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Smartwatches are here. This may not be as big a revolution as smartphones, but many believe that smartwatches will bring back the era of watch-wearing, which was killed by smartphones. Now that everyone wants a smartwatch, we’re bringing you an article that tells you what questions to ask before you fork out your money for one.

Smartwatches are the new in things, the new batch of gadgets that we need to find a charging point for in our overcrowded homes. They said that very soon, the most fought-over place in the house will be the charging bay, with each person owning more than two gadgets at the very least. Well, that ‘future’ is already on us, and smartwatches promise to usher in that situation faster than otherwise.

If you’re looking to buy a smartwatch, though – either for yourself or for a friend or a loved one as a gift, there are a few things you need to ask yourself. We’ve put together a list of questions that will help you narrow down your choice.

1. First of all, is a smartwatch necessary?
How many of us currently need a smartwatch? The answer is very few. Almost all the smartwatches that are on the market currently do little more than complement your existing smartphone, and very few of them work independently on their own. So before you go out and shop for a smartwatch, ask yourself if you truly need it. However, we understand that when one is shopping for the newest technological gadgets, it’s not always about ‘need’ but also about ‘want’. If that is the case, move on right to…

2. With touchscreen or without?
This is perhaps the second most important question you should ask yourself. Smartwatches come in both avatars, and those with touchscreens are significantly more battery-hungry than those without. The models without a touchscreen do not really underperform their counterparts, but for those of us who are used to interfacing with a touchscreen, going back to the old system of lights and figures might be difficult. Weigh up the options and decide what is better for you.

3. How important is brand?
In other words, are you an Apple fan (the company, not the fruit)? If you are, then you may not be able to look past the Apple Watch, which starts at a price of $350 and goes up all the way to $17,000. It will be a full companion to your iPhone (unfortunately just your iPhone; it won’t befriend smartphones of any other brand) and will be able to do just about anything you want. The interface is great, and the functionality is just intuitive, like all Apple products. But there is a hefty premium to be paid for it, as always.

4. How functional is functional?
What do you want your phone to be able to do? Why are you buying a smartwatch? Are you going to use it primarily for time-checking and the occasional alarm or email checker? Or are you going to be using it as a replacement for your smartphone? Understanding your own needs first will help you choose the best smartwatch fit for you (and your wrist), because models come from basic functionality to full-fledged awesomeness. Sometimes they can be too smart for their own good too. So beware!

5. How about a ‘fitness’ smartwatch?
If you’re on a budget, you might want to check out the many offerings from fitness brands who have inundated the market with smartwatches. Now these won’t ‘wow’ you with what they can do, but many of them have a beautiful interface, perform adequate functions like notifications, time, health check etc, and they look stylish to boot. The Fitbit Charge, for example, is a wonderful little smartwatch. These fitness watches also tend to have a long battery life.

6. Does my watch achieve the right balance?
There is form, there is function and there is price. Ask yourself if the model you’re purchasing achieves a balance in all these aspects. Also understand that these elements are personal elements, so what is good for you may not be good for someone else. An example of a watch that fits all three categories to a bill is the Pebble Time Round, which is sleek, narrow, functional and hits the sweet spot at $250.

7. Do I normally wear a watch?
Are you a watch lover? Ever since smartphones began to carry times, the number of people wearing watches has gone down dramatically. From a utility item, a watch has become a luxury item worn for aesthetic purposes. So before you buy a smartwatch, the question is: do you wear a watch now? If not, why do you want a smartwatch? Smartwatches are designed for people who love watches and want to be wedded to a few of their mobile apps on a continuous basis. If you’re not a watch lover, then perhaps a smartwatch is not for you.

8. Can I wait for a year?
Remember that this is pretty much the first year of smartwatches. From here on, we can expect lots of smartwatch apps to come into the market, and the smartwatch design itself to undergo a massive change, just like it happened with smartphones. You can expect to be tempted by a much newer set of smartphones at the same time next year, so ask yourself whether you can wait for the perfect smartwatch for a year. If the answer is yes, then perhaps you should.

Jenn Patrick

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