What to Know About Smart Watches

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Track your life and keep in touch with a watch that does so much more than just tell time.

Just about every sci-fi movie includes a moment when one of the characters talks into a device on their wrist to find out their location, start their vehicle or communicate with friends or family. Technology has finally caught up to cinema in the form of smart watches.

What Is a Smart Watch?

Smart watches can tell time, of course, but they do a lot of other useful things as well. Although functions vary widely from watch to watch, here are some of the things smart watches can do:

  • Make calls;

  • Connect to your virtual assistant, such as Alexa or Siri;

  • Check your heart rate;

  • Track sleep patterns;

  • Use GPS to track or find your location;

  • Alert you to reminders;

  • Add dates to your calendar;

  • Count calories burned;

  • Perform compass functions;

  • Detect falls;

  • Alert you when noise around you could damage your ears;

  • Menstrual cycle tracking;

  • Music streaming;

  • Music storage.

How Do Smart Watches Work?

Most smart watches work in conjunction with your phone. You connect the smart watch with your phone using Bluetooth so that it can make calls and access data like sleep patterns, calories burned and calendars through the watch’s app.

What Are Some Popular Smart Watch Brands?

There are many smart watches on the market, but some of the most popular include Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung. Apple watches tend to offer more features than most brands.

How Much Do Smart Watches Cost?

Most smart watches run from $150 to $400. The price varies depending on how advanced the watch is and the faceplate and band you choose. For example, watches that track just health stats (heart rate, calories burned, etc.) are typically cheaper. Watches with calling/texting features, virtual assistant abilities and music streaming are pricer. There are exceptions, though. The Versa 2 is only $150, can be used with Alexa, creates and sends texts and permits music streaming.

Considerations Before You Buy

When buying a smart watch, there are a few things to remember. First, you need to find out what operating system the watch uses so you know if it is compatible with your phone and the virtual assistant of your choice. For example, watches with an Apple iOS only work with Siri. You can find this information on the watch’s specifications page.

Next, find out if your smart watch can operate without your phone nearby, because a smart watch isn’t that useful if you need to be near your phone. An Apple watch, other than Series 3 and Series 4, can’t be far from a phone to operate all its functions.

Finally, take a look at battery life. Some watches can last up to seven days without charging, while some need to be charged more frequently.

Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford is a technology and internet safety and security expert for SafeWise.com and has contributed her insights to dozens of national publications, both in print and online. Her goal is to make gadgets less mystifying, one article at a time.