Choos­ing a... Wear­able

Computer Shopper - - RANTS & RAVES -


Wear­able tech can in­clude any­thing from chest-strap heart-rate mon­i­tors to augmented re­al­ity glasses, but the two most com­mon types are smart­watches and fit­ness track­ers. Both are de­signed to sit unas­sum­ingly on your wrist, and are al­most al­ways meant to be used in tan­dem with a paired smart­phone.


Smart­watches are typ­i­cally more com­plex and ex­pen­sive, though more closely re­sem­ble a tra­di­tional wrist­watch. You can use them to re­ceive and re­ply to text mes­sages and emails, quickly check maps and even play games – like a smart­phone, most smart­watches al­low you to in­stall your own choice of apps.


Fit­ness track­ers are much more ded­i­cated to healthy pur­suits. Step coun­ters, heart-rate mon­i­tors and even sleep track­ing are all com­mon, and the data col­lected is fed back to you so you can see how your work­out rou­tine or calo­rie in­take is go­ing.

Many smart­watches also con­tain health-track­ing fea­tures, but fit­nessspe­cific wear­ables tend to be cheaper, smaller and lighter.


When it comes to bat­tery life, it’s im­por­tant for any wear­able to last a full day, but if it’s a smart­watch then you can get away with hav­ing to charge it overnight. With fit­ness track­ers, it’s bet­ter if it lasts for sev­eral days off a sin­gle charge, so you can wear it to bed and ben­e­fit from sleep track­ing.


Look out for water­proof­ing as well. Wear­ables that don’t mind a few lengths of the pool can be used for swim­ming or just time­keep­ing, and at the very least we ex­pect a fit­ness tracker to be able to deal with rain or sweat.


Dif­fer­ent smart­watches use dif­fer­ent op­er­at­ing sys­tems, which de­ter­mine which apps you can in­stall on your de­vice as well as com­pat­i­bil­ity with smart­phones. An­droid Wear and Tizen smart­watches will work with both An­droid and iOS phones, but Ap­ple’s watchOS will only pair with an iOS hand­set.

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