Smartwatch Or Fitness Tracker: Which One Should You Buy?

Smartwatch
https://pixabay.com/en/polar-a360-fitness-tracker-2059937/

If you’re in the market for something nice to wear on your wrist, your two main options are a smartwatch and a fitness tracker. The question is – which should you go for?

The following guide provides some basic considerations to help you make an informed decision. In the guide, we look at the capabilities of each device, key differences, pros and cons of each, and how to make a decision.

Some background; what is it and what does it do?

Smartwatches

A smartwatch is a portable device worn on the wrist like a traditional watch. However, unlike traditional watches, they have smartphone features such as touchscreens and support apps. Some smartwatches can also record your heart rate and other vital signs.

Smartwatches perform several functions which have made them popular among consumers. At a bare minimum, the watch will display time and date as well as your messages and calls. Most smartwatches will also display notifications from your smartphone.

Beyond that, smartwatches are capable of the following:

  • Answering messages by voice: A smartwatch makes it possible to answer you messages without taking the phone out of your pocket. This is especially true for smartwatches running on Google’s Android Wear operating system. Most of the big wearable device brands including Motorola and LG run on this OS. When a message comes in, simply lift your wrist and speak to the watch to reply.
  • A range of applications: Both Android and Apple smartwatches give users access to plenty of apps. For instance, the Apple Watch will launch the Uber app and even airplane apps, allowing you to hail a cab or book a flight from your wrist. Most Android smartwatches also support the Uber app as well as apps for several digital retail stores.
  • Fitness tracking: While not specifically designed for this, the best smartwatches also make it possible to track various fitness metrics. If you’re an athlete, for instance, you’ll be able to track your sprints. Additionally, you’ll find a heart rate monitor and pedometer to help you track workouts.

Fitness Trackers

A fitness tracker is another wearable device that resembles a smartwatch. Like smartwatches, they are also worn on the wrist, and some even display date and time like traditional watches. However, their primary purpose is to track vital body signs such as heart rate, body temperature, and the speed at which you’re walking or running to help you stay healthy at all times.

In a nutshell, the following are some of the tasks you can accomplish with your fitness tracker;

  • Heart rate monitoring: Fitness devices use two methods to track the rate at which your heart is beating. The first and most common method is using an Optical Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). It a complex process but basically, light is shined on the skin, and the perfusion of blood measured. The second method is bio-impedance sensors. These sensors measure how well the body resists the flow of current.  A special formula is then used to translate the resistance to heart beats per minute.
  • Temperature sensing: Measuring your body temperature while you’re engaged in some physical activity is another feature provided by most fitness trackers. If you’re an athlete, this metric should help you decide the best recovery time between intense workouts. Also, if you see drops and spikes in your temperatures, you can visit the doctor immediately for a checkup.
  • Stress/mood reading: This sounds strange, but yes, most of the advanced fitness trackers can also read moods and determine if you might be stressed. To do this, they use what is known as a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor which measures electrical conductance of the skin to find out if you’re relaxed, breathing deeply, stressed, and so on. This can be ideal for people with phobias, PTSD, and stress issues.
  • Acceleration measurement: Acceleration is just that, the rate at which your speed is changing. Fitness trackers are equipped with sophisticated acceleration sensors that can detect even the slightest movements. Some of these accelerometers even come with gyroscopes to measure orientation and rotation.
  • GPS sensing: Finally, most fitness trackers have Global Positioning System (GPS) sensors to tell you exactly where you are within the neighborhood. This can prove quite useful if you enjoy running and hiking. After hiking for a few hours, if you feel lost, you just need to check your fitness tracker to see where you are and which major roads are close by.

Key differences to keep in mind

After summarizing the capabilities and functions of both devices, let’s now turn to what makes them different from each other. These differences should help you determine which between the two would be the best pick for your immediate needs.

There are four main differences to consider;

  • Functional Differences

A smartwatch is more like an extension of your smartphone. It is designed to help you communicate with friends, family, and colleagues. You can send texts, make calls, and share content on social media.

Fitness trackers, on the other hand, are designed to help people track vital health signs. They help wearers track their heart rates, temperature, acceleration, and so on. They might perform other functions, but tracking is their primary concern.

  • Differences in design

Regarding design, smartwatches are bigger and more noticeable while fitness trackers are slimmer and “cuter.” That, however, does not mean that all smartwatches are bigger compared to fitness trackers.

It’s also notable that smartwatches have a lot more internal storage space and processing power compared to fitness trackers.

