Smartwatches are aiming high and their price too

As a kid I watched a lot of Star Trek (TNG, DS9…) and Star Wars and always dreamed of having wearable technology like you see on TV. Cell phones were the closest thing to my childhood dream, and Nokia was how I followed the progress of portable technology. While smartphones may have reached their development peak, wearable gadgets are finally having their 5 minutes.

Of all wearables, (smart) watches have the best development potential. The first smartwatch in my life was the Casio F-91W, until I saw a Casio with a calculator and IR connector that could turn off TVs. At the time, I could not imagine how advanced a watch could be, and now it’s a tool I use every day. I use it for calls and SMS notifications, alarms, occasional health monitoring, music control, and of course, telling the time.

The first smart watch was the Mi Band 2. Since then, I could not decide whether to get a proper smartwatch and charge it every day or wear something that charges every 10 days. Then I realised I rather prefer the latter and got the Band 3 and later the Huawei Watch GT. I was hoping to see a Nokia watch, and that only happened briefly with the Nokia Steel HR, although that watch was unreliable and I had to return it.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to test many watches, except the Apple Watch, and I got hooked on Huawei watches. For me, the GT series has proven to be everything I need. The battery lasts about 9 or 10 days, it’s accurate, reliable, looks good, and has a well-developed smartphone app. It is not a true smartwatch, but rather a combination of a wristband and a smartwatch. Xiaomi also launched some nice watches, but Huawei was there first.

Xiaomi changed the wearable market with its Mi Band, but Huawei made watches popular again with its first GT series. It’s been a few years now since these devices were announced, and the market has evolved to the point where affordable wearables are becoming proper smartwatches that can be worn by divers, sailors or other adventurers.

Actually, Garmin led the way with its Fenix series, and was bold enough to make a digital smartwatch as expensive as a professional Seiko or Citizen watch. But Garmin is a class for itself, and is no longer alone in this, as new players are coming to town. The first was probably Withings with its Scanwatch Horizon, which reminds me of my old Citizen Promaster. Priced at €500, it was one of the more expensive and durable smartwatches, and I honestly thought Withings was crazy.

But then Apple came along and announced its Watch 8 Ultra with MIL STD titanium case, great tracking and an $800 USD price tag. But Apple is Apple and has always broken new ground, and others followed.

Huawei had some nice Pro versions of its Watch GT and Watch series, but just recently has responded to Apple with its €1000 Huawei Watch Ultimate, which has the same specs as the Huawei Watch 3 Pro, but with a 530 mAh battery and a more rugged case that can survive an occasional dive in the Mariana Trench.

In case you do not want to sell a kidney, there’s the Amazfit T-Rex Ultra, which has a 500 mAh battery, a MIL-STD case, a 1000 nits bright display, and a good GPS for outdoor tracking. All this is available at a price of 400 USD.

So we went from a Casio with a calculator to a durable 1000 euro smartwatch in just 30 years. The future of smartwatches is promising, and some strong players in the market are making great efforts to improve each new model over the years. Smartwatches are now at the point where smartphones were about 8 years ago, but this digital product is evolving at a faster pace, and I look forward to blood pressure and blood sugar measurements being integrated into them.

I’m super happy with my Huawei Watch GT 3 which replaced GT2 after more than two years. Are you using a smartwatch or a digital wearable of any kind?