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Smartwatch purchase guide: What to look for, and what to avoid.

Smartwatches are one of the most sought after products right now. There are a lot of wearables out there that we today refer to as smartwatches. Ideally, a wearable timepiece that can also track your fitness, show notifications and take calls from your phone, smartwatches come in all shapes, sizes and price points these days.

However, if you’re not looking to spend a fortune over a smartwatch and need something that looks good, has great battery life and lots of functionality, here is what to look for in a budget smartwatch under Rs 10,000.

Build Quality

A good budget smartwatch should feature a solid build quality. From the moment you hold the watch in your hand, it shouldn’t feel like a cheap product. Wobbly or mushy buttons, loose straps, a poor quality display with big bezels are elements you should stay away from. For a better build, look for a sturdy metal or hard plastic frame and dial.

For better aesthetics, look for a smartwatch that sports minimal bezels, even if the screen isn’t very big. This will ensure your watch looks good irrespective of whether you have an analogue or digital watch face later on. Also, features worth investing in are an AMOLED display panel, which will show you better colours and interchangeable watch straps, which will allow you to easily change the strap should you damage the current one.

Features

Every smartwatch will have some bare essential features like a heart-rate sensor or a step tracker. However, look for a watch that also packs in things like an SpO2 sensor or sleep tracking. The ideal budget smartwatch should also feature a number of watch faces and an auto-brightness sensor.

If fitness matters to you, have a look at the dedicated fitness modes on the watch you’re looking to buy. If your choice of sports or gym exercises is supported on the smartwatch, you will generally have more accurate results.

Accurate tracking results

All smartwatches will boast of features like 24×7 heart-rate monitoring, blood oxygen tracking and other fitness-related data. But these make no sense if the smartwatch you buy does not show you accurate results. Always look for detailed reviews of smartwatches online where people have pointed out how accurate or inaccurate the tracking on various smartwatches is.

Software, companion app

Smartwatches are only as good as the software they run on. While you may not find a smartwatch running Google’s WearOS under Rs 10,000, look for good software that’s easy to use, and blends intuitive features with usability in a good way.

Good software also means regular firmware updates by the brand to make sure new features and watch faces keep coming to your watch after you’ve bought it. Equally important is the companion app that you will install on your phone to use the smartwatch to its full potential. A good companion app should have a good user interface that is feature-packed but not too overwhelming.

Battery life

The more juice your watch can offer in a single charge, the better. When buying a new smartwatch, look at watches that offer a battery life of at least 15-20 days on moderate use. Depending on the kind of features available on your smartwatch, you may also find watches that are a lot more feature-packed but feature 3-7 days of battery life in one charge.

Decide on what kind of trade-off between features and battery life are you okay with. If your use is basic, it may make more sense to go for a smartwatch with lesser features but a lot more battery life. On the other hand, if features like Bluetooth calling and 24×7 tracking matter to you, going for a smaller standby time may not be such a bad idea.

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