Smartwatches have slowly evolved from an old timekeeping piece to present-day wearable tech. Now smartwatch integrates the smartphone communication function and the basic health tracking functions.
Through smartwatch, you can
- Receive notifications, view text messages and accept calls
- Voice command Google
- Navigate using GPS
- Play downloaded music through BT speakers
- Track fitness activity and set fitness goals.
Few smartwatches even lets you have Smart Home Access and Near Field Communication (NFC).
- 1 Past, Present and Future of Smartwatches
- 2 Things to Look for While Buying Smartwatches
- 3 Best Smartwatches Under 10,000 Rs available in India
- 4 Best Budget Smartwatch in India
- 5 Conclusion
Past, Present and Future of Smartwatches
Smartwatch era started in 1975 when calculators got integrated into wristwatches.
Then came Seiko’s T001 smartwatch in 1983, with a portable TV receiver linked to the watch. The Japanese watch had a 1.25 inches screen divided for standard watch features and video output.
1994 saw the Timex Datalink smartwatch which had the capability of wirelessly downloading data from a computer. Further, in 1998, Steve Mann developed the first Linux based smartwatch.
In 2000, IBM too launched Linux smartwatch “Watchpad”, which was subsequently upgraded to WatchPad 1.5. The smartwatch featured a fingerprint sensor, an accelerometer, and a vibrating mechanism.
At Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2009, LG launched the world’s first 3G touch smartwatch phone which was water-resistant. The smartwatch used Bluetooth technology. The user had the facility to use the phone and PDA features with the help of three mechanical keys. That looked similar to the regular watch dials and keys.
The back draw was that the watch phone talk time was limited to only two hours. But had a tiny camera on the top right-hand side for video telephony calls.
In 2012, Pebble smartwatch kickstarted the wearable revolution i.e. the (present-day smartwatch). Pebble functioned primarily as an on-wrist GPS display, remote control, and a run timer. The smartwatch included an open software development kit (SDK). Which allowed developers to integrate apps.
The initial apps were basic like customizable watch faces to more advanced apps that would let you order a pizza.
The next wave of smartwatch development integrated a new level of fitness tracking options like heart rate monitors and step tracking. Effectively making the smartwatch a wearable fitness device.
The other notable integrations were the ability to send messages using voice and using apps such as Google Maps and Uber.
Finally, the smartwatches started to feel more like a smartphone when the primary method of interaction shifted from side buttons to LED touch screens.
The Present Day Smart Watches
Smartwatches presently work in tandem with a smartphone or a mobile tablet. While the watch does have standalone features, they still depend on the smartphone to have internet capabilities.
Where connectivity can be accomplished either through
- The smartphone/smartwatch Wi-Fi connection
- Use Bluetooth to pair the watch to a smartphone or tablet.
The present-day smartwatch is also a smart communication device having a closed ecosystem with integrated apps. Where the smartwatches first aggregate and quantify various data. The major data points relate to health and fitness like heart rate, sedentary state and calories burned.
In the background, when synced via web and apps, the data is stored for a time period and analyzed to draw meaningful inferences. The interpretations help the user know closely his/her health habits and the corrections if required.
In certain cases, the apps also alert doctors and fitness experts for advice. Rest assured, the smartwatch lets you organize and control daily communication and sport a trendy look. You can navigate, use underwater, voice command and make payments through your smartwatch’s OLED touch display.
Future of Smartwatches
The immediate future will see the breaking of the closed ecosystem and the integration of smartwatches with other wearable devices. The smartwatches to have access and control over smart home devices through apps and integrated robust payment technology.
Another futuristic development would be FaceTime video camera built right into the smartwatch. Apple is developing such a smartwatch. Which has the potential to make video calling mainstream in smartwatches.
Developers are also designing a single app that would function on any and every device. Unlike the present-day situation which requires the design of two separate apps – one to run on the smartphone and the other on the companion watch.
The single app would mean more powerful apps on the more powerful operating systems. With single app, the future of the smartwatch could be a seamless, secure experience with all the connected devices.
Things to Look for While Buying Smartwatches
The market is flooded with smartwatches in a wide price range to choose from. Not all smartwatches are made equal. The best smartwatch for you will be the one that is compatible with your existing smartphone and fulfill your needs.
Before considering a smartwatch purchase you should look for.
