How smartwatches have grown from fancy showpieces to useful devices

When paired with smartphones, they can be of immense use


India’s smartwatch market is now the biggest in the world, according to market analyst Counterpoint Research. That is not surprising because smartwatch and smart band makers, especially Indian brands like Noise, Boat and Fire-Boltt, have been registering double-digit growth month after month.

Most smartwatches still have limited functionality as standalone devices. When paired with smartphones, however, they can be of immense use. Even the most powerful of them, the Apple Watch, needs to be paired with an iPhone to unlock its full potential.

Light vs Pro

Smartwatches and bands can broadly be categorised into two types―the basic ones that use light operating systems (a majority of the cheap ones belong to this group) and the high-end ones with operating systems like Wear OS and Watch OS (like the Apple Watch, the Google Pixel Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch).

High-end smartwatches offer a lot more features, better build quality and better performance than the basic ones, usually at a much higher price. Both Watch OS (on the Apple Watch) and Wear OS (on the Pixel Watch and the Galaxy Watch, among others) offer excellent app support. These watches are capable of functioning independently on most occasions and even offer SIM support.

Fitness band vs smartwatch

Fitness bands do most of the basic functions of a smartwatch quite well―they show time, count steps and heartbeat, and give notifications if connected to a phone. Most of them offer better battery life than the more expensive smartwatches. But their small dials can show only so much and they offer limited app support.

Android vs iOS

The Apple watch works only with an iPhone. In fact, they are a match made in heaven. While most other smartwatches can also be paired with the iPhone (including the popular Fitbit and Garmin wearables), the user experience is nowhere near the Apple combo. Similarly, the Pixel Watch works seamlessly with the Google Pixel phones and the Galaxy Watches work best with the Samsung Galaxy ecosystem.

Smartwatches have grown from fancy showpieces to useful devices in the past few years, especially when combined with your phone. That explains their growing popularity. And it makes sense to choose one keeping your phone in mind. If you have an iPhone and if you want to buy a smartwatch, the Apple Watch is a no-brainer. If you have an Android Phone, you can choose from a wide range of smartwatches except the Apple Watch.