How to Choose a Smartwatch (GUIDE)

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Choose the smartwatch that fits you best. Our guide will tell you the most important features, operating systems, and basic smartwatch categories. You'll get all the information you need to make a good choice.

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How to Choose a Smartwatch - CONTENTS

Tips for Choosing a Smartwatch

  1. Ask yourself why you are buying a smartwatch in the first place.
  2. Check not only compatibility with your phone, but also if your bank supports contactless payment through a watch.
  3. Read reviews and find out the real product experience.
  4. Don't underestimate the importance of the operating system. There are big differences between individual smartwatches.

Basic Smartwatch Parameters

The best way to choose a smartwatch is to understand its parameters and features. This is the only way you will be able to independently evaluate any model and choose a watch that matches your needs and desires. That's why we've put together this complete guide that tells you everything you need to know to make the right choice.

Dimensions and design

Smartwatches come in a variety of shapes, sizes and forms. In terms of geometry, most common are models with a round display and design is essentially timeless. Rectangular variants, on the other hand, bet on larger displays, simple controls, and they are often thinner.

While some smartwatches are massive, others are smaller and are roughly equivalent to a regular wristwatch. Many models come in several sizes, so customers can choose the size that fits them best. However, smaller versions may have shorter battery life or lack some advanced features (e.g. Bluetooth calls). Any differences are usually clearly listed by the manufacturer.

More and more attention is also being paid to design, as evidenced by the growing number of smartwatches in the "style" category. And although these are models that serve mainly as a striking fashion accessory, they do include the essential functions and the average user therefore won't miss out. A special category is the so-called hybrid models, which combine traditional mechanical hands with basic smart functions and often also a built-in (hidden) display that only appears when needed (see picture below).

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The Garmin Vívomove smartwatch range is a hybrid model combining mechanical hands and a display.

Material, durability and water resistance

Smartwatches are made from a variety of materials, including combinations of materials. Aside from premium titanium, which is a very lightweight and particularly strong element, we often come across aluminium, various variants of high-quality polymer (plastic) or stainless steel, which is known for its overall durability.

Smartwatch straps are similarly varied. Commonly, we come across silicone, which is cheap, comfortable, and given its inability to absorb water or sweat, also a perfect choice for swimming and sports. However, metal, leather or other straps are also no exception, as they stand out especially for their design. Also increasingly common is the easy and quick replacement system, which allows you to choose a strap according to the current occasion or mood. However, the system of attaching the strap to the case varies from one manufacturer to another, and the width of the strap must also be taken into account. You can see the range of replacement straps here.

A specific feature worth noting is water resistance. While some watches have no protection at all, others can withstand accidental water splashes (rain/hand washing), while others still can even handle immersion in water or diving. The level of water resistance is typically indicated by the ATM rating — 5 ATM or higher standardly guarantees you can take your watch for a swim without diving. Some companies also state it's safe to immerse their watches in water at 3 ATM, so it is up to the customer whether to trust the manufacturer or internationally recognised standards. We can sometimes see this expressed in metres (e.g. waterproof to 50 metres), but this information is not literal and the 50 metres mentioned actually only allows you to swim near the surface.

Many manufacturers prefer to indicate the degree of protection (IP), which usually has two digits (e.g. IP68). Simply put, the first number indicates the level of dust resistance, while the second value indicates the level of protection against liquids (i.e. the equivalent of ATM). An explanation of the meaning of each digit can be found in the drop-down tab below.

Smartwatches are made to meet specific standards for the most demanding conditions. The most commonly encountered is the military standard MIL-STD-810G, which guarantees resistance to low and high temperatures, sunlight, humidity, salty environments, as well as temperature and pressure fluctuations as standard.

The relatively vulnerable display is often protected by special durable glass, most often Corning Gorilla Glass. More expensive models sometimes prefer Sapphire Glass, which is extremely hard and thus particularly resistant to any scratches. A wide range of smartwatches are also equipped with unspecified tempered glass, the durability of which is difficult to estimate. Many customers therefore play it safe and buy adhesive screen protectors, which can be easily and cheaply replaced in the event of any damage.

