DHRME Wearables Are Smartwatches Worth It?

Are Smartwatches Worth It?

After using more than 15 types of smartwatches and fitness trackers from leading brands like Google, Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi, I wanted something simpler. Bucking today’s trends, I took the plunge and switched back to a traditional (or dumb!) watch. Was this decision a backward step into a bygone era or a wise move towards a simpler, less distracted lifestyle? More to the point, are smartwatches worth it?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of smartwatches. We’ll check out the four biggest reasons why I embraced my return to the traditional watch and discover the smartwatch features that I missed the most! By the end of the article, I hope to help you decide whether you should ditch your smartwatch and return to the timeless elegance of a traditional watch.

What Are Smartwatches?

Are Smartwatches Worth It

On paper, smartwatches sound like an essential part of modern life – something you would see dominating our existence in any dystopian sci-fi flick! In truth, they’re not quite there just yet.

Essentially, a smartwatch is a wearable computer offering the user a convenient interface for a number of daily tasks. Beyond the basics, like telling the time, these clever devices can also serve as fitness trackers, weather guides, and an easily accessible link to the apps on your smartphone. In recent years, smartwatches have gone even further, becoming reliable health-monitoring tools. With features like ECGs, sleep tracking, and oxygen saturation monitoring, the smartwatch of today is way more than just a tech gadget.

By taking up the position of the traditional wristwatch, smartwatches have been widely accepted by a variety of users. Many people are already used to wearing similar items on their wrists, so they don’t require much of an adjustment to get used to.

What are the Advantages of Smartwatches?

What Are Smartwatches

We’ve already discussed some of the standout features of today’s smartwatches, such as the excellent fitness and health monitoring tools. But for many of us, smartwatches are becoming integral to modern life. The reason why goes beyond a few helpful apps!

Your smartwatch can work alongside other tech products, like your smartphone, creating an interconnected web of coexisting data and tools. Measuring your sleep patterns is one thing; taking that data and analysing it to promote awareness and management of your health is quite another!

But beyond the incredible possibilities these clever devices offer, they also serve us in more basic but just as impressive ways. Instant notifications for calls, texts, or keeping an eye on your Amazon delivery mean the vital info you need is just a glance away. More importantly, that quick glance at your smartwatch subtly reduces your screen time, contributing to your digital well-being just a little bit more.

And what about those on-the-go individuals with busy lives? Could there be a more fast and convenient way to monitor your health and fitness goals or stay connected with work, friends, and family?

Finally, there’s the ever-increasing fashion aspect of smartwatches. Gone are the days of a drab metal cube on a silicon strap. Today’s smartwatches boast a massive choice in size, shape, material, and face design, perfectly matching your style.

What are the Downsides of Smartwatches?

Charging Smartwatches

Despite their many incredible features, there are a few drawbacks to smartwatches that might make you think twice about investing in what is a pretty considerable outlay.

One of the primary concerns affecting almost all smartwatch models is battery life. Sure, a couple of options offer excellent battery life, like the Apple Watch Ultra and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. However, in most cases, you’ll need to charge your watch every single day, even with modest usage.

Moreover, while smartwatches can offer amazing integration with compatible devices, this means that to make the most of your smartwatch, you will need to buy that expensive compatible smartphone.

And while we’re discussing interconnected devices and tools, let’s not forget about potential privacy and security concerns. It’s certainly impressive to pull up a wealth of data in a third-party smartphone app, but what happens if your personal data, like health metrics and location data, is accessed by unauthorised parties?

Last, but by no means least, there’s the price aspect. For all smartwatches can do, they come with a pretty hefty price tag. These high prices can put smartwatches out of reach for less affluent segments of the population. Moreover, if you can afford a smartwatch, imagine the stunning traditional watch you could buy for the same price. If we’re honest, which looks better: an expertly crafted wristwatch with a timeless design or a cold, sterile piece of tech that will most likely be outdated in a few short years?

