Smart watch or fitness bracelet? How do they differ and what is better to choose

The popularity of smartwatches and fitness bracelets is growing every year. Just think, Apple Watch alone sold 10 million more units in 2019 than all Swiss watches combined (source)!

According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, watch exports in 2019 fell 13.1% from a year earlier. And Apple Watch shipments grew 36% over the same period.

The Apple Watch is just a case study here as the market for smartwatches and fitness bracelets grows. And today more and more people are interested in such gadgets, but many do not fully understand what they are generally needed and why they are so attractive.

You will learn everything you need to know to choose the best wearable device for your needs.

How are smartwatches different from fitness bracelets?

At first glance, the type of devices is similar to a function, but there is one key difference between them: the capabilities of smart devices are not limited and the user can vary by installing additional applications.

Smartwatches run on a full-fledged operating system, which means they need a more powerful processor that consumes more power. This, in turn, entails an increased size of the battery and the device itself.

Below we will take a closer look at the capabilities of smartwatches and fitness bracelets, but at this stage, the key key differences between these devices are important:

Smart watches are larger than fitness bracelets and look more like traditional watches in design
You can install additional applications on your smart watch
Smart watches allow you not only to read, but also to enter certain information (reply to messages, e-mail, take notes)
Fitness bracelets last longer on a single charge than smartwatches
Smart watches, unlike fitness bracelets, can be used to pay in stores
You can control your smart watch with your voice
Recently, bracelets in watch cases are also gaining popularity. These devices include the Amzfit GTR, Amazfti GTS, Huawei Watch GT 2 or Honor Watch Magic (you can read our detailed reviews of these trackers using the links).

Despite their appearance, all these devices have ordinary fitness bracelets and do not have the additional benefits of smartwatches. Accordingly, they are suitable for those who are satisfied with the functionality of a fitness bracelet.

What is better to choose – a smart watch or a fitness bracelet?
Each type of device has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is impossible to say unequivocally which will be better in each specific case. The choice should be made depending on what is more important to you.

The main advantages of fitness bracelets:

Lower price (Mi Band 4 costs ~ $ 30)
Better autonomy (some popular fitness bracelets can last more than a month on a single charge)
Easy to set up and use, since the functionality is not as wide as that of a smartwatch
Smaller and more comfortable size, especially when it comes to sleep tracking (some smartwatches cause discomfort, making it difficult to fall asleep)
Wide sports functionality
The main disadvantages of fitness bracelets:

Poor notification handling
Inconvenient charging (often no model supports wireless charging)
Limited functionality, you cannot install additional applications. The cheapest fitness bracelets, except for step counting, do not include anything
They cannot be used for contactless payments.
Small screen if we are talking about classic design
Proprietary strap attachment (only special straps are suitable)
Smart watches solve all the disadvantages of fitness bracelets, while depriving them of their advantage. That is, these devices work on average on a single charge for 2-4 days, but at the same time they allow you to use a huge number of applications, answer messages, receive calls, pay for metro fares or groceries in stores.

You can take a fitness bracelet as your first wearable device to evaluate and understand whether you need it. Also, a fitness bracelet will be preferable if you do not need all these applications on the watch, but you just want for your physical activity.

In some cases, a smart watch can even be perceived as a “status” thing. Apple Watch, although of course they are not.

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