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Why I don’t feel inclined to buy a smartwatch

When I was a kid, watches with extra abilities were the bomb. I had so many amazing watches, from ones that were little transformable robots to watches with a multitude of functions (stopwatch! notes! simple songs! multiple alarms!) to the holy grail of watches — the game watch.

But by mid-college I stopped wearing one, preferring instead to carry around a timepiece in my pocket. Then, once I got a cell phone — and, later, a smartphone — I felt that we as a society had long since abandoned any need or want for timepieces strapped to our wrist and giving us sweaty tan lines.

But then smartwatches started showing up — fitbits, apple, samsung, the whole enchilada. It didn’t appear to be an overnight technological revolution, but rather a gradual creeping back in of watches. Even today, I don’t see a ton of people wearing them, but there are far more than there used to be. Yet I haven’t felt the slightest inclination to return to an era of watch-wearing.

Maybe it’s because I’m old enough to remember being shackled to watches and then being freed of them, whereas younger generations might find it more of a novelty or a progression from a naked wrist to one adorned with precious technology. But seriously, it feel so backwards to me to have everything I needed from a watch back in the day — and then a whole lot more on top of that — jammed into a phone, only to add a superfluous technological appendage on top of that.

I’ve thought about smartwatches and read up on them, but their main selling points aren’t so much for me. Having a constant heart monitor? Honestly, that would stress me the heck out to see my heart beat being tracked. Being able to access messages/music/notifications 0.5 seconds faster than taking my phone out of my pocket? That’s not a $300 time saver for me. What about as a status symbol? I seriously doubt that anyone will revise their opinion of me if I’ve got a glassy black slab strapped to my arm.

Besides, the downsides of having an extra device to charge and having to tether a watch to a phone seems to me slightly onerous.

Not every piece of technology is for me, nor am I poo-pooing smartwatches because I’m not on board with them. Many people who have them have told me (upon me asking them) that they’re pretty happy with the watches and find them useful in some way. But for me, the watch-wearing portion of my life went out the door in 1996, never to return. I’m OK with that.

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7 thoughts on “Why I don’t feel inclined to buy a smartwatch

  1. Since adulthood, I have only worn a wristwatch when absolutely required to during Army basic training, and for a few months at my first duty assignment. As soon as I found I could use a pocket watch, I switched back to that. Scooter wears a I smart watch, but she doesn’t always have her phone close at hand like I am able to.

  2. I bought a FitBit four months ago… after I had a stroke. Always thought they were just silly “don’t need it” things. I use it solely to track steps, heartrate, and calories burned. It isn’t perfect, but it motivates me and gives me an explicit goal.

    It’s probably kinda stupid, but that little “you did it!” message when I hit my 12k steps or 5 miles walked… it’s a little addictive (it turned getting healthy into a game). I honestly feel better now than I did pre-stroke. I’ve lost 20 pounds and am a lot less lethargic than I was.

    So as far as controlling my phone… don’t care in the least. But for tracking and motivation, it’s a good deal.

  3. I haven’t worn a watch or routinely carried any kind of timepiece since I was at school. If you don’t have a means of telling the time you soon adapt to just knowing what time it is, near enough for all normal purposes. Whenever you need a precise timecheck, there’s always a clock of some description around, unless you’re really out in the wilds.

  4. This resonates. Very much likewise – I’ve blogged about it too – I for a long time thought Apple Watch was superfluous, ancillary, unnecessary. Not to mention costly. I had my smartphone with a clock on the lock screen in my pocket. I didn’t wear a watch for a long time. Then I got a Timex ironman, like I’d worn in the 90s. Not sure why really. I think for $30, it was worth the convenience to have the date, time, stopwatch, and timer on my wrist. I eventually bought an Apple Watch. I like it for the fitness metrics that motivate me to exercise; it really helps me. And I like the convenience stuff too, like remote playback controls. But when it dies, will I/could I live without it? I could, but I don’t know if I will. I like simplicity, so having fewer gadgets to charge and manage etc would be nice. …Time will tell!

  5. I have a cheap little Mii Fit band that I love for four reasons:

    1) I can change the bands for different-coloured bands,
    2) It syncs with my phone and gives me sleep data, steps, and other fun stats,
    3) I can use it to check the time without fishing out my phone and unlocking it and all that rigmarole,
    4) I like to tap it against my head to activate its screen, which always amuses me. 😀

    Seriously though, I think point 3 is the MSP for owning at least a little, cheap fitness band type of thing. I get mine from the local electronics store, where they usually have the previous model in a basket for relative cheapness.

  6. I wear a Xiaomi mi fit 5 or 6. It’s a 50-dollar fitness band. Its primary function is to vibrate in the morning to wake me up quietly and vibrate when I get a text, so my phone stays silent, and that’s about it. It does other things, but I just pay for it to keep my phone silent. I remember when we’d pay for ringtones, and now my phone has been on silent since the last two or so came out of the box.

  7. My wrist feels naked without a watch. Honestly, it’s an unusual and uncomfortable experience whenever I need to be without. Hah.

    My reason for getting a smartwatch in particular though, was largely because I often have my phone on silent at work — due to meetings, calls, etc — and I don’t have a habit of checking my phone ‘just because’ very frequently.

    So I would miss texts and the like alllll the time, sometimes for several hours. The smartwatch little vibrate on my wrist gives me an unobtrusive, still silent, little prompt that there is something to check. I then heavily curate what can actually generate that tap. xD

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