As a direct consequence of their rise in popularity, the number of manufacturers and models available on the market are also growing. While this is without a doubt tremendous news for potential buyers looking for their very first smart watch, it can also make finding the right model for you much trickier. We’ve designed this comprehensive guide to help you in this search for your very own model.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best smart watches on the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smart watches
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- We generally identify two main types of smart watches depending on their use: sports and casual.
- Most models operate as accessories to our smartphones; however, more and more independent models can now carry out certain tasks without needing to be connected to our mobile phones.
- The popularity and future prospects of smart watches go hand in hand with the development of what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Ranking: The best smart watches on the market
In the following section, we’ve prepared our very own selection of the best smart watches available right now on the Australian market. We’ve done our best to have as wide a variety as possible, while keeping value for money as a core factor in each model.
No. 1: Amazfit Bip[amazon box=”B07B4ZPTZ4″ description_items=”0″]
Amazfit is a self-brand by Huami, which is also the technology provider for Chinese company Xiaomi. Launched in 2015, the brand has gained increasing popularity since its inception. This is why it’s not surprising to find this model on top of our ranking. Amazfit Bip is actually Amazon’s Best Seller in the category, and past customers won’t stop bragging about it.
According to them, this product offers fantastic value for money and great battery autonomy. This IP68-certified waterproof smart watch is specifically designed for fitness tracking, and therefore integrates a GPS as well as a heart rate monitor. The Corning Gorilla Glass perfectly protects the panel, that you can easily link to the downloadable app on your smartphone. What are you waiting for?
No. 2: TicWatch E Shadow[amazon box=”B079HQFV1Y” description_items=”0″]
TicWatch is a brand launched in 2017 by Chinese company Mobvoi, following an incredibly successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter that saw them gather $3 million. The TicWatch E Shadow is a great affordable all-round smart watch, offering compatibility with both Android and iOS. This model is IP67-certified (water and dust resistant).
You’ll never run out of things to do with this smart watch, and you might just get addicted to having the whole Google Store wrapped around your wrist. Whether you need a personal assistant, a fitness coach or a simple way to stay in touch with your loved ones, the TicWatch E Shadow has got you covered. Available in five different colour sets.
No. 3: Fossil Q Wander Gen 2[amazon box=”B01BTTUCSK” description_items=”0″]
If you know anything about watches, you know that Fossil is by far one of the brands offering the greatest value for money on the market. The elegance and functionality of their watches have made them fan favourites around the world, and they’ve done a fantastic job with their very first smart models. It has up to one day of battery depending on your usage.
While this model comes at a higher price than the first watches on this list, it also arguably offers the most stylish design of them all. Compatible with Android and iOS devices, it has a built-in microphone and speaker so you can carry out even more tasks with it. Note that you can switch the strap with any Fossil 22mm straps. This product comes with a 2-year warranty.
No. 4: Fitbit Ionic[amazon box=”B074VDF16R” description_items=”0″]
California-based company Fitbit is a leader in the smart watch industry, so there was no way for us to make this ranking without at least one of their products. And we chose none other than their very best model, which is also arguably one of the best smart watches on the market. Ever. Its autonomy is over 4 days long and it is waterproof to 50 metres.
And that’s just the beginning. You can store all your favourite songs directly in it, use it as a personal coach, pay with it… We’re just not sure what it doesn’t do. No need to wonder why the Ionic is Amazon’s Choice in the category! Available in four colour sets, you won’t have to give up on design to get the best features. 12-month warranty included.
No. 5: Xiaomi Mi Band 3[amazon box=”B07DG3P996″ description_items=”0″]
Chinese electronics company Xiaomi is on a mission to offer high quality devices at affordable prices, and the Mi Band 3 is actually the most economical model on our list. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have interesting features. One cool little thing about this model is that the screen is detachable from the strap, so you can even slip it in your pocket when you exercise.
It is waterproof, integrates an alarm clock and helps you unlock your phone directly from your wrist. Past customers have praised the battery length of this model, some saying they have gone up to a month without charging. While this bang-for-your-buck smart watch is an ideal fitness tracker, we’re ready to bet you won’t be taking it off anytime soon.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smart watches
There a several important factors that you’ll need to take into account when the time comes to buy your very own smart watch. Remember that each models offers different features and will be more suited for a specific use. In the following section, you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions by past customers to help you make an informed decision.
