/ Technology

I have no time for smartwatches

Sony Smartwatch 2

There’s been a lot of talk of smartwatches, but as much as they might make me look like Inspector Gadget, I’m not buying. I’m not buying any of the arguments for them, nor will I be buying any from the shops.

Our Tech Researcher Mike Plant last month made his plea for wearable technology.

He didn’t necessarily argue that smartwatches would be the future, but he did say he thought wearable tech of some sort would someday be as essential as a smartphone.

Sure, I could see smart glasses (or smart contact lenses?) becoming more prevalent. But smartwatches? Not on my watch.

Battery life suffers

Last week I had a go with the Sony Smartwatch 2. Linking it up to my Android phone was a simple, yet relatively time-consuming process as it required me to individually download the features I wanted onto my phone. Want calendar reminders? Want emails? You’ll have to download each of those features separately.

However, once I was all set up, I did see the small advantage of having my next meeting or my latest email right there on my wrist. Yet, if I actually wanted to act on those emails, I’d need to take my phone out of my pocket or hop back to my desk.

As for battery life, the watch performed relatively well, lasting a good couple of days. But my phone couldn’t keep up. The Sony Smartwatch 2 requires you to have your phone with you at all times, linked up via Bluetooth. And if there’s one thing Bluetooth’s good at, it’s draining your phone’s battery. My one-charge-a-day phone turned into a two-charges-a-day phone. And I’m sure you know how much I hate poor smartphone battery life.

Finally, let’s talk about the social faux pas that smartwatches promote. In a meeting I was getting buzzed by my Sony Smartwatch with new emails, and as I sneakily looked down to check the message, my colleague candidly asked; ‘is there somewhere you need to be?’. He had a point – looking at your wrist equals checking the time.

It will take some time to retrain people into believing that such behaviour means someone is checking their emails, tweets, heart rate or whatever other ‘smart’ features manufacturers want us to exercise.

Not so smart watches

What does the Which? Convo community think about smartwatches? So far it’s been pretty scathing. Sacha doesn’t think smartwatches are that ‘smart’:

‘Smart! What makes it smart, nothing I can see. Just another device or devices that are advertised to seem essential, to continue growth in the gadget sector. This time I don’t agree it’s progress, just gadgetry.’

In response to Mike’s coverage of the Sony Core, a ‘life-logging device’ that tracks your every step, John Ward presented his vision of a terrible future:

‘In the interests of security and the detection of crime it looks like carrying a Core device should be made compulsory. Transponders concealed in every geographical micro-cell would be able to emit an alert signal if anyone passed it who was not wearing one or if it was deactivated. Concert promoters could verify that all the attendees were bona fide ticket holders. Tesco Clubcard points could no longer be spent if their owner was somewhere else. The continuously updated biometric data could make passports (and the scams that hang on them) redundant.’

*Shudders*. Where are we heading? Where will we end up? I love technology and the future it offers, but smartwatches have no place in it as far as I’m concerned. What do you think?

 

Comments
Profile photo of NFH
Member

I think that smartwatches will be a temporary fashion which will soon disappear except with extreme geek types.

What I want most from a watch, and this seems something quite rare, is a non-bulky metal digital watch that always shows the right time, using the many broadcast time sources such as GPS and various time transmitters around the world. It should be sufficient to set only the time zone and not the precise time itself. I definitely don’t want a watch that I have to charge or change its battery more than once per year.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I do not believe smartwatches will be a temporary fashion. I expect they will become customisable to show whatever information an individual finds most useful, which could be selected to suit holidays and when at work. Wearing a watch that just shows time, day and date could soon become a very outdated fashion. Perhaps the solution to the charging problem is a contactless charger on the bedside table.

I will wait a couple of years and see if smartwatches move from being an interesting novelty to a worthwhile product.

Profile photo of NFH
Member

As someone who travels a lot, I would find it very irritating to have to charge my watch most nights. It’s bad enough finding a bedside power socket in many hotels just to charge one’s mobile but for a watch as well will be even more problematic.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

The way forward is contactless (i.e. induction) chargers for charging gadgets. Just put one in every hotel room.

Profile photo of ArgonautoftheSeas
Member

I’m afraid I agree with Patrick a second time in a week.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

I’m on a roll!

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

The more I see of innovation in personal communication and information gadgets, the more I wonder just how much time we waste monitoring them. We can become innundated with information we may not understand and spend time obsessing over it; we may be continually contacted, and contacting, electronically simply because it is possible, rather than because it is necessary. In short, we spend too much time on trivial things – instead of leading constructive lives and concentrating on meaningful tasks. Why am I typing this……?

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

No doubt some thought radio, TV and telephones were pointless innovations. More recently, laptops, satnavs, smartphones and tablets have come in for criticism but that is history.

Whether the smartwatch becomes popular remains to be seen. Perhaps they will appeal to those don’t need most of the features of modern phones.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

Your comments matter to us Malcolm! Keep typing, just not through a smartwatch 😉

Member
Topdoginuk says:
6 April 2014

I’m an owner of a Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. I’ve had it since start of 2014. I bought it for £299.
I can say that, after 3 months of use, I love it. I’d hate to be without it. It’s one of the best gadgets I’ve bought.
Okay, some people don’t like smartwatches and everyone’s opinion counts. All I can say at this time is, some criticism is a bit OTT (Over The Top). The functionality of the watch affords lots of advantages despite it requiring a quick 90 min charge from near empty every couple of days (not that difficult really).
The main benefits to me are:
I can glimpse at notifications while driving and pull over if it’s important (this saves danger of being tempted to get phone out of pocket).
I can control my music in another room from my watch. That includes the volume.
I can take photos and video very quickly. This is fantastic. The watch sends the pic/videos to my phone to view later on a bigger screen.
I can set it to vibrate, mute or volume. This gives me an additional notification if I missed the phones ring etc.
It’s a great conversation starter and looks futuristic & stylish (envious people show disdain of course!)
Overall, I consider the watch to be worth every penny (so long as it lasts a couple of years).

Member
Mark says:
5 June 2014

I read the reviews on the bestsmartwatchesreview.com.I want to know excellent battery life is that true?

Member
Margaret says:
17 April 2014

I have osteoarthritis and often miss my phone calls due to not answering my phone on time. My husband gets very angry with me . I was waiting for the gear2 to become available in Argos (I can use lots of vouchers there) and then I could answer immediately and see what my heart rate is at the same time….(ha ha). For some disabled people the smart watched ‘may’ be a great help.