When smartphones took center stage among accessories, several items became expendable. Wristwatches, for example, had the function of showing the time incorporated in the phone, which led many to predict the decline of this object, which was the desire of many consumers.
But watches have also gone digital, and their concept has been reshaped by the industry: they were given functions that were previously available only on smartphones, as well as new features that are closely linked to sports and health.
Blog introduces some of the main functions of smartwatches. – Photo: Fábio Tito / G1
Apple Watch is probably the most remembered wearable when we talk about this accessory. His first generation inspired the creation of hundreds of similar models, and other manufacturers began to invest in such a product line.
Early models were useful but limited. Much of the functionality was dependent on smartphone connectivity – in practice clocks played the role of message notification displays on mobile phones.
In the following generations the models began to operate independently and began to have their own connectivity, with cellular network availability and wireless headset connectivity.
In today's column will be presented features that should be taken into account when choosing the ideal smartwatch.
Smartwatch, as much as it offers its own resources, becomes more useful when it is able to synchronize data with the phone. And for that to happen, the smartphone must have a clock-compatible application.
Cheaper smartwatches may not offer official apps. There are many models that indicate websites to download the data sync app.
The problem with downloading these apps from official stores is that you will need to change your Android security settings, allowing apps to be installed from unknown sources. In the case of Apple, this download is not allowed by the system.
A good watch should not be vulnerable to water, but that does not necessarily mean that it has to serve as a diving accessory.
Ideally, it should be able to withstand small immersions in water without compromising its operation.
It should be indicated in the manufacturer's manual what is the supported immersion capacity. See the metrics in these cases:
- 3 ATM or 30 meters: withstands water splash such as rain or when washing hands.
- 5 ATM or 50 meters: allows you to have a little more contact with water, such as when washing your car.
- 10 ATM or 100 meters: Although not suitable for deep diving, it allows you to enter the sea and the pool for a longer period.
- 15 ATM or 150 meters: it is possible to dive (when not using equipment) at greater depths and also to practice water sports.
- 20 ATM or 200 meters: Very resistant, allows diving with equipment at great depths.
One of the weaknesses found in the first generation of smartwatches was battery life. Most models required the battery to be charged at night.
This limitation prevented the sleep monitoring function from being used because it would collect the user's data while he was sleeping, he would need to be wearing the watch.
The duration varies depending on how the watch functions and how long it is synchronizing data over Bluetooth.
Adjustments to screen brightness, time display display, and other settings help save power.
There are some models that use non rechargeable battery, which can be used for months and after the battery needs to be replaced by a watchmaker. Usually these models have a display very similar to a conventional digital clock, to save battery power.
The reader should be very aware of this. The longer the battery life, the better.
Battery life depends on the features and functions of the smartwatch. – Photo: Thiago Lavado / G1
The quality of the components used in the construction of the watch is fundamental for a longer durability, especially the material used in the construction of the screen.
Smartwatches can be made of various materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, PVC, carbon fiber. This directly influences the comfort of wearing it and also the resistance to small impacts.
The screen is one of the most sensitive items, and its strength should also be taken into consideration. It is possible to find models with Gorilla Glass screen, sapphire, glass. Most entry models feature Gorilla Glass screens.
The bracelet is also an item that should not be ignored. Some models offer the possibility of custom options, to do sports or with a more social face, with different materials and colors. It is important to check the availability and cost of replacement parts.
Features and Applications
It is not enough to be a well-built watch with good battery life if it does not offer relevant features, as they determine how useful it will be.
The main operating systems that equip smart watches are as follows:
- Android Wear;
- Tizen for Wearables;
- Amazfit OS;
Each of these platforms offers the ability to install your applications. The simplest watch models use an operating system that can only perform basic functions and synchronize data with the phone – applications cannot be downloaded and installed on the watch itself.
Being able to install additional apps increases the availability of smartwatch features.
See some of the functions in the handsets.
It is the main sensor for collecting movement related data. This information is used in the sleep control, step counter, notification display functions.
The apps correspond to the functionality of the watch, for those who want to use it to manage the practice of sports activities (running, cycling, swimming, walking), it is important to evaluate the functioning of each app. Some more complete models allow you to download and install additional applications.
The physical inactivity monitor, for example, displays an alert based on user downtime.
The step counter is another way to collect data and indicate how active the user is. Experts recommend 10,000 steps a day.
It is a feature that indicates the interruptions that occurred during the sleep period, for data collection you must be wearing the watch.
Data is presented by the device management application or specific applications made for this purpose. This type of indicator serves to gauge the quality of "deep" sleep.
Sleep quality represents better health and the watch helps to show some kind of disturbance in the quality of rest.
The voice recorder option is not present on all models as it depends on additional data storage capacity.
You should check your device manual for the availability of this feature.
It is an indispensable item for those who go hiking or street racing. The information is collected and presented in the app that manages the clock features.
GPS accuracy is desirable for accurate activity history, performance statistics. Not all watches offer this function as it greatly increases the price.
Heart rate monitor
The number of beats is measured with the help of LEDs, which flash intermittently for hundreds of times per second. They serve to identify the intensity at which blood flow flows through the veins, so the smartwatch sensor detects and counts this number, calculating the time interval with each beat.
Vital data collection is a feature present in most smart watches. Some offer reading of heart rate, blood pressure, and even electrocardiogram (ECG).
There are already models that have an artificial intelligence chip for measuring and monitoring heart biometrics – these can indicate abnormalities and help prevent disease.
But reading vital data, to avoid distortion, requires the user to follow all the manufacturer's instructions.
In addition to the functions described above, each manufacturer adds its own features, and it is up to the reader to assess whether it is worth paying more for features that may not even be used at all.
In addition to smartwatches, it is also possible to find smartbands, which are devices with the main functions present in smart watches.
Smartbands have some functions that are present in smartwatches for a more affordable price. – Photo: André Paixão / G1
Hardware features are not always exalted by manufacturers: In the cheap models it is not even possible to know the amount of RAM, processor model, storage capacity and even the operating system.
This set of specifications determines which functions a smartwatch will be able to perform – the more advanced, the more expensive the watch will be.
The material used in …