What is a smart watch exactly?
This device doesn’t simply perform the duties of a traditional wristwatch; other features have been added to it, such as the ability to connect and synchronise with your mobile phone. The latest models even allow you to install certain apps and take photos, record videos and make phone calls right from your wrist.
Accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer and altimeter are other common features in smart watches, without forgetting others like geo-magnetometer, GPS, loudspeaker, microphone or external memory card slots. These devices can naturally be connected via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or NFC.
Why do I need a smart watch?
This tech device will be perfect for you if you like to enjoy your phone’s features right from your watch. You’ll be able to read a text message or know if you’ve received an email without even having to check your smartphone during a meeting with your watch on.
Whether you’re a professional athlete or an amateur, a smart watch can come in really handy during your trainings. It will allow you to easily plan, manage and monitor them, providing a real-time analysis of your efforts as well as a large number of different training values once you’re done.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of smart watches?
The gain in popularity of these devices is in great part due to the numerous advantages they offer. As you know, smart watches don’t simply allow you to make use of some of your phone’s features right from your wrist; they also let you monitor your physical condition during and after sports training.
That being said, there still are several major limitations that may hinder their use. As most depend on smartphones, they end up becoming mere accessories to them. The battery’s autonomy also tends to be quite reduced and they therefore need to be charged frequently, although not as often as your mobile phone.
|They allow you to have some of your phone’s functionalities on your wrist.||They tend to depend on a smartphone to perform most of their functions.|
|They allow you to monitor your physical condition during training.||The autonomy of their battery is much lower than that of a traditional watch.|
|You can access your notifications quicker and won’t need to take your phone out of your pocket.||Their performance is reduced compared to your smartphone.|
|They contribute to reducing your phone battery consumption.||–|
|Certain models allow you to pay in stores.||–|
For whom are smart watches recommended?
As we’ve discussed before, these devices are particularly useful for people who regularly exercise; they’ll be able to take profit of apps that allow you to measure heart rate or the distance you’ve travelled. If you’re looking for motivation to exercise or to monitor your sleep cycles, smart watches will also come in handy.
Do you remember the last time you picked up your smartphone to do just one little thing? Smart watches are the perfect device for anyone who wants to avoid carrying a phone, who needs a complement to their mobile for certain tasks or situations, or simply those who are trying to use them as little as possible.
What operating systems do smart watches use?
Two operating systems currently dominate the market: watchOS and Wear OS. The first is the operating system of Apple’s smart watches, and it is the most widespread as their products tend to be amongst the highest-selling. The second OS is Android’s very own, and the one most frequently used by other manufacturers.
That being said, several manufacturers have decided to leave the Wear OS behind in recent times, because they felt like the system was not evolving quickly enough. This has led companies such as Samsung or Fitbit to develop their own operating system, therefore providing better performance through that their models.
What types of smart watch are available out there?
As we mentioned earlier, we can generally identify two different types of smart watches: sports watches and casual watches. Their features and design are what set them apart: the former type will tend to have more autonomy, GPS and apps to help you measure distances and heart rate, or calculate calories burned.
On the other hand, casual smart watches generally do not feature very efficient sport-specific functions. Their design is more elegant compared to sports watches, which tend to have a flashier appearance. The difference is very obvious in most cases.
|Design||They are larger and heavier, with a more ostentatious design. That being said, newer models are becoming lighter.||They generally have a more elegant design. They are smaller and lighter.|
|Apps||They feature apps to measure distances, heart rate and calories burned.||They tend not to include sports apps, which are not too effective when that is the case.|
|Batteries||Their batteries have a higher capacity, which is the reason for their larger size.||The autonomy of their battery is generally reduced.|
There are several key aspects that we strongly encourage you to take into account when the time comes to buy your very own smart watch. We’ve designed the following section to detail the most important of these shopping criteria to help you in your decision. We’re confident this guide will allow you to find the best product with great value for money.
