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    Smartwatches: The Best and the Brightest

    March 14, 2018

    These days, smart watches are everywhere. They can keep up with business people on the go, athletes wanting to take their tech along during a workout, and everyone in between. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start when looking for a great smart watch. That’s why the team at Reviews.com released a guide to navigating your options to help you find a model to suit your lifestyle and your needs. They recommend considering the following before you buy.

    Smart vs. Hybrid

    Before we dive in, it’s important to make this distinction between a smart watch and a hybrid smart watch. Essentially, a smart watch has a touchscreen interface that allows the wearer to interact by opening an app, texting, or scrolling through notifications. These wearable tech pieces come with Bluetooth capabilities, so you can pair your watch with your smartphone and communicate between the two.

    On the other hand, a hybrid smartwatch is simply a notification system that vibrates or flashes when you have an incoming text or call. Be sure you’re looking into the proper type of device for your needs.

    What operating system does your phone use?

    When it comes to smartwatches, there are three operating system types: Android Wear, Samsung, and Apple. Typically, your smartwatch options will either be compatible with Android and Samsung but not Apple or vice-versa. Some options are compatible with all three to some degree. For the most part, you’ll want to stick with a device that is compatible with the phone you already have.

    Also, keep in mind that your favorite apps play into this issue as well. You’ll want to choose the most compatible smart watch to ensure as much access to your favorite apps as possible.

    What features are the most important?

    Must-haves

    • Wifi connectivity. You don’t want to drain your phone’s data plan in order to keep your smartwatch operating.
      Reasonable battery. Many smartwatches have new and exciting designs that may be sleek and streamlined. But be aware that trendy, slimmer watches may have shorter battery life and make daily use a hassle when you have to charge it halfway through.

    Nice-to-haves

    • NFC capability. This is the technology that enables the use of a paid app — one huge advantage of using your smartwatch on a regular basis.
    • GPS capability built-in. This way your smartwatch can track your position even when it’s not paired with your phone. Those using their watch as an exercise tracker will find this particularly important.
    • A built-in speaker and microphone. You’ll need these to listen to driving directions or have a phone conversation with your watch.
    • Water resistance. You don’t want to get caught in the rain or accidentally wear your watch into the shower just to find that it’s now ruined.
    • Removable band. This way, you can switch it up or clean off sweat and dirt.

    Navigation

    Smartwatches are a challenge in this department because of their size and compact design. Typically, the more navigation options your watch offers, the easier it will be to use. Most models offer a main button which wakes up the device and helps you navigate to the main page. Some offer ancillary buttons for quicker navigation or activation of voice assistance, and others utilize a twisting bezel as well. Beware of side-dials that are used to scroll through apps, as they are often harder to use than a bezel. Also, keep in mind that some smartwatches which use motion activation may be awkward to use in public.

    Keyboard

    Your keyboard options will depend heavily on your operating system, which is why that’s an important factor to consider first. Samsung provides a number pad which uses T9 to function as a texting platform. Android offers a full, tiny QWERTY keyboard, and Apple has a scrolling drawing pad for written messages. Keep in mind that most wearers don’t write most of their texts on their watch, rather it’s a nice feature in a pinch. So while it’s important to consider, keyboard style likely shouldn’t be a make-or-break factor.

    For more guidance on finding the best smartwatch for your lifestyle, and to see which models stood out, you can check out the full guide here: https://www.reviews.com/smart-watch/