With different brands overcrowding the market, it can be difficult to choose the right smartwatch. Most people generally purchase smartwatches by looking at fancy banners and ads but regret their decision later. Thankfully, there are certain measures you can take to avoid buying the wrong smartwatch. This article will discuss things that you should check while buying a smartwatch online in 2022.
Things to Check Before Buying a Smartwatch in 2022
A smartwatch includes aspects like display, design, features, connectivity, and more. And not every smartwatch is worth buying. Here are nine important things you need to check before buying a smartwatch. Read on.
1. Smartwatch Design- Real Life vs. Online Renders
The first thing you’ll notice when you receive the smartwatch is its design. Brands generally show fancy renders and images which usually do not portray how the smartwatch looks in real life.
The smartwatch may appear premium and sleek in its online listing but may look entirely different in person. Hence, it’s important to check the real-life images of the watch through photo and video reviews posted by other users online.
Almost every other budget smartwatch we ordered looked poles apart in person. Brands cannot be accused as they already mention, “This image is just for reference purpose, actual product may vary “on the product page.
2. Build Quality & Water-Resistance
Build quality is another important thing you should check before buying a smartwatch. Smartwatches generally offer either plastic or metal build. Metal watches can have a metal chassis with a plastic back or a complete metal case.
Most budget smartwatches will come with a plastic build. But as you increase your budget, you’ll see smartwatches with an aluminum casing that looks more premium, is more durable, and can handle rough usage without getting scratches or scuffs.
Some smartwatches even have a Military-grade rating which means that it has been tested for the extreme situations that the military would expect.
Furthermore, smartwatches with an Ingress Protection or IPXX-rating are protected against dust and immersion in water for a specific depth and time. It saves them against splashes and rains and allows them to be worn while swimming for short durations.
Generally, you will see 3-ATM or 5-ATM and IP67 or IP68 water-resistance ratings in smartwatches. The IP67 rating justifies that a smartwatch is water-resistance up to 1metre for 30 minutes. In IP68, it’s 1.5 meters for 30 minutes or more, depending upon the product.
Whereas the 3-ATM or 5-ATM rating shows us that the smartwatch is water-resistance up to 30 meters or 50 meters. Many expensive smartwatches like the Galaxy Watch 4 have both IP68 and 5-ATM Water-resistance ratings.
Ideally, you should look for both- a metal design with water resistance while buying a new smartwatch.
3. Display Type & Quality
The display is the most important part of a smartwatch with which you will interact the most throughout the day. You shall not only look for the display design, which counts in bezels and curves (if any) but also check reviews for the panel quality.
Here are some display basics to check while buying a smartwatch:
Display Bezels: Most brands show thin bezels in the product’s online images and promotional videos. But in reality, the smartwatch comes with thick bezels and a chin that make it look cheap.
We’d reiterate the point already made above- check real-life images of the watch posted by users on the internet.
Display Type: Like smartphones, a smartwatch can have different displays. This includes LCD, generally found in budget watches, followed by transflective LCD, and AMOLED.
In general, we prefer the AMOLED screen as it’s the punchiest of the lot and can save battery with dark colors. But again, each display type has its own features. Here’s everything about smartwatch display types, including their pros and cons.
Brightness: Some smartwatches are not bright enough to be visible in outdoor conditions. You must check videos for the maximum brightness level of a smartwatch and check the maximum brightness mentioned by the brand.
A smartwatch with a brightness of over 500nits can be considered good enough outdoors. If you’ll be using the watch outdoors under the sun most of the time, consider watches with transflective displays.
Colors and Sharpness: Check the screen resolution of the smartwatch (usually mentioned in pixels) alongside the screen size. You can also check the screen’s pixel density to get an idea of the overall sharpness.
Again, colors are difficult to be distinguished without checking the watch in person or at least watching out for real images and reviews online.
UI Smoothness: Many budget smartwatches have a slow and laggy UI. And it’s hard to check if a smartwatch will stutter or not by just looking at the online listing. You can check reviews on the internet, including videos. Plus, you can go through our website to see if we’ve covered the watch you’re planning to buy.
4. Battery Life & Charging
Battery life is another important factor in smartwatches that vary in different models. Some smartwatches claim to provide over a month of battery life, while others will barely last a day or two.
Before buying a smartwatch, you should look out for the battery backup mentioned by the brand. It will affect your daily usage of a smartwatch and depend on your usage patterns.
For instance, the Apple Watch generally gives about a day’s backup in normal use, yet people buy it for the features it brings to the table.
Claimed vs. Actual Battery Life: The battery life claimed by smartwatch brands is under ideal conditions. And there are chances you won’t be able to shell out the hours mentioned by the brand. If the box says 15 days of battery, you can presume it to last about 7-10 days basis the usage.
Charging Time: Charging a smartwatch generally takes about 1.5-2 hours. While it’s not a deal-breaker for most users, those who care about it should know how long the watch they’re planning to buy takes to charge. Fast charging hasn’t yet been made to the smartwatches, though.
5. Health, Fitness, and Connectivity Features
Every smartwatch comes with different features, including health, fitness, and connectivity. Some smartwatches shave basic health-tracking and notification support. At the same time, some have advanced health-tracking, Bluetooth calling, and advanced productivity features.
