You often hear people say “what can you do with a smartwatch that you can’t do with your phone already? It’s just a waste of money.” Most of the people in this party, sadly, don’t know much about smartwatches. There are huge advantages you can enjoy by using a smartwatch. This article is going to explore all those advantages so that you can decide for yourself if a smartwatch is actually a waste of money or not. We’re pretty sure you’ll come to the opposite conclusion though.
Before then, if you want to learn the basic idea behind the working a smartwatch, click here to read our article: How Does A Smartwatch Work?
What Can You Do With Your Smartwatch — General Uses Of A Smartwatch
1. You Can Use Your Smartwatch To Get Notifications
On your smartphone, you get notifications which alert you or remind you of important activities and/or events you’re supposed to respond to.
When you sync your smartwatch to your smartphone, the smartwatch mirrors your smartphone, showing you all the notifications that come up on your phone. This way, you don’t have to pull out your phone from your pocket or purse to check your notifications. A simple swing of your arms keeps you abreast of all the important events in your life.
However, there are some smartwatches which do more than mirror your smartphone. For instance, in the newer Apple watch models, there is a fall sensor. So, if the wearer falls while wearing the watch, the watch will sense for subsequent movement. If it senses nothing, then the notifications on the smartwatch begin to escalate until the watch assumes its wearer has been injured and alerts the appropriate quarters on your behalf.
2. Manage Your Media On your Smartwatch
Once you pair your smartwatch to your smartphone, you can manage your media playback on the smartwatch. So, if you’re listening to some music on your iPhone with your Apple AirPods, using your Apple Watch, you can easily change the tracks, or reduce and increase volume without having to reach for your phone.
Even more, modern smartwatches are beginning to come with the ability to connect to Bluetooth headphones. This makes it easier to listen to your music while you run errands.
To make the experience even more pleasurable for you, you can have your favorite playlist saved on your watch. This way, even without an internet connection, you can still listen to your music. Equally as important, you’ll also be able to save battery.
On smartwatches like Samsung Gear, Android Wear, and Apple Watch, you can sync your playlists using Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music respectively. Fitbit, on the other hand, is more difficult to set up. You’d have to either have a Pandora account (Premium) or have a laptop connection, which is every bit as long and as inconvenient as it sounds.
That said, for most watches, you might not be able to stream podcasts natively. So, if you’re a podcast-lover, you’d need to get some third-party apps such as Watchplayer and Wear Casts (if you’re using an Apple Watch) to be able to play a podcast. You would have to transfer the episodes of your podcast to your smartwatch to be able to play them, though. The resulting convenience, though, is usually worth the inconvenience.
3. Reply Your Messages By Voice
Most smartwatches, especially the modern ones, run a Wear OS or WatchOS. These systems support dictation by voice. So, it is possible to dictate your answer to a test via voice dictation when a message comes in.
Yes, you can also type your reply but because the face of a smartwatch is quite small, it can be quite inconvenient which is why hardly anyone ever does that. Voice dictation is simply the way to go.
The good thing about Google and Apple voice recognition is that they are accurate for the most part. So, they almost always translate your words correctly into writing. Just make sure you enunciate your words carefully for optimum results.
It’s not like they are your best option for a primary means of input, though. There would certainly be misheard words here and there. Plus, sometimes, it does take a while for the dictated words to actually translate.
But that’s not all about replying messages on your phone. Besides voice dictation, you also have canned responses as well as handwriting recognition.
When using a smartwatch, it’s a great idea to have a short reply already prepared which you can send in response to a message you receive letting the sender know you’ve seen their message and would get back to them soon.
There are usually default options you can pick such as “Yes,” “No,” or “Can’t talk now.” Though they are adequate, these responses are quite impersonal. So, many times, people opt for something more personable.
4. Smartwatches Help With Fitness Tracking
Whether you’re an athlete or not, we all could do with a little more activity to keep fit. Smartwatches can help you ensure that you do that. So, if you’ve made a resolution to be better in charge of your health, a smartwatch can help keep you honest.
Also, some smartwatches feature a pedometer as well as a heart rate monitor to help keep you stay on top of your workouts as well.
Generally, smartwatches come with preset fitness goals. However, if you are more conscientious about your health and fitness, you might decide to tweak the figures to suit your lifestyle better.
From calories burned, to number of steps taken, to distance traveled, by setting targets for your activity, you will be able to keep yourself on track with your health and fitness goals. These apps also help you set reminders so you don’t forget.
5. Smart Home Remote Control
If you own a smartwatch, you probably own other smart, connected devices at home as well. Some of these devices will be controllable from your smartwatch. For instance, you can control your Samsung SmartThings appliances either using the Samsung Gear or the Apple TV Remote on the watch.
Right now, these features are still a little limited function-wise. For instance, the Apple TV Remote only works with Apple TV, and the Samsung feature isn’t exactly live yet. Also, with Gear watches, you’ll only be able to carry out real simple commands such as turning the lights off or on but to change things like colors or brightness, you’d still have to go to your phone. Nevertheless, being able to carry out simple commands without reaching your phone is pretty convenient and you’d have to admit that.
