Best smartwatches of 2017 (and what will improve them in 2018)

Best of smartwatches 2017

To date, smartwatch adoption has been relatively slow. Poor battery life, a questionable aesthetic and, quite frankly, the sheer cost has left a lot of consumers questioning whether a smartwatch is something they need. Especially when most already own a perfectly adequate analogue or digital watch and smartphone combination.

As is the nature of tech, smart wearables have developed at a rapid rate in 2017, with many issues quickly ironed out as brands compete to dominate consumer wrist space. We, at SmartKem, are in the process of commercializing organic semiconductor material technology that will significantly enhance battery life and is compatible with thinner, stronger and – in the near future flexible – OLED screens for enhanced performance and aesthetic.

Is it the right time to buy a smartwatch?

Smart wearables will continue to evolve exponentially and this could lead buyers to ‘hang on’ and wait for the ultimate trinity of form, function and price. However, alongside the evolution of smartphones, demand for products in support of a healthy lifestyle and connected home continues to grow.

So, rather than wait for an unobtainable smartwatch purchasing sweet spot, it may just be the perfect time for consumers to rip off their smart wearables plaster and consolidate their fitness tracker, sleep apps and phone notifications into one convenient wearable device. SmartKem technology is just around the corner, so consumers who find they enjoy controlling and monitoring their fitness, sleep, white goods and heating for example, will not have to worry about issues such as battery life in the future.

With this in mind, we’ve rounded up our top five smartwatch options on the market now and highlighted what we think are the next steps for these models in relation to SmartKem advanced technology.

Function: Apple Watch Series 3

Overview: Apple has pared back its watch functionality, basing the new model on user feedback, to create a fitness-focused device. This less-is-more approach allows Apple to focus on complementary, rather than conflicting features, which results in a well-rounded, functional smartwatch.

Potential battery life: ‘All-day’ battery life

Typical price: £399

What’s next: The 42 mm model is a little chunky – a step backwards, as it’s bigger and heavier than previous models. We predict that Apple will produce thinner, lighter next generation models. The battery life may also hinder sleep tracking apps if it runs out of charge at the wrong time

Fashion: Samsung Gear S2

Overview: The Samsung Gear S2 series has solved many of the problems Samsung has fallen foul of with previous models. Gone is the chunky, clunky smartwatch of yesterday, today’s S2 looks great – a simple classic design with an easy to navigate system. The watch may not be as high-fashion as other versions on the market but it strikes a great balance between understated form and function with its simple rotating bezel design.

Potential battery life: Up to 2 days

Typical price: £249 (standard) £299 (classic)

What’s next: To achieve two days’ worth of battery life it’s been documented that the watch will need to have the always-on mode turned off. This is not ideal for those who wish to have a clock visible at all times. We predict that Samsung will look to extend battery life in future models to make this possible.

Fitness: Fitbit Ionic

Overview: Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit’s latest offering for health enthusiasts and offers ‘real-time’ guidance to help users reach their goals. The Ionic is billed as Fitbit’s first smartwatch with additional features such as the ability to make payments.

Potential battery life: 4+ days battery life

Typical price: £249.99

What’s next: The Fitbit Ionic features a square design, possibly in an attempt to move away from the more traditional round faces of analogue watches. In line with some of the company’s other, wraparound wristband models we predict that curved and flexible screens are the way forward for Fitbit’s next generation smartwatches and fitness trackers.

For the kids: Vtech Kidzoom Smartwatch

Overview: For many parents, kids’ smartwatches are all about traceability. But as far as kids are concerned, there’s probably one smartphone that is much more fun than that – the Vtech Kidizoom. The smartphone is packed with features that help to educate and entertain children, including its Time Master feature and a voice recorder that plays back recordings through a selection of voice effects.

Potential battery life: 2-3 days

Typical price: £42.99

What’s next: The watch is a little large for daily usage. A smaller, stronger, wraparound screen is what we’d predict as being the next steps in this fun and educational smartwatch’s development.

The future of the smartwatch looks set to become more and more advanced. Whilst we’re currently seeing many pockets of fantastic development, we believe that the future holds smartwatches that offer a more industry-wide, consistent platform of holistic features. The next generation of smartwatches will be thinner, lighter stronger and last for longer as standard, which is the all-important next important step in creating technologically advanced products that genuinely improve the daily life of the consumer.

Would we buy a smartwatch today? Yes, we would. But do we accept that SmartKem technology could see us upgrading to a better, improved model in the next couple of years…of course!

For more information on SmartKem technology, please contact us.

Details accurate at time of writing. Details subject to change. All opinions expressed are our own, none of the brands mentioned in this article are affiliated with Smartkem and SmartKem is not paid to feature them.