Here is why I refuse to use a smartwatch

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Here is why I refuse to use a smartwatch
You might have heard it on the web: smartwatches are finally good now.

The best ones out there are fast, have a more refined interface than before, can keep track of your health and your fitness, some of them track your sleep, deliver notifications right on your wrist, and can basically turn you into a type of a futuristic "augmented superhuman" that you may have seen in sci-fi movies.

As evident by the title of this article, I disagree with that premise and despite testing and using a bunch of smartwatches throughout 2019, I refuse to wear a smartwatch. Here are my reasons.

#1: Notification Anxiety


We are bombarded with notifications on a daily basis: your personal email, your work email, your iMessage, your Facebook, your Whatsapp, those events on your calendar, those to-do lists, the DMs, and the list surely goes on and on.

It's too much.

While there are times when you can't wait for that call from a loved one and you keep your phone near you, let's admit it: most of the notifications we get on a daily basis are not that kind. Most of the notifications we get are from social networks, they are automated messages, and so often they don't even relate to us. I am a journalist, so my inbox at work is a special kind of a mess that I dread looking into, but my personal email is also flooded with spam that is almost impossible to sort through. And yes, I have tried filters, but spammers will find their way to your inbox no matter how carefully you unsubscribe from every unwanted newsletter.

Notifications are already bad enough on your smartphone, but having a smartwatch can make them even worse.

Having notifications tap you on your wrist and nag you to constantly look at them is a special kind of annoyance, but what's worse is the pressure to have to reply right away. This can create all sorts of anxiety, and it's one of the main reasons why I don't want to wear a smartwatch.

#2: You don't NEED those fitness stats


One of my favorite bits of comedy is a Trevor Noah piece about American sports and how people in the US are obsessed with sports stats, while the rest of the world just seems to enjoy watching games without getting scientific about it (Google "Trevor Noah Sports in America"). And it's funny because it's so true.

But you know what's even funnier?

All of us, non-professional athletes, insisting on recording our every freaking run, gym session or whatever it is for the generations to come. You may disagree, but I think that unless you are preparing for Iron Man or Tour de France, there is no good reason why you should know your exact running speed or have a perfectly specific map of you last run. Just work out, be in shape, stay active, enjoy the process! Do we really need to overwhelm ourselves with stats? Do we really need to be that anal about recording how many reps you did on the chest press?

My anecdotal experience also shows that the fittest people in the gym never wear any "smart wearables", it's usually the beginners that do and this is not an endorsement for how useful a smartwatch is. Of course, this is not saying that a smartwatch will stop your progress in the gym, but it just shows that many advanced athletes consider it a distraction they don't need.

#3: Battery woes


At this point in time, the Apple Watch battery life lasts one day, and most full-on smartwatches with similar capabilities last somewhere between a day or two days. This means that you have to remember to charge up the watch every single night, plus the added anxiety of having no access to chargers while traveling.

On my travels, I have seen other people on the same trip wearing Apple Watches with a dead battery way too often. It's an absurd sighting: a watch that cannot even tell the time, yet is still on your hand like a strange, worthless accessory.

#4: A traditional watch looks stylish, unlike a smartwatch


Fashion blogs will be quick to tell you that there is one piece of jewellery a man should wear: a watch. Not a smartwatch which tends to just look dorky, but a real dress watch that can even complement a tux.

Sure, not everyone is and should be a fashionista, but it's hard to argue that if you want to look sharp, a traditional smartwatch can help you achieve that look while a smartwatch -- even as it's way more accepted these days than before -- will still look a bit odd.

#5: A disposable gadget that costs way too much


Last, but not least, a smartwatch is not an investment that will last in time the way a traditional watch will. Traditional watches are something that you might have gotten from your dad and still pass to your son. Smartwatches? Their battery will last about three years, and chances are that they will become irrelevant in about the same 3-year time span. Maybe four. How many people do you see rocking the very first Apple Watch and that was launched in 2015? I bet it's not many, if anyone.

Everyone is free to spend their money in any way they like, but just think about it when you get ready to spend more than $1,000 on a ceramic Apple Watch. And I do indeed feel sincerely sorry for the few lost souls who spend five digits on the original gold Apple Watch.

Not a good fit for me, but still great for many others


Finally, I should admit that while I myself am very happy that I have resisted the temptation to wear a smartwatch and waste more time staring at screens, for some people, a smartwatch could actually be an incredibly useful gadget.

