A New Time for Smartwatches

This technology has changed over the years since its introduction
A woman with a smartwatch in the park with a leather shoulder bag

Corinne Kutz/Unsplash

Smartwatches have been around for a while. It hasn’t been long enough to be thrown in a drawer with my iPod shuffle or my digital camera, but enough time has passed that we have a variety of options for these wrist computers. It feels right to discuss smartwatches: What do we want out of them? Do we even like them?

A lot of people choose their smartwatches in allegiance to their phone’s manufacturer. I mean, what’s more compatible to an iPhone than an Apple Watch? I feel like Siri might throw a fit if I try to pair her with a Samsung. The Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch definitely provide functions, like helping you meditate or tracking your heart rhythm. These watches are a dream for anyone who wants a high tech experience at hand (or wrist) and don’t mind the price tag.

Fitbit has long since entered the smartwatch game, and the Fitbit Versa provides a lot for health-minded people. It even has programs to help women track and control their reproductive health. A setback is they lack the GPS capabilities of Garmin fitness trackers and smartwatches. Fitbit only has these capabilities if a runner takes his or her phone along for the jog.

For those who live a slightly more sedentary lifestyle, a Garmin or Fitbit lacks its appeal. There’s a bunch of brands (many I’ve never heard of before) who make the same type of watch as Apple or Samsung. The options are overwhelming, but they still may not be quite right. How important is a watch’s functionality if we always have our phones next to us? Do we want to look at the tiny box on our wrist or the less tiny box in our hand? There’s options for those who may be more traditional and just want a piece of the smartwatch experience.

There’s an option called a hybrid smartwatch, and brands like Michael Kors and Fossil make it. Usually, smartwatches have a uniform look, a shiny black piece in a circle or square flanked by interchangeable bands. Hybrids come in a variety of finishes and look like your old-school watch, like actual jewelry instead of a screen. The watch vibrates, and the dials spin when wearers receive a text or call. It also has goal-tracking on the watch face and buttons to help take pictures or other custom preferences. With the help of a smartphone application, wearers can track their steps, see how restful their sleep was, set an alarm for the watch, and more. It’s not loaded with features, but it provides essentials.

I wish I could claim smartwatches as frivolous, but they do fulfill some needs. They’re great for mindful living and ease of communication. It’ll be interesting to see this technology evolve alongside our phones. Let’s see as time passes (pun intended).