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Military standards of durability are often found in models designed for harsh outdoor conditions.

Display and controls

Smartwatches use different types of displays, the characteristics of which vary considerably. Each variant has its own (dis)advantages, so you need to consider which advantages you actually prefer. Let's take a look at the most common types.

  • AMOLED - an increasingly widespread type of display panel, which in most situations offers the most beautiful image quality of all technologies, boasting vivid colours, true blacks (which are not just dark grey), high contrast and excellent viewing angles. The AMOLED display is typically turned off and is only triggered by pressing a button, lifting your wrist or tapping the display. For this reason, the Always-On feature was developed to continuously display basic information on the display, while consuming less power than if the screen were switched on conventionally. On the other hand, AMOLED has the disadvantage of below-average sunlight legibility, which is also affected by the maximum brightness of the display - the more power the display consumes, the more legible it is.

  • Transflective display - uses the ambient light that hits it to improve readability. This makes it easy to read even in direct sunlight, making the transflective display an obvious choice for outdoor athletes, especially in the summer. This display runs non-stop and does not need to be lit by any specific interaction. In the dark, on the other hand, it needs backlight to become readable, and this backlight comes in various colours (usually blue). The transflective display is found on most Garmin smartwatches.

  • LCD - although it represents a small fraction of the market, some manufacturers still prefer it for its low price, which is reflected in the final price tag of the watch. Compared to AMOLED, LCD also has a higher durability and boasts great readability under sunlight.

An important feature of any display is the resolution, which is given in pixels (e.g. 300 × 300 px) and the higher the value, the better the image. Screen size is also closely related to resolution, as the larger the screen is at the same resolution, the worse the image looks (so 300 × 300 px looks worse on a 1.4-inch display than on a 1.2-inch display). However, the ideal parameter, which we don't encounter very often, is PPI (number of pixels per inch). This calculates the  display image quality from the resolution and screen size—precisely the values we're most interested in. As for the size of the display, this is usually indicated by the diagonal in millimetres or inches (the " mark), where 1 inch is 25.4mm.

The display is also closely related to the controls. Most smartwatches are operated by a touchscreen in combination with one or more buttons. However, many models do not have a touchscreen at all. These are mainly sports and outdoor models, where we often prefer to use the buttons because of sweaty or dirty hands or gloves. Easy and intuitive operation is also made possible by the rotating Bezel Ring, which can be found on some Samsung watches. However, the undisputed king of great controls is the Apple Watch, whose Digital Crown is simply unrivalled.

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Comparison of low (left) and high (right) resolution.

Universal smart features

Among the most common functions we find time, alarm clock, stopwatch or countdown. However, some functions are dependent on an internet connection, either direct via Wi-Fi or LTE, or work indirectly via a phone that is connected to the internet. This gives you access to weather forecasts, the app store or email and social media notifications. However, some smartwatches do not support the more exotic diacritics and alphabet symbols, although updates often solve this problem. There are also differences in the ability to respond to notifications—while some models allow you to reply with a pre-made message, smileys, tapping or dictating text, other smartwatches only tell you the message is there and you have to pull out your phone to reply.

A slightly rarer function is making phone calls, which requires a built-in microphone and speaker. If a smartwatch allows calls, it usually means Bluetooth calls via a connected phone. However, there are also models where you stick in an (electronic) SIM card and then you can make calls independently of the smartphone (see Apple or Samsung). Special watches can also have a built-in camera that allows video calls, which is particularly common in models for children or the elderly.

We also find a stark difference in  music management. If the music is played on your phone, you can generally control it from your watch without much hassle. Some smartwatches, however, allow you to upload your music directly and then listen to it without the phone, which is especially useful when playing sports or when you want to leave your cumbersome phone at home. Although some watches are equipped with a speaker for music playback,  wireless headphones, Bluetooth speakers and other external devices obviously provide much better audio quality. And speaking of music, the internal storage capacity (listed in GB) is a good indicator how many songs (but also apps and other things) you can actually fit into your smartwatch.

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Many smartwatches allow you to upload and play music.

