Rights & Money

How to Tell Which Smartwatch Is Right for You

All smartwatches are not created equal.

By Katrina Caruso

The smartwatch market is growing quickly, and it’s no longer only tech companies that are making them—watch companies such as Fossil have released their own smartwatches. So, with all the choices out there, how do you choose?

Smartwatches can be time savers. Whether it’s to check your e-mail or change the song coming through your earbuds, you can access your watch more quickly than you can your phone. Some, such as the Apple Watch Series 3, can even work without being paired with a phone, though the majority are companion devices.

If you’re thinking of jumping on the trend, here are some important considerations:

Compatibility: Make sure that the smartwatch works with your phone. Apple’s smartwatches can sync only with iPhones, while Samsung’s can work with Android phones and iPhones (but have full features only if used with Samsung phones).

Fitness tracking and GPS: Does the smartwatch have a heart-rate sensor and/or pedometer? Some smartwatches also have GPS tracking systems, but that will reduce the battery life.

Design and personalization: It’s a good idea to try the watch on in person, to see whether it’s comfortable. It’s also helpful to know if you can easily get replacement bands. If you want to customize the smartwatch, remember that some some options can be chosen only when you first buy the watch.

Calling: Do you want to be able to take and make calls? Some smartwatches offer data plans for cellular connectivity, usually for a monthly fee.

Apps: Know which apps you’ll be able to access. Apple offers the most, with more than 20,000 apps available through the Apple Watch App Store.

Battery life and charging: Check ratings online for battery life. Colourful screen displays might be pretty, but they can reduce battery life because they use up a lot of power. Many models use wireless charging, which is easy and convenient.

Pricing: Most smartwatches range from $200 to $500, but more high-end models can go for over $1,000. You’ll need to decide what you’re willing to spend.

Photo: iStock/ljubaphoto.