8 smartwatch FAQs answered for you

It’s time to answer your top smartwatch questions

8 smartwatch FAQs answered for you

Technology has evolved so much that things of science fiction such as wearable tech such as smartwatches are now a reality that we can use in our daily life. Slowly but surely, the analog mechanical watches on your wrist are being replaced by the smarter, feature-rich, and a second complimentary device to our smartphones. But just with any new piece of tech that we use for the first time, we generally have a lot of confusion and questions. Well, worry not! Let’s explore the top 8 most commonly asked questions that might be on your mind regarding your smartwatch!

Top 8 FAQs answered for you

There are plenty of small, big, complex, and simple curiosities regarding a smar twatch. Let’s take a look at a few that will help you understand your smartwatch a little better and thus help you get the most out of your nifty little purchase!

How do smartwatches measure heart rate?

There are plenty of sensors in a smartwatch and one of the most common ones is PPG or Photoplethysmography. It works by shining a LED light into the skin and measuring the changes in blood flow with each heartbeat. The smartwatch then uses an algorithm to calculate how many times the heart beats each minute.

Some smartwatches also use a different type of sensor, ECG or Electrocardiography. These are more accurate than PPG sensors. It measures the electrical activity of your heart to calculate the heart rate. Many smartwatches use a combination of PPG and ECG to improve accuracy.

How do smartwatches track steps and activities?

Smartwatches often use a combination of different sensors depending on the scenario to track steps and activities. Generally, it uses a combination of accelerometers to detect changes in motion such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. GPS is used to track outdoor activities including running, walking, and cycling. It is also used to provide more accurate distance and speed data.

On top of this, a smartwatch also relies on the user’s input to detect activities. Some smartwatches allow you to manually input the type of activity they are doing. Machine learning forms an integral part of this whole puzzle as well. As time goes on and your watch learns about you and your routine, it can automatically detect different types of activities using machine learning algorithms.

How do smartwatches make calls and send texts?

Most smartwatches after syncing with your phone are able to make calls and send texts by using the internet. Your smartwatch needs to be connected to your phone either through Bluetooth or through a mobile network. You need to have a dialer and message app on your smartwatch.

Smartwatches with built-in cellular or LTE connectivity work standalone and can be used to dial due to inherent cellular connectivity.

Can smartwatches play games?

Yes! Smartwatches can play games. Both smartwatches that use either Android-based wear OS or Apple watch OS can run a handful of games. These are obviously limited due to the compact display of real estate. These games are fairly basic in nature and are mostly 2-D games.

Are smartwatches safe?

Yes, smartwatches are perfectly safe. In fact, they are a great companion device for your smartphone and a nifty health tracking device that can tell you crucial information about your health vitals including heart rate, BP, calories, and more.

Smartwatch displaying time

Many modern-day smartwatches also have life-saving features such as fall detection or crash detection. They also have other features for outdoor activities that can potentially save your life in certain situations. There are built-in back trekking features for trekking, SOS when you are lost and can’t find any cellular connectivity.

Is health data accurate?

Generally, the data related to your activities such as the steps you walked are more or less accurate. However, with more complex data where your smartwatch needs to be extrapolated, then it becomes a little dicey. For instance, it is known that the calories burned counter is not really accurate. Some are more inaccurate than others.

Other health-related data such as sleep cycles are also accurate only to a certain degree. The same goes for heart rate and blood pressure monitoring. These are still not reliable and accurate to the point that they can be used for a clinical diagnosis. Having said that, it is still a great companion device to give you an estimate of trends in relation to your health and body rather than accurate statistics.

How do smartwatches calculate calories burned?

To give you an estimate of how many calories you’ve burned, a smartwatch first needs to detect and track your steps and other activities. For this, it uses a combination of sensors such as a 3-axis accelerometer and GPS combined with user input and machine learning algorithms.

Now on top of this, your smartwatch constantly tracks your movements. Combined with heart rate data with information about the user’s height, gender, and weight, a smartwatch can provide an estimate of calories burned during physical activity. However, it should be noted that these numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt as they are known to be not really accurate. But gradually, these are improving.

Can smartwatches be used without a phone?

Yes, you can use both a non-cellular as well as cellular smartwatch without a smartphone. But there are caveats that need to be aware of. Firstly, most of the features on a smartwatch are functional as long as it is connected to a stable Internet source.

You need to connect to the source of Wi-Fi or you need to have built-in cellular connectivity to function independently of a phone. For this, you should have a separate smartwatch data plan.

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