Sports features

A common reason to get a smartwatch is to use it to monitor physical activity. Just like fitness trackers, specialised smartwatches continuously monitor your activity levels by counting your steps, distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed, and they can also alert you when your are being unhealthily idle (for example, when you have been sitting still for too long).

However, smartwatches differ significantly in monitoring specific sports. While the basic models support, only about five different activities, on other watches we can find more than a hundred different modes. So you'll need to check for yourself whether your favourite sports are included. Differences can also be found in the breadth and sophistication of the individual tracking—some smartwatches display only basic data (which is usually enough for casual athletes), while others offer highly professional information such as golf swing power, swimming style detection, navigation to the starting point and much more.

Smartwatches, like fitness trackers, usually feature heart rate measurement. This serves as  the primary indicator of training intensity, which is key to achieving your desired goals (like burning fat). More sporty customers should definitely consider smartwatches with more advanced features such as workout effectivity calculation, recovery time, complete training plan creation, virtual workout trainer, various exercises including pre-workouts and much more. Among other features we find a compass, altimeter, thermometer, tachometer, barometer (atmospheric pressure reading), oximeter that tells you your blood oxygenation levels or VO2 Max as a general fitness indicator.

Global positioning satellite systems are also an important parameter. Most often you can come across GPS, Galileo, Glonass and BeiDou, which can be integrated directly into the smartwatch, or you can also use your phone's GPS. Although turning this feature on means a substantially faster battery drain, it gets you a route record on the map, average speed for measured sections, more accurate data on the distance covered and other essential information about your performance.

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Health monitoring features

Smartwatches can also monitor your health. Modern smartwatches continuously measure your heart rate, so you will always know if there are any abnormal readings. Sleep monitoring is also widespread, giving you useful information about how long you sleep, your sleep phases, interruptions and more. Some smartwatches even detect the most common sleep disorders, helping you to get an early diagnosis by a specialist.

Some manufacturers (Garmin, Huawei, or Honor to name a few) also analyse heart rate variability, from which they calculate the so-called stress. However, this is not the psychological stress as we normally understand it, but the total stress on the body, which, in addition to physical exercise, is also influenced by diet, acute illnesses and other stress factors. This gives you an idea about your overall exhaustion in the last hours and days, which then allows you to plan your physical (and not just physical) activity.

Smartwatches with the ability to measure ECG on the fly are also getting increasingly popular, and some models can even estimate your blood pressure. Many watches also give you the option to log the amount of fluids you drink, giving you a good overview of your drinking schedule. Women can also use the menstrual cycle tracking function to get a variety of useful data. A smartwatch can even save a person's life. Some come equipped with automatic fall detection or an SOS button, so in case of an accident, they will alert your loved ones, call for professional help, and sometimes even send precise GPS coordinates.

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Some smartwatches can even measure your ECG.

Performance and battery life

Similar to computers and phones, smartwatches have basic parameters that determine their performance. First and foremost is the processor. Some manufacturers indicate the number of cores and their frequency, and of course, more is better. However, many smartwatches use the popular Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear chipset and simply indicate the series, so the customer just needs to look at the bigger numbers (e.g. 3100 series is better than 2100). Performance is also affected by the RAM, which today reaches up to 1GB. However, most manufacturers do not specify the hardware parameters at all, which, although a bit sketchy, does prevent the customer from misinterpreting what those numbers really mean. Smartwatch performance also depends on the operating system and other parameters, so a weaker watch may perform faster and smoother than its competitors in some circumstances. This is also why we recommend reading our reviews, where we describe real experiences with individual models.

Battery life is also a big topic. While some manufacturers (like Apple) rely on a one-day battery life, with the user recharging the watch quickly and easily, other companies' products (Garmin, Honor, Xiaomi) often last many days or even weeks. Even the battery capacity doesn't tell us much about the real battery life. The use of various functions, sensors, technologies (especially GPS), but also the type of display or a particular operating system significantly affects the battery drain. Occasionally you may come across extraordinary technologies such as recharging from human body heat or a built-in solar panel. Manufacturers generally give realistic figures for battery life, although the most accurate data can only be obtained in independent reviews. Some smartwatches also feature various power saving modes, which, while they extend battery life significantly, do not allow you to use all the smart features.

