Smartwatches have yet to gain the mainstream appeal that smartphones or even wireless earphones have drummed up, and it makes sense. You can get by without a smartwatch. For most people, smartwatches fail to justify the price to value comparison.
That being said, smart wearables also have a lot of things going for them. They are handy when you have to look something up quickly, track your workouts, see notifications, and so much more.
Apart from the obvious watch functions, these smart wearables add to your lifestyle, which is why not every watch is for everybody. So, if you are in the market for your first smartwatch, here are our best picks.
Mi Smart Band 6
Mi Band 6 is more of a fitness tracker than a full-fledged smartwatch. The successor to the already successful Mi Band 5, this 2021 flagship fitness tracker from Xiaomi features a super crisp 1.56’’ AMOLED panel at 326 PPI.
As a fitness tracker, it boasts 30 fitness tracking modes, blood oxygen monitoring, and breathing quality assessments during sleep. The downside here is that you have minimal notification interaction via the screen on your wrist. It will show you incoming call notifications, basic weather, music playback, and reminders.
The battery will last you a good two weeks, and you can also take it swimming.
Who is this for?
If you have been telling yourself that you will start working out from tomorrow but somehow that tomorrow always eludes you, this is the thing for you. Having the activity counter constantly staring at you really does help! Plus, it comes in six tasty colors with 60+ watch faces to choose from.
The Mi Smart Band 6 is available on at Rs. 5999.
Going from the absolutely basic Mi Band 6 to a more respectable contender for the smartwatch category, the Oppo watch is glaringly similar to the class-leading Apple watch in terms of aesthetics.
The Watch comes in two sizes, 41mm and 46 mm at Rs 24,990 and 34,990, respectively. The display tech on the former variant is a flat AMOLED panel with Gorilla Glass protection, while the latter features a slightly bigger curved AMOLED under SCHOTT Xensation 3D glass protection.
As for the rest of the hardware, both variants get Snapdragon Wear 3100 with one gig of RAM and eight in storage. Complementing the SD chipset is Ambiq Micro Apollo3 Wireless SoC, meant to handle always-on tasks to save power. The bottom line is: everything runs smooth.
The Oppo Watch runs on Watch OS. So, you can get a variety of apps from the Play Store as well. However, for me, there were two significant downsides to this device: one-day battery life and lack of automatic workout detection. Add to that the very limiting five detectable workouts, and things were not looking good. Then again, your priorities might be very different.
The battery can go from zero to full in about an hour, but you will have to charge it every day.
There are plenty of handy features too, don’t get me wrong. You can act on notifications, store your music, answer phone calls, access the internet, dictate messages, so on and so forth.
So if you are in the market for a reasonably priced smartwatch with mid-range performance, this is a pretty good overall package. It certainly looks and feels premium in its design language, though.
Galaxy Watch 3
Now we venture into the premium smartwatch experience.
The Galaxy Watch 3 is what some consider the Android equivalent of an Apple Watch. While that opinion remains debatable, there is no doubt that this is the best smartwatch that money can buy this side of the Apple fence.
The Galaxy Watch 3 packs all of the features mentioned earlier, and then some, with a beautiful design to tie it all together. As of now, you can purchase the Samsung flagship smartwatch for a base price of Rs. 54,000.
The only real drawback to the Watch 3 from Samsung is in the apps department. It runs on Samsung’s proprietary Tizen OS and loses out on Google’s collection of apps. It’s not a deal-breaker because most of what you’d expect is there, including offline playback for Spotify.
As for the spec-sheet, this smartwatch features a dual-core 1.15 GHz Exynos 9110 chipset paired with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage. For an economic user, the battery should last two days between charges, but you can kill it in a day if you are trying to.
The watch comes in two sizes: 45mm with a 1.4-inch AMOLED and 41mm with 1.2-inch AMOLED. Both options come with Corning Gorilla Glass DX protection.
Apple Watch Series 6
Much of the Apple Watch Series 6’s hardware is comparable to its Samsung counterpart. This one has 32 gigs of storage, though. But when you’ve reached so far into your pocket, it’s more about the user experience. Luckily, that’s an area where Apple excels.
Despite Apple’s not-so-subtle habit of putting their software experience on a leash, the WatchOS feels the least restrictive. You get onboard storage, all sorts of sensors, and a chip that runs buttery smooth with the Apple Watch Series 6, but the watch in itself is much more refined still.
It’s safe to say that this smartwatch has the most fleshed-out software experience in the whole product category. So much so that you can purchase a Series 4 and still be satisfied with the watch. The only noteworthy compromise you’d make would be with the always-on display.
Apple Watch Series 6 comes in 44mm and 40mm variants with a screen size of 1.78 and 1.53 inches respectively at 326 PPI. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, you can customize your Apple Watch with a variety of colors, strap options, and watch faces provided by Apple or third-party vendors for a premium.
One thing to keep in mind: every other watch on this list supports both Android and iOS except for this one. You have to have an iPhone if you are getting the Apple Watch.