Reasons a smartwatch is still worth buying

With how busy life can get, most people are looking for ways to make their daily activities a little easier. Having a wearable device that lets you automatically track your fitness and health data, respond to messages, use apps and more can certainly help.

Smart rings have become popular in recent years among those who want to track their health and fitness stats. But smartwatches have a much longer track record of doing all that — and more. 

How do smartwatches work?

Smartwatches have sensors that track your biometric data through the skin. These sensors can detect health and fitness data like linear acceleration, rotational movements, heart rate and blood oxygen levels.

Some smartwatches also feature a built-in global positioning system, so they can track your runs, hikes, bike rides and other fitness activities. Other watches use their Bluetooth capability to connect to your smartphone’s GPS for tracking. Both types of smartwatches also allow for remote use of other apps on your phone, making it easy to adjust the settings right from your wrist. 

What features do smartwatches have? 

While smart rings have some of the same features that smartwatches do, their size generally limits their features. In addition to many fitness and health tracking uses, smartwatches offer additional functionality that makes it easier to lead an active life. 

Display

Unlike smart rings, smartwatches all have some type of display that not only shows you the time but also all the data it captures throughout the day and notifications from your smartphone. The display also provides access to apps and settings on the watch. Some watches have simple black-and-white screens to conserve battery life, but others have crisp, clear full-color displays that are easy to read even in bright sunlight. 

A smartwatch display often has touch screen controls that make it easy to scroll through the watch’s settings and features. Some utilize buttons or bezels to perform certain functions, such as taking a photo. 

Fitness Tracking

All smartwatches offer basic fitness tracking stats. They capture data like the number of steps you take, distance traveled and calories burned. In addition, some watches can automatically detect what type of workout you’re doing based on your movements and log them. This makes it easier to get a complete picture of your fitness progress.

Smartwatches with built-in GPS can track your runs even if you don’t have your phone. Those with Bluetooth connectivity can also map your runs, rides or hikes, but you need to have your phone nearby to utilize its GPS feature. 

Health tracking

Most smartwatches also offer detailed health and wellness data by tracking your heart rate, oxygen saturation, blood glucose, blood pressure and/or stress levels. Some advanced smartwatches even offer electrocardiogram readings that measure your heart’s electrical activity to alert you to potential issues. 

You can also find smartwatches that track your sleep to let you know how long and how well you rest. Some offer guided relaxation and breathing exercises to help you calm down when feeling stressed, too. 

Phone calls and messages

Nearly all smartwatches provide notifications of incoming phone calls, text messages and instant messages on their display. Some even allow you to reply to these communications right from your wrist. Certain models let you choose from generic replies like “I’ll call back later,” but other smartwatches have a built-in microphone and speaker that allow you to take phone calls when connected to your smartphone. 

But you can also find smartwatches with cellular capabilities. These models don’t rely on your phone’s cellular connection, so you can make calls and send texts from the watch even if you don’t have your phone handy. 

Voice assistance

Smartwatches with built-in microphones and speakers also allow you to communicate with virtual assistants, such as Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. You can use voice commands to make calls, send texts and even search the internet. 

Battery life

Battery life varies among smartwatches, so it’s essential to think about how long you need your watch to go between charges. Some models can only last a couple of days on a single charge, while others can go up to two weeks before they need to be recharged. If you frequently go on camping or hiking trips where you might not have access to electricity, you’ll want a model with a longer battery life. 

Water resistance

If you don’t want to worry about getting caught in the rain or want to wear your smartwatch to track swimming, choose a model that offers some water resistance. Most models are splashproof, so rain isn’t an issue. Other smartwatches offer full water resistance and can usually be submerged in water up to 50 meters deep, making them ideal for swimmers. 

Best smartwatches

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7

One of the most popular models on the market, this smartwatch has a large, bright display with scratch-resistant glass. It captures all the standard fitness data, as well as advanced health metrics like oxygen saturation and ECG data. You can also make calls, send texts and control streaming audio apps with it.

Sold by Amazon

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense

This fitness-focused smartwatch tracks steps, distance covered, calories burned and your heart rate. It features built-in GPS to track your runs and bike rides and has a built-in microphone for hands-free phone calls. It also offers up to six days of battery life on a single charge. 

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

This feature-packed smartwatch stands out for its ability to provide body composition data, including body fat, muscle, water, body mass index and basal metabolic rate, right from your wrist. It automatically tracks common exercises and offers advanced health data like ECG monitoring and oxygen saturation. It provides access to some Google services and apps, too. 

Sold by Amazon

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

As one of Apple’s more affordable models, this smartwatch provides excellent value for the features it offers. It’s durable and waterproof, so you can wear it for outdoor adventures like hiking and swimming. It also has emergency SOS and fall detection, so it can alert emergency services when needed. 

Sold by Amazon

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

This smartwatch works with your smartphone’s voice assistant to send texts, adjust streaming audio and control smart home devices. It offers excellent battery life, lasting for up to 10 days on a single charge. It also provides all the fitness tracking features that Garmin is known for. 

Sold by Amazon

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

This smartwatch is perfect if you want a fitness-focused model. It offers advanced sleep tracking and built-in GPS to track running and other workouts. It also allows you to take calls, read texts and control music. Its display is brighter and clearer than previous models, and its heart rate data is more accurate, too. 

Sold by Amazon

TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra

TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra

With an impressive battery that lasts three days in Smart Mode and up to 45 days in Essential Mode, this smartwatch is excellent for anyone whose travels take them off the grid. It captures advanced health and fitness data, including irregular heartbeats, oxygen saturation and stress levels. It also offers a built-in GPS for tracking runs and hikes. 

Sold by Amazon

Fossil Neutra Hybrid Smartwatch

Fossil Neutra Hybrid Smartwatch

For those who want a device that looks more like a traditional watch, this simple, sleek smartwatch is for you. It offers heart rate, activity and sleep tracking to help you stay on top of your health and fitness goals, but it also provides call and message notifications from your smartphone to keep you in touch. It’s compatible with iPhone and Android devices, too.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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