Home > Wireless > You don’t need a smartwatch You don’t need a smartwatch Thom Holwerda 2015-06-06 Wireless 22 Comments I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Most normal, non-tech-obsessed people don’t really need a smartwatch. You can read the entire article if you want, but this opening line is all you need to know. Smartwatches are, right now, useless crap. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 22 Comments 2015-06-06 9:47 pm Drumhellar I disagree. It seems the useless ones are the ones sold as “Smart Watches”, while the useful ones tend to be the fitness bands. The ones that call themselves “Smart Watches” build their watches around doing smartphone stuff without having to reach all the way into your pocket, which is a ridiculous thing to consider as a barrier to usage. Screens are too small to be a way to view information. However, look at the fitness bands – they don’t try to pack features or an excess of features. They understand that smartness – as applies to watches – isn’t about being a jack of all trades, but rather doing the selected features well. So, they tell time, monitor things that are handy to monitor on your wrist, some interface with other fitness devices, and if your phone is near, will provide alerts from your phone. You have a phone – you don’t need texts on your wrist, since if you want to respond you need your phone anyways. Plus, they offer longer battery life, too – the Vivofit2 lasts about a year, for example, though many need to be recharged every week or so. The tech isn’t there yet for truly general purpose smart watches, so I think for a while, the good ones, the ones that people like and use – are going to be the more special-purpose watches – smart tech making better fitness watches, better dive watches, hell, even better watches for work. And, I don’t think they’ll ever be just large screens on your wrist. 2015-06-07 9:19 am Lennie I really like how at Google I/O they went back into science history to talk about the “the information capacity of the human motor system”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpbWQbkl8_g#t=6m40s It really shows you this isn’t such a simple problem as many think it is. And it’s not just something about small devices and enough computing power and battery life or small screens. Edited 2015-06-07 09:20 UTC 2015-06-06 10:32 pm pmac Smartwatches in their current form may be of no use to you, but that doesn’t make them universally useless. That said, if I lost or broke mine, I wouldn’t replace it. But it is of use to me. 2015-06-06 11:30 pm AnyoneEB I personally don’t own a smartwatch, but I know a couple people who do and find them useful for getting notifications when their phone is not in their pocket, either due to leaving it somewhere else in the same room/apartment charging or due to wearing clothing that doesn’t have pockets. Admittedly, they are tech geeks and that use case is probably not worth $200 to most people, but it seems like the most compelling value proposition for a smartwatch to me. 2015-06-07 9:55 pm Vanders I shudder at the thought of not having an instant notification that someone replied to a Tweet, and having to wait maybe anything up to 10 minutes before I pick up a ‘phone or look at an available computer before I was informed of such a momentous occasion. How do these neanderthals live without knowing that their buddy replied “ayy lmao” to a cat picture? 2015-06-07 12:37 am sergio They are totally useless for me because they depend on a smartphone… I don’t want more gadgets to charge or depend on. Technology must simplify your life not complicate it, at least, that’s my philosophy and I develop and buy technology following always that principle. The day I can replace my iPhone with a smartwatch I will be super interested. Today, no thanks!! Sorry marketing gurus!! 2015-06-07 5:12 am mayevski The fact that someone didn’t see use in the smart watch doesn’t make it objectively less useful. Notifications delivered to your wrist are priceless. “Active” functionality is a bit less, but handy. I started with Sony Smartband Talk, which I used successfully as a hands-free (the phone during cold Winter is not easy to pick from the pocket), to track sleep and steps (done, don’t need this anymore) and for notifications (again, picking the phone all the time makes you look like an idiot). Over time functionality of Smartband Talk became insufficient, so I have switched to Sony Smartwatch 3 in metal bracelet (plastic one looks ugly). I carried the smartwatch for just a week, then went for a trip for 4 days. And I’ve been missing the device all these 4 days. Let me repeat it – notifications are GREAT. The only part that sucks is Google and Microsoft who don’t send notifications in a system-defined way in Android from Skype and Hangouts respectively. But that’s not a smartwatch fault. 2015-06-07 5:15 am WorknMan Most normal, non-tech-obsessed people don’t really need a smartwatch. And most normal, non-tech-obsessed people don’t really need a smartphone either. I know several people that basically just use theirs for calls and texts. 2015-06-08 4:34 pm quackalist Count me among them, neither do I a have a smart or otherwise watch nor am I likely to ever do so. Suppose that means my smartphone is my watch. Best call the tech cops, I’ll come quietly. 