If you’ve been paying attention to tech recently, the landscape is shifting away from traditional devices like smartphones, and even from newer entries into the field, like tablets. The movement has turned to wearable tech, and smartwatches in particular. The idea isn’t new-Dick Tracy had one-but the technology wasn’t there to make it a reality.
This isn’t for early adopters, who will purchase everything and anything to stay on the cutting edge of technology. This is for the curious, the interested, and those looking to add a little more tech to their daily life.
But smartwatches from every company are full of issues that the average consumer shouldn’t have to deal with, not while the technology is in such a nascent state.
There are much better ways to track your activities and use data to better yourself than to buy into the first generation of a potentially game-changing idea, and a whole host of reasons to stay away from the smartwatches of now.
If you strap on a wristwatch, it’s probably because you’d like to know the time at a glance. And what’s great about a regular watch is that it won’t stop working in the middle of the day.
Smartwatches are essentially smartphones with tiny screens. And with a tiny smartphone comes an even smaller battery. The most sought-after smartwatch, the Moto 360, has a piddling amount of battery life, barely lasting a whole day with normal use. Samsung’s Gear Live lasted a bit more than a day, but a day of use doesn’t make a smartwatch useful if you’re busy for two.
If you need more convincing, just look at Apple. It’s upcoming wearable, Apple Watch, was announced a month ago, but a key detail—battery life—was left out of the announcement in favor of describing its features.
A smartwatch represents fashion just as much as it represents technology. So when the first generation of smartwatches released are boxy, bulky wrist computers, the appeal of wearing them falls by the wayside.
Which is a shame, really. Because if done well, a smartwatch can be elegant. Motorola’s Moto 360 is the closest analog to an actual watch. Round face, multiple straps, even a crown (that tiny dial on the side of the watch). But the circular screen isn’t perfect, and you can’t swap watch straps as easily as you could with a regular watch.
Apple’s Watch is also pretty stylish, if you’re a fan of square watches. But it isn’t available, and the more stylish variants of the Watch don’t have a price point, making me wonder how expensive Apple’s high-end entrant into the market will cost.
Of course, being invested in any ecosystem will make it harder for you to switch to a new device. Just ask any longtime iPhone user who wants to make the switch to Android. It isn’t easy, and often isn’t worth repurchasing the same apps you used.
But with smartwatches, the lock-in means if you still want to use your smartwatch, you have to use the corresponding phone. Got an Apple Watch? If you still want it to work, you’re gonna be using an iPhone for a while.