Smartwatches: Tech, health and fitness

About a decade ago, watches were used just to tell time. Now, watches have evolved to do more. A smartwatch is a mobile tech device with a touch screen display designed to be worn on the wrist. The main benefit of this device is that it keeps you updated through notifications or alerts without you having to take out your phone to go through it.

The early smartwatches that were developed were an extension of smartphones but increasingly, they are now made to be standalone wearable devices that can be used without smartphones. The top three companies that are leading the smartwatch industry are Google, Apple and Samsung. Each new wave of smartwatches seems to have better or faster performance capabilities. 

How smartwatches work 

Smartwatches can now notify you of an incoming call or text messages. They can function as a fitness tracker to help monitor your health, a wallet to carry around money and make purchases, and a phone to allow you to place calls when your phone is not close by. Some models now have features that can save your life in an emergency.

These wearables do this by monitoring your heart rate and oxygen levels. Others are also equipped to track sleep patterns, monitor your heart function and blood pressure levels. If the readings indicate a problem, you get an alert, and you can also be connected to emergency services if it is set up to do so.

Many smartwatch models have an inbuilt pedometer which counts the active steps taken by the user. This allows users to set activity or exercise goals to help improve their health. Smartwatches have become an essential part of keeping fit and monitoring health conditions for many users.

Recently, some manufacturers have made smartwatches more customizable. Users can now choose from a wide range of strap and face options to suit individual styles. Battery capacity has also been enhanced to provide usage for up to a week before a charge is needed. Some models also allow for the download of numerous applications to enhance seamless usage. Watches have now been transformed by technology to become an integral part of our everyday lives. This has created a dynamic and thriving marketplace for these devices.

Now, the market is segregating into niche areas that cater to specific needs such as the smartwatches for children, monitoring of the wearer’s health indicators and fitness programs. The drawback of this booming sector is that consumers are bombarded with too many choices. This can lead to choice paralysis. The goal of this piece is to present the latest information about smartwatches in a simple and useful way. 

The top 5 smartwatch devices available on the global market today include: The Apple Watch Series 5, Samsung Galaxy watch series, Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch series, Mobivoi TicWatch series, and Fitbit versa watch series.

Below is a table showing a comparison of the different group of devices offered by the top manufacturers.

Device Functionality Price range Manufacturer
Apple Watch Series Leader in the market in security and data protection, iOS, only works with an iPhones, always on display, GPS capabilities, EKG monitor, heart rate monitor  and accelerometer, design ranges from basic designs to sophisticated wire mesh designs

High end

$400-$1,500

GHS2,000-GHS9,300

Apple

www.apple.com

Samsung Galaxy watch series Always on display, Android OS and iOS, stylish design, waterproof, has the best  fitness tracking capabilities, works best with Samsung Galaxy phones

Mid- High range

$200-$1000

GHS1,200-GHS6,000

Samsung

www.samsung.com

Fossil Gen smartwatch series Android OS, sleek design, has fitness tracking capabilities, long battery life, versatile

Mid-range

$200-$400

GHS 1,200-GHS 4,000

Fossil

www.fossil.com

Mobvoi Tic watch series Impressive battery life, two screen display, works on both iPhone and Android smartphones via Google Wear OS, not waterproof, beautiful design, requires other apps for fitness tracking

Mid-range

$200-$400

GHS 1,200-GHS4,000

Mobvoi and Google

www.mobvoi.com

Fitbit versa series Android OS and iOS compatible, good battery life, always on display, sleek design, best for sleep tracking and workouts, fitness focused 

Low –Mid-range

$100-$300

GHS500-GHS1,800

Fitbit LLC

www.fitbit.com

Smartwatches for children are now also widely available. These devices are set up with a number of learning activities and games that keep children active and engaged. Other features of these smartwatches include an alarm, a calendar, a calculator and a pedometer.

The devices provide entertainment, encourage fitness activities and aid learning. The price of a smartwatch for kids typically ranges from $30 to $400. Amazon stocks an extensive range of smartwatch devices for kids. Some good brands include Marvel, VTech, Jsbaby, GBD and PTHTECHUS.

Are there any risks to using smartwatches?

Like many smartphones, smartwatches are designed to access your location, access or modify phone storage, make phone calls, view contacts, play media, access files and collect personal data. Other advanced models can access your calendar, view call logs, send emails and respond to text messages.

These devices can collect a substantial amount of sensitive personal data from our phones, including health data. This data may be stored by companies for extended periods, and the use of this data is not yet strictly regulated across the globe. 

The takeaway

So before you purchase a smartwatch, make sure you have enough information about it to ensure you’re making the right choice. Consider the safety and security of the operating system, privacy setting options, data collection settings and range of interactions with other applications and networks. The product or brand representatives can provide further information about their smartwatch models when you visit the shop. If you’re still not confident about making a choice on your own, consult an expert.

Companies in Ghana that offer these smartwatches include Telefonika, Samsung, Apple, Compu-Ghana, and Huawei Ghana. Other sources for smartwatches include online shopping platforms like jumia.com, tonaton.com and jiji.com. Go grab a smartwatch today and up your health and fitness game.

If you found this article helpful, do leave a comment below. 

 

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February 15, 2022