Buying guides

Wearable Tech Buying Guide Hero

Wearable Tech

Ideal for people who live life on the go; wearable tech can deliver messages, notifications, heart-rate monitors and more to your wrist.  

Smartwatch or fitness tracker?

While both devices are capable of similar functions, smartwatches are designed to help you communicate and receive notifications as well as tracking your fitness to varying degrees, while activity trackers focus predominantly on comprehensive workout summaries and generally have simplified communication features.

SMARTWATCHES

Nokia Smartwatch
Fitbit
Apple Watch

Smartwatches combine technology and style, updating the classic wrist watch with more features and uses than ever before.

Fitbit

Their processors and operating systems allow you to easily view and respond to emails, texts and social media notifications; as well as track your fitness activity.

Apple Watch

If you choose a smartwatch with GPS and cellular, it gives you the the freedom to leave the house without your phone, but still remain connected, reachable and transactional.

Compatibility

The first thing you’ll need to look out for when purchasing a smartwatch is the compatibility. As it stands, you generally need to purchase a smartwatch that works with your current smartphone.

Watch OS (Apple)
The Apple Watch Series works on WatchOS, which is only compatible with an iPhone.

Wear OS by Google
Formerly Android Wear, Wear 2.0 OS now works with both Android and iOS. While iPhone users have slightly reduced functionality, it’s much improved and is gaining parity with Android users.

Tizen (Samsung)
Tizen is compatible with all Android smartphones and iPhones 5 and above. iPhone users may find they have reduced functionality and that notifications aren’t actionable.

You’ll also need to look out for some more features on your smartphone. Most smartwatches require at least Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, though this should cover the majority of smartphones released since 2010.

Things to consider

  1. How many of your smartphone’s functions can it perform?
  2. What level of notification detail does it offer?
  3. How long is the battery life?
  4. What apps are available? Check the selection for each watch before making your choice.
Samsung Gear

Features to look out for

  1. Smartphone alerts and notification detail
  2. Tap payments / NFC - pay with your watch so you don’t have to carry cards or cash
  3. Heart rate monitoring
  4. Built-in GPS
  5. Optional 4G connectivity
  6. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Microphone to take calls
  7. Water resistance to 50m (for use in swimming pools or the sea)
  8. Extended battery life
Garmin smart watch

Higher prices will likely indicate an upgrade on strap, colour screen, more advanced tracking and a wider range of features.

Fitness trackers

Wearable fitness technology now offers a whole lot more than just counting your steps and calories.

Nokia Smartwatch
Fitbit

Trackers will log steps, calories, distance and activity. If your primary activity is walking or running, you’ll have every brand available to you.

Fitbit

If you cycle, swim, ski, hike or use an elliptical trainer you’ll need to choose a device that can track your favoured form of exercise.

Things to consider

  1. Make sure the device you choose can track your primary activities
  2. The usability of the device and how it displays the data is important.  Look for simple navigation, automatic tracking, wireless syncing and easy access to your data via smartphone apps or a website.
  3. Extended battery life will mean fewer gaps in activity data, as you’ll have to remove the tracker to charge it
Huawei Band 2

Features to look out for

  1. On-screen workouts and coaching
  2. Email, text or social media notifications
  3. GPS
  4. Smartphone connection
  5. Automatic syncing
  6. Colour touchscreen
  7. Water resistance to 50m (for use in swimming pools or the sea)
  8. Sleep tracking
  9. Route suggestions
Fitbit

Jargon buster

Apps
Apps are the programs that your watch can run. They can be downloaded from an app store (Google Play Store for Wear devices, Samsung Gear App Store for Tizen or Apple Store for Watch OS) with a variety available including games, fitness tracking apps, productivity tools and media players.

Bluetooth Enabled
Bluetooth can transmit data, pictures, phone numbers, etc through a wireless connection to your device

Cellular Carrier Support
Connecting your device to a cellular network requires the same carrier as your phone. Whilst this is currently not supported by all networks, Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular will also function as a GPS watch so you can futureproof your purchase should your network offer this service in the future

GPS + cellular
Gives you the freedom to send and receive text messages, answer phone calls and even receive notifications when you don’t have your smartphone with you.

HR Monitoring
Heart rate tracking. A basic heart rate monitor will not only show your heart rate as you run, but also create heart rate-based target zones for you to train within. So when you're running, the monitor will tell you if you need to run faster to increase your heart rate or slow down to lower your heart rate, getting you back to within your targeted zones.

IP68 certified
Dust proof and water resistant up to 1.5 meters and 30 minutes
NFC (see tap to pay)

Tap to pay
You can use tap to pay for purchases at merchants that accept contactless payments

Tizen
Samsung’s smartwatch operating system

Watch OS
Apple’s smartwatch operating system

Wear OS (formerly Android Wear)
Google’s smartwatch operating system

Wi-Fi
The device can connect to the Internet when there is a local Wi-Fi network connection available

4G/3G
The fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G