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Is it time for a smartwatch?

Back in the day, we all wore watches. They helped keep us punctual (or at least aware of time’s passage) and, in some cases, stylish. Along came smartphones, though, and pretty soon wrists were bare. Why wear a watch when the mobile device in your pocket or purse could tell time and do dozens of other things, too?

For a while, wrist-watches went the way of jewelry and collectibles: nice to look at, but totally unnecessary. Then? Watches got smart. The age of wearable tech dawned and now your tech-savvy friends are using their smartwatches for everything from checking the weather and tracking their fitness to answering calls and playing music.

Is it time for you to strap one on your wrist and finally end your dependence on the Find My Device app? Perhaps. There are pros and cons to this sort of arm candy.  Let’s take a look.


  1. Health and Fitness: These phones usually have health and fitness tracking features, starting with heart rate monitoring, step counting, sleep tracking and workout guidance. If you have fitness goals or health concerns, this functionality can prove to be both motivating and reassuring.
  2. Ease: It’s possible to leave your phone at home if you’re paddling a canoe, running on a trail or (okay) snoozing in a hammock outside. You won’t miss any messages, calls or other notifications, thanks to your smartwatch. What’s more, smartwatches often support voice commands so you can make calls without using your hands.
  3. Options: Based on the functionality of the model you choose, your smartwatch can be tailored to your precise interests and needs via apps and widgets.
  4. Control: Your smartwatch can serve as a central hub for controlling your other smart devices, allowing you to do everything from adjust your home’s thermostat to control the lights and receive notifications.


  1. Battery Life: Smartwatches tend to have limited battery life. They need to be charged frequently, sometimes daily.
  2. Cost: Smartwatches can be pricey, especially the ones with all the bells and whistles.
  3. Smartphone dependency: A smartwatch typically relies on connection to a smartphone for full functionality. Without a paired smartphone, some features may be unavailable or limited.
  4. Screen Size: The small screen on a smartwatch can make it challenging to use, especially if you have stiff fingers or weak vision.
  5. Privacy: Smartwatches collect and store personal data such as health and fitness, location and usage information. You may have concerns about how this data is used and protected.

If you decide to go ahead and buy a smartwatch, keep these priorities in mind:

  1. Compatibility: Make sure the model you choose is compatible with your smartphone’s operating system.
  2. Display: Look for a display that is bright, clear and easy to read. Consider the screen size, resolution and whether or not it’s a touchscreen.
  3. Battery Life: Longer battery life means less frequent charging, especially if you plan to use your watch for tracking activities.
  4. Features: Fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring, GPS, NFC for mobile payments, music, notifications and water resistance are some of the features you may or may not want.
  5. Health and Fitness Tracking: If you’re interested in using your smartwatch for health and fitness tracking, pay attention to the accuracy and variety of sensors it offers.
  6. Apps: Consider the available apps. Some platforms have a wider range of apps and third-party support than others.