2015-06-07 11:08 am kurkosdr Smartwatches are, right now, useless crap. But they are shiny, miniaturized and screen-equipped useless crap, and that’s all the geek in me wants. Too bad I can’t afford one. 2015-06-07 1:05 pm konrad I’ve been using my Apple Watch for a week now, and love it. From taking hands free calls in the car to get more information (more often) when I am running. I turned off some of the notifications. The only thing I don’t like is that some of its app extensions are a little bit badly designed, and that third party apps won’t be able to access pulse reading. Its also nice to be able to control you apple TV, I think its like an iPad, at first you think “Why should I buy this thing that is like a big iPhone?” and then you can’t live without one. Edited 2015-06-07 13:21 UTC 2015-06-07 3:29 pm deathshadow Watches have always been useless crap… They serve a very specific niche, and one that other devices have long since supplanted. The form factor has always been awkward and uncomfortable, no matter the quality of the band, fit or finish it’s always smacking into things (I broke more watchfaces before the age of 15 than I care to count), getting caught on things, chafing at the wrist, and being a general pain in the ass… But now in the modern age suddenly everyone’s got their Dick Tracy on? You know what I think would be far more useful? Put a little threaded metal spot on phones so you can attach them to a LANYARD… or a tripod. Simple little quarter-inch screw-hole for standard tripod or lanyard hook, how hard would that be? How useful would that be to just put it on a chain around your neck? Particularly some of the smaller form factors? (I’m really starting to sour on some of these larger phones). But Watch form factor? Too small, too inconvenient, poorly placed just asking for it to break… Never been a fan of watches, can’t we just let this crap go in favor of something better? Though we’ll always have the artsy fartsy form over function re-re’s trying to make this more about style than substance. I’ve never really fallen for that lie, kinda wish more people weren’t so shallow. Edited 2015-06-07 15:30 UTC 2015-06-08 3:25 pm Bill Shooter of Bul Smart phone on a lanyard… That is something I never thought of before. Ignoring the obvious theft problem, it might be useful, if it were small enough. Are you sure there isn’t already a case for this? http://solutions.blair.com/p/95335.uts Boom. Tripod, huh? Not sure why, but there don’t seem to be any cases for this ( after a quick google). There is a DIY 3d print thing. So that’s a point I guess. 2015-06-08 6:11 pm phoenix The form factor has always been awkward and uncomfortable, no matter the quality of the band, fit or finish it’s always smacking into things (I broke more watchfaces before the age of 15 than I care to count), getting caught on things, chafing at the wrist, and being a general pain in the ass… How were you wearing it; on which side of the wrist? I used to bang it into things and find it very uncomfortable to wear. Then I started wearing them in military or European fashion, on the underside of my wrist. It’s a lot more comfortable that way. The rounded band goes on the rounded top of the wrist, and the flat watch goes against the flat bottom of the wrist. Plus, this way, it’s protected by your body, and it’s a lot easier to read anytime your hand/arm is in front of you (holding things, driving, etc). I used to go through watches on a yearly basis, mostly dying due to cracked screens. Haven’t replaced a watch in 10+ years now since switching how I wear them. Personally, I can’t live without my watch, and actually feel quite naked and exposed on days I forget to put one on. And when I’m not wearing one, I still check my wrist for the time before digging through my pockets to find my phone. Flicking my wrist to check the time is just so much easier and convenient. 2015-06-07 7:11 pm adrienz I used to think the same. But after one month+ with Apple Watch (after some tuning), the claim that it’s useless crap simply means you haven’t used an Apple Watch for one month+. My Moto 360 ended up in a drawer because all the small things were wrong. The Apple Watch is going to stay on my wrist, because, while flawed, the positives outweighs the negatives. Nobody needs a smart watch, of course. But a good smartwatch is useful, not useless crap. 2015-06-07 8:12 pm Milan Kerslager It’s more about prestige, you know… and yes, I have smartwatch on my bookshelf. 2015-06-07 9:17 pm Langalf I have a Pebble, and I love it. It is a great adjunct to my smartphone, which 90% of the time I can keep in my pocket and silent. The pebble does not try to do everything a smartphone would, and gets extremely good battery life. As far as I am concerned, any more functionality than I have would be overkill. 2015-06-08 1:28 am Anonymous Penguin I agree. Given a choice between a smartwatch and a Rolex, what would you choose? For ages people expected from their watches to tell them the accurate time and possibly to be “beautiful”, “smart” if you prefer, but in the other meaning of the word 2015-06-08 8:05 am shotsman What about the third option? Neither of the above? I stopped wearing a watch around 1977. The Sekonda I had just stopped working for the umpteeth time. Now I can’t bear anything on my wrist. 2015-06-08 2:07 pm Anonymous Penguin That is OK too, if that is what you want 2015-06-08 12:35 pm thesunnyk For a long time I’ve looked at my watch and expected to see the weather on it. I don’t know why, I know it doesn’t make any sense, but if I think “I wonder what temperature it is” I looked straight at my wrist and thought “ah, right, it just tells the time”. This might be because I owned a Chumby, which was essentially an internet connected alarm clock which would display, notably, the time and weather. Maybe that’s why I associate those things? I’m not sure. The Pebble lets me do that. I can look at my watch and see the time and see the current temperature. I also mostly set my phone on silent now, and have my watch receive notifications and vibrate if someone is calling or texting. It’s handy because you can be carrying a sandwich and a coffee and receive a message and read it on your watch. Also, I never annoy anyone with the vibrate noise and ringtone of my phone. I don’t know if that’s a “smartwatch” by anyone’s standards, but I don’t think it was a waste of money. I don’t think I could go back to not having a Pebble. 2015-06-08 6:53 pm kpugovkin I personally remember that in 70-ties 99.99% people were sure that computers would be never used at home. Who could see the potential in those bulky, noisy, unreliable, expensive and extremely complicated machines? The next step will be embedding electronic devices into the human body, but how many people believe that?