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Connectivity and payments

An integral part of the smartwatch is the ability to connect to a smartphone, wireless headphones, as well as various accessories (e.g. a chest strap). However, there are differences between the different models, both in individual technologies and in their versions and, therefore, features.

Smartwatches are most often equipped with Bluetooth technology, which is used to connect wirelessly to another device, be it a smartphone, wireless headphones, speakers or sensors. Speed, range and other features largely depend on the version you choose, which we describe in a separate article.

Less common but still widely used is Wi-Fi, which is also useful for connecting directly to the internet. This allows us to download data or apps independently of the mobile phone, and significantly faster than when using Bluetooth. The 2.4 GHz band is standard, but more modern watches are also compatible with the significantly faster 5 GHz band.

Another technology is ANT+, which is a communication protocol primarily used to connect to sports accessories. It is a fast and reliable connection option with a range of up to 10 meters, which also boasts low power consumption for both the smartwatch and the sensor itself.

NFC technology is also in high demand, which is particularly useful for contactless payments. Simply place your smartwatch near the terminal (similar to a contactless card) and within seconds payment is made via encrypted transmission. Various manufacturers have created their own platforms for such payments, among which we can mention Apple Pay, Garmin Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay or Fitbit Pay. If this feature is important to you, we recommend checking whether the service works in your country of residence and whether your bank supports it.

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A smartwatch makes payments fast, convenient and secure.
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Operating System Comparison

An integral part of a smartwatch is the operating system, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. The fundamental differences can be found in the user environment, features, degree of customisation and the possibility of expanding it with new apps. Multiple languages aren't always supported, so if you have a problem with English, pay close attention to the supported languages. We also recommend checking compatibility with your mobile phone. Although most smartwatches work with all modern smartphones, the Apple Watch, for example, exclusively supports iPhones. Alza.cz makes it quick and easy to check compatibility—just check the specifications on the product page of your chosen smartwatch.

In the following text you will find a description of each operating system, highlighting the pros and cons. More detailed information is provided in the drop-down menus, which also contain screenshots based on the structure of the interface, with the basic watch face as the starting point.


watchOS Garmin OS Tizen Lite OS / HarmonyOS Amazfit OS / MIUI for Watch Wear OS by Google
Used by the following manufacturers Apple Garmin
Samsung
Honor, Huawei
Xiaomi, Huami, Amazfit
Fossil, TicWatch, Withings,
some Suunto models
Contactless payment system
>Apple Pay
Garmin Pay
Samsung Pay
(Currently not available in the Czech Republic)
× × Google Pay
(presently not supported by the watch)
Installing new apps For select models ×
Support for Czech diacritics
Mobile apps in Czech
(some terms left in English)
Watch OS in Czech For select models
OS support iOS Android, iOS Android, iOS Android, iOS Android, iOS Android, iOS

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watchOS

Used by Apple watches

Despite the growing competition, Apple Watch has long remained the best-selling watch on the market. This is thanks in no small part to the watchOS operating system, which offers both a stunning design and refined features for every occasion. Apple Watch also support multiple languages, contactless payments, an app store, and features the famous Digital Crown for better control. Whether you're going about your daily routine or a sports event, Apple Watch gives you the very best without compromise.

Pros

  • Large number of customisable watch faces
  • Control via Digital Crown
  • Perfect integration with Apple products
  • Many apps available
  • Detailed health monitoring
  • Robust multi-language support

Cons

  • Weaker battery life (1-2 days)
  • Some features are not available on smaller markets
  • Compatible with iOS only

Learn more about watchOS

Despite various attempts by competitors to emulate the Apple Watch, Apple still remains the leading player in the smartwatch technology field. But since the hardware aspect has been mastered by all major manufacturers, the operating system is now a more important factor than ever. Apple is well aware of this and regularly expands its interface with major updates. That's why watchOS is one of the best systems available, both in terms of design and versatility. The overall experience is further enhanced by the intuitive Digital Crown, which is arguably the best control type of all the solutions on the market right now.