1. Smartwatch Compatibility:
(Android and iOS platform Compatible Smartwatches)
Because smartwatches work in tandem with your smartphones. Pairing devices with a different set of software is impossible or may require an additional bridge. Hence, check for device compatibility before buying is very important.
Buy Apple smartwatches only if you have iPhones or smartphones that have iOS.
Whereas Samsung Gear series smartwatches have Tizen OS which is compatible with Android as well as iOS-based smartphones.
Even though Google’s Wear OS platform and Samsung’s Tizen watches work with both Android phones and iPhones. Still, you will have fewer features when you use iPhones when compared to Android devices.
2. Display & Design
Smartwatches use an LCD screen or AMOLED display to help you view photos, apps and other content in rich color. LCD displays are thick and add to smartwatch weight. On the other hand, the LED display is thin and still convenient to use touch screen.
Look for smartwatches that offer customization in design, material and front face and other features that matches your style statement. Straps are an important part of the overall design. You have the choice from a leather strap, rubber strap, SS strap or chain strap.
3. Fitness and other Features
If you intend to use your smartwatch primarily for monitoring your fitness activities, then make sure that the watch has all the required fitness functions.
Smartwatches come with a pedometer for tracking steps, heart rate monitor, activity monitoring functions to track sedentary and monitor health stats like sleep and activity.
Other useful features in the smartwatch include anti-lost and navigation (GPS).
4. Battery Life and Charging
Colorful touchscreen displays and voice capabilities consume most of the smartwatch battery. That tends to last one to two days between charges (and sometimes less than one day).
Make sure you have enough battery size to last your smartwatch needs. Otherwise, you may end up plugging in your smartwatch frequently.
Lastly, budget to decent smartwatch prices ranges from under INR 10,000, to high-end smartwatches costing up to INR 50,000 and above. Pick up a value smartwatch that fulfils all your needs at the best price.
Best Smartwatches Under 10,000 Rs available in India
The stylish designed Watchout smartwatch can be used for both sport and smart purposes. The sports & fitness functions include
- Multi-Sports Tracking (Badminton, TT, Football)
- Heart rate monitor
- Sleep quality monitor
- Calorie consumption
- Sedentary reminder
You can touch use the apps and smartwatch functions on the 1.3-inch full circle high resolution (240 x 240) radian IPS screen.
At 70g smartwatch is light to wear and you need not worry about the compatibility issues. Because Watchout smartwatch is compatible with both Android (4.3+) and iOS (7+) smartphones.
To support multiple apps & functions the smartwatch has a Mediatek-ARM7 with 64MB (RAM) and 128MB (ROM).
The best part is the customizable watch faces with 22mm changeable watch strap which makes the watch ideally suited for everyday use. Plus you can locate your smartwatch with the in-built anti-lost feature.
Watchout smartwatch comes with a 300mAh enough for a 48 hours standby battery life. You can use it in the light shower as the watch is IP54 water splash resistant.
However, in India, there are reviews of poor customer support and poor Bluetooth contact synchronization. People have also experienced low battery life than indicated.
The smartwatch has speakers under dials so the music is not loud enough.
- 1.3 inch IPS touchscreen display
- Android (4.3+) and iOS (7+) compatible
- Multi-sports tracking
- Customizable watch faces
- Anti-lost & IP54 water splash resistant
- Low battery life
- Poor customer support
- Speaker under dials
Honor smartwatch magic is built for the active outdoor fitness enthusiasts. The smartwatch supports activities like
- Cycling – Track recording, real-time display of distance, heart rate, speed, and altitude
- Mountaineering – 3D distance, vertical velocity, and altitude
- Swimming – Swimming posture recognition.
Apart from that, you have a consistent real-time heart rate monitor with accompanied HUAWEI TruSeen 3.0 app to indicate health and fitness levels. The app also provides sleep quality scores based on an analysis of your sleeping habits and breathing patterns.
Weighing at 31.8g, the smartwatch is truly lightweight & comfortable to wear and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.
The best part is that you have a higher precision location information with a built-in GPS that supports 3 worldwide Satellite Positioning Systems (GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO).
However, the display is a 1.2-inch AMOLED color screen. Which is an inch smaller but offers superior visual experience through greater resolution of 390 x 390 pixels.
