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Last updated: June 19, 2020

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With rapidly advancing technology, it’s reasonable to assume that smart-watches will eventually replace mobile phones as our go to device for making calls, sending messages or keeping up to date on current events. However, we won’t know for sure until that time comes. What we do know, is that smart-watches are here to stay and their future is looking brighter by the day. With their ever growing popularity, manufacturers are pumping out newer models with the latest technology. Today, it’s not hard to find an intelligent, smart-watch that provides you with everything you could possibly need and more.

However, precisely because of all the options, choosing the right device can prove overwhelming and sometimes difficult. You’ll want to familiarise yourself with all the possible features a smart-watch can offer you. Deciding which are the features you need, and then find the smart-watch that matches your needs, style and personality the best. To make this easier, we’ve compiled an all encompassing guide that will provide you through all the information you need have in order to find the perfect watch.

Key Facts

  • In general, there are two categories of smart-watches, differentiated according to their main use: sport watches and casual watches.
  • Although most of them work as complements to smartphones, there are more and more models on the market that allow you to utilise all their functions without the need to connect to a mobile phone.
  • The popularity and future prospects of smart-watches go hand in hand with the development of what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), the extension of internet connectivity into external, physical devices.

The best smart-watches on the Canadian market

Below, you’ll find our compiled ranking of the five best smart-watches currently available to Canadians. We have meticulously prepared this list making sure to include the most varied range of watches possible. As always, selecting those that offer the best quality and the most value for your money.

Amazfit — Smart Watch

Amazfit is the largest wearable device company in the world, with over 50 million products sold. The Amazfit Bip is the newest addition to Amazfit’s portfolio of award-winning smart-watches. Bip features an astonishing 30 days of battery life on a single charge, built-in GPS, multiple sports modes, and real-time notifications for email, SMS, calls, weather, and other apps.

It is available in 4 attractive colours. At 1.1 oz, it’s super lightweight and comfortable to wear all day long. The 1.28″ transflective colour touchscreen is equipped with anti-scratch glass. The smart-watch connects to bluetooth and supports both iOS and Android systems. The Amazfit Bip is the perfect daily companion to keep you active, in touch and connected all day long!

Samsung — S3 Frontier

The Samsung S3 Frontier 1.3” smart-watch allows you to make and receive calls without ever having to remove your phone from your pocket. When connected to Wifi, you can utilise all it’s built-in bluetooth and GPS functions. This smart-watch is compatible with Android 4.4 and later with 1.56 RAM. For the best compatibility, the manufacturer suggests connecting with Samsung Galaxy phones.

It does not support 2G, 3G or 4G LTE mobile networks, so make sure to check your phone’s operating systems and it’s compatibility. Although battery life will vary slightly depending on usage and settings, this smart-watch will last about 3 days. This watch is offered in a beautiful and modern space grey, perfect for any outfit.

Apple — Apple Watch Series 3

With Apple Watch Series 3, you can make calls, receive messages and listen to music. It features an innovative three-circle system to measure your sitting time, the calories you burn, and the amount of time you spend each day exercising. This watch enables you to track and keep the details of all your workouts, all right there on your wrist.

There a variety of health apps you can access through this Apple Series 3 watch to help you monitor your heart rate or manage your stress levels. On average, its battery will last up to two days. A great feature if this device is that it’s completely waterproof and thus perfect for water sports and activities. All this with the sleek Apple design. However, because of the brand, quality and high tech features, this watch comes at a higher price.

Fitbit — Versa

The modern design of the Fitbit Versa smart-watch features a square display. Its user interface offers a wealth of information about your lifestyle and metrics. Moreover, this smart-watch allows you to quickly and easily read messages and notifications. It is waterproof and it can be submersed for up to 5 meters deep. It monitors heart rate and all the phases of our sleep cycle, allowing you to record and track various physiological processes.

It can store up to 300 songs and has 15 different exercise modes. Its various accessories are completely customisable and its battery can last up to four days. However, it should be noted that voice messages cannot be received or stored on the device, and it has a limited selection of applications.

Garmin — Vivomove

The Garmin Vivomove is a wonderful smart-watch with a traditional analog clock design with an OLED display and crystal technology. It allows you to receive messages and notifications. In addition, applications are available to monitor heart rate, sleep patterns, stress and calories burned. It connects to both Android and iOS phones.

This smart-watch has the ability to synchronise to your phone automatically. The battery has a lifespan of up to 5 days, depending on overall usage and settings. It’s extremely water-resistant, functioning in depths of up to 50 m. Although this watch is extremely popular overall, the downsides reported by users are its small number of applications and how easily the screen gets dirty.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about smart-watches

When buying a smart-watch, it’s important to consider a number of factors. There is an extremely wide range of models available, and each one offers different — as well as some overlapping features. In the following sections, we’ve broken down the main components of smart-watches, their distinguishing features, and how you can go about finding the best one for you or your loved ones. This next section covers all the most frequently asked questions among users.

smartwatch happy girl showing display screen on trendy new smart watch fitness tracker wristwatch. healthy young asian sporty woman smiling on beach vacation running at sunset living an active life.

