I bought a smartwatch a few months ago, admittedly on questionable grounds (my thesis is on wearables… that’s close enough right?). I was honestly skeptical of it at first, but it’s proven itself to be a helpful little gadget, so I thought I’d share why.

  1. It’s a watch. No longer do I have to dig my phone out of my pocket or bag to check the time. Looking at my wrist is faster and a bit classier. I also don’t have to be attached to my phone if I need a stopwatch / timer at the gym.

  2. I don’t miss important notifications. Having come out of a public school where cell phone use and drug use were comparable offenses, I keep my phone on vibrate 99% of the time. So I used to miss some messages that were semi-important in my college student world. This isn’t a problem now that my watch vibrates too.

  3. It gets me away from my phone. Partly because of my propensity to miss texts, I used to (and sometimes still do) check my phone obsessively and usually ended up getting distracted by email, social media, etc. Knowing that I’m not going to miss anything important lets me put my phone out of sight and out of mind until I really need it. I can also use my watch as a filter to only let through calls and texts.

  4. Sleep tracking. One could obviously track their sleep habits with a simple notebook, but the additional data and analytics from my sleep tracking app make things a little easier / more comprehensive. It’s interesting to see how much (read: little) good sleep I actually get. I’m using Sleep as Android – which integrates with a handful of other services if you’re a data geek.

To be fair, the smartwatch app market is still in its early stages, and some other apps I’ve tried out (Spotify, NPR, even the default weather app) are buggy or confusing. If you’re not a tech nerd, I wouldn’t recommend getting a smartwatch. But if you’re curious and you have the time and patience to figure it out, I think it’s worth the investment.

If you’re now interested in a watch, I got the Samsung Gear S2. I consciously picked this one over the newer S3 - the S3 costs twice as much, and its whopping 46mm face was just too big for my wrist.

Both watches run Samsung’s Tizen OS, not Android Wear. That said, I haven’t run into any compatibility issues between my phone apps and watch notifications.