Besides Apple and Samsung, you can also use the voice control feature of Siri or Google Assistant to interact with the devices in your home. It’s really nifty especially if you don’t have a listening speaker installed in your house to listen to and obey your commands. Keep in mind, though, that smartwatches are generally much slower to respond than listening speakers. This is only expected since the processors of the listening speakers are much more powerful than those of a smartwatch.
5. You Can Track Your Location With Your Smartwatch
A smartwatch typically comes with GPS which helps you find your location at every point in time. The other good thing about GPS in smartwatches is that you’re able to get location-specific alerts on your smartwatch as well.
6. Make Mobile Payments On Your Smartwatch
Besides setting alarms and receiving notifications, smartwatches can also be set up to allow you pay via mobile. There are all kinds of mobile payment platforms from Apple Pay to Samsung Pay, to Android Pay, to Garmin Pay, to Fitbit Pay.
These contactless forms of payment make life really convenient especially when you want to travel light. When paying with mobile payment platforms on your smartwatch, you will set up a default card with your watch, so you want to use your primary account, don’t forget that.
Fortunately, there are many stores today that accept Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay via NFC terminals. As for Fitbit Pay, most stores where Mastercard contactless mode of payments are accepted, Fitbit Pay is accepted too.
Samsung’s Gear S3 is also accepted widely across different stores especially in places where magnetic swipe transactions (MST).
7. You’ll Be Able To Install Your Most-Used Third-Party Apps
Apps are the way most of us interact with our phones. There are all kinds of services for all kinds of people and all kinds of lifestyles.
If you’re big on fitness and health, there are all kinds of apps that work your lifestyle. Apps like Strava, MapMyRun, and Runkeeper work well with Samsung Gear, Apple Watch, and Android Wear. they also integrate nicely with other fitness wearables as well.
For those more into socializing, there are ride-hailing apps you can install on your smartwatch such as Lyft and Uber. These apps have versions adapted for Android Wear, Fitbit OS, and Apple Watch. Uber is also compatible with Samsung’s OS — Tizen.
To clock in some productive work, there are apps such as Todoist and Evernote which help you to keep notes. These apps are compatible with Android Wear and Apple Watch. We also have Yelp but that one isn’t compatible with Android Wear. Then there’s Bear which is also great for keeping notes but is restricted to the Apple Watch only.
If you’re constantly on the move, consider installing airline apps onto your wearable. If you have your ticket on your wrist, it gives you one less thing to look out for when engaged in the usual chaos that is common to airport security.
Next, if you have home appliances from companies such as Philips Hue or Nest, getting their apps on to your wearable will make it easier to interact with their appliances. Most Nest home apps are only accessible on Apple and Android. Philips Hue appliances, on the other hand, are found strictly on Apple Watches. However, you can also access Philips Hue lights on Android Wear as well using the Google Assitant.
For the more adventurous, you can also use IFTTT. This feature helps you control or automate the way your home gadgets behave. For example, you can choose for your lights to go off whenever your smartwatch leaves your WiFi network. Or you could set it up to give an alert whenever your phone leaves Bluetooth range.
IFTT works especially well for Android Wear. It also comes with a Do Button as well which works both for Apple and for Google devices. This button helps to build certain tasks that run whenever you push a button on your smartwatch screen.
8. You Can Hand-Draw Your Emojis
This is not a commonly known feature of smartwatches but you can actually create your own emojis on the screen of your smartwatch. So, while communicating or replying to messages, you can sketch exactly what you have in mind unto the screen of your smartwatch. Android wear will then translate that into a proper emoticon.
So, yes, your doodles can very easily become an emoji on your smartwatch.
9. Smartwatches Allow Gesture Controls
If you don’t want to use both hands, you can also do some gesture controlling on your smartwatch. Sometimes, you’re otherwise engaged in other activities that make it somewhat impossible or rather inconvenient to touch the screen of our devices. In such a case, gesture control comes in handy and makes interaction with your device much more convenient.
10. Your Smartwatch Can Help You Find Your Missing Devices
Losing your phone or other devices can really be frustrating. Fortunately, if you have a smartwatch, you no longer have to suffer this inconvenience unnecessarily.
On most smartwatches, there’s the “Find Phone” feature. This can help you locate our missing phone or device as long as it is synced to your smartwatch. So, you simply dial up the missing device using your smartwatch via the Find Phone feature and it does not take any time at all. Just a few seconds.
11. Smartwatches Can Also Help You Access Your Social Media Accounts
If you love to stay in touch and fear missing out, then a smartwatch can help to constantly keep you in the loop. You can easily get all the updates from all your favorite social media platforms on your smartwatch. You can also use your smartwatch to keep your social media accounts up to date as well.