The large choice of watch faces, including the wide range of customisation options, is also a major selling point. Users create their own designs with all sorts of indicators and elements, with the ability to flip between watch faces according to your mood with a single gesture. In watchOS, watch faces play a central role. They provide an overview of the data you need and access to your favourite functions without the need for complicated menus. Also worth noting are the smooth system operation, full-fledged multi-language support, and the virtual assistant Siri, even though she, like most other voice assistants, does not understand less common European languages.

The store with thousands of apps, which has similar features to the App Store on iPhones, is another major selling point. You can search for certain apps, browse different categories or rate apps right there and then. A significant share of apps are premium, which is understandable given the large product offer. The fact that they have a good chance of earning money also motivates developers to create more apps. Acquired apps are then automatically added to a central list that is arranged in a grid view. Move the Digital Crown to zoom in or out on the app icons, so you can tap with your finger and easily launch the selected app. Meanwhile, pressing and holding allows you to move apps around at will.

Apple Watch is a reliable partner on the go. All day activity is recorded by the Activity app, which consists of three coloured rings. These need to be filled daily to ensure you get enough exercise to maintain robust health. The first ring tracks the number of calories burned, the second asks for 30 minutes of vigorous activity, and the third alerts you to stand up and move around a bit if it detects long periods of inactivity. In addition, each month Apple lists a monthly challenge that is tailored specifically to that user. You can even challenge your friends to compete in physical activity over the course of 7 days.

There's also a coach to guide you through a series of one-off exercises, while runners can opt for multi-week training plans. Apple also offers integration with popular third-party apps such as Nike Training Club. The latter guides you through the world of fitness and offers, for example, long-term training plans tailored to your chosen goals, current fitness levels and available equipment.

WatchOS keeps a close eye on your health as well. Apple Watch automatically detects when you are washing your hands and starts the recommended 20-second countdown—useful for our coronavirus era and beyond. There's also a safe noise level monitor, ECG measurement, fall detection, or the option to call for help via the SOS button. Regular encouragement to compete with friends, which motivates the user to walk or run a few more kilometres, also helps you to stay healthy.

The biggest downside of Apple Watch is its weaker battery life, which can typically give you 1 to 2 days of normal use. At the same time, Apple Watch only supports phones from the same brand (iPhones), which makes it useless for other smartphone owners.

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GarminOS

Used by Garmin

American manufacturer Garmin has created an extremely sophisticated ecosystem preferred by enthusiastic athletes. There is a wide variety of options for users to customise the system to their liking, including downloading selected apps. At the same time, these watches support connection to additional devices such as a chest strap or various sensors. Garmin offers the most advanced tools for planning, analysing and evaluating your workouts, as well as other exclusive features unmatched by competitors. While Garmin's system may not be as modern and intuitive as some others, its sports functionality is still unrivalled.

Pros

  • Most advanced sports features
  • Wide range of features and settings
  • Robust multi-language support
  • Many apps to choose from
  • Garmin Pay contactless payments

Cons

  • Relatively old-fashioned design
  • Occasionally somewhat complicated
  • English-only app store descriptions

Learn more about Garmin OS

If this king of sports watches has any weak points, it's the design of the system itself. It looks a bit old-fashioned and in places, even the navigation less than perfect. This, however, is balanced out by its sheer number of customisation options.

For example, for each sport mode, you can specify the type and layout of the data that is displayed during activity, so you can see just what you are really interested in. Select smartwatches offer special features for certain activities, so you just have to choose the right model. Runners may be particularly interested in Garmin Coach, which creates a customised training plan and also offers useful articles or videos. In addition, the plan automatically adapts itself to any planned activities that you may have missed, delivering much better results than any fixed schedule.

Speaking of planning, we must mention the Body Battery function, which continuously monitors the body's total workload and relaxation to determine what percentage of energy the user still has left. This gives you a complete overview of your energy reserves and means you don't have to rely on the often misleading feeling of fatigue. For a one-off workout, there are exercises with different focuses, which advise you exactly how to perform the workout using handy animations. Another original feature is LiveTrack, which transmits up-to-date data on map position, pace and other data to selected contacts or social networks.

