20 Shades of Smartwatch

Had enough with all smartwatch vendor these days, and it’s time to give my feedback base on 3 years experience using pebble watch.

I’m going to share about what feature is really works or not, and if you are a smartwatch maker that just happens reading this blog I’m hoping this post will be a clue for your next flagship idea.

It’s all more to smartwatch functionality, I don’t care whether it comes with a fancy strap, stainless/plastic body, or a screen made by gorilla, as long as it sturdy enough, it’s ok with me.

So then here I’m going to rank the features from most used to the most useless.

  1. Long battery life

    Yes, this is the most important feature, seriously who wants to charge their watch everyday or maybe every couple of times? IMO battery life should be longer than a week, below that is a goodbye, sayonara.

  2. Always ON Display

    Seriously, I really don’t want to have to flick my hand or touching my watch just to see what time is it now.

  3. “Readable” and Vibrated Notifications

    Notifications must be vibrated and the message must always be read immediately, so it’s not just a sign that requires the user to open the handphone to read the message.

  4. Two way communications

    This feature is related to how you actually handle the notification message such as replying or deleting a message and the other example is a remote music player to your phone or any devices.

  5. Bluetooth Connection

    Till now I guess this is the most low energy usage alternative to connect between the watch and the cellphone or any other devices.

  6. Accelerometer & Magnetometer

    Basic sensor that every smartwatch should have for gesture detection, compass, movement tracking such as sleeping, swimming, running etc.

  7. Watch apps

    Community driven, Open API and asking community to develop apps for the watch is actually a good strategy, of course both vendor and user can gain a lot of benefits.

    The list below I considered to be nice things to have on your smartwatch.

  8. Standalone GPS

    Cool thing to have, the benefit is that you don’t need to have your cellphone with you every time you jog, or other activities that require gps, but with the use of this feature the battery will quickly run out.

  9. Color Graphical UI

    This will make the watch become more fancy and not boring, black and white is actually good enough but if it’s colored it will be even better, as long as it can maintain the battery life.

  10. NFC Connectivity

    NFC is now widely used as a tool for payment, examples such as Google Pay, Garmin Pay, etc. So if you don’t want to be outdated, this feature actually has to be on the watch

  11. Touchscreen

    IMO is not that important, but having this can be very helpful for navigation, the benefit here is that you will have a better UX with the impact of battery life that will quickly run out.

  12. FM Radio

    IMO, FM radio is much more suitable on watches compared to mp3, as long as we can listen to the radio clearly, that’s enough.

  13. Standalone Mp3 Music Storage

    It’s really a great feature to have, music on the go while you jog without having to carry your phone or ipod, but then again I’m skeptical about the sound quality.

    This last list below will be a not so important feature, but yet it’s still exist.

  14. HeartRate Monitoring

    To be honest I don’t really like this feature on watches, the real heart rate monitoring should be strapped on your chest, however people tend to like this as a gimmick when doing sports activities. Buy a real HR monitor if you really need one.

  15. Microphone

    I see a lot of things you can do with this feature, as example you can have a dictate app that could take a voice note, using voice commands to do action on your phone or your other devices, etc.

  16. Speaker/Sound

    This could be overated, tiny speaker for notification sound is ok, but for music, seriously… please don’t.

  17. Digital Camera

    Yes this feature is existing on a smartwatch, an indigogo campaign for this watch is succesfuly funded, too bad it’s shipped only with 5mp on image quality, battery life will drained like hell, dunno how many shots you’ll have till the battery drop.

  18. Altimeter, Barometer and Thermometer

    Wow, seriously? Too much, it’s best to use a G-Shock instead of wearing a smartwatch.

  19. Wifi connection

    Because bluetooth is not enough, zzzz… come on!

  20. SIM card slot

    OMG, this is a big NO for me, why? Do you want a watch or a phone? Pick one. It’s not a smartwatch anymore, IMO battery might last only for 2-3 hours.

So here we are at the final conclusion, to all smartwatch vendors, please make something that is truly functional and useful, because everything is never enough.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” - Leonardo Da Vinci

Khalid Adisendjaja

Internet tech wanderer. Networking enthusiast. Radio Announcer. Casual Gamer. OpenSource Fans. Information Junkies. My tweet is my own.

Jakarta, Indonesia http://khal.web.id