How do I choose the right smartwatch?

This year, everybody seems to be talking about the latest trend in wearable technology: smart watches. With more and more smartwatches on offer, it’s difficult to know which one is best, and what you should be looking for.


So to help you decide, here are some of the main features to think about if you are considering buying a smart watch.


  1. Compatibility

The most important feature when considering the best smartwatch for you is compatibility with your mobile device. Connections are generally made via Bluetooth, but compatibility varies between operating systems. Many smartwatches, such as the Sony SmartWatch 3 and the LG Watch Urbane, use Android Wear which means they can communicate with Android phones. Check out this guide to the best Android smartwatches available in 2015.


One alternative is the Apple Watch, which connects strictly to iOS-powered devices. In other words, iPhone and iPad only. There are also products like the Pebble and Alcatel OneTouch which work with both Android and iOS.


The security of the Bluetooth connection between smartphone and smartwatch has been questioned, and like any new technology, smartwatches could become a target for cyber criminals. To minimize any risks, smartwatch users should opt-in to any available password protection, and keep all software up to date.


  1. Answering Calls

Different watches respond to calls in different ways. The Sony Smartwatch 3 allows user to accept and decline calls on the watch, but activates the phone’s speaker and microphone, or headphones for the conversation. Others, including the Apple Watch, allow users to answer and carry out conversations directly from the watch, leaving your phone in your bag or pocket.


  1. Notifications

Another useful function of smartwatches, other than telling the time, is that they show your phone’s notifications, so that you don’t have to get your phone out your pocket! For example, it will show alerts for emails, calendar appointments, Facebook and Twitter, to name but a few. Some watches, including Apple Watch, even allow you to respond directly via the watch.


  1. Apps

Most watches also have app-stores so you can get apps like Instagram, Yelp and Evernote.  One main difference between smartwatches is that they have different app availability, so this is a good way to determine which smartwatch is best for you. Apple has the largest number of apps, with Pebble’s app store following closely behind with over 6,000 apps.


If you are going for an Android then you will be dealing with the Google Play Store and you can find out the best apps here. Cool functions include being able to control your sound system with a few taps or getting through airport security by bringing up your boarding pass on your smartwatch! Future developments may even see you paying with your smartwatch.


  1. eHealth Tracking

If you’re a fitness fanatic you may want your smartwatch to double as a fitness tracker. Some watches have inbuilt GPS, like the Sony SmartWatch 3, and the Apple Watch has a built in heart-rate monitor. Others, such as Garmin’s vivoactive, offer a dizzying array of sports tracking. Other smartwatches don’t have native fitness tracking capabilities, but most will allow you to download a running or cycling fitness app.


So if you are planning to buy a smartwatch, think carefully about how you might use it, and do your research before you buy!