Is it time to change your smartwatch or fitness tracker?

8 min read
smartwatches

We all know how smart devices and various other gadgets, especially smartphones, have changed our very lives. In today’s world living without a smartphone has become next to impossible, and arguably unimaginable. Our dependence on these devices is quite obvious, increasing by the day with new apps, our thirst for news at short notice, and our governments using established networks to provide the necessary information.

As smartphones gradually opened and literally forced their place into our lives, we are currently witnessing an ongoing and similar trend with smartwatches and fitness trackers/bands. Many have written articles and posted videos online about the pros and cons of owning a smartwatch or fitness tracker. I want to go one step further and ask the question: Do we need to change our smartwatch and/or fitness tracker from time to time?

More people nowadays believe it is important to have knowledge about their body, being their heart rate, the number of calories they’ve burnt today, how they slept last night, their step counts, and so on. Smartwatches are also lessening our need to constantly reach for our smartphones, providing notifications and even allowing us to make calls and/or listen to music stored on our smartphones.

Having been lucky to own three smartwatches/fitness trackers in the past four years, I can tell you the journey has been quite interesting, providing me many lessons not only about smart devices but also about myself. And I also have two friends who insist on having Apple devices for years, and one still has an Apple Watch 3. I think if Tim Cook knew he would literally send several new Apple devices for his loyalty to the company.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those rich guys that have money to splash around. I’ve been lucky to have extremely kind friends that know my love for watches in general and have been kind enough to gift me two of the three devices I have had to this day.

smartwatches

So that leads me to the first question: Is purchasing a smartwatch or fitness brand actually worth it? Absolutely! More and more of us are working behind computers these days and not having the regular movement that our bodies have been designed for through evolution. This has caused many arthritis problems in the neck, shoulders, elbows, back, and even knees. From taking short walks periodically to sleeping better, practicing regular hydration and… these devices can help you live smarter and healthier.

My first experience with such a device was the Fitbit Charge 3, arguably one of the best fitness trackers out there. Fitbit has established itself as one of the most precise brand names in this field, providing a variety of smartwatches and fitness trackers (bands) to see what suits you the best.

Fitbit’s Charge series are fitness trackers in the form of bands that have become popular for those who want a simpler device on their wrists and prefer a more budget-friendly option in place of today’s expensive brand name smartwatches.

Fitbit is highly focused on health and encourages you to be more active during your daily routine. While annoying at first, I found the hourly reminders of getting off my butt and taking a 250-step walk very useful and extremely necessary. More of us are becoming couch potatoes at home and prefer sitting in our office chairs for hours thinking this is the best way to become more proficient.

This couldn’t be more wrong and Fitbit devices, paired with your smartphones, are extremely helpful in keeping you active, constantly hydrated, and more aware about your heart conditions. Furthermore, the newer versions of Fitbit devices measure your SpO2 levels while you sleep using red and infrared sensors on the back of the device. This is important as knowledge about our blood oxygen level is key in today’s pandemic-riddled world.

fitbit charge 3

However, to be completely honest, while excited about receiving a Fitbit Charge 3, I was a bit disappointed at the first glance. I do agree that this is a negative personal characteristic of mine, over-judging things (and at times people) at a mere first glance. I had seen a few videos of these watches and I initially thought the Fitbit Charge 3 to be larger than it is in real life.

Upon unboxing the Charge 3 gifted to me by a kind friend, I realized it is actually smaller than what I expected. I know this sounds cheesy, but I weigh heavily on the looks of such devices and have always preferred larger watches. Sue me! However, don’t get me wrong. If you’re looking for a fitness tracker, I definitely recommend considering the Fitbit Charge series, and their other devices, as very good options.

After a year or so with the Fitbit Charge 3, I found myself more alert about my health, and changing my bad habits of a lazy and somewhat careless lifestyle. All the while, I began yearning for a new experience and thought about the pros and cons of a smartwatch in comparison to a fitness tracker/band.

Simply put, I wanted something more. And with notifications on my smartphone becoming a bit annoying during my daily routine, I thought about having a smartwatch and filtering notifications to receive only important alerts on my wrist while my phone is in my pocket or on my desk.

Of course, I also sought an upgraded experience in comparison to what I already had in the fitness tracker. Being able to use various apps on my smartwatch, making calls without reaching for my phone, listening to music from my phone, better fitness and sports tracking, with improved sleep monitoring, and so forth. While not all of my wishes were realized, I found an excellent watch in the Samsung Galaxy Watch, 46 mm version.

You might ask why didn’t I opt for an Apple Watch? Honestly, I really craved an Apple Watch and wanted to see for myself what was all the buzz about regarding Apple devices. The only thing that kept me off was, obviously, the price tag.

While I was weighing my inevitable purchase of the Samsung Galaxy Watch, the Apple Watch 5 was also available at around $150 more. Even a close relative offered to buy the Apple Watch 5 for me as a gift, but I couldn’t allow myself to have someone pay $500 for a watch as a gift. I don’t know, maybe that, too, is another negative characteristic of mine.

