Smartwatches: Why I'm still not on board, but perhaps you should be

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Smartwatches: Why I'm still not on board, but perhaps you should be
Smartphones are amazing – the Swiss Army knives of tech. Their main purpose may be making and taking phone calls, but they can actually do an insane number of other things, such as, oh, I don't know – giving us access to the rest of the world, and to most of humanity's vast knowledge at all times!

Now, in recent years we have started seeing phone companies attempt to sell us more things as accessories to our smartphones, like wireless headphones and smartwatches. And while the former makes sense, since headphone jacks are rare these days, the latter I'm still not fully convinced that I need. And the reason why can be summed up in one word:


Your average big-brand smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series 7 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 will, of course, show you the time, but in order to sell them to you, companies usually lean on heavily advertising their "health" and "fitness" aspects instead.

Those can include the ability to track your steps as you walk, track various fitness exercises and even your sleep patterns, albeit with varying degrees of accuracy.

But wait a second… Our phones can already tell the time and they're always with us. In addition, apps with similar functionalities exist on smartphones too, as those devices also have the necessary sensors to, say, track your steps. Sleep tracking and calorie journal apps exist too.

Another thing smartwatches are known for is the ability to show you your phone notifications too, such as calendar reminders and messages, and some smartwatches even let you reply to those from your wrist…

Once again, this feels a bit redundant. For me, having to charge yet another device just for it to show you the same information that your phone already shows you, but on a smaller display on your wrist, doesn't quite justify buying an expensive smartwatch.

However, to be fair, there are particular scenarios where I totally understand why someone would buy a smartwatch. Let's check those out!

A smartwatch makes full sense to me for…

Swimming! If you're a swimmer who needs to track your water-based exercises, then a smartwatch makes perfect sense. After all, almost any premium smartwatch is water-resistant, while smartphones normally aren't, nor are they something you can strap to your body and just dive into a pool with.

Also, I understand getting a smartwatch for health and safety reasons. The best smartwatches usually come with heart and blood oxygen sensors, and some models, like the Apple Watch, have features such as fall detection and can call someone to help you out if you have an accident. In addition, if you're ever in a dangerous situation, calling 911 from your wrist can be faster and more low-key than using a phone.

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In fact, while we're on the topic of danger, if I was a cynical man I'd argue that Apple is basically trying to scare people into buying an Apple Watch these days. We recently reported on the Cupertino company's latest ad that shares stories about how the Apple Watch "saved lives". And in all fairness, it's hard to argue that a smartwatch like this could prove useful in a critical situation.

Here's another scenario where a smartwatch makes perfect sense to me – you're really into running or general fitness, and want the most convenient way to track your workouts, while also keeping an eye on your heart rate. After all, getting your phone notifications while running or using exercise equipment is way more convenient than using the phone itself.

When we have that option, obviously the one where you constantly pull out a smartphone at the gym is less than ideal. Plus, the other people who are just trying to work out likely won't be too comfortable with having a phone camera pointed at them, whether deliberately or not. So using a smartwatch in spaces like that, as opposed to a phone, can also be a pretty considerate choice.

But I know a lot of people with an Apple Watch, and to be blunt – they don't go to the gym, or swim, or even have it set up to SOS-call someone in an emergency. It's mostly just a status symbol thing.

Don't get me wrong – more power to anyone who enjoys wearing smartwatches and considers them to be a great fashion accessory, but that isn't me, so I wouldn't buy one for that either. If I was after something cool-looking to wear as a fashion accessory, I'd rather spend my cash on a Casio G-Shock, for example.

But what about you? Share your thoughts – do you consider smartwatches a necessity or not? If you have a smartwatch – let us know how it has been useful to you.

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