So you’re ready to buy a digital smartwatch instead of a classic mechanical timepiece. Here’s what you need to know:
As mentioned above, these are hardly set to be a family treasure that’s part of an inheritance, so you may want to keep the cost sensible. Thankfully, the price of the watches varies depending on brand, build quality and feature-set. The most affordable on our list is under £150 but the cost rises to more than £5,000 for a luxury brand. The Apple Watch is one of the best all-rounders, and you can pick those up for around £400.
If you’re on a hike, jog or find yourself travelling in a remote region Bruce Wayne style, you’ll need the battery on your watch to be long-lasting. While some models have to be topped up every 24 hours, others can easily last for more than two weeks. In general, there’s one rule to live by here: the longer the better.
This is the software powering the device. It will likely be Android (Wear OS) but some watch-makers have their own versions – such as Apple watchOS, Garmin Watch OS and Fitbit OS. Aside from the Apple Watch, all of the models on our list are compatible with both Android and iOS phones for app support and notifications. It’s worth thinking about the available apps if you want to control smart devices, like smart plugs or home security cameras, from your wrist.
Fitness and health modes
Unlike mechanical timepieces, digital watches use tiny sensors for tracking health and fitness metrics, including heart rate, step count, sleep quality and calories burned during a workout. Advanced models measure blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) or check your heart’s rhythm using an electrocardiogram (ECG).
Not every wearable is made to survive being submerged in water, so it’s worth checking if your chosen model comes with water and dust protection. Like smartphones, some smartwatches have an IP or ATM rating, but it’s not unusual to just see this described as how many metres the device can be plunged in before breaking. It goes without saying, best not to take any smartwatches without this into the pool.