Characteristics of a good smartwatch

Smartwatches are the next step in evolution for watches. They may not have been handcrafted and intricately made by an experienced watch-wizard, but they’re far superior in terms of functionality. Anything ‘smart’ refers to its ability to connect to WiFi or mobile phone, and that’s exactly what they do. You’re essentially getting a bunch of smartphone functionality inside your watch.

When looking to get a good smartwatch, you need to be on the lookout for cheap imitations. Sticking to branded ones as opposed to these independently made ones on eBay is a good start, but you also need to be aware of what functionality you can get with a smartwatch. This is so you don’t settle for a heartbeat sensor and pedometer, which may sound impressive, but every single one of them will have. It’s also wise to compare Smartwatches on where you can get an honest take on each one individually. This article will discuss the usefulness of different features of smartwatches.

Health features

The main aspect that separates a smartwatch from a regular watch isn’t it’s technological abilities themself, but how they can actually make us healthier people. Such health features are what entices in a large market of people: those who are looking to track how active they are or to log their exercise more efficiently.


The most basic health feature is the pedometer. These have been around for years, but they’ve never been this accurate nor accessible. Pedometers will track your steps so you can hit your daily walking goal, which is often 20,000 steps.

Heart rate monitor

Heart rate monitors are always measuring your heartbeat. This can help in a number of ways. Firstly, you can test your recovery rate and how hard you’re actually working during your cardio. Secondly, it can be interesting to retrospectively look at, perhaps you’ve just completed your final year presentation and you want to see what stages you got the most nervous at. Lastly, this constant heart rate monitor has acted as a guardian for your health. In some newer models, your watch can phone the ambulance if it senses you are getting a cardiac arrest. This could literally be the fastest and most effective way to save a life.

Activity/GPS tracker

Activity and GPS trackers are a great way to track how well your exercise session went. For example, it usually will have different modes for swimming, cycling, running and so on. This in turn helps determine how many calories you have burned.

Sleep monitor

Sleep monitors are incredible additions to your health, as it’s one of the only true ways of seeing how much REM, deep sleep you had. This can help shape what time you sleep the next day, and it can also trigger your alarm to go off only when you’re in your light sleep.

Blood pressure monitor

Blood pressure monitors aren’t yet perfectly accurate, but they’re a good addition to indicate to the user if they’re under threat of less-than-perfect blood pressure.

Alerts and notifications

One other revolution smartwatches has had is the way we are alerted to our social life. Being stuck on one’s phone has a somewhat bad rep, but glancing at your watch seems to be a more effective way to not distract yourself from daily tasks. The notifications you can receive on the smartwatch are emails, tweets, text messages, phone calls, and many more. They’re generally divided into SIM-based ones, such as SMS messages, and WiFi-based ones, such as email. Most smartwatches have a do-not-disturb mode of sorts so you can switch off.

Call and messaging

It’s not just being alerted to messages and phone calls, that’s useful, but a good smartwatch will allow you to reply and interact through your watch as if it’s a phone. There’s usually a mic built into the watch, allowing you to talk directly with the watch. Often, the watch itself doesn’t hold the SIM itself and merely acts as a middleman between you and your phone using Bluetooth. This means your phone must be present to receive and make phone calls and SMS messages.

Time features

At the end of the day, a smartwatch is still a watch; it would be pretty weird if they didn’t tell you the time. To no surprise, they take time to a new dimension. A good smartwatch will have plenty of stopwatch functionality, such as multi-timers, as well as count-down timers. You should also be able to access your alarm clock through the smartwatch too. Most smartwatches will not have a speaker though, so this means you’ll be relying on vibration to alert you (which works very well). Though many lack this feature, some will actually have different time-zones built into the clock interface. Or even more impressive, you will be able to customize the clock face into showing different features right there on the home screen.

This is a roundup of the best and most common functionality with smartwatches, but there’s no doubt that they’re still evolving. You might find in-built media players and altitude features that aren’t so common for example but are great additions. The Apple Watch is a good example of what boundaries are being pushed right now.