A recent reports suggests smartphones will disappear in five years to be replaced by AI and wearables, but someone like me isn’t ready to believe this. The market for wearables has considerably grown over the past one year thanks to the cheap Chinese smartwatches in the market, almost everyone can now afford a smartwatch. You don’t need to use your life savings to buy an Apple Watch, you can get a smartwatch for as low as $20 on sites like Aliexpress.
Earlier this year, I bought a $55 U-Watch U8 Chinese smartwatch which felt good for a while. A few weeks after buying it, the price crashed to aabout $30. Getting those app notifications on my wrist felt good but then, I thought the watch was too mainstream. I wanted something else, a better smartwatch.
I decided to get a Sykla Model One from the US for $159. I liked the watch and I still do. It looked like a traditional watch and the strap looked fabulous. The UI too looked a lot more polished than the one on U-Watch U8. Since I thought I had gotten what I wanted, it made no sense keeping the Chinese watch any longer and I decided to give it out.
It became my primary watch for a while and I kept it strapped to my wrist everywhere I went but it’s not the same any more. I got bored with it in less than 3 months. If you’ve never used a smartwatch, you probably won’t believe this but trust me, I personally don’t think it’s a good investment.
Problem #1: Short battery life
Most smartwatches will last 3 days at most and this doesn’t work for someone like me. It can be very disappointing checking your smartwatch only to realize the battery is dead. I forget to charge the smartwatch most of the time and this is the biggest problem I have with it. What’s the point in wearing a dead watch?
Traditional watches can last for years without needing to replace the battery and this is the biggest shortcoming of smartwatches.
Problem #2: Typing sucks on smartwatches
Most smartwatches let you read and reply text messages on your wrist. I’ve come to realize that typing on such a small screen just doesn’t work. The essence of having a smartwatch is to use your phone a lot less right?
Problem #3: You still need your phone for calls
Smartwatches allow you to make and receive calls without touching your phone but I find it rather awkward talking to my watch in public. Well, you get to see who’s calling to know if it’s a call you really want to pick before taking your phone out but if you think talking to your watch looks cool, it doesn’t.
Some smartwatches have the always-on technology but this wastes so much battery you may need to disable it. You need to press a button on your wrist to illuminate the screen and check the time. I find this most uncomfortable.
Problem #5: Not so useful
My smartwatch has a calculator but I prefer doing those additions with the calculator app on my phone; I don’t use the messaging app on the smartwatch; I don’t receive calls with it because I don’t like the idea of talking to my wrist; I don’t use the fitness app; there’s a heart rate monitor I don’t use as well… and I’ve come to realize a smartwatch doesn’t do much after all.
Back to traditional watches
The Sykla Model M1 is locked up in a box with my other watches but I haven’t used it in a while now. These days, I would always pick up one of the traditional watches from the box when the need to use a watch arises. Do I plan to get a different smartwatch anytime soon? Perhaps a Pebble? The answer is NO. As a matter of fact, I would prefer a classic Tissot or Bvlgari over an Apple Watch as a gift.