It’s more than just an accessory: it’s time for a smartwatch buying guide

Wearable technology is becoming more popular by the day, but while you wait for the smart ring category to grow, consider buying a smartwatch instead.

A smartwatch buying guide? We may have a few ideas for you to consider before making your next big purchase. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype of a new release and sign up as soon as pre-orders open, but within days it becomes clear that the shiny new device wasn’t for you. Overwhelmed by the specs and floored by the design, impulsive purchases can weigh you down for days. That’s why it’s important to make a checklist before purchasing a smartwatch. Let’s go through some tips for buying a new smartwatch that will put your money where your mouth is.

Smartwatch buying guide: the battle for the best

In the past, a watch had only one task: telling the time. Ultimately, we decided to make them smart and now we’re in an era where a smartwatch buying guide is necessary to consider all your options. Every year these devices become smarter and more versatile, but it’s often the new features that you don’t end up using.

Despite their lack of use, buying the latest smartwatches with the most feature set has become the most important criterion in our smartwatch purchasing considerations. This gives us a super gadget that does everything except pair correctly with your phone. Let’s look at some questions to ask yourself before buying your next smartwatch.

tips for buying a new smartwatch

tips for buying a new smartwatch Image: Garmin Instinct 2X, Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Google Pixel Watch 2

Smartwatch purchase checklist: is it compatible with my smartphone?

Most smartwatches work by pairing with your smartphone via Bluetooth and displaying most data in a native app on your device. Samsung watches work best with Samsung phones, but usually compatibility extends to other operating systems as well. It’s a good practice to double check that your device’s compatibility won’t be an issue once you receive your new watch, just to be sure.

Apple watches work best with iPhones and while you can use some features with an Android device, it won’t be convenient. Likewise, the Google Pixel watch runs on WearOS, like many other brands that borrow Google’s technology to build their devices. Other watches using this operating system are compatible with an iPhone, but the Google Pixel is not. If you are an iPhone user, you may not be able to use the Pixel watch comfortably, which could make it an unnecessary purchase for you.

Understanding the device operating system also helps you understand the device itself. The WearOS is popular for a reason, but many brands are choosing to skip paying Google and borrowing its technology, opting to develop their own operating system instead. Innovation is usually a good thing, but sometimes it hinders a product’s performance. The first version of the OnePlus Watch used a proprietary operating system that gave them more freedom in designing their hardware, but it had several limitations that the public didn’t like. Before delving into further smartwatch purchasing considerations, take a moment to check the operating system and compatibility.

Screen: What do you look at when you wake up?

As you start your actual smartwatch purchasing checklist, the first thing you may want to check is the display quality. An OLED display is usually better than an LCD display, but is reserved for the more expensive smartwatches. An LCD screen is more than enough for the small smartwatch screen and ensures that your device has a better battery life. So unless you’re very picky about a world-class screen, it’s fine to buy a smartwatch without an OLED screen.

Other considerations when purchasing display smartwatches include:

  • Brightness: If you spend a lot of time outdoors, the brightness of the screen will be an essential factor determining its usability.
  • Screen size: If you are someone with clumsy fingers, a square/rectangular watch face on the larger side may serve you better than the smaller, rounder watch faces. However, these can look very large on narrow wrists, increasing the chance of damage, so weigh the pros and cons carefully when choosing.
  • Touch screen: A smartwatch mainly works via a combination of touch and button/rotary controls. Watches such as the Garmin Fenix ​​​​6 work exclusively with buttons to facilitate use in wet environments or with larger hand accessories such as gloves. Depending on where you want to use it, you may find a non-touch watch that is more suitable for your needs.
  • user interface: Half of the charm of the smartwatch’s appearance lies in the user interface that it promotes in its marketing. It’s easy to fall prey to this and choose the watch that looks the best, but most smartwatches have the option to select how you want the screen to look. Read more about the customization options and to what extent you can edit the view. This way, a cheaper smartwatch might give you the perfect screen instead of spending big dollars on a watch that only has the one theme you really like.

Trackers and features: considerations when purchasing smartwatches

As you browse through the smartwatch buying guide, you may wonder what you want to use the smartwatch for. If you just want a watch that accurately counts your steps and occasionally lets you know when you need to move, you shouldn’t be impressed by a watch that also has a blood oxygen monitor. If that’s a benchmark, you don’t expect to check it often. you shouldn’t be bothered that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 no longer includes this: it’s still a worthwhile purchase.

Understand what the smartwatch needs to track for you and find a smartwatch that meets the most goals while staying within your budget. Some examples of features include:

  • Voice assistant integration
  • Calculators, alarms, stopwatch and timers
  • Heart rhythm monitor
  • Bike tracker
  • GPS
  • Sleep monitor
  • Notifications from third-party apps
  • Music player and integrated storage
  • Range of training modes
  • Find my phone function
  • Blood oxygen monitors
  • Camera controls
  • Temperature monitor
  • Call function
  • SOS alerts
  • Fall detection sensors
  • Water resistance rating

These are some of the best smartwatch features, but rarely will you find a watch that has them all. Prioritize the most useful ones on your smartwatch purchasing checklist so you have a clear idea of ​​what you’re willing to compromise on.

Battery Life: How Long Can You Last?

Having a smartwatch that you need to charge every day can be a bit of a pain if you lead a hectic life. Athletes, journalists, avid campers and hikers, and those who travel frequently can only find limited time to charge their devices. This can result in running a lifeless device that doesn’t serve its purpose, so one of the questions you should ask yourself before buying a smartwatch is whether you have enough time to charge it.

Some smartwatches can guarantee a week’s worth of battery life, while others, like the Google Pixel 2 or Apple Watch Ultra 2, last just over a day. If a long charge cycle is a top priority, the Garmin Instinct 2X is one of the best to consider, with 40 days on a single charge, powered by solar power. The Forerunner 965 offers 23 days of battery life in smartwatch mode.

All of these categories provide more than enough food for thought in this smartwatch buying guide, but the final boss before you make a decision is price. There are smartwatches available for every budget, but whether they meet all your criteria is uncertain. Create a smartwatch checklist that includes all your purchasing considerations and keep them in mind when the impulse to buy a new one strikes.