A Guide to Buying a Smart Watch

Wearable technology has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years, and the smart watch is now an essential accessory the drives fitness, boosts organisation, and helps us all to stay in touch.

Apart from the basics, like the size and colour of your chosen smart watch, what else do you need to consider before buying one?

smart wristband

Operating System

Broadly speaking, there are three groups of smart watches: Apple watches, watches that run Android, and watches that run some other software. Typically, the third category includes watches with a specialism, like FitBit watches that monitor health.

If you already own an iPhone, it makes sense to get an Apple watch. They ‘just work’ together, have a similar interface, and so on. And if you have an Android phone, you’ll almost certainly want to buy an Android or third-party watch, because an Apple watch won’t ‘talk’ to your phone.

Some Android watches can be used with Apple and Android, so that’s a possibility if you want some flex.

This is a very individual decision, but one thing’s certain; if you intend to switch to an iPhone just to get the watch that matches, be sure that you’re comfortable with iOS. Switching your phone and watch later could be expensive.


The most expensive smart watches on the market naturally give you the most functionality. But all-singing, all-dancing smart watches, like the latest Apple watch, can cost more than a medium-spec smartphone.

If your budget is a little smaller, you’ll need to figure out some priorities. What is your watch going to be used for? If you need to use it as a phone, you’ll find that a watch with a built-in SIM card is really convenient, since you won’t need to keep your phone nearby. But if you just want to track your steps and receive notifications, you could purchase something a lot cheaper.

Likewise, true fitness fanatics will enjoy the features of expensive Garmin smart watches. Those devices will certainly be overkill for someone who wants to listen to music occasionally at the gym.


Despite being roughly the same size and shape, smart watches can offer a very different user experience — and convenience is important in a watch.

Charging a watch every 24 hours can be really inconvenient — particularly if you want to track your sleep, since you won’t want to take it off every night to plug it in.

You’ll get the best battery life from a watch with a basic display and fairly basic features; some fitness trackers can last weeks on one battery, but they won’t be as ‘smart’ as the ones with a battery that goes flat within a couple of days.

Getting the right smart watch can be a real boost to your life — but beware of choosing a model that is too limited, too expensive, or too inconvenient. And since smart watches are vulnerable, don’t forget to insure your new purchase against accidental damage, theft, and loss.

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