  • Fitness trackers do not have native app support

As already mentioned, with the smartwatch, you can sync everything with your smartphone. This way, you can access most of your smartphone apps on the smartwatch and vice versa.

Fitness trackers do not have native app support and for that reason cannot be completely synced with a smartphone. Don’t get this wrong. You can still pair your fitness tracker with your smartphone. But, you cannot install apps on the device.

  • Price differences - Smartwatches are more expensive

The reason for this is obvious – even the best fitness devices don’t have the same features provided on smartwatches. Also, fitness devices are mostly made of rubber and plastic whereas smartwatches are made from durable steel or metal. This alone would tell you that smartwatches are designed to last longer.

What’s more, fitness trackers are… just bands, whereas smartwatches have a watch face and a band. That said, you can still find reasonably cheap smartwatches out there if you look carefully.

Pros and Cons of Smartwatches vs. Fitness trackers

The following are some of the advantages and shortcomings of each option.

Smartwatches

Pros

Receive and respond to notifications

Interchangeable bands

Voice Assistance capabilities

No need to pull out your phone

Dedicated fitness features

Plethora of features

Customizable faces

Shortcomings

The price tag

Can be bulky

Poor battery life

Not many options to choose from

Fitness Trackers

Pros

Excellent battery life

Interchangeable bands

Mostly affordable

Many good brands to choose from

Many stylish options

Shortcomings

Few features

Limited interactive capabilities

One size fits all approach to tracking

Making a decision

After taking into account all this information, it should become a little easier to decide whether it’s a smartwatch or fitness tracker that you want.

In general, you should get a smartwatch if you’re looking for much more from your wearable than simply tracking your fitness progress. This makes smartwatches a good pick for people who want to use their wearable to receive text, reply emails, receive calendar alerts, and the other communication functions.

Fitness trackers, meanwhile, are recommendable if you specifically intend to use your wearable to track your health metrics. This makes the devices a perfect choice for people who love to exercise, as long as you are not interested in answering calls and replying texts while working out.

Final thoughts

If you’re still struggling to pick between the two, there are a few ways out. For instance, why not go for a device that offers the best of both worlds? There is an increasing number of fitness trackers that provide more advanced notifications and smartwatches with built-in tracking capabilities such as the Cronovo smartwatch shown below.

In general, smartwatches that run on Android Wear 2.0 are will give you a taste of both worlds. The OS packs a host of new features and lets you add apps directly on your smartwatch. Better still, you don’t need your smartphone nearby for the smartwatch to work! To put it simply, you could use this device as a fitness tracker without losing out on much.  

Similar Articles

Sensors: Making Our Life Easier

Maybe you are curious about how sensors work. How important it is in so many things. How helpful sensors can be in our life.

office

In the era of today when technology has been the best friend to people, Bluetooth wireless earbuds are the best and most comfortable option to use in daily life. 

Roku mobile app

Are you a little lazy while searching for the remote control which is place little far from your reach? If yes, then it’s time to make your smartphone as your Roku remote control. Yes, you read that right. With just an installation of the Roku mobile app on your Android or IOS devices you can use this amazing feature. 

Top Mistakes That Break Your Headphones

Sooner or later, your headphones are going to die. Afterall, we are talking about a delicate device that has lots of internal wires. These insider components will get jostled with the time and lose their productivity. Surely, you can postpone it but you can’t prevent it.

Roku

As the technology era continues to erupt, there is something enthralling that is erupting with it. And among those “Roku Streaming Media Player” is the best device which bombarded in this eruption. It is our duty to introduce this gem to people who don’t know it, as it has the capability to stream the top internet services.

Technology In Education

Tablets, e-books, smart watches; personalization of education, network education, "inverted class" - such words are increasingly found in the vocabulary of the schoolteacher. Some of these technical tools and pedagogical technologies have already become part of the educational process, others only have to defend their right to a place in general education. 

Why Choosing LED Parking Lights is a Great Idea?

LED lights, also referred to as light-emitting diode is being increasingly preferred by people. This is because of the several advantages offered by these lights. It is very different from traditional lighting as semiconductors are used by the bulbs to emit light.

PC on the desk

I can still remember my first time like it was yesterday. I mean my very first PC. Everyone has a story about his very first PC. However, with time, your needs will grow and you will begin to look for more advanced PC to get your works done.

Gas Chromatography, Benefits of Using Gas Chromatography

Gas chromatography is a kind of chromatography. Chromatography has two phases, one phase is flowing Phase, the other phase is the stationary phase. The different combinations of these phases give us the different kinds of chromatography.