Are Smart Watches Really that Smart?

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With the tablet market starting to mature and smart glasses still in their infancy, were is a hungry tech connoisseur to turn for the latest hot new product on the market? The answer may be the smart watch. After the Pebble smart watch was a smash hit on the crowd funding site kick starter, several small and large players are now clamoring to create their own watch and jump into the fledgling industry. One of the more notable recent device launches is the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch which is a companion device currently exclusive to the Galaxy Note III. The rumor mill is already swirling around Apple and Google as well after Apple recently trademarked the phrase “iwatch” in China and Google admitted to purchasing small Android watch maker WIMM Labs.

Smart WatchesOnce you look past all of the flashy features and sleek designs there is one big question still remaining, do I really need to own a smart watch? Determining the real life value of owning a brand new tech device like a smart watch is hard without giving it a test run, but understanding what its role is meant to be is a good place to start. So that being said, the first thing you need to know is that smart watches are NOT meant to replace your phone but merely work as an accessory in conjunction with it. Think of them as the worlds most advanced Bluetooth headset that you wear on your wrist. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is great example of what to expect from future smart watches; it sports a 800MHz single core processor, a 1.9MP camera, a beautiful stainless steel build, and about a 25 hour battery life. With no data or Wi-Fi capabilities of its own and a bare bones processor, the Galaxy Gear is completely dependent on the real brains of the operation which is still going to be your smartphone. It is important to note that smart watches are currently not universal; Pebble works with Android 4.0 or later as well as iOS but Galaxy Gear however is exclusive to the Note III with future compatibly updates promised. The real value in these devices are their ability stay close at hand (no pun intended) and keep you up to date with all your notifications, social media happenings, and incoming calls without having to pull out your big bulky smartphone. Now your friends can ignore you while staring at a watch instead of being rude and pulling out their phone every five seconds. With so many people hooked on their smartphone like a bad habit it is no surprise that the industry is taking a turn towards convenience and keeping you plugged into what is happening in the world. Having a quick access camera attached to your wrist is an interesting and slightly creepy feature as well, being able to discretely snap photos and record 15 second videos from your wrist should prove to create some interesting fodder for Vine and Instagram.

Since smart watches are destined to be subjected to rain and shock damage while dangling out on a user’s wrist, durability is sure to be an issue. Luckily most smart watches created so far are at least water resistant and some are even touted to survive a brisk ocean swim. Pebble and Samsung claim that the displays of their devices won’t scratch easy and are resistant to shattering, but with the smartphone and tablet repair industries booming the jury is still out on that one. With the Pebble watch and Galaxy Gear setting you back roughly $250 and $350 respectively, durability is definitely something that needs to be addressed. After taking everything into consideration it is safe to say that nobody really “needs” a smart watch because they don’t really offer any new features that you can’t already do with your smartphone. However, if you’re in the mood to show off the newest flashiest tech on the market to make your friends drool than a smart watch may be just the product for you!

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