When we think of wearable technology, we instantly think of smartwatches; these devices replace the traditional face and mechanical hands of an analog watch with a touch screen.
Although there is some debate on whether smartwatches are better than analog watches, fashion-wise, it’s unsurprising that major players in men’s fashion have capitalized on this trend. Brands like Misfit, Montblanc, Fossil, and Tag Heuer have all jumped on the wearable tech bandwagon, which has increased the smartwatch’s hold on our collective interest.
According to a new study by Global Industry Analysts, the global market for wearable electronics is projected to reach $50 billion by 2024. Consumers with plenty of disposable income are more interested in these sensor-integrated products, as they allow people to stay connected and adapt to the Internet of Things.
If you’re looking to hop onto the smartwatch trend, here are five great smartwatches to try:
When it comes to choosing a smartwatch, you have to first consider its compatibility with your smartphone. All Apple Watch models run on an exclusive operating system called watchOS, so it strictly connects to iOS-powered devices (or iPhones).
On the other hand, devices with Google’s Wear OS can work with both iOS and Android. You can get a smartwatch made by Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit that runs on Wear OS, but you may need to install a companion app for it to work with your phone.
A good choice for compatibility is the GQ recommended Tag Heuer Connected, which was described as an “incredibly beautiful smart device […] with the artisanal ingenuity the company is known for.” Powered by Google’s Wear OS, this model boasts a Swiss-made ceramic bezel and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Its compatibility with Android phones allows for use with swimming, running, and biking — perfect for watch-aficionados who are on the go.
Best Value for Money
In our blog post on the ‘Best Luxury Watch Brands 2021’, we discussed how luxury watches are symbols of wealth and power. These watches are priced based on their perceived market value, as well as other factors like manufacturing, R&D, material, and marketing costs.
When it comes to smartwatches, some of the best ones aren’t the most expensive because they don’t come with the history and prestige of established watch houses. On average, they cost between $200 and $400.
However, savvy smartwatch brands have merged modern technology with luxury. The $1299 Apple Watch Hermès is one such collaboration. If you’re a serious watch collector, these are the best for luxury value. They’re modern and tastefully designed, so they look more like a true watch than a device. The custom watch face leans on Apple’s strengths by providing information and customization, while the straps add a fashion element into the mix.
Of course, the way your smartwatch will look is one of the top things you should consider. High-tech features aside, you want to choose a smartwatch with versatile colors and unique designs, like many of the wearable tech products featured on Adorama. The AmazFit GTR 2 Sport Edition Smartwatch, for example, comes in a cool obsidian black.
This particular model is great because the 3D curved, bezel-less design is extra-sleek and masculine. It also has a long battery life and a high-definition AMOLED screen. After all, you don’t want to make it obvious that you’re wearing a device on your wrist. You want something that still presents a strong fashion sensibility, so look for a style that works for you.
According to research from analyst firm Canalys, most consumers buy smartwatches for health tracking. This is why smartwatch vendors place a huge emphasis on developing health sensors and algorithms to deliver cutting-edge, accurate, and reliable health-tracking features. Aside from monitoring health data, smartwatches also connect to several apps, including Spotify, Facebook Messenger, Starbucks, CNN, and Uber — although this depends on whether your smartwatch runs on watchOS or Wear OS.
Before unifying with Google’s Wear OS, Samsung produced smartwatches with an OS called Tizen. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 has numerous health-tracking features, such as automatic exercise tracking and sleep monitoring, plus other perks like ride-hailing, music playback, and smart home control. If you’re looking for features, this model is a really good option — or you can wait and see what features Tizen will bring to WearOS models in the future.
Best in Battery Life
Battery life is probably the last thing on your mind when shopping for a smartwatch, but it’s a pretty important consideration. Early smartwatches had very poor battery life, and those that have full-color and smartphone-like displays only last about a day on a single charge. While vast improvements have made smartwatches more efficient now, newer models last two to three days at best. You can also get a smartwatch that lasts between five to seven days on a single charge, but these tend to have fewer features and lower-quality displays.
If you want a good mix of features and battery life, the Fitbit Versa 2 is the ideal choice for you. This budget smartwatch offers the essential exercise tracking, blood oxygen tracking, and sleep tracking features, but it lasts six days before needing a charge. And as a bonus, this model comes with different strap color options, so you can definitely find one that works with the rest of your wardrobe.