People who are busy at all times and can't reach for their phones at work would enjoy getting some notifications, some professions that require focus can still benefit from a smartwatch to get urgent notifications, some great health features might turn to be life-saving like that fall detection or the ability to call emergency from your watch, and so on, plus a smartwatch could sometimes feel like a piece of luxury in your life that makes you a little bit superior to others in a fun way.

So no, I am definitely not against smartwatches in general and I hope companies continue improving and perfecting them. I sure enjoy testing them for a few weeks here and there. But until I see a need for one in my life, I am happy I can stay away from one more distracting gadget.

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41 Comments

1. liteon163

Posts: 88; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

Having a smartphone in my pocket helped me ditch a regular watch. Why would I then spend 10-30 times more to replace it when all it really does is mirror what's going on with my phone? Hard pass.

4. IT-Engineer

Posts: 584; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

While the article makes sense, there are other scenarios where it does pay to have a smartwatch. I'm an architect, and I sit in a lot meetings everyday where my phone needs to be on silent, at the same time I have a 10 year old girl that takes the bus from school to home, I need to know if she needs something or if there's an emergency. This way, my watch can vibrate while my phone is on silent. If it's my girl, I go out and answer the call. This way I don't miss her call because the phone is silent.

19. raky_b

Posts: 445; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

IT-Engeneer, for you, Xiaomi Mi band, that costs 25$ should do...

21. IT-Engineer

Posts: 584; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

True, but it won't look good when your in a tuxedo, the Galaxy Watch matches better ;)

37. XP007

Posts: 25; Member since: Oct 21, 2019

I also prefer to use a round watch for formal events, that's why I use Amazfit GTR.

11. Cyberchum

Posts: 1142; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Exactly. Maybe when they come with something really extra. Until then, I'll swerve.

2. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1254; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

Why I don't need a smartwatch? I can just pull my phone out of my pocket, it's no big deal. Same can be said for tablets.

3. Fred3

Posts: 612; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

I wear them because I grew up always wearing watches so why not have a watch with tech on it. Smartwatches are easy to change the faces and the bands on it other than buying multiple watches. I'm not paying full price though I got mine used in mint condition for way less than what these stores and websites sell them for. I'm not paying $150+ for a watch lol

5. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

The only wearable concept I understand is a fitness tracker and not a smartwatch... I'm still wondering what ppl are doing with those things

6. Nokfan1603

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 13, 2013

About three months ago, I decided to find out, what it feels like to have a smartwatch. I bought a second hand Samsung Gear S3 Classic. I pimped it up by putting a classic steal band on it. This way it now looks beautiful like a classic watch. I think, when you do not receive more than five notifications per hour, then a smartwatch saves you time, because you get rid of your notifications within seconds and without getting your smartphone out of your pocket.

36. jmonteiro829

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Exactly this... Plus I think everyone is glazing over the fact that you can customize which apps are allowed to notify you. You can stop notifications from social media apps (this is what I do) so your watch isn't buzzing every 10 minutes. I also have a Gear S3 and it is awesome using it to pay for things using MST. This way I don't need my phone or my wallet. This is very convenient when at a beach.

7. pimpin83z

Posts: 624; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

I can see both sides. Where I used to work, you couldn't have your phones out on the floor but if you had a smartwatch you could still get important notifications. Now I'm at a different company where they don't worry about that. I sit meetings where everyone's phone is out & some are even on them (not in a disrespectful way) so the need for a smartwatch can go either way.

8. Cat97

Posts: 2032; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Get a Fossil Collider hybrid and you will solve most of the issues. It lasts two weeks in a charge and looks like a proper watch. A smartwatch actually enhances productivity and helps healing your smartphone addiction and the need to compulsively check your phone, especially the addiction induced by Apple phones which have no notification LED or always-on display.

14. Rocket

Posts: 736; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Two weeks, really?

16. Cat97

Posts: 2032; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Well, check the reviews if you don't believe :)

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31780; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I charge my phone, watch, and bluetooth each night at bedtime like clocwork. When I travel, I bring my charges, and charge at bedtime like clockwork. I love logging my workouts, and being able to see what I did (it's motivating). I like having my notifications on my wrist. I have mo problem wearing a smartwatch. Of all the ones I've used, the Series 4 is the best, followed closely by the Active Watch 2. Those two are simply ahead in basically every area. I'm currently considering an series 5, any recommendations?

