How to Choose the Best Smartwatch for You

By Marc Saltzman

Smartwatches have been around for a few years, so why buy an Apple-made one? It’s a good question. Save maybe for the iPad as the first consumer tablet, Apple is rarely first at anything — but it sure knows how to make products better.

MP3 players were around long before the iPod debuted in 2001, for example, and the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone in 2007 — not by a long shot — but Apple has a knack for refining the look and feel, adding a more graceful, elegant, and intuitive experience. And Apple Watch is no exception.

Samsung’s smartwatches are pretty cool, not to mention the various Pebble models and the emerging Google platform called Android Wear — embraced by many companies, including LG, Motorola, and Huawei, to name a few — but Apple Watch has that Apple magic that’s hard to put your finger on. Yes, even without Steve Jobs at the helm of the company.

Apple was smart in offering a number of sizes, materials, and bands to choose from right away, especially as Apple Watch is supposed to be a very personal device and with the option to swap out the bands for others. Most other smartwatches don’t offer that.

Plus, most smartwatches available prior to Apple Watch required a nearby Android phone to use. Only a couple of watches — such as the Pebble and Martian models — work with the iPhone. Apple capitalized on this, and given that more than 700 million iPhones have been sold worldwide (as of March 2015), you can bet a market exists for it. Plus, it’s Apple; it could make an iToilet and it would sell. Talk about brand strength, customer loyalty, marketing muscle, and market share — a perfect combination to launch a companion device like Apple Watch.

Watch-to-watch communication hasn’t existed before either. Apple Watch’s Digital Touch features — sending and receiving a tap, sketch, or heartbeat between users — are a great idea.

In all fairness, Apple Watch doesn’t offer everything found in its competitors’ products. Not only are Apple Watch models much more expensive on average, but unlike some other smartwatches, it can’t take or make calls or send or receive texts and emails on its own; it needs a nearby iPhone for these situations. The Samsung Gear S, for example, takes a SIM card and therefore doesn’t require a phone in close proximity. (LG recently announced a similar device too.)

The Samsung watches also have a camera for taking pictures and scanning items — something Apple Watch lacks.

Apple thinks through designs and features very meticulously, and it’s good about upgrading features over time, which you can expect with Apple Watch version 2.0, 3.0, and so on.

You can believe the hype: Apple Watch not only measures up to the competition, but between its smart user interface, huge app community, and various models to choose from, Apple will no doubt take ownership of the emerging wearables category with this groundbreaking product.