Smartwatches and fitness trackers have been around for a few years now and I happily sat on the sideline until I found the one that was just right for me. I finally decided to get one of my own a couple of months ago and went with the Samsung Galaxy Watch shown at right. While I wasn’t fully convinced when I bought it, I now love all that it does for me and consider it a very worthwhile purchase. Yes, I’ll get a small commission if you buy using the links provided to Amazon. No, I didn’t get any special breaks when I bought mine.
Yes, it works great as a watch. Via an app on a connected phone, you can choose from a number of included watch faces. Even more are available for purchase. So far I’ve tried three of the included watch faces and have settled on one I really like. That’s a photo of my watch on my wrist at the top of this post.
Ideally you want it connected to your phone for a number of other reasons. I’m using an Android phone though it also works with iOS phones. You can control exactly what things send notifications to the watch with calls and text messages being two of the most useful. It is handy to read a text without having to pull the phone out of my pocket. It is also handy to see who is calling and then I can choose to answer or not depending on the call and the situation.
Like most of today’s electronics, there is a battery included. I’ve found it solidly goes a full two days without charging. It can go another day depending on how heavily you’ve used it. Along with the watch is a small wireless charging stand. When I’m sitting at the computer working (like writing this post), I just drop the watch in the cradle so it can fill up the battery.
There have been a couple of times that I forgot to charge it and it went into power saving mode. This changed the watch face to a very basic display that doesn’t use as much power. Once I got it charging again, I simply clicked an on-screen icon to take it out of power saving mode.
For me, one of the added benefits were related to the health and fitness features. Each morning it gives me a brief report on my sleep. Is it perfect? Not at all. But it does give me a nice overview of how long I slept and it does a good job of guessing if it was deep sleep or if I was restless. Not only that, you can look at your phone at trends for the past few days to see how well you’ve been sleeping.
Stress levels, heart rates and calories are also tracked. I don’t expect these to be measured perfectly, but it does a good job of letting me know how I’m doing. It is relatively accurate, though some of these things are hard to measure perfectly from a small silver disc on your wrist.
Even better, it tracks your workouts. Before I go on a bike ride, I simply click the bike icon and it takes over. The internal GPS tracks where I’ve ridden along with the time, speed, heart rate and much more. Often I don’t even have to tell it I’m walking and it will just start tracking it automatically for me.
My most scary workout was the first time I went swimming. It claims to be waterproof to 50 meters depth, yet getting in the water the first time was a leap of faith for me. No problems at all and it tracked the number of strokes, distance covered, time and a lot more. The only real piece of info I needed to provide was the length of the pool. Simple enough to choose 25 meters and it was good to go.
I was tweaking settings the first few days until I got things working the best way for my needs. Now that I’ve got it set up, there is very little to do besides charging it and clicking an icon for workouts. While I wasn’t fully convinced when I ordered it, I’m loving it now and very glad I made the purchase. It is technology and I know that it will likely be replaced after a few years. By then, I’ll definitely feel as it paid for itself many times over!
Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.