That said, here are some apps you totally want to get to make your smartwatch even more functional for you.
Apps You Want To Get On Your Smartwatch
1. Google Pay
Google Pay is a very useful app to consider installing on your wrist. Paying is quite simple as all you have to do is to place your watch close to the pay terminal. This will instantly pay for your drink, ticket, groceries, or whatever it is you’re buying. You no longer have to fumble in your pocket or purse for your phone or card to make payments. Once your watch is NFC-enabled, you simply download Google Pay and the rest is history.
2. Google Maps
Being able to know your location in one glance is one of the many conveniences of using a smartwatch that you don’t want to miss out on your phone. If you’re in an unfamiliar place and you don’t want to keep staring at your phone having Google Maps on your smartwatch can help.
With Google Maps, you can get step by step instructions on where to turn and how much time it would take approximately to get to your destination.
3. Wear Gesture Launcher
This app is another great app to have on your wearable. We talked about gesture controls initially. This Wear Gesture Launcher makes that possible.
Smartwatches do come with shortcut options, however, they are usually just one or two buttons. This is why this app is really useful. With this app, you can tap the right side of your smartwatch’s screen which will allow you draw a gesture in order to launch your desired app.
You can add as many gestures as you want for as many apps as you want. For instance, M can be for launching your Google Maps.
Bring! is a super easy app to use. It’s a shopping list app and works with Wear OS smartwatches. This app allows you create groups of family or friends or colleagues among whom you can share different shopping lists for different events. Clearly labeled icons help you add different products easily and there’s also the option for adding your own photos as well.
5. Infinity Loop
Playing games on your smartwatch isn’t exactly an appealing thing to do especially because of the really small size you’re limited to. However, Infinity Loop does not require that much screen real estate. So, if you have a few minutes to kill maybe before the train comes or something, you can play this easy, relaxing game.
Who says you can’t make video calls from your wrist? Well, you can’t but with the Glide app, you can. You’d also have to install your app on your smartphone (the one synced to your smartwatch) to be able to use the app though. However, once that’s done, you can now receive video calls on your watch and also watch your video messages as well.
If your watch comes with a front-facing camera, you might even be able to record your own video as well.
You can get Telegram on your smartwatch and send text or audio messages to your contacts. You will also be able to create groups where you can send instant emojis as well. The app comes with stickers, emojis, as well as themes.
Lifesum allows you track your intake of food and water which we are sure the health-conscious would appreciate. You can set some goals on your app and it will help guide you towards success, giving you a personalized eating plan as well as some exercise tips.
If you don’t want to use Google Fit, then you can go for Strava instead. It’s compatible with Wear OS version 2.0 and works as a stand-alone app (you don’t need to have it on your smartphone). This one helps you track your sporting activities such as running or cycling. Being able to leave your smartphone at home during such sporting activities is a great convenience you want to embrace.
10. Google Keep
Google Keep is one of the best apps for note-taking you can possibly find. It’s great for noting your shopping lists and setting quick reminders. With the Google Keep, you’re able to get these reminders, notes, and other such information straight to your wrist.
Like most Google apps, Google Keep will sync across every device, wherever you’re signed into your Google account.
Also, with the Google Keep, you can easily check off your shopping list while in the supermarket without using your smartphone or looking at a piece of paper.
If you want to find other apps you could check out for your smartwatch, you can go here.
Types Of Smartwatches
There are two main smartwatch types or categories. There’s the general-purpose category of smartwatches which is where you find watches like the Wear OS watches and the Apple Watches. Then, there’s also the specialized category where you find more specific smartwatches.
General-purpose smartwatches are made with the intent to replace the more traditional mechanical wristwatches. They are heavily dependent on your smartphone and typically work to support your smartphone. Common watches in this category include the Apple Watch which is both designed as well as sold by Apple.
There’s also Wear OS. Wear OS is developed by Google but many vendors use the OS to create and design their own watches.
Finally, there’s also the Tizen watches. Tizen watches are designed and sold by Samsung for its Samsung Galaxy line of smartwatches.
These smartwatches are usually very niche-specific. Oftentimes, they are in between being phone-dependent and stand-alone devices. Some of these specialized smartwatches include hiking watches, diving watches, and flying watches.
Hiking watches are great for when you want to do some remote traveling. They typically come with solid batteries that last really long. They also have other features like GPS for navigation and tracking, weather forecasting, as well as basic vitals.
The way hiking watches are engineered, they are highly durable and remain tough even when exposed to bumps, moisture, dust, and accidental falls. Examples of hiking watches include the Suunto 9 Baro, the Tom Tom Adventurer, and the Garmin Fēnix 5X Plus.
Dive watches are another good example of specialty smartwatches. These ones offer features such as depth, temperature, time-remaining, and other such important indicators when diving. Examples are the Suunto’s DX and the Garmin Descent Mk1.
Finally, we have flying watches. Features you find on such watches include a logbook, NEXRAD weather, as well as a moving map powered by GPS.