Garmin's operating system also features Garmin Pay contactless payments, robust multi-language support and the ability to install any app from Connect IQ. From there, thousands of options await you from many different sectors, be it music, transportation, weather, performance metrics, all sorts of watch faces or games including legendary ones like Snake or Pac-Man. Each app is also properly described, albeit in English, and there are no shortage of screenshots, ratings or reviews.

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Tizen

Used by Samsung

The Tizen operating system, available on Samsung devices, is unique in several ways. At first glance, it impresses with its unique design, which is definitely one of the most aesthetically pleasing on the market. Like WatchOS or Garmin OS, Tizen is an extremely sophisticated system with robust multi-language support, contactless payments, and its own app store. Also worth mentioning is the virtual assistant or the legendary rotating Bezel Ring that is a hallmark of select Samsung watches. The Bezel Ring enables intuitive operation without covering the display with your fingers, but also easy and hassle-free control when you have wet hands or are wearing your gloves.

Pros

  • High-end design
  • Wide customisation options
  • App Store
  • Robust multi-language support
  • Samsung Pay contactless payments
  • Bezel Ring

Cons

  • English-only app store descriptions
  • Lower battery life

Learn more about Tizen

Tizen is an open source system built on the Linux kernel and thus does not belong strictly to Samsung. Yet it is this South Korean company that has made Tizen famous around the world. This is because it uses Tizen in its cameras, TVs, smartphones, and smartwatches, which run a lightweight version of the interface.

Tizen is not afraid to offer a fairly massive system with a wide range of features to satisfy even the most demanding users. Unlike Wear OS, optimisation is also perfectly handled, so Tizen runs wonderfully  without making any compromises. At the same time, an extraordinary range of customisation options is available and the app list can be displayed both as a circle and as a classic menu. You can respond to notifications in a variety of ways and each app can even be assigned a specific tone or vibration style. The attention to detail is also excellent, as can be illustrated by an incoming Messenger message that first displays the sender's profile photo, which then recedes into the background to reveal the text itself.

Not to be left out is the store with its considerable number of apps. These range from sports to health, news, finance and a large number of games. You can download an endless number of watch faces and there's something for literally everyone. In addition, the design of the system can be customised further by downloading various fonts, which may matter more than you think. However, a significant number of the available apps are exclusively premium. Although a few euro is hardly a high price to pay, you can always filter out the paid apps from the offer if you prefer. For each app, you can also see the overall rating, reviews, screenshots, and an English-only description.

In many ways, Tizen resembles its  WatchOS competitor. Aside from the look, there's also a high level of sophistication, wide range of customisation options, and relatively low battery life (about two days). You can also look forward to Samsung's Bixby virtual assistant. Although it is not as sophisticated as Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa and does not speak many languages, many users will certainly find it useful.

Tizen is no slouch when it comes to sports either. In addition to measuring all the basic variables, it offers (like Garmin OS or watchOS) complete training plans of various focuses, whether it's weight training, cardio or weight reduction. There are also proper instructions, photos or videos, which in some cases are even in multiple languages.

The only minor downside is perhaps the initial setup, which requires the installation of up to two mobile apps and some plugins. On the other hand, the orientation is facilitated by the initial guide, which takes the user through the entire system and teaches them various gestures. There are also features to make it easier to use, which is essential for people with poor eyesight or disabilities. In addition, the Bezel Ring makes controls extremely intuitive, though you can always ignore it if you don't like it for whatever reason. The watch works just as well without it.

chytré hodinky; smartwatch; wearables;

Lite OS + HarmonyOS

Used by Huawei and Honor

Lite OS is the operating system used by Huawei and Honor smartwatches. It's a solid compromise between Amazfit OS-style simplicity and the relatively complex systems of the rest of the competition. You get smooth and easy operation, robust multi-language support, and the more advanced features in one package, although contactless payment options are still missing. Although Huawei has put its brand new HarmonyOS system in its latest smartwatch, the are few real few changes to speak of.

