For the past few years, not merely geeks and fitness enthusiasts are keen on fitness trackers. Their popularity has become far more widespread. However, last year, smartwatches became the rage with a number of new product launches.
Here’s the lowdown on all the options you have in the market to suit every budget. This is what you should know before you buy one.
Smarts on a budget
The entry-level smartwatches are essentially fitness trackers masquerading as smartwatches with a larger watch-like display with similar functionality as, for example, the Mi Smart Band 4 (₹2,299) which is arguably the best fitness tracker available in the market.
There’s basic activity tracking, sleep monitoring, heart rate tracking, and some phone companion features like reading your texts, controlling music, and accepting or rejecting a call. Lenovo Carme (₹3,499) and PLAYFIT SW75 (₹2,999) are good options in this segment while my pick is the Amazfit BIP Lite ₹3,999.
This segment is where the smartwatch market gets exciting and diverse. Most smartwatch brands have avoided Google’s Wear OS and chosen to go for their own proprietary operating system. While Android has become the de facto smartphone platform outside of Apple, Wear OS has neither seen that kind of innovation nor any significant growth and adoption.
Amazfit GTS at ₹9,999 is a pretty good smartwatch, especially considering its price. The entire Amazfit portfolio — and it is actually a crowded one — merits a look when you’re in the market for a mid-range smartwatch.
If you prefer a classic watch design, you might want to look at the Huawei Watch GT 2 which starts at ₹14,990. The Huawei Watch is powered by the company’s own LiteOS and while it packs in advanced health features when it comes to monitoring heart rate and sleep, it lacks any extra features and the walled OS limits its extensibility?.
Top of the charts
If budget is no constraint, the Apple Watch nails the design as well as execution with the latest Apple Watch Series 5. You can’t go wrong with an Apple Watch, really. It comes with a major limitation, though: it works only with iPhones.
For those who are on the other side of the fence, one of the top options is actually not from a technology brand but a traditional watch company: Fossil.
Fossil has consistently done some great work with smartwatches, which is why Google acquired the company’s smartwatch tech and some members of its R&D division last year. The latest Fossil Gen5, priced at ₹22,995, is a beautiful timepiece that makes for a great fashion accessory and not just a tech gadget.
However, if health and fitness management is your primary criteria, you might want to pick one up from the good ol’ stable of Fitbit. The Fitbit Versa 2 (₹22,999) runs on the Fitbit OS, which offers only a few useful apps but has Amazon Alexa built in and is almost the benchmark for activity tracking.
Then there’s Samsung, which has consistently offered a good looking and functional portfolio of smartwatches. Again, it runs its own Tizen operating system but since it’s been a while and Samsung has put its weight behind it, the platform has evolved nicely. The Galaxy Watch Active 2, starting at ₹25,990, for example, is a good option.