. Do let me know if there’s anymore that I missed, by commenting below.