What makes a smart watch smart?

First published: 21-12-2018

A smart watch is a wristwatch and a wearable computer rolled into one. Typically, they have a touchscreen interface, provide access to smartphone apps, and are connected to the internet.

Like a smartphone on your wrist, the most modern smart watches generally either run watchOS, which is Apple's operating system, or Wear OS, which is the Google's wrist-based system. The higher end models can be expected to have Bluetooth connectivity and function as media players and allow you to listen to your favourite tunes as well as have 4G connectivity.

The interface

Most smart watches have a touchscreen electronic visual display, usually backlit by an LCD or OLED screen. However, it is a common misconception that all smart watches are digital. In most cases a smart watch acts as a front end for another system, such as a smartphone or a laptop, and the watch communicates with the remote device using wireless technologies.

Smart watches have a variety of functions and can be used in many different ways. While you might choose to use your smart watch as a digital map, ensuring you never get lost and don't have to use your phone or a paper map, you could also use your smart watch as a personal organiser or scheduler, a calculator, a media player and entertainment system, or a fitness monitor.

What could I use my smart watch for?

When choosing a smart watch it is important to consider what you are really looking for. Do you want something that is stylish, or would you prefer a timepiece that is highly functional? Or are both of these qualities important to you? Whether you want a smart watch for fashion or functionality, we're here to help you pick out the device that is right for you in this handy guide.

The ultimate smart watch

Designed to push the limits of what a watch can be, the men's Casio G-Shock Rangeman Bluetooth GPS Tough Solar watch (RRP £799) is built to withstand the most extreme conditions while maintaining the highest levels of functionality. GPS navigation and a Triple Sensor put this watch firmly among the best in outdoor timepieces.

Powered by solar and a wireless charging system, this Casio G-Shock Rangeman watch is as tough as they come, and can even withstand shocks, freezing temperatures, and deep waters.

Travel in style

This Michael Kors smart watch makes a perfect and glamorous travel companion. The Ladies' Access Bluetooth Wear OS Sofie smart watch (£339) is the perfect combination of international chic and technological modernity.

Complete with touchscreen, the ability to connect with your favourite apps, and the power to send you call and message notifications, this watch will keep you constantly connected. Moreover, its design is simply stunning. The full-round display, pavé crystal top-ring and baby blue metallic bracelet are the embodiment of elegance

High fashion timekeeping

Inimitable in style and unbeatable in functionality, this unisex Swatch Petrozero2 Bluetooth alarm chronograph watch (RRP £94) is an attention grabber. The funky design of the plastic/resin strap and the high-quality LCD dial on this timepiece combine to give it a unique look, and it boasts Bluetooth connectivity along with features such as an alarm and date function. Durable and versatile, the Petrozero2 can withstand rain and splashes of water.

Child's play!

In case you hadn't heard, smart watches aren't just for the grown-ups! In fact, the Bluetooth Smart 2.0 Pink/Purple alarm chronograph watch (RRP £79) from Kurio provides children with a wearable way to enjoy gaming, education and social communication, all through a multi-function, multi-coloured touch screen. It even comes complete with a camera, photo filters, messaging, a media player, an activity tracker, and a phrase translator.

This is grown-up technology at its best but packaged in a super child-friendly design. The kids will especially love the colour-changing strap, the tone of which varies depending on the arm temperature of the wearer!

Fit and functional

Perfect for keeping an eye on your health and fitness, this Polar timepiece, the unisex M200 watch (RRP £129.50), has heart rate monitoring, 24/7 activity tracking and sleep tracking, smart notifications, training tools and an integrated GPS. It's designed for runners, and allows you to train adaptively based on your own personal fitness goals.

Training and timekeeping

The ultimate gadget for the tech-savvy sport fanatic, this Suunto Spartan Ultra White HR Bluetooth watch (RRP £569) comes with a full colour touch screen and heart rate monitoring. The perfect piece to measure athletic ability and progress, this timepiece comes with 80 pre-set sport modes and sport-specific metrics.

Track your progress and use community training insights to discover the best way you can train and discover new and exciting routes using heat maps. This watch could be your perfect training partner!

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