Here is why I refuse to use a smartwatch
This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
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.