10. libra89

Posts: 2338; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I agree with this article 100%, especially reasons number 1 and 3.

12. MsPooks

Posts: 312; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

I wear one, but yes, they're pretty pointless.

13. Rocket

Posts: 736; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

#1: Notification Anxiety We are bombarded with notifications on a daily basis: your personal email, your work email, your iMessage, your Facebook, your Whatsapp, those events on your calendar, those to-do lists, the DMs, and the list surely goes on and on. My phone is on silence all the time and return/check any missed calls/notifications when i have time. A phone won't rule my lifestyle neither a smart watch. I'll probably buy a smart watch once their battery life reaches a whole week at least.

15. tfpritchjrEMT

Posts: 33; Member since: Nov 24, 2015

I've had my smartwatch for a year now, and if I had to describe it in one word that word would be 'tedious.' I waited until a watch came out that would uplink directly to the cell phone tower. Having to carry my phone to support the watch never made any sense to me. But I/O is my main beef. The screen is too small, barely useful; and forget cruising the Internet. Input can only be described as tedious! Remember the first cellphones; 1 - a,b,c; 2 - d,e,f; 3 - .... Life is too short! I won't be repeating this mistake!

17. RoryBreaker

Posts: 307; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

I disagree with most of what was written & I assume the writer has never throughly looked at the Samsung Galaxy Watch. My #1 reason for choosing it is that it look exactly like a traditional watch. If this article is about how the Apple Watch looks, then I totally agree! Notifications a problem? Not for me, I simply turned of the ones I don't want. Charging? Mine last usually 3 days, really doesn't matter for me since I take my watch off to sleep with anyway. The uses far outweigh any criticisms. I'd be wearing a watch anyway, I may as well wear one that does more than just tell time.

18. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3192; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I wear a Fitbit Ionic. I've also had (have) an Apple Watch, Microsoft Band 2, Gear S2 & 3, a Pebble Steel and Huawei Watch. The Band is now a paperweight, the Pebble, Huawei and both Gears are gone and the Apple Watch sits buried in a drawer. I'm one of those who has to sit one boring, useless meeting after another and cell phones are persona nongrata. I also have a special needs child at school who is adept at needing me at the worst possible times so I CANNOT be without notifications. Fitbit's app, like most others, allow you to pick and choose which notifs you want. You don't need to have all notifications going. Besides notifications, I benefit from the fitness tracking as I've had serious cardiac issues in the past couple of years and it's good to keep an eye on some metrics. I can run inside a 7-11 and grab something on the quick and leave my wallet in my truck since I can pay with Fitbit Pay. However, I miss the Microsoft Band 2, it was the best at what it did and what I needed.

20. sunnyfpy

Posts: 297; Member since: May 12, 2013

Dumb people use smart watch

22. rouyal

Posts: 1601; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

I can honestly only disagree with #4. I think a stainless Apple Watch, or Galaxy Watch Active, paired with a brown or black leather band looks pretty darn classy. The reason I picked those two watches is because of the simplistic clean design of those two. Not a fan of the "hiker" design of most watches.

23. galaxian

Posts: 34; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

I fully agree with the statements in this article. I was more or less thinking this way from the very first time I saw a person with a smartwatch and I still think that way even today when there are more people with these useless gadgets.

24. wickedwilly

Posts: 778; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

I would agree if you are talking about an Apple Watch, which is ugly, expensive and has a poor battery life. My S3 which is still looking great and going strong after a good few years. Its battery lasts for two-three days, I can easily manage my notifications and health and I mainly use a Garmin Fenix alongside my S3 for my training stats. As for cost well it was not an issue, I could have one for 10-20 years for the cost of a TAG or Breitling and change the look of the watch to suit my need or occasion.

25. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1284; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Nice article, dear Victor. Hats off... A Smartwatch will be OK when it lasts for half a month a single charge, lives for minimum 10 years and costs a lot cheaper. In short, a SmartWatch is pointless for me, at least...

26. Gavii2000

Posts: 23; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

I have to agree also. I don’t do anything else with my apple watch only check the time. It lasts max one and a half day on a single charge.

27. BigBoss10

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 31, 2012

I RATHER USE MY REGULAR WATCH SMARTWATCH ARE BORING.

28. TS020

Posts: 73; Member since: Feb 16, 2019

I just swapped the battery in my watch that died after 2 years and it cost me less than $3 and 2 minutes. Screen is always on too :)

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