Why I hate smartwatches

Ever since the inception of the smartwatch, I’ve found myself looking more and more upon that abhorrent concept with disgust and hatred. I thought I’d take some time to expound a little on why I dislike them so much.

I suppose my initial reaction to the smartwatch lies in my disdain for “wearables” in general. I’ve never been a fan of watches, finding that the few times I tried to wear one my wrist would become unbearably sweaty and itchy. Worse, most watches have to be removed on a regular basis before performing mundane tasks. Although most watches are water-resistant these days, I doubt many people like to leave them on in the shower, purely because of the sweat problem I just mentioned. The same can be said of doing the washing up, where a plethora of sharp implements makes scratching or damaging your watch a very apparent danger, this particular concern can also be extended to most forms of labor and handiwork. Sleeping with a watch on is uncomfortable, and again I doubt few people do it on a regular basis. I’ve personally found watches also get in the way of using a mouse and keyboard, so I would likely spend most of my day not wearing a watch at all. Finally, exercising whilst wearing a watch is also troublesome, and sometimes plain dangerous.  With that in mind, I often felt that I spent more time putting the wretched thing on than I did looking at it. It seemed like wearing a watch was causing an awful lot of inconvenience, all for the sake of being able to tell the time…

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You may or may not have noticed that nowadays, the time is everywhere, and I mean everywhere. If you’re viewing this article on the internet (which you are), you can probably pull up a clock in a matter of seconds, if one isn’t visible already. The time is displayed on the TV, in railway stations, at the airport, at bus stations, in pubs, clubs, restaurants, on your cooker, on your microwave. We live in a generation where humanity is more obsessed with time, speed and convenience than ever before. Sure, I like convenience as much as the next average guy, but I’ve never once thought of wearing a watch as a matter of convenience. 

When you turn a watch into a smartwatch, those two issues are amplified somewhat, let me explain. First of all, your concerns about damaging your rather expensive timepiece whilst conducting a fairly mundane task  are multiplied. I doubt you’ll fancy getting your hands too dirty with an iWatch on your wrist, and I wouldn’t be too enthusiastic about rummaging around a sink full of cutlery.  You wouldn’t want your iWatch smashed by a rogue squash ball either (or worse a rogue squash racket), so I can’t imagine that you’ll be desperate to throw yourself around any sports arena sporting an expensive electronic timepiece,(More to the point, most competitive organised sports make it illegal to wear watches). Even though smartwatches aren’t particularly fragile, I reckon that personally I would still find myself spending more time with the device off my wrist than on it.

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The second issue is convenience. Surely a smartwatch brings much more convenience to the table? A quick glance over any smartwatch, such as the Samsung Gear 2 or the Pebble Steel will let you know that smartwatches are indeed capable devices, but that doesn’t mean you need one, let me demonstrate why I think smartwatches are unneccessary, starting with notifications.

So you’re fancy watch lets you read your texts and emails? Personally, I would say that maybe 1 out of 20 texts I receive doesn’t need a reply, so if I have a smartwatch and I get a text that needs a reply, I’m going to need my phone anyway, so it would have been quicker, and more importantly more convenient to go straight to my phone. Furthermore, check your inbox quickly, how many of the emails you received in the last day or so could be read on a watch face? How many of them feature attachments, pictures or links that need further response?

The Pebble isn’t capable of conducting phone calls through the smartwatch itself, so if you get a phone call, you’ll be straight into your pocket after checking your watch, except not as quickly as you could have been if you’d just picked up your phone in the first place, so you might even miss the call. The Samsung Gear 2 is capable of taking phone calls, but just how convenient is it to hold up your arm and talk into your wrist? Furthermore, because your watch doesn’t cover the distance between your ear and your mouth, you’ll be shouting into one end or straining to hear out of the other, or everyone within 10 feet will be able to hear both ends your phone call, frankly, I don’t fancy it.

Whilst smartwatches do offer some cool features in the form of health and fitness status monitoring, you can certainly find that kind of slant in the much cheaper, and much better looking Nike FuelBand. The remaining features of any smartwatch currently available will only serve to remind you that you’ve wasted a lot of money. You might as well pay someone $300 to write “check your phone” on your wrist, because until smartwatches get a lot, and I mean lot more capable, I really do not understand how they can be considered a convenient addition to your life.

@TiP_Stephen

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  • TrueCopy

    I couldn’t disagree more. First up, I don’t think someone who hates watches should be commenting on the idea of smartwatches. No amount of technology or usefulness could convince you of otherwise, based on your comments above.

    I find wearing a watch to be incredibly comfortable and convenient. I’ve always worn one, even today when I have the time on every other device around me. I’ve never felt that my watch gets in the way of anything… except maybe in bed, but I typically take it off there anyway.

    Yes, today, I’m wearing a smartwatch – a Pebble. And it is useful. I’ve found that more cases than not, I don’t need to respond right away. At work, I can quickly reject calls I don’t need to/can’t answer. And I can quickly get headlines and sports scores without interrupting my work.

    The biggest failing, I believe, of all smartwatches so far is ergonomics and usability. They’re definitely in the early days, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Every technology has to start somewhere. There needs to be a whole new round of UX research into wearables, because the way you interact with something on your wrist is totally different from the way you do with something on the table in front of you or in your hands.