A Traveler's Guide to Smartwatches
Smartwatches are the latest addition to most globetrotters. Reason? Well, the latest range of smartwatches are not only practically infallible, they offer a myriad of cool services that make them the coveted tech they are. Just like they sound, smartwatches are multifunctional, high-performance, and clever. Simply put, most smartwatches nowadays, are GPS-equipped, lightweight, computers that can help measure, record, analyze, and communicate while the wearer travels unencumbered. Others also have SIM card slots, speakers, compass, stopwatch, alarm, inbuilt LTE (Long Term Evolution) and NFC (near-field communication) systems. Through these, travelers can make and receive phone calls, send emails and text messages, pay for stuff, and listen to music (without having to carry a phone).
The amount of data that smartwatches collect and the process is no joke. Besides providing functionalities of a smartphone, this wearable tech also collates Information such as your direction of travel, precise location, total moving time, average and fastest speed, altitude/depth reached, barometric weather analysis, outside temperature, calories burned, and heart rate info. You can even select points of interest by saving the exact grid reference of attributes such as beaches, markets etc. This information can then be transferred through USB or wireless options to other devices, apps, and even fellow travelers (route information, unfamiliar terrains, anything)
Many ardent travelers prefer affordable, hard wearing, GPS-equipped smartwatches. Look no further than brands such as Suunto and Garmin. First, we have the Ambit3 from Suunto. This exciting gadget comes in three different versions: Run (it simply has single-sport functionalities), Sport (it offers various activities and also incorporates a heart-rate monitor), and Peak (it is equipped with an altimeter, temperature recorder, and barometer). Though it appears quite heavy, it's exceptionally robust (has a water resistance up to 100m), provides precision data, and highly functional. The smartwatch also features capabilities including a tilt-compensated digital compass, glove-hand operability, wi-fi connectivity button-based navigation system, and a ‘FindBack’ feature that helps you return to your starting point. Garmin’s Fēnix 5 curates an even bigger suite of functionalities, including color mapping and various fitness-related data-collection capabilities. It has a metronome that allows the watch to keep track of pace, swimming strokes and sleep.
Robust Travel Tech
When we talk about robust travel tech, out minds Immediately drift towards the Casio Trek Smart WSD-F20. This exceptionally brawny gadget comes with a sharp mind of its own. Along with US military-grade water and shock-resistance, the watch uses Google’s Android Wear software and Casio's Location Memory app to accurately pinpoint your position. It comes with a unique dual-layer display screen that allows it to display maps in full colors while other features continue to display in black-and-white. Similarly, LG Watch Sport also comes armed with Android Wear 2.0 and features LTE-connectivity, Android Pay, and even Google Assistant. You can find a heart-rate monitor, GPS chip, wireless recharge, and barometer in this sleek wearable tech. It also has a speaker, microphone, and a hidden SIM card tray to help you stay connected while on the move.
The Huawei Watch 2 incorporates a simple two-button design and screen navigation while offering live GPS mapping, heart rate monitoring, and real-time coaching. It comes with an anti-sweat strap and is surprisingly lightweight than its peers. Then we have the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier, which is probably the tougher, smarter, older sibling of the S3 Gear Classic. This model packs a number of handy features such as an integral heart-rate monitor, GPS, activity tracking, water resistance, altimeter, LTE, and NFC (for Samsung Pay). While the device uses Tizen OS, instead of Android Wear, it’s twisty bezel-based navigation system is super fluent with a sparkling Super AMOLED screen. Finally, we have the super skinny Apple Watch 2 (it weighs just 45.6g). Apple has added a built-in GPS feature in the Series 2, which along with water resistance capabilities, stroke analysis, and Apple Pay, makes this smartwatch pretty neat.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)