Guide to buying a sports watch: tips and what to keep in mind



Do you want to perform to the maximum in your sports training? Sports smartwatches are a great help in meeting goals and we've compiled some tips in this guide on what to keep in mind when buying a watch.

The end of 2020 is approaching and with it, new goals begin to be set for next year. The most recurring desire is usually to get in shape, so it is advisable to be well prepared to face it with the maximum guarantees and to maintain motivation. And sports watch can be your best ally.

If you are going to start in a new sports practice, sports watches will give you a gamification component of workouts in which, knowing specific data about your physical activity, will push you to get better times each time.

On the other hand, if you are already an expert in that sports practice, using a sports watch to monitor will help you further improve your performance as they will help you quantify your effort during workouts. In any case, with the guide that we have prepared for you, you can find the model that best suits you.

Smartwatches have improved greatly in recent years and, above all, have significantly lowered their price. So many users plan to buy a sports smartwatch. We tell you all the features to keep in mind when choosing your sports watch to suit your needs.



Choose the right size for your wrist

Size and weight are always going to go hand in hand so when buying your sports watch you should make sure that its size is not excessively large.

Many manufacturers offer the same model in two different sphere sizes. Keep in mind that the smaller its size, the less you'll notice that you're wearing it when you're moving with your arms. A few grams may seem like little when you make your daily life, but when your body is on edge during workouts, believe us, they'll look like a ton to you!

Indeed, fashion and style trends often opt towards large watches (even excessively large at times), but when choosing your sports to watch what should prevail above all is comfort.




Attention to materials

The choice of materials that make up the watch are directly related to the above advice to buy a sports watch. Using metal chains or overly bulky steel cases can significantly increase the weight of the watch and make it more uncomfortable to use.

In this sense, the presence of polycarbonate, carbon fibre or other lightweight alloys for the case and the use of silicone straps or hypoallergenic derivatives is the best choice for several reasons: they hardly add weight to the overall set, improve comfort and increase the durability of the sports watch.

If the workouts are characterized by anything, it's because it's sued—and a lot—and sometimes there's also dust and very repetitive movements, during the stride when running, for example. The use of silicone bracelets prevents the skin around the watch from being irritated by contact with the bracelet.

Some manufacturers offer the option to change bracelets easily. That way you can combine it according to your style and give a more elegant touch to your sports watch when you're not training.



Screen visibility

Having good visibility of the screen is a must for any smart sports watch. Note that the information displayed must be clear enough to be read at a glance. You can't stop your training from reading the screen!

In addition to being clear, it must offer a good level of brightness that allows you to read it smoothly even in full sun, something that will be very common if you practice running, cycling and many other outdoor sports activities.

As usual, smart sports watch display technology can be different types: electronic ink, LCD or TFT and OLED in different manufacturer developments. There are even some models that offer models of analogue displays in which the active icons simply light up.

You should also check to see if it has a touchscreen or not, as this feature will have a significant impact on battery life. Also, the distribution of option menus and navigability through their menus should be simple so that you don't waste too much time setting it up before each workout.

Check water resistance

Water is very present in sports activities (not just in the necessary hydration of the body). You go up, it rains, you cool off on a pause, etc.

Even if you're not going to practice water or water sports, having a waterproof smartwatch will always be well received.

Most sports watches offer splash and sweat resistance, certified by IP index with an IPX4 or higher, ensuring perfect operation even when you start raining while training or splashing with water when cooling down or drinking water.

Other models extend this protection with a higher sealing rate with IPX7 or IPX8, allowing you to shower with it smoothly and even swim. The separate chapter deserves sports watches designed for water sports or swimming. These seamlessly support dives beyond 3 meters as they feature a much more sophisticated sealing system.

Some watches use the same atm system used in traditional watches, with 5 ATMs being splash-resistant, 50 ATMs submersible and suitable for swimming and other nautical activities, and EN13319 certified for deeper dives.



Connectivity

Connectivity is the basis that differentiates smartwatches from conventional watches. This connection is mainly made between your sports smartwatch and your smartphone, but can also be paired with other sports devices such as chest bands to measure your heart rate or accessories to measure pedalling cadence.

The Bluetooth version used by the sports watch will also condition its autonomy as version after the version has been perfecting the standard to save resources and improve connection stability.

This link to your smartphone will allow you to receive notifications from your mobile on your watch, and even answer calls.

But Bluetooth isn't the only technology that'll keep you connected. Many smartwatches already offer GPS location. This allows them to record your training routes or use real-time route tracking features.

You can also find high-end sports watches with 4G LTE connectivity using an integrated eSIM that offers greater smartphone autonomy, being able to receive calls or answer emails without having your phone nearby. A perfect solution for those who prefer to go out to train light luggage, but do not want to give up staying traceable.

Multimedia control capabilities

Being paired with your smartphone allows smart sports watches to perform other tasks you don't expect to find on a watch. Taking on mobile multimedia control tasks is one of the most common.

Training with music is much more fun, as well as serving as an element of motivation to raise the intensity of the training. Many smartwatches allow you to control the playback functions of the music, the volume or jump to the next song.

Some of them even integrate a memory chip in which you can store your music and play it without having to be linked to any mobile.

Some models go a little further in the control of multimedia functions and integrate a remote trigger control for the mobile camera, small microphones from which you can answer the calls you receive without having to pick up the mobile or, the most extreme ones, even integrate a small camera from which to take your own photos from the watch or make video calls.



Battery

We couldn't help but mention the importance of battery life in this guide to buying a sports watch. It is certainly one of the great weaknesses of these devices, although great advances have been made in this area.

With just one day of autonomy, smart sports watches have gone on to offer up to a month of use in some cases. The complexity of integrating a battery as large as possible into a very limited space that does not involve considerable weight gain is behind this problem.

The average range offered by smart sports watches is around the week of use. Logically, this autonomy depends to a large extent on the use of GPS connectivity, notifications or the different functions since manufacturers tend to make a fairly optimistic estimate of battery life.

Heart rate monitor, pedometer and other measurements

On a smart sports watch, you can't miss the monitoring features that include the features you need for your physical activity.

The most common is the heart rate monitor, pedometer and different specific functions that measure factors specific to the sports activity you practice such as cycling cadence, swimming lengths or distance travelled and speed for those who are passionate about running. Heart rate monitoring is increasingly present in these sports smartwatches.

Rest is essential for a workout, so it is also common to find smartwatches to do sport with sleep monitoring functions. With this function, you will be able to keep control of the hours you sleep a day and the quality of that rest.

The monitoring functions recorded by the smartphone are very defined by the specialization of the smartwatch in a specific sports category. For example, you can find sports smartwatches aimed at water sports, so they offer features such as GPS-based marine navigation or sun exposure time.

Other sports watches designed for adventure or mountain sports can record data such as altitude or compass to keep you oriented even when GPS doesn't work. They can even include localization SOS systems!


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