Wrist­ful Think­ing

Should you be buy­ing a smart­watch?

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - By Nidhi Sin­gal

SINCE THE AD­VENT OF WEAR­ABLES, smart­watches have been the talk of the town. In the early days, big and small tech­nol­ogy companies – be it Sam­sung or Peb­ble – tried their hand at smart­watches, with scant success. The first gen­er­a­tion of smart­watches ended up be­ing gim­micky as the func­tion­al­ity was lim­ited. Ap­ple, too, was ex­pected to launch one for a long time, but did so only in 2015.

Al­though a rel­a­tively new cat­e­gory, the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of smart­watches com­pris­ing Ap­ple Watch, Moto 360 2nd gen, Sam­sung Gear S2 and Peb­ble Time are gar­ner­ing success, but are yet to go main­stream. Users are of­ten heard lament­ing about these be­ing too com­pli­cated and merely du­pli­cat­ing their smart­phone’s con­tent. In lieu of this, companies are de­sign­ing ap­pli­ca­tions es­pe­cially for these watches and em­pha­sis is be­ing given to the op­er­at­ing sys­tem, too. Per­haps, ‘smart­watches’ is an idea whose time has come! Here’s a low-down on what you can ex­pect from smart­watches, should you choose to buy one:

PRO­DUC­TIV­ITY

Smart­watches are de­signed to en­hance pro­duc­tiv­ity and save time. What looks like a fancy piece of tech­nol­ogy sit­ting on your wrist ac­tu­ally fea­tures a host of spe­cial apps de­signed to make your work life eas­ier – whether you are us­ing an Ap­ple Watch, An­droid Wear or Sam­sung Gear S2 (Tizen OS). For in­stance, Ever­note, the most pop­u­lar note-tak­ing app, is avail­able on Ap­ple Watch and An­droid Wear watches. It takes notes over voice dic­ta­tion and is handy to cap­ture quick thoughts at the press of a but­ton. The reminders set on the phone or desk­top ap­pear on the watch at the stip­u­lated time. Fan­tas­ti­cal 2 is an ex­cel­lent nat­u­ral lan­guage cal­en­dar com­pan­ion app that works on the iPhone as well as Ap­ple Watch, al­low­ing you to add ap­point­ments di­rectly on the watch, elim­i­nat­ing the need to even touch your iPhone. It can even process date and time. Wun­derlist is a sim­ple and ef­fec­tive list- mak­ing app avail­able for An­droid Wear, use­ful to make lists, set reminders, pro­gramme no­ti­fi­ca­tion and even ac­cess it all through voice. Google Maps can be ac­cessed for di­rec­tions be­tween home, of­fice and other lo­ca­tions on both An­droid Wear watches and the Ap­ple Watch. There are nu­mer­ous apps that al­low you to keep a tab on stock prices and dol­lar-INR con­ver­sion rate, ac­cess trans­la­tion, voice record­ing, cal­cu­la­tions and more – all from the watch face.

MIR­ROR­ING

Smart­watches are an ex­ten­sion of our smart­phones. When paired with a smart­phone over Blue­tooth and apps, smart­watches can fetch no­ti­fi­ca­tions from your phone, elim­i­nat­ing the need to take your phone out of the pocket. It dis­plays ev­ery in- com­ing call, which you can ac­cept or re­ject from the watch it­self. But to speak to the caller, you will have to ei­ther pick up your phone or rely on a Blue­tooth head­set. You can add your favourite con­tacts on the watch for quick di­alling. Smart­watches fetch no­ti­fi­ca­tions for in­com­ing mes­sages, e- mails, What­sApp, tweets and more. You can even cus­tomise the face of the watch. On Ap­ple Watch, you can choose the face and add the apps for which you wish to re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tion – such as ac­tiv­ity stats, wa­ter re­minder, date, time, bat­tery per­cent­age and voice recorder, among oth­ers. Other apps can be ac­cessed by press­ing the crown of the watch. Google, too, is in­cor­po­rat­ing this fea­ture of customising app ac­cess on the watch face it­self with its next OS up­date, An­droid Wear 2.0.

FIT­NESS

Fit­ness bands have be­come quite a rage with their abil­ity to mea­sure step count and sleep cy­cles. Now, smart­watches have gone sev­eral steps ahead by in­cor­po­rat­ing sen­sors to track fur­ther de­tails, more ac­cu­rately. For in­stance, a heart rate mon­i­tor on a smart­watch can mea­sure heart rate through­out the day, dur­ing a work­out and even when you are sta­tion­ary. It even helps in ac­cu­rately cal­cu­lat­ing the calo­ries burnt dur­ing a work­out. There are spe­cial fit­ness apps that re­mind you to con­sume wa­ter ev­ery hour to stay hy­drated (WaterMin­der for Ap­ple Watch) and eat meals at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. The Ac­tiv­ity app on Ap­ple Watch al­lows you to set goals and re­minds you to stand for a minute ev­ery hour. When the watch vi­brates to no­tify you, it is hard to ig­nore. Then there are cer­tain watches that are fo­cused on

and less on ex­tend­ing smart­phone func­tion­al­ity. The Fit­bit Blaze smart­watch, for in­stance, spe­cialises in fit­ness track­ing and only fetches call, mes­sages and cal­en­dar no­ti­fi­ca­tions. It can track steps, dis­tance, calo­ries burnt, floors climbed and ac­tive min­utes. It also has GPS con­nected to map your routes and record run­ning stats, like pace and du­ra­tion, on dis­play when your phone is nearby. Garmin’s TomTom, how­ever, doesn’t get into fetch­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tions from smart­phones. It fo­cuses purely on fit­ness ac­tiv­i­ties.

FASH­ION STATE­MENT

Smart­watches are in­creas­ingly be­ing worn as an ac­ces­sory, thanks to their good looks and de­sign. Most smart­watches today have change­able watch straps that can be used to match your at­tire. Most companies are keep­ing it sim­ple by in­cor­po­rat­ing watch bands that can be re­placed by any­one at home in just a few sec­onds. They come in all forms – rub­ber straps, sil­i­con straps, metal­lic bands and more. The range of bands avail­able for the Ap­ple Watch is the largest – from bands rang­ing from `5,000 for a sil­i­con strap to link brack­ets cost­ing over `30,000 ($499). French lux­ury prod­ucts com­pany Her­mès also of­fers leather bands. Watch bands are also avail­able for other smart­watches, but the range is not as ex­ten­sive. Some of them of­fer bands in dif­fer­ent sizes to suit men and women.

Smart­watches are ad­dic­tive. Once you get used to ac­cess­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tions on the watch, you will not feel the need to pick up your phone on ev­ery no­ti­fi­ca­tion alert. A quick glance at the watch lets you stay up­dated on mat­ters re­lated to work, health and fun.

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