Four Reasons Why I Stopped Using a Smartwatch

Analogue Watches

Before switching out my smartwatch for a more traditional piece, I contemplated many of these same issues when making my decision. Ultimately, the following points led me to ditch the smartwatch, at least temporarily:

  1. The Timeless Elegance of Traditional Watches: Yes, modern smartwatches feature an incredible array of advanced features. Still, nothing can compare to the classic elegance of a well-crafted watch. As Mr Mobile wisely stated: “A watch is an heirloom; a smartwatch is e-waste.”
  2. Less Distraction, More Presence: There’s no way around it – a traditional watch simplifies life. It tells the time and sometimes the date. And that’s it. No bombarding you with non-stop notifications demanding your attention. A traditional wristwatch means one less screen to distract you from interactions with the real world.
  3. Freedom from Daily Charging: The convenience of not needing to charge your watch every day is truly liberating. Freedom from one more electronic restraint can be a breath of fresh air, helping you to live an uninterrupted daily routine.
  4. A Welcome Challenge: After a year of being tethered to smart technology, I sought to challenge myself. Could I break free from the smartwatch’s digital convenience and still function effectively? The only way to find out was to return to the basics!

Irreplaceable Smartwatch Features

Smartwatch Sleep Tracking

My switch from smartwatch to dumbwatch was largely positive. Still, there are undeniable advantages to smartwatches that I did occasionally miss:

  1. Advanced Fitness Tracking: Smartphones can track basic workout metrics, like steps walked, elevation, and distance. However, they lack the nuanced data that smartwatches can provide. Without tools like heart rate and SPO2 tracking, achieving comprehensive health monitoring is practically impossible.
  2. Sleep Tracking: Again, smartphones do offer sleep-tracking apps, but without a smartwatch’s multiple sensors being strapped to your wrist, the results they produce pale in comparison.
  3. Subtle Wake-Up Alarms: The gentle vibration of a smartwatch alarm can be far less jarring than the loud ring of a phone alarm, resulting in a smoother transition from sleep to wakefulness. A vibrating smartwatch alarm is particularly handy if you share your bed with a partner who wakes up at a different time.

Don’t Forget Your Smartphone!

Smartphone NFC Wallet

Switching to an analogue watch doesn’t have to mean losing all of your watch’s favourite conveniences. Remember, you probably still have a smartphone that’s more than capable of performing a multitude of tasks!

For starters, NFC payments can be quickly made through services like Google or Apple Wallet. These apps allow you to make quick in-store payments or store boarding passes and event tickets for events directly on your phone.

Furthermore, the functionality of phone voice assistants can’t be matched by smartwatch alternatives. Whatever your platform, with just a few choice words, you can set timers, check the weather, or initiate calls.

If you need navigation assistance, smartphones have you covered, with proprietary and third-party apps available. Moreover, controlling music and handling notifications are effortless with a smartphone, letting you quickly change tune or check messages without the interruption a smartwatch might introduce.

Should I Wear a Smartwatch or a Regular Watch?

Smartwatches vs Traditional Watches

If you’re trying to choose between a smartwatch and a traditional wristwatch, the decision boils down to your personal preference and lifestyle.

Perhaps you prefer to be connected at all times. You may even like receiving instant notifications for emails, calls, and messages without needing to reach for your smartphone. Or, you could simply have use for accurate fitness trackers, analytical sleep monitors, and convenient portable media players. If any of this applies to you, then a smartwatch is the obvious choice.

On the other hand, traditional watches have an undeniable appeal for anyone who yearns for simplicity, elegance, and timelessness. A tasteful, precisely crafted wristwatch can be a statement piece, sharing your style with the world and setting you apart just a little bit in an increasingly digital age.

Final Thoughts – Are Smartphones Worth It?

My three-month experiment turned into an introspective journey, offering a fascinating insight into what technology we need versus what has become a habit. Smartwatches offer undeniable benefits, especially for health and fitness. Still, you cannot overlook the allure of a classic watch and the simplicity it can bring to your daily life.

Interestingly, in the end, I found a happy medium between both watch formats. I continue to use smartwatches for specific tasks, such as running, where I can make the most of the tech. Besides, it’s no secret that smartwatch manufacturers do a pretty good job of keeping you inside their ecosystem… who doesn’t want to close their rings and achieve their fitness goals each day? So perhaps my smartwatch stays on my wrist a little longer than it strictly needs to. However, for general daily wear, the traditional watch has, so far, recaptured my wrist! 

The smartwatch vs traditional watch debate is a highly personal one that ultimately comes down to your unique needs and way of living. Regardless of your chosen path, the decision should enhance your daily life and reflect your style.

So, are you Team Smartwatch or Team Dumbwatch? Leave a comment and let us know, or join the conversation in the comments on the DHRME YouTube channel!

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