Over the years the purpose of wearing a watch became more about fashion than actually telling the time. Our smartphones were good enough to keep us on schedule and many found themselves with naked wrists.
The smartwatch gave new purpose to wearing an accessory and it’s so much more than knowing how many steps you took today.
With a variety of options now from traditional watch companies and tech companies there is certainly one for everybody. Here are our favourites.
Fitbit Sense RRP $499.95
The humble Fitbit which started out as a device we’d clip to our belts to tally our steps has certainly evolved over the years. Their latest is a powerful fitness tracker with smartwatch capabilities.
In 2020, Fitbit added a focus on wellness which meant that the new Sense would pay attention to your stress levels by measuring skin temperature, combined with your heart rate and recommend a timeout with guided breathing or meditation exercises.
Compatible with Apple and Android powered smartphones the Fitbit is a very neutral brand, even supporting the Google and Amazon voice assistant onboard. You’ll be able to trigger exercises from your Fitbit through your voice, control your smart home or just ask how many calories in a Big Mac. The Sense will track your every movement, heart beat and sleep.
With the six day battery life, it is intended to be worn 24/7, and the powerful companion app will reward you with insights good enough to show to your doctor – if you ever needed to. The Fitbit Sense is more fitness focused than a powerful smartwatch for managing apps and notifications. For those more interested in a smartwatch that swings the other way, the Apple Watch is here.
Withings ScanWatch RRP $529
Not everyone wants another touchscreen strapped to their wrists. Withings have combined analogue and digital together in the ScanWatch. A very traditional looking watch with a small 13mm display at the top of the face and with the ability to add traditional watch bands from your local watchmaker or jeweler.
Not to be underestimated though, the ScanWatch can track your heart rate, has over 30 exercise modes, tracks your sleep and even performs an ECG – the only smartwatch certified to do that in Australia.
Originally a health company, the Withings app will provide detailed insight into the data it is collecting and even allow you to generate a health report PDF which you can share with your fitness coach or doctor.
Compatible with any smartphone, the ScanWatch will provide you with vibrations and notifications but won’t overwhelm you with pop ups like other smartwatches.
Given the ScanWatch is more of an extension to your smartphone and not a mirror of it, the battery life is the best we’ve seen. You’ll likely need to charge your ScanWatch 12 times per year, depending on how you use it.
Apple Watch Series 6 RRP $599
The brand credited with making smartwatches mainstream, the Apple Watch Series 6 is their most advanced yet. Available in a range of colours, materials and sizes you will be able to personalise one to suit your personality and suit any occasion.
We often swap out the bands between the gym, the office and after work drinks like you would with a pair of shoes. The Apple
Watch is only compatible with the iPhone while other smartwatches will work with any smartphone. The advanced sensors in the Series 6 measure blood oxygen levels and can warn you of any heart irregularities. Various case studies have since appeared where the Apple Watch provides early warning to users that effectively save their lives.
Where the Apple Watch excels though is the tight integration with the iPhone. You’ll be able to manage your day through your wrist, respond to messages, answer calls and follow navigation.
The cellular versions enable you to do it all even without your smartphone making it the perfect companion for your next run carrying nothing but your Apple Watch. Just keep your charger nearby, the Apple Watch needs to see it regularly.
TAG Heuer Connected RRP $2600
You know smartwatches are gaining popularity when brands like TAG Heuer release their own. The Connected smartwatch looks like a TAG should, premium materials and familiar design cues make this unmistakably obvious.
The Connected operates the same operating system as the Suunto 7, Wear OS by Google, and TAG also adds their own flavour to the mix.
Unique to this smartwatch are various TAG Heuer watch faces that can be changed to suit the occasion or activity in your day and they look fantastic. Also compatible with iPhone or Android devices we especially loved this around the office and in the evenings for its sophistication however found it a bit too bulky in the gym.
Changing the watch bands is easy for different occasions but you might find you’ll do that while it is charging as this model needs to be there by the time you get to bed each day.
Suunto 7 RRP $799
For those of us using COVID-19 as a great excuse to escape the office and spend more time with nature, the Suunto 7 is one we’re appreciating more and more. The relatively bulky 50mm smartwatch runs Wear OS by Google but is compatible with iPhone and Android devices. Wear OS is similar to the Apple
Watch being an excellent mirror of your smartphone to respond and take action from your wrist. Where Suunto builds on that however is their fitness and adventure features. Wherever you are in the world you’ll have immediate access to popular trails with route navigation.
Over 70 different sport modes to track and integration to Strava, Endomondo and TrainingPeaks is great but the Suunto will take that data one step further. Suunto looks at your output and effort and calculates recovery time and comparisons to previous exercises. If you take your outdoor training seriously, this one is hard to go past.