Sport smart-watches are perfect for outdoor sports and any sort of physical training.
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What is a smart-watch exactly?

A smart-watch is a device that, in addition to all the functions of a traditional wristwatch, it includes other advanced features; such as linking and synchronising to your mobile phone, giving you access to a wide range of apps and functions. These applications allow you to take pictures, record video and even make phone calls, to name a few. Some of the features that may be directly programmed into the watch are an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer and altimeter, among many others.

Many models have the ability to connect to other devices via WiFi, Bluetooth or NFC, allowing you to extend the power of your smart-watch. Keep in mind that some devices may also offer extended features like geomagnetometre, (GPS), loudspeaker, microphone or a slot for an external memory card. These are just a few of the extended features you can look for, depending on how you plan to use your smart-watch.

Hands of woman wearing smartwatch on the keyboard of her laptop computer. Female working on laptop in a cafe.

With the help of your smart-watch, you can access all the applications of your mobile phone from simply tapping your writs.
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Who would benefit from the use of a smart-watch?

If you want to access and enjoy all the features of your smart phone at any moment, you’ll definitely want a smart-watch. You’ll be able to receive calls, track your workouts, send messages and more, all without needing to check your phone. Whether you’re working out or in a meeting, having the ability to stay connected without causing distractions by using your phone is a huge advantage. Either at the professional or amateur level, having a smart-watch for games, sports practices or during any exercise routine, is extremely helpful.

With a smart-watch, you can control, plan and monitor every aspect of your training session. This allows you to analyse and course correct in real time to optimise your performance. It is always useful to go over data from your session in order to make the next session more efficient than the last. This feature also helps you track your changes, so you can easily track your progress.

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Did you know that the first smart-watches could only perform very basic tasks: translations, calculations and very simple games?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of smart-watches?

Part of the popularity that smart-watches are gaining is due to all the diverse features they offer. It’s no hard to find a smart-watches that allows you to have some of the same functions as your mobile phone, right on your wrist. However, despite all these advances, they still have some limitations to take into consideration. Most devices depend on smartphones, so they end up being mere complements to them and pretty useless without them.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the battery life is significantly shorter than those of traditional watches, which in most cases, don’t even requiring that you charge them. Smart-watches however, must be charged regularly, each battery life varying from model to model. Nonetheless, it should be noted that even though we must charge them, it’s still not as frequently as our beloved smart phones.

Advantages Disadvantages
These devices provide many of the functions of a phone right from your wrist. In general, they depend on a smartphones to perform most of their functions.
With smart-watches, you can monitor your physiological state while training. These watches have a much shorter battery life than that of a normal watch.
Notifications are accessed much faster. You don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket to see them. They have less performance power than a smartphone.
They help reduce your mobile phone’s battery consumption. Some models even allow you to make payments in stores. You are constantly connected to your device.

Who should buy a smart-watch?

Smart-watches are great for those who are regularly physically active and want to utilise applications that allow you to measure pulses or distance traveled, among other parameters. They’re also very useful for those who need help staying motivated to be active or want to monitor their sleep cycles.

Remember the last time you searched endlessly for your phone in your house or purse just to do one simple thing? Smart-watches are ideal for people who do not carry their phones around with them constantly, but want to access them at the touch of a button.

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Did you know that the first smart-watch was the Original Pebble? Given their great success, companies like Samsung and Sony decided to launch their own models.

Which operating systems do smart-watches use?

Currently, there are two operating systems that surpass the rest. The watchOS and Wear OS. The first is the operating system for Apple’s smart-watches. Since its models have the highest selling rate, it is the most widespread operating system. The second is Android, and the one used by most other manufacturers.

Lately, however, some manufacturers have decided to give up the Wear OS. This is because it is a system that has become a bit stagnant in terms of its technological compatibility. Manufacturers such as Samsung or Fitbit have chosen to develop their own operating systems to ensure that their devices offer better performance.

Businessman uses smart watch and phone. Smartwatch concept.

Smart-watches are both practical and versatile.
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What types of smart-watches are there?

Broadly speaking, one could differentiate between two types of smart-watches: sports watches and casual watches. They differ both in their individual characteristics and in their design. The first tends to have more autonomy, with functions that work without needing to rely on a smartphone. Features like GPS and applications for measuring distances and heart rate or calculating calories burned for example.

Other, more casual smart-watches, can also include specific sports functions, but in general they do not do so in such an effective and advanced manner. In addition, its design tends to be more elegant, while that of sports watches tend to be more ostentatious. In most cases, the difference is quite obvious.