Here are the features that you should check in a smartwatch before buying it:
Heart Rate Monitor: This is a basic feature that has been available in almost every smartwatch, be it budget or premium, for a very long time. Yet, you should check if the smartwatch has a heart rate sensor and supports continuous tracking.
Here’s more about heart rate sensor on smartwatches and how it works.
SpO2 Monitor: The SpO2 monitor became popular in smartwatches after the covid pandemic. Brands have added the blood oxygen sensor in their smartwatches to track their blood oxygen levels.
Check if it’s available on the smartwatch you’re planning to buy. Also, read reviews and check images on the internet to check if the smartwatch has a dedicated SpO2 sensor or uses the heart rate sensor to detect blood oxygen.
ECG: ECG is a dedicated sensor to track heart-related problems and diseases like atrial fibrillation. But it only comes in premium smartwatches like those from Fitbit, Samsung, and Apple. Having an ECG is a must if you have a high budget or are concerned about your heart health.
Bluetooth Calling: Brands have now started giving the Bluetooth calling feature in their budget smartwatches. We’re not a fan of it but you can opt for one if it’s a priority. Don’t forget to check how good or bad is Bluetooth calling on the particular smartwatch.
Support for Apps: Almost all budget smartwatches do not support installing apps. If you’re willing to explore and use new apps on your wrist, look for watches with WatchOS, WearOS, or Tizen.
6. Built-in GPS
Smartwatches also have a handy feature called GPS. It allows the watch to track your location and provide better and more accurate data of your steps, calories burnt, distance, etc.
GPS in smartwatches has two types, built-in GPS and connected GPS. The built-in GPS smartwatch has a dedicated sensor embedded in the watch. Whereas the connected GPS smartwatch uses your phone’s GPS to track your location.
Onboard GPS is now coming to budget smartwatches as well. So check whether the smartwatch you will buy has it or not. For more information on GPS smartwatches, you can check this article.
7. Smartwatch OS & Compatibility
One thing you should always check before buying a smartwatch is whether it is compatible with your phone or not. Not all smartwatches support both Android and iOS.
For example, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is only compatible with Android, not iOS which was not the case with previous Galaxy Watch models. Similarly, not a single model of the Apple Watch is compatible with Android.
Also, smartwatches have different operating systems like Google’s Wear OS, Apple’s Watch OS, and proprietary RTOS. Wear OS, and Watch OS require powerful hardware to run and come only on expensive smartwatches. On the other hand, the WatchOS comes on Apple Watches.
RTOS (Real-Time Operating System) comes in the budget to mid-range smartwatches. It has minimal features but is lighter on battery life. You can download apps, music, etc., in WearOS and WatchOS. Whereas support for third-party apps is a rarity on RTOS.
If you are looking for budget smartwatches, you can choose from brands like Amazfit, which have an optimized and smooth RTOS. As you go higher on price, you’ll find fully-fledged smartwatches from Samsung, Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, and so on.
8. After-Sales Experience
The after-sales service experience with brands varies across brands. There are so many smartwatches available in the market by different brands like Noise, Boat, Huawei, Realme, etc., and each have their own story.
Brands like Samsung, Realme, Xiaomi, and Huawei have a solid offline presence with physical service centers. You can walk into one of the service centers to get the watch checked, repaired, or replaced in case of issues.
Whereas other brands like Fire-Boltt, Boat, CrossBeats, Boult, and Amazfit will offer you pick up and drop service. Upon raising request, the brand will pick the product from your home, repair it, and then send it back. The whole process lacks transparency and can take anywhere between one to two weeks or more in India.
Furthermore, some brands will repair or replace the product quickly without any hassle. But the service experience can be inferior, particularly with brands dealing in the entry-level segment. You can rely on the personal experiences of other users to get an idea of a brand’s service.
9. Brand and Price Value
Brand’s Track Record: If you are buying any product from a particular brand, it means you are trusting it for good products and services.
Over the years, brands like Amazfit have refined their product and services. Noise and Boat, too, have come a long way by polishing their new products. On the other hand, some brands like Fire-Boltt and Crossbeats don’t even have original companion apps for the watch. Plus, you’ll hardly get any software updates.
Rebranded vs. Original Smartwatches: You should always check the brand’s market presence in the country. Several brands import cheap smartwatches from China and sell it in India after rebranding.
You’ll have a hard time using the product, and there’s no guarantee of its reliability and any future development around it. Prefer the brands which have strengthened their product lineup and are actively spending on R&D.
Price Value and Competition: The final thing that you should always check is the price value and competition in the market. You’ll always find certain companies offering the same features at half the price, but they may not necessarily be good or reliable as a well-established brand.
But at the same time, you should avoid overpriced smartwatches. Buy the product that suits your requirements, not the one having the “best” tag.
Wrapping Up- Smartwatch Buying Guide
These were some important things that you should check while buying a smartwatch. Getting a smartwatch by a well-known brand can give a better user experience than buying one from a new or generic brand. You can further count on other aspects to make your buying decision. Anyways, what’s your opinion on the same? Stay tuned for more such informative content.