It seems like this past week has had a flurry of smartwatch announcements, which makes sense considering the Baselworld conference is currently underway in Switzerland. We’ve seen new smartwatches from brands like Misfit, Tommy Hilfiger, GUESS, Hugo Boss, Diesel, Fossil, Michael Kors, and more. A lot of fashion brands are turning to fashionable smartwatches rather than fashionable wristwatches, and it’s easy to see why. Even the simplest smartwatches add a good amount of functionality to what would otherwise be a basic wristwatch.
I find myself drawn to some of these designs. The GUESS Connect and Michael Kors Access smartwatches look really nice in my opinion. The GUESS Connect is more appealing to me because I’d rather have a smartwatch serve as a companion to my smartphone than replace it, and its limited functionality works well for that. The Michael Kors Access, on the other hand, has a lot more features to offer and still manages to look sleek.
As much as I like them, I won’t be buying one. I have no doubt that there are people that will – there is clearly a market out there for this type of product. But for me, right now, it’s too expensive for what you get. They have the look, they have the features, but they still don’t have the battery life that I’m looking for in a smartwatch.
I purchased a Pebble Time last fall for about $40. At the time, it wasn’t known that Fitbit would acquire Pebble, but even now I consider it a good purchase. The smartwatch isn’t the prettiest, but it is functional and it lasts a good 5-6 days before I need to recharge. And while 5-6 days seems like a lot on paper, I still wish that its battery would last longer.
Perhaps I’ll always feel that battery life is inadequate (because you can never have too much battery life, right?) but I think what I’m really looking for is battery life that more closely resembles that of a wristwatch. I used to wear watches a lot when I was younger, yet I never had worry about its battery life. Take it off, put it on, whatever; it would work. It was convenient. Of course, it’s silly to expect that out of a smartwatch, which is about as much of a watch as a smartphone is a phone, but just as I anticipate smartphones to get to the point where their battery lasts several days without a charge – like “dumb” phones used to – I anticipate the same for smartwatches. It may be several years yet before it happens, but that’s when I think that smartwatches will hit mass market appeal: When it can be a virtually hassle-free companion to our beloved smartphones.
Even so, it’s hard to discredit how far smartwatches have come in the short amount of time they’ve been around. It’s a work in progress, and they become a more tempting buy with each passing year. Between their designs and functionality – and occasionally their battery life (the Withings/Nokia Steel HR hybrid smartwatch, for example, claims to last for 25 days on a single charge) have all improved for the most part. I think it’s only a matter of time before smartwatches with dismal battery life becomes a problem of the past.