What types of smartwatches are there?

When most people think of a smartwatch, they think of a watch with a touchscreen, but there are also other types, each with their unique properties and appearance.

Bluetooth connected watches

Bluetooth connected watches are ‘normal’ watches that contain functions and sensors that collect various data. Consider, for example, a chronograph or G-Shock’s ‘triple sensor’ technology (altimeter, barometer and compass). Through a Bluetooth connection you can share the collected data with your smartphone and vice versa synchronize the time and date of the watch. A Bluetooth connected watch generally does not contain sensors that collect health data and cannot display notifications from your phone.

Examples of Bluetooth connected watches are:

Casio Pro Trek PRW-6600YB-3ER watch

▴ Casio Pro Trek PRW-6600YB-3ER

G-Shock G-Squad GBD-200-9ER watch

▴ G-Shock G-Squad GBD-200-9ER

Timex IQ TW2P94900 IQ watch
▴ Timex IQ TW2P94900 IQ

Hybrid smartwatches

A hybrid smartwatch is a smartwatch with the appearance of a traditional analog watch with real hands, where the smart functions are hidden under the dial.

Examples of hybrid smartwatches are:

Jaguar Connected J958/2 Hybrid watch

▴ Jaguar Connected J958/2 Hybrid

Garmin Vivomove 010-02240-00

▴ Garmin Vivomove 010-02240-00

Tissot T-Touch T1214204705106 watch

▴ Tissot T-Touch T1214204705106

Activity Tracker

An activity tracker (also called a fitness bracelet) is a simple smartwatch, mainly intended for tracking sports results and health. The functions of activity trackers are therefore not as extensive as smartwatches. Activity trackers also usually do not have a touchscreen, but only operate via buttons.

Sometimes activity trackers are disguised as jewelry, making them very suitable for daily use.

Examples of activity trackers are:

Calypso SmarTime watch

▴ Calypso SmarTime

Xiaomi Smart Band 8
▴Xiaomi Smart Band 8

Garmin Vivosmart 5 010-02645-12

▴ Garmin Vivosmart 5 010-02645-12

Smartwatch with touchscreen

The most advanced smartwatches in terms of sensors and functionality are the touchscreen smartwatches.

Not only do the types of smartwatches differ from each other, there are also different functionalities and specifications within the same type of smartwatch. For example, one smartwatch has a music function, while the other contains maps of golf courses. Other smartwatches are specifically aimed at a specific target group, such as pilots, athletes or even pregnant women.

Examples of smartwatches with a touchscreen are:

Samsung Galaxy watch
▴ Samsung Galaxy watch

Garmin Marq
▴ Garmin Marq

Apple Watch
▴ Apple Watch

Benefits of a smartwatch

  • With a smartwatch you are always connected and accessible, even if you are temporarily unable to reach your phone.
  • Notifications: Smartwatches show notifications that alert you to important events or activities.
  • Insight into your fitness and health, and help and advice to achieve your goals or improve your fitness.
  • Remote media management: Use your smartwatch to control your phone’s camera or music playback on your AirPods or Buds.
  • GPS: Most smartwatches contain a GPS that allows you to read routes or receive location-specific alerts.
  • Mobile wallet with NFC chip: many smartwatches support the option of contactless payments. Check in advance whether the payment service also works in your country and which banks are connected.
  • Hands-free control with your voice: Smartwatches with the watchOS or Wear operating systems support voice dictation, but you can also ask questions to Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri.

Disadvantages of a smartwatch

  • The major advantage of a smartwatch – always being connected – is at the same time its major disadvantage. If you go running to clear your head, you probably don’t want messages and notifications.
  • To take advantage of all the features and analytics of your smartwatch, you need to wear it day and night.
  • Smartwatches all look a bit the same. You can adjust the dial and strap to your taste.
  • A smartwatch needs to be charged often. Depending on the brand/model and use, sometimes every day.

How do I choose the best smartwatch for me?

Choosing the perfect smartwatch is all about meeting your own tastes and preferences. Please note:

  • Compatibility: Make sure the smartwatch is compatible with your smartphone. Which brands and versions of the operating system the smartwatch is compatible with can usually be found in the specifications of the watch.
  • Check for yourself which functions you want to use (often). Then look for a smartwatch that supports these functions.
  • If you want to use your smartwatch independently of your phone, choose a phone with GPS, WiFi and eSIM.
  • If you want to be able to pay with your smartwatch, choose a model with an NFC chip and check in advance whether the payment service is available in your region and at your bank.
  • Battery life: Battery life is crucial if you want to utilize the full potential of your smartwatch. Before you purchase a smartwatch, first check what the average consumption is for the functionalities you will use most.

How much does a smartwatch cost?

Simple fitness trackers are available from €30. The cost of a smartwatch depends on the brand, functionality, materials used, etc. Expect to pay around €150 for a simple touchscreen smartwatch, rising to €600 for a smartwatch with extensive functions. Premium smartwatches equipped with solar technology, made of special materials (for example Amoled screen, titanium case and strap) and equipped with the most extensive functionalities, can cost up to approximately € 3000.

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