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Over the last decade, wearable technology has noticeably grown and expanded into many different product variations…
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is wearable technology?
Wearables have been around for many, many years and they used to refer not only to just watches but also clothing, jewellery and so on…just take a look at the info-graphical image on this article…
However, over the past decade, the term “wearables” has shifted in favour of “wearable technology” or “smart wearables”, and it has become a term used to address specifically smartwatches and fitness trackers. Unless you have been hiding for a while, you must have definitely noticed some people wearing these devices…but why?
Why have smartwatches and fitness trackers become so popular?
As you know, the world of technology is always constantly evolving and significantly improving on a two year basis and certainly, it is not hard to notice. Just imagine the kind of technology you had 10 years ago compared to what you currently have…your phone, TV, computer of 10 years ago, against what you have now. It’s a big difference, isn’t it?
Smartwatches and fitness trackers are just the result of our constantly and ever-growing need for technology. From books to e-books, from physical work meetings to online video calls and from standard watches to smart watches. Ease of use, simplicity, time saving, improved health…we use technology to improve just so many aspects of our lives. Our limited time, increased concern for our health, increased focus on fitness, social interactions, enjoyment and so on is what led to the creation and rapid expansion of wearable technology, which offers all of this perks and even more.
The fact is that today, wearable technology is a $1.65 billion worldwide industry and is predicted to only keep growing even more, estimated to reach a value of $75 billion by 2025. Just in the United Kingdom (UK) alone, the smartwatch and fitness tracker wearables industry in 2020 is worth more $600 million, has more than 8 million users and is predicted to only keep growing even more.
What is a smartwatch?
Very simply put, at its core smartwatch is exactly like a normal watch. It’s a device that you attach to your wrist and tells you the time…but it also has a wide variety of extra features that completely differentiate it from a standard watch. Not to mention, smartwatches do not have a normal watch face but instead, they possess a screen, or to be more specific, a touch screen.
What does a smartwatch do?
Unlike a traditional watch, which only gives the time, a smartwatch offers a significant increased number of features. For example, even the most basic of smartwatches offer:
- Mobile phone integration: This includes phone call and messaging integration as well as displaying phone alerts and notifications on your smartwatch screen
- Health monitoring features: This includes heart rate monitors, pedometers (step counters) and blood and heart pressure monitors along with sleep monitors
- Different time features: Smartwatches come with alarms, timers and even different time zone displays
- GPS: Smartwatches often come with an integrated GPS that allows you to view not only your location but also see your past movements
- Fitness features: This includes physical activity trackers for running, swimming, cycling and more
- Music: Smartwatches can allow you to connect with your phone and select what control what music to play, volume and so on from the comfort of your wrist
- Waterproof & Dust-proof: Nearly all smartwatches are waterproof and dust-proof
- Camera: Nearly all smartwatches allow you to take pictures on your phone and some even come with an integrated camera. Yes, that means that you basically have a camera on your wrist.
With all these features available, it starts to make sense why these kind of devices have become so massively popular and been increasingly trending over the past years…
What is a fitness tracker?
Similar to smartwatches, fitness trackers come with a touchscreen and possess features considerably more features than a traditional watch. However, unlike a smartwatch, most of a fitness tracker features are focus and more specialised on health and activity tracking. These features include:
What does a fitness tracker do?
- Heart monitoring: This includes heart and blood pressure monitors as well as more detailed sleep monitors
- Fitness exercise identification: Fitness trackers can recognise your movements and automatically identify the exercise or type of activity (running, swimming, cycling, etc)
- Exercise logging and feedback: In addition to exercise recognition, fitness trackers can also log the activity that you are doing and provide real time feedback on it
- Movement reminders: For those living sedentary lifestyles, or working long shifts in an office, movement reminders are essentially a small vibration as to notify you that you’ve been sitting still for too long and that you should move a bit
- GPS: Fitness trackers can keep track of your location and create a log of where you’ve been
- Improved waterproof casing: Fitness trackers usually come with improved waterproof casings
- Mobile-phone integration: Depending on the fitness tracker, some may allow you to adjust your phone’s music from your fitness tracker’s screen while others may even allow to receive and displays texts, emails and more
Certainly, the features offered by fitness trackers are simply more specialised for health and fitness. In a world where everyone wants to live as long as possible, fitness trackers can aid in better achieving such goal.
What is the difference between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker?