Pros

  • Compromise between simplicity and complexity
  • Full localisation
  • Excellent optimisation

Cons

  • Lacking customisation options
  • No app store on some models
  • No contactless payment options

Learn more about Lite OS and HarmonyOS

Huawei's first smartwatches used Google's competing Wear OS. However, even before the imposition of US sanctions, the Chinese manufacturer introduced its own Lite OS interface, which it put on the then newly-released models. Although it's a relatively successful system, Huawei has now launched its brand new HarmonyOS, which, however, brings very few changes.

Lite OS and HarmonyOS are both well-designed systems offering basic to intermediate features. Compared to Amazfit OS, these two offer a more sophisticated interface overall as well as some extra features. These include stress measurement, detection of the most common sleep disorders, and a noticeably wider range of sports activities. All this in a clean user environment and with excellent optimisation, thanks to which the manufacturer guarantees up to 14 days of battery life in some models.

Everything is completely localised and there are nifty sports features to enjoy. Lite OS offers training plans for runners, annotated exercises and individual plans. A recent update has also expanded the range of sports modes to a whopping 100. Missing, however, are contactless payments, more detailed customisation and, compared to more comprehensive systems, the ability to reply to incoming messages or notifications. Some models also don't offer access to the app store.

chytré hodinky; smartwatch; wearables;

Amazfit OS + MIUI for Watch

Used by Amazfit, Xiaomi and Huami

The operating system in the Amazfit and Huami devices, most often sold under the Xiaomi banner, relies on a maximally simple, clear and easy-to-learn user environment. The lack of advanced features, an app store, and sometimes even language localisation can, however, present an insurmountable problem for some users.

Pros

  • Extremely simple user environment
  • Easy to navigate
  • Support for diacritics
  • Solid optimisation
  • Relatively low price

Cons

  • Spotty localisation
  • Inability to install apps
  • Minimal customisation options
  • Absence of advanced features
  • No contactless payments

Learn more about Xiaomi, Huami, Amazfit

The typical minimalism will please less demanding customers who don't want to wade through an unnecessarily complex user environment, tedious setup, and endless options at every turn. Simplicity also makes it easier to optimise the overall experience, which helps to increase battery life significantly. Unlike their significantly more expensive competitors that offer only several days of battery life, with these operating systems you can easily find a smartwatch that will work up to two weeks on a single charge.

However, this simplicity can be a stumbling block for more demanding users. Without the ability to install apps and fine-tune the interface, watch owners are left to the whims of the manufacturer. In most countries these watches won't even let you make contactless payments, unlike in China. In addition, some models may lack multi-language support, which is especially unpleasant for users who don't speak English. That said, the system uses only a handful of words that can be easily learned.

In addition to the many sports features, select models also come with simple running plans that give your workouts a clear order. There's also the unique PAI (Personal Vitality Index) function, which gives you a single number to indicate whether you are getting enough exercise to stay healthy. For the sake of completeness, let's add that the long-standing Amazfit mobile app has been renamed to Zepp, which was accompanied by the release of the new Zepp E smartwatch.

The manufacturer Xiaomi, which until some time ago was representing Amazfit and Huami products, now also sells its own smartwatch without cooperation with the aforementioned companies. This is the Xiaomi Mi Watch, which also received a brand new MIUI for Watch system, which is likely to become as popular as MIUI on smartphones.

chytré hodinky; smartwatch; wearables;

Wear OS

Used by Fossil, TicWatch, Withings, or Suunto

While tech giant Google doesn't make smartwatches under its own brand, its Wear OS is used by devices from a number of companies including Fossil, TicWatch, Withings or Suunto. This allows customers to choose from a wider range of products, without having to adapt to a completely different operating system. Wear OS boasts its own app store, complete English and Google services including a virtual assistant and Google Pay.

Pros

  • More device choices
  • App Store
  • Integrated Google Assistant
  • Contactless Google Pay payments
  • Robust multi-language support

Cons

  • Imperfect optimisation
  • Features split into three mobile apps
  • Not very intuitive

Wear OS details

Wear OS, formerly called Android Wear, is an open source operating system with a fairly complex structure. Naturally, all of Google's own services are present, whether it's Google Fit, Google Translate, Google Calendar or Google Assistant, which is the only voice assistant in the world that also understands less common European languages. Of course, the previously mentioned contactless payment service Google Pay, originally called Android Pay, is also a part of the service, although it does not currently support watch payments in some countries.