Sport Casual
Design They present a more ostentatious design, as they are larger, bulkier and heavier. Although the latest models are becoming lighter and lighter. These tend to have a more elegant design. Their dimensions are smaller and lighter.
Applications They include applications to measure distances, heart rate and calories burned. They do not usually include applications to track physical activity and, if they do, they are not as effective.
Battery They have batteries with a greater capacity, hence, their larger size. In general, the battery life of these devices is significantly less.

Purchase Criteria

When it comes time to purchase a smart-watch, we recommend that you consider a number of important criteria. In order to make the selection process easier for you, we have listed all the factors we believe are most relevant when purchasing a smart-watch. We hope that they will serve as a guide for you to choose the best watch to satisfy your needs.

Intended Use

You may be considering buying a sports smart-watch. Or maybe you’re thinking of a more casual model. In any case, the use you are going to make of it will dictate which watch you should buy. In general, you should know that casual models are often much lighter and have a more attractive design.

If you want it for sports, make sure it has GPS and apps that allow you to measure each parameter of the training session you want tracked; the distance you travel, training routine, calories burned or perhaps the heart rate. Of course, it’s better if you have a battery that lasts for an extended period of time. Most models today allow you to transfer the data directly to your phone or a PC.

Smart watch charging with energy bank. Smartwatch concept.

Smart-watches help reduce the battery consumption of your mobile phone.
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Operating system and synchronisation

Currently, the two most popular operating systems are watchOS and Wear OS (Android). If you don’t want to opt for either of these options, you can choose one of the manufacturers that has developed its own operating system. This is the case for example, of Fitbit, who’s success has been quite evident in the last few years.

Thus, when buying a smart-watch you should not focus solely on the two most popular operating systems. You should think about what its features are and if it has the capability to efficiently synchronise notifications with the operating system of your phone. You can then receive notifications for incoming calls, WhatsApp messages and whatever other apps you decide to sync from your phone.

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Connectivity

Today, all smart-watches have the ability to connect via WiFi and Bluetooth. Recently, models with 4G LTE connectivity, such as the Apple Watch Series 4, are also starting to appear on the market. With these functions, a SIM card can be connected to the watch to receive calls and messages directly.

There is no doubt that making purchases with your mobile phone is more convenient than paying with a debit or credit card. And of course, a lot more efficient than doing so in cash. Paying with a watch is not only more convenient than that, but it is also a faster and more comfortable option. In order to do this, you need it to have an NFC connection. Models like the Xiaomi My Band 3 already include this feature.

Design, weight and size

In the case of a smart-watch, design is a fundamental aspect to take into account. You certainly won’t want to wear a smart-watch that you don’t like and doesn’t match your style. Fortunately, manufacturers are offering an increasing amount of different styles for all audiences and occasions.

Weight is another very important factor to consider, since this is a device that you wear on your wrist throughout the day. Last, s far as shape is concerned, there are models that are square-shaped, which look more like technological gadgets than watches, and others with more rounded designs. Each comes with their own range of colours.

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Battery life

This is undoubtedly one of the key aspects to consider when choosing a smart-watch. It won’t do you any good to have a watch with multiple functions if it dies on a regular basis. Luckily, there are already models that have a battery life that lasts up to a week, if you’re willing to pay for it.

Keep in mind, that if you want to take advantage of apps that measure sleep, you won’t be able to leave them charging at night. In this case, you must keep in mind not only battery life, but also the devices re-recharging time.

IP certification

A smart-watch is not like a mobile phone that you carry in your pocket or leave in your purse when not in use. A smart-watch is a device that is always with you, wherever you go. That means being able wear it to the pool, the beach, the shower, while you cook or even while scrubbing the dishes.

In such vulnerable environments, it is important to opt for a model with an IP68 certification to protect it from water damage. You won’t have to worry about submerging it under water and can keep it on your wrist always, even while you’re taking a bath. In general, most high-end models have this certification, but the same cannot be said for cheaper models.

Type of display

As far as the screen is concerned, there are three things to consider: the size, the type of panel, and the protection of the panel. The panel influences the visual outcome of the images, often eliminating reflections and helping to preserve battery. Right now, the best type of panel for smart-watches is the OLED screen.

However, it is still essential that you have extra protection against drops and scratches. A good option is the Corning Gorilla Glass. There are several versions of this, the most current is the Gorilla Glass 5, powerful enough to survive big falls.

Summary

The performance and applications of smart-watches continues to grow. It is not hard to imagine that the popularity of these devices will only keep increasing more and more. It is true, however, that their presence in our day-to-day life is still very small compared to the omnipresence of mobile phones.

We must always keep in mind the relationship smart-watches have with what is known in the technology world, as the Internet of Things (IoT). The ability of smart-watches to connect and link to outside devices is their biggest advantage. It’s no wonder that new models with new features keep appearing year after year. This is great news, but it can also make it more difficult to select the right smart-watch to buy if you’re not properly informed.

We hope this guide will help make your decision much easier. If you think it has, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment with your thoughts or to share it on social media.

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