Most people often think that smartwatches are more focused on serving as secondary phones while fitness trackers are more for sport enthusiasts. However, this is a big misconception…
The main difference is that smartwatches are better geared towards social connectivity while fitness trackers are more geared towards health and fitness. But even then, the true difference between smartwatches and fitness trackers is actually not really big and in reality, they both share the same major “smart” key features. So your choice will ultimately depend on what you seek:
- A watch that can serve as a secondary phone/extension of your phone (smartwatch)
- A watch that will help you improve your health and fitness level while also offering some mobile phone features (fitness tracker)
How do I use my fitness tracker / smartwatch?
The way that you use your smart device will depend on what your motivates and goals are. For example, if your focus is on health, you should frequently take advantage of your device’s heart monitoring features. If you are having problems sleeping, you should be looking into your device’s sleep monitor and similarly, if you have set a daily walking goal for yourself, then you should keep track of your step counter.
How to choose my fitness tracker / smartwatch?
Considering how much the smart wearable industry has grown recently and with so many different product variations available, it can be difficult for people to choose the most suitable smartwatch for them.
For this reason, we have created the following list as to help you better select the most appropriate smart watch or fitness tracker for you. We have also ranked the guidelines by priority:
- Type and features: You will need to think about what kind of device (smartwatch or fitness tracker) you want and what features it must have
- Operating System: This is very important as your smartwatch operating system will usually have to be the same as your phone’s operating system in order to be compatible with such and be able to connect to its relative application extension. Depending on the brand, smartwatches may come with only one operating systems (Apple IOS, Samsung Android, Windows, Google, Etc) although some can offer dual and even triple operating system compatibility.
- Cost: Depending on the brand, the price range of these devices can be anywhere from around $20 to more than $500
- Style: Smartwatches come in all styles and you should select the one that better fits your taste. Styles include the traditional watch look, the sportive look, leather styled, formal, casual and so on
Best smartwatches of 2020
However, the smartwatch industry has advanced so much over the recent years that nowadays and just like for many other products, you are mostly paying for the brand rather than quality or features. For example, take a look at the Apple Watch Series 5 mentioned earlier and think for yourself if it is really worth the $400+ investment.
If it’s not, don’t worry. There are many other smartwatches that offer almost if not all of the same features that the most popular brands offer yet they cost a fraction of what those cost.
What is the best and cheapest smartwatch / fitness tracker?
– The best budget fitness tracker / smartwatch
The best smartwatch is the one that fits your needs, is reliable, has a good battery life and suits your style. After carefully researching the industry, reviewing smartwatches and dealing with suppliers to achieve an extremely competitive price, we have finally come up with a solid list of the best, cheapest smartwatches that you will find on the market that offer a mix of excellent quality, style and features. You can view and even purchase these watches in our store here.
Alternatively, you may also try to search for smartwatches online but just make sure that they offer what you need and that they are not overpriced. In many markets but even more so within the smartwatch market, a higher price does not necessarily imply higher quality and this is very noticeable in numerous watches that cost anything over $70.
Best fitness tracker
Now, even though higher price does not always mean higher quality, there are always exceptions. For example, “FitBit” is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor brand of fitness trackers. Its custom app integration, material quality and specialised focus on health and fitness features make it the ideal brand for health & fitness enthusiasts looking to invest into a high quality fitness tracker. However, the extra features offered (compared to other fitness trackers) are very specific and may not really be essential to you. For example, the FitBit Versa 2, which you can buy for around $200 offers, if you are a female, a feature to track your cycle along with providing guided breathing sessions.
Certainly, not everyone is willing to spend such amounts of money for a bit higher quality and a few niche features, but if you are really set on purchasing a popular brand smartwatch, I would only recommend that you purchase either a FitBit or Samsung one as they are relatively cheap compared to an Apple Watch yet they offer the same types of features and level of quality.
Samsung smartwatch/fitness tracker
Regarding Samsung, I would only recommend the Galaxy Watch Active 2 as it offers everything that you could possibly need in a smartwatch at a price of ~$400.
Apple smartwatch/fitness tracker
Even though I do not recommend that you buy an Apple Watch, as there are cheaper and better alternatives out there, if you insist on going with Apple, I would only recommend that you get the Apple Watch Series 5, which will cost you upwards of $400.
The wearable technology industry has certainly improved and evolved very rapidly over these past few years. Hopefully this post has helped you understand more about the industry and the different products within such.
In the end, with so many products and options to choose from, the choice of which smartwatch or fitness tracker to buy is ultimately up to you. Regardless of the type of smartwatch that you purchase, it will certainly be a good decision and investment, not only in terms of fashion & looks but also towards improving your overall health and fitness levels as well as making your life easier by essentially having an extension of your phone on your wrist.