An integral part of the system is also the Google Play store, where we can find a huge number of apps covering all sorts of topics, whether it is travel, productivity, cooking, sports or anything else. There's also a decent selection of watch faces and fun games. Each app has a multi-language description, screenshots, ratings and reviews, so you can easily get a good idea of what the app does.

You need three mobile apps—Wear OS, Google Fit and Messages for Wear OS— to use the full potential of the watch. And while some users can get by with a single app, for more demanding customers the situation may seem unnecessarily complicated. On the other hand, the introductory tutorial is really well done and will teach you the basics in no time. The flip side of this rather convoluted system and different hardware companies is noticeably worse optimisation, which can result in slower operation and worse battery life. Few companies have as much experience as Google does, however, so it's safe to asume Google will address this issue eventually.

Select Smartwatch Categories

Apple Watch

All-Purpose Smartwatches

  • Versatile and useful in any situation
  • Combination of all-purpose, sports and health functions
  • Large selection of different models

Looking for a smartwatch you can use every day? All-purpose models are designed to become your faithful companion at work, leisure, sports and social events. The undisputed champion in this category is Apple Watch, particularly popular with iPhone owners. We can help you choose your own Apple Watch in a separate article.

Pros and Cons
  • Useful in any situation
  • Plenty of watches to choose from
  • Great functionality, features, and design
  • Lack of advanced sports features
Sportovní chytré hodinky

Smart Sports Watches

  • Advanced sports features for planning, measuring and evaluating your workouts
  • Sporty look and sweat-resistant strap
  • Increased resistance to dust, water and external wear and tear

Although physical activity monitoring is provided by almost all smartwatches, sports-oriented models offer the most advanced features of all, including detailed analysis and comprehensive activity and recovery planning. In addition to the usual smart features, you can often encounter integrated navigation systems, the ability to connect external sensors or increased resistance to the elements. This category also includes rugged outdoor smartwatches that can cope with extreme weather. Garmin occupies a special position, offering a wide range of sports-oriented models, which we cover in our separate guide. Although sport watches are rather different from fitness trackers, manufacturers and online stores often combine these two categories into one.

Pros and Cons
  • Most advanced features for sports and physical activities
  • Compatible with external sensors, including chest straps
  • Extra resistant to the elements
  • Their sporty, almost military-like look is less appropriate for social events
Stylové chytré hodinky

Stylish Smartwatches

  • Very elegant, understated, suitable for classy social events 
  • Made from luxury materials with plenty of attention to detail
  • Includes basic smart and sports functions

Stylish smartwatches are growing increasingly popular, attracting customers with their understated look and elegance that goes well with formal evening wear. Stylish smartwatches often boast premium materials such as metal or leather, and they don't lag behind in terms of features either. A separate category are the so-called hybrid smartwatches, which combine mechanical hands with smart functions and often a hidden display that only appears when needed.

Pros and Cons
  • Frequently made of premium materials
  • Typically smaller and thinner design
  • Beautiful and impressive to look at
  • More advanced features are often missing
  • Leather or metal straps are unsuitable for sports
Chytré hodinky pro děti

Children's Smartwatches

  • For small wrists
  • Equipped with a GPS locator
  • Many colours and themes to choose from

Just like watches for the elderly, children's smartwatches give you the opportunity to keep in constant touch with your loved ones. These models are usually equipped with a GPS tracker  to locate the child at any time, an SOS button to call for help, and (video) calls or text messaging via an inserted SIM card. They are very easy to use and have a design adapted specifically for children, so your kids are going to love it.

Pros and Cons
  • Built-in GPS locator
  • SIM card for video (calls) and text messages
  • Easy to use and attractive design
  • A little too big for a child's hand
  • Fewer features compared to other watches

Although choosing the right model can take some time, it is a worthwhile investment. After reading this guide, you will have all the essential information you need to choose a smartwatch that meets your needs. Now there's nothing stopping you from clicking on the green button below to browse our wide range of models, many of which are also covered in separate, more in-depth articles.

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