Anyhow, back to our main subject. With the Samsung Galaxy Watch, it felt like a completely different world in comparison to the Fitbit Charge 3. First and foremost, being larger and literally more muscular, it really felt good and gave me the sense of being “equipped” with a very capable device.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

The variety of default apps available on the Samsung Galaxy Watch and those compatible with Google Play provide a long list of different tools that can help you manage your daily routines and necessities. When synced with your smartphone the Watch literally comes alive. I’m one of those people who want to be referring less to my phone and love the fact that much of my notifications can be seen on the Galaxy Watch and even reply with an easy stroke.

One of the best features of the Samsung Galaxy Watch, while more relaxed than Fitbit models, is the hourly reminders to be active. Fitbit Charge 3 demanded a 250-step walk, but the Galaxy Watch provides you with three different activity options, also involving your arms, shoulders and back, and legs. This Galaxy Watch feature made me realize that despite my brouhaha, I am actually quite lazier than most people. LOL!

Exercising with the Galaxy Watch is truly exhilarating. Many of the activities already programmed into the watch come with short animations that vividly explain your exercises to make your exercising routine all the simpler and smoother. The smart features in the watch also automatically recognize your activities and easily count the reps of each set.

Sleep monitoring is also a major plus when it comes to smartwatches and fitness trackers. As we learn more about the importance of getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night, our thirst for knowledge about sleeping and how we sleep at night continues to rise. Smartwatches and fitness trackers both monitor your sleep, but for those seeking to be relieved from their smartphones, smartwatches provide data about how you slept last night on their screen. Fitness trackers, however, need to be synced with your portable device and you can view the data only on your phone and/or tablet.

This brings me to the third watch I have been lucky to own in the past four years. How I stumbled upon it is quite a story. A very kind woman, whom I consider my aunt, was quite nosy and saw me looking up the latest Apple Watch and mumbling to myself, complaining about the high price tag.

Having already tried to purchase one for me years before and hearing a firm no as my response, she took it upon herself to purchase a Garmin Venu Sq, which at a first glance looks very much like an Apple Watch considering its square watch face. When she surprised me, it was like love at first sight.

The watch is very sleek, light on your wrist, and extremely precise, as Garmin is best known for. And it comes at a relatively reasonable price of around $150, easing my concerns about the trouble my kind “aunt” may be enduring to make me happy.

Garmin Venu Sq

With the Venu Sq, I have been bettering my sleeping habits, paying far more attention to hydration on a regular basis throughout the day, evaluating what to eat and what not in order to keep down the calories while maintaining a high blood oxygen level, and adopting a far more diverse exercise routine on a weekly and monthly basis that both burns calories and helps stay healthy.

The Garmin Venu Sq is more proof to me that changing to a newer smartwatch and/or fitness tracker has its benefits and is actually a health investment for a better lifestyle.

To make a long story short, should you change your smartwatch or fitness tracker from time to time? In my honest opinion, yes. And no, I’m not being paid by several different companies to say this.

One may argue that changing a smartwatch or fitness tracker each year is unnecessary, which I find to be understandable. Yet I have seen the improvement in precision and the very impact of having such devices with you 24/7 on how one adopts a healthier and more responsible lifestyle.

I recommend changing your smartwatch and/or fitness tracker from time to time while, as I said before, two of my friends have had the same Apple Watch for two and four years. This is also a very respectable lifestyle, e.g., being modest and making the best of what you have.

Of course, we also have to keep in mind that precision, battery life, and update compatibility are three important factors that will demand decisions to change and renew your device, if you intend to stick to one particular watch or tracker for several years.

That about wraps it up and I hope this read helps you decide what is best for you, especially considering the fact that there are many options out there in today’s market for you to choose from. So, get out there, get your feet wet in this developing world, and have fun making the best of it! Whatever lifestyle you end up choosing, always keep in mind the goal of living healthier and more responsible.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Wasted money for tech that fails to perform and must activate additional cost services just for simple information.

    • All three devices mentioned in this article are fully waterproof for swimming and water aerobics.

  2. Well, the Fitbit charges are meant to be discrete and are almost in a completely different category to smartwatches.

    You didn’t really mention any form of accuracy, only that they’re ‘good’. Just saying it can be worn swimming because it’s rated for it, does not indicate anything about how good it is at recording it, nor account for issues like touchscreens not working well when wet.

    I’m out of the smartwatch life. I do still wear my Gear S2 Classic occasionally, but actually using it other than the odd glance at the time means it dies by about 5 in the afternoon. I have other analogue and digital watches that haven’t (or don’t) needed a battery replacement in the entire time I’ve owned. Yes, some are much more expensive, but they’re part jewelry. Jewelry that doesn’t lose a significant chunck of its appeal after a few years.

    Also, its odd of you to blame a watch for being too much for a gift. It seems more that you don’t like people giving you expensive gifts rather than because its a watch.

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