- Personal use of the smart watch
- Operating system and synchronisation
- Design, size and weight
- Battery autonomy
- IP certification
- Type of screen
Personal use of the smart watch
You may not know whether you should be buying a sports model or a casual smart watch. This is actually the first thing you have to think about if you want to make the right purchase. Remember that casual models tend to be lighter and present a more elegant design.
When it comes to sports watches, don’t settle for anything that doesn’t have a GPS and apps to measure distances travelled, plan your trainings, calculate your calories burned and measure heart rate. The second thing you want to look for is a battery with a great autonomy. Most newer models also allow you to transfer data to your computer.
Operating system and synchronisation
As we stated earlier, watchOS and Wear OS (Android) are two current leaders on the operating system market. But you don’t have to go for either of these options anymore, since certain manufacturers have developed their own operating systems. This is the case of Fitbit, for instance, which offers great performance.
This is why we encourage to not only focus on the two main operating systems when making your decision. Think about the different features each model, and whether they can synchronise notifications with Android or iOS, depending on your phone. This will allow you to directly receive notifications of calls, WhatsApp messages and many other apps from your phone.
Nowadays, all smart watches have the ability to connect via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Recently, models like the Apple Watch Series 4 have started to include 4G LTE connectivity. This means that you can now connect your SIM card to your watch and directly receive your calls and message on it.
Nowadays, being able to pay directly from your mobile phone is much more convenient that having to carry around your credit card or cash. Well, guess what? Paying with your watch will make your life even easier, and all you’ll need to do that is an NFC connection. Certain models, such as Xiaomi’s Mi Band 3, already include this feature.
Design, size and weight
Design might very well be a key aspect for you in your search for the best smart watch. We’re ready to bet you don’t want to be wearing a model you don’t like or that doesn’t match with your outfit. In that regard, you’ll be happy to know that more and more manufacturers are making attractive designs a basic element of their products.
Since you’ll be sporting your watch all day, weight is necessarily an aspect you’ll want to take into account. In terms of shape, to each their own: square models tend to look more like tech gadgets than actual watches, while other products bear a more elegant round design.
We mentioned before the importance this aspect should play in your decision. Your smart watch won’t be of any use to you if you constantly run out of battery and have to take it off to charge it. Luckily for you, recent models can offer up to one week of non-stop autonomy.
Don’t forget that you won’t be able to leave your watch charging during the night if you want to use it to monitor your sleep cycles. In that case, you won’t only be interested in the actual autonomy of the battery, but also its charging time. We therefore encourage you to look for fast-charging models.
Smart watches aren’t like mobile phones: you can’t simply have them in your pocket, or leave them in your bag when they’re not needed. You’ll always have your watch on you wherever you go; that include taking it to the beach or the pool, to the bathroom, or just when you’re cooking and washing the dishes.
This is why you should opt for an IP68-certified model if possible. These models are 100% submersible, and you’ll be able to wear your watch even while showering. Nowadays, most top-of-the-range models have this certification, but it’s not always the case for more affordable products.
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Type of screen
Here are the three aspects to see in mind when it comes to the screen: size, type of panel, and panel protection. The panel has an important influence on the image display, its ability to eliminate reflections, and the battery consumption. Nowadays, OLED technology is considered to be the best on the market.
Bumps and scratches always happen, and you’ll want to protect your new smart watch from them. In that regard, the Corning Gorilla Glass is a great option, and you’ll find several versions of it out there. The latest model is the Gorilla Glass 5, which was designed to cope with the greatest falls. Another option you might want to consider is adding an extra layer of protective film on your watch.
The performance and uses of smart watches won’t stop developing in the coming years, and that means that their popularity will keep growing too. Yet, for now, their importance in our daily lives isn’t even close to that of smartphones.
The intertwining relationship between smart watches and the Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a key role in their growing popularity, so it comes at no surprise that each new model brings us better features. This is of course great news for you, but it also makes choosing the right model for you more difficult each time.
We’re confident that your task will be much easier if you follow our guide. If that’s the case, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share our article on your social media!
(Source of featured image: Ivanov: 104399997/ 123rf.com)