Smartwatch vs Smartphone: Which Is Best for You?

When it comes to the debate over the smartwatch vs smartphone, before choosing between the two, it is vital to realize that the comparison is not an apples-to-apples matter. In fact, smartwatches and smartphones are complementary technologies which are crucial to each other. The reason for the connection is that, as the technology stands, smartwatches still rely on smartphones to power their connection to the cellular networks. Although Engadget profiles a smartwatch which has its own cellular receiver built in, as smartwatch technology is still in its infancy, this is a feature which has yet to be built into your average device.

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What Is a Smartwatch?

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, a smartwatch is defined as a watch which can do more than just keep time. Although this is a vague definition, the most common features on modern smartwatches include support for apps, built-in cameras, the ability to send and receive messages, and much more. One of the biggest limitations of smartwatches today is that they require a smartphone connection in order to fully function. In essence, rather than storing the data on the watch, smartwatches act as an additional sensor which relays information from your smartphone.

Why Would I Need a Smartwatch?

Despite requiring a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone for network connectivity, there are a few key reasons you might purchase a smartwatch in the near future. The first reason is that you may want to receive notifications rapidly without having to constantly check your phone. If you’re often in meetings, you can quickly check your notifications without having to pull out your phone. Another reason you may want a smartwatch is that it can do much more than your average watch at an affordable price. Although $120-$300 or so for a watch might seem rather high, when compared to mid-priced timepieces, a smartwatch can be a good value. Finally if you’re looking for a watch which can be customized to fit your needs, a smartwatch is a no-brainer, since they can be loaded with numerous apps to enhance the user experience.

When to Avoid a Smartwatch

Overall, the biggest reason to avoid a smartwatch is if you’re concerned about long-term battery life. Although the Pebble offers close to a week of battery life on a single charge, many other smartwatches only last a few hours to a couple of days, greatly reducing usability. Additionally, some watches only work with specific phones — for example, the Galaxy Gear is only compatible with the Galaxy Note 3. Finally, since most smartwatches piggyback on your existing phone, you really aren’t getting too much extra from the technology other than notifications on your wrist.

Unless being an early adopter is a must, when it comes to the smartwatch vs. smartphone debate, you probably are better off sticking with your smartphone for the time being until smartwatches become more advanced.

Photo credit: Flickr