Honor Watch magic is eco-conscious built-in stainless steel with a shell made of biodegradable nylon plastic. Plus the smartwatch is 5ATM water-resistance which means you can use underwater up to 50 meters depth.
However, the Honor smartwatch has a 178mAh battery. The company says that the battery can support 7 days use. But we found reviews of lower battery life.
Reviews also state that the smartwatch does not display the name of the caller which can be a concern when you have a synced contact list. The other drawback which we could find from reviews is the limited number of watch faces.
- Multisport, fitness and daily use
- Lightweight at 31.8g
- 3 worldwide Satellite Positioning Systems
- 5ATM water-resistance
- Low battery life
- Caller name not displayed
- Limited watch faces
The Amazfit brand is owned by Huami, the technology partner for Xiaomi. So you can expect to have a decent smartwatch.
Amazfit Huami smartwatch runs on proprietary OS and pairs with Mi Fit app (ver 3.0) which is compatible with iOS and Android. The default language is set to Chinese. But the smartwatch automatically receives English language updates when connected to the app.
The best part is that you need not fear of running out of power, the Amazfit Huami smartwatch officially states battery life of 30 – 45 days. But we checked reviews to find that the Li-ion powered smartwatch comfortably lasts up to 30 days on a single charge.
The 31.8g smartwatch is light to wear and has a 1.28-inch display featuring 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass screen. Wide enough to view text and notifications. Plus you can use while having a shower & swimming up to 40m as the smartwatch is IP68 water and dust resistant.
The fitness function includes
- PPG heart rate sensor
- 3-axis accelerometer for activity & sports
- Sleep monitoring
Amazfit Huami smartwatch helps you accurately track your position, rides, runs, and routes. Which is possible through dual-mode (GPS + GLONASS) positioning search satellite signal.
However, there are reviews of the smartwatch counting steps even when traveling or driving in cars and buses.
- Long battery life
- 1.28 inch Corning Gorilla Glass touch display
- Lightweight at 31.8g
- Dual-mode (GPS + GLONASS) tracking
- Counting steps even when traveling
- No after-sale service in India
Best Budget Smartwatch in India
Amazfit Bip Lite smartwatch is a budget version of Amazfit Huami Pace Bip. Still, the smartwatch saves you from the trouble of frequent charging with a battery life of up to 45 days.
In order to use, you need to connect the smartwatch with Mi-Fit App which is compatible with iOS and Android.
The 31.8g light, the smartwatch has a sports mode with detailed sports tracking for outdoor running, treadmill, walking and cycling. An all-day heart rate tracking. Plus sleep tracking & analysis with data on total sleep, light / deep sleep and awake times.
Amazfit Bip Lite is swim resistant up to 30m and can be comfortably worn during daily water activities like washing and taking shower.
To smartwatch is scratch-resistant and easy to clean because of the transflective screen having Corning Gorilla glass and anti-fingerprint coating.
However, there are reviews of lagging touch screen, low display quality, weak Bluetooth and inaccurate heart rate and sleep tracking.
- Lightweight at 31.8g
- Long battery life up to 45 days
- Corning Gorilla glass
- Poor display
- Weak Bluetooth connectivity
- Inaccurate tracking
Hoteon smartwatch has a large 1.33-inch display and is compatible with devices having Android 4.3+ and iOS 8.3+.
The smartwatch combines with the “Fitpolo” app to track and monitor heart rate, sleep, and daily activities. Hoteon smartwatch is IP67 water-resistant and has eight Sports Model (Steps, Running, Cycling, Basketball, Football, Yoga, Skipping, Climbing).
At 191g, the smartwatch is heavy to wear and has a 140mAh battery life. That requires only about 1 hour of charging for up to 5-10 days of standby time.
However, we found reviews of low battery life, weak Bluetooth connectivity and inaccurate tracking results.
- 1.33-inch display
- Compatible with Android 4.3+ and iOS 8.3+
- 8 Sports model
- Low battery life
- Weak Bluetooth connectivity
- Inaccurate tracking results
Nowadays, smartwatches are a health companion offering different wearing/usability experiences. But smartwatches should be bought after considering the individual’s requirements.
For my a bit older Android smartphone and fitness tracking, I would have bought Watchout wearable smartwatch.
The Watchout supports Android 4.3, has 1.3 display, has anti-lost feature and can play music.
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