The first-ever digital watch made its debut in 1972, almost five whole decades ago. A lot has changed since then, and today’s smartwatches can do almost everything a phone can. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, the popularity of smartwatches has rocketed over the last few years. According to one survey, 40% of UK adults owned a smartwatch in 2021, a number that is no doubt rising year on year. So, if you’re not already part of that 40%, allow us to take you through all the pros and cons of smartwatches, answer any burning questions you may have, and ultimately help you decide whether this wrist accessory turned personal assistant is right for you.

What can a smartwatch do?

One of the most popular questions about smartwatches surrounds their functions: what exactly can a smartwatch do? To be honest, this list could go on and on, but we’ve compiled a list of the most common features of a smartwatch, with a few extra special capabilities thrown in too. With a smartwatch, you can:

  • Track your workouts by monitoring heart rate and calories burnt
  • Leave the wallet at home, sync up your bank account, and use it to pay
  • Measure your sleep, how much you got, and how efficient it was
  • Do daily breathing exercises
  • Check the weather quickly, saying goodbye to those ‘caught in the rain’ moments
  • Get directions when you’re lost
  • Link your watch to your Spotify account, even without your phone handy! (for music and calls, a paired headphone is required)
  • Take calls (taking calls on your watch will also make you look like a secret agent so this gets double points)

Not too bad for something that used to just tell time, eh?

Which smartwatch should I get?

Which smartwatch is right for you depends on what you want it for, as all have different functionality. The Apple Watch SE is a popular choice, and is consistently rated as one of the best on the market.

However, the Apple Watch requires you to have an iPhone, so not the best option if you are #TeamAndroid.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 also receives rave reviews, so is worth checking out. Both of these options are great all-rounders, so it’s no wonder Apple and Samsung are dominating the smartwatch arena. However, if you like to rebel against the norm, check out Fossil Gen 5 LTE, a more style-focused choice.

Are smartwatches worth the money?

Now as with any tech product, there is a whole range of smartwatches for every need and budget. If you’re just looking to track your fitness and health, then opt for a fitness tracker, which can often be much cheaper (if you don’t buy a FitBit that is), like the Amazfit Band 5 Smart Band & Fitness Tracker, which retails at a very respectable £24.99.

However, if you want the works, then you might be better off looking at more expensive options, which can be around £200, give or take. Even though this is quite a hefty price tag, perhaps this price is not to be sniffed at.

As we’ve shown, a lot of smartwatches have almost as much functionality as a smartphone, so if you compare a smartwatch to the price of your phone, many watches can actually be great value for money. Bonus: they also don’t need to be charged as often as your phone, with many only needing a weekly charge.

Are smartwatches safe?

If you type in smartwatch online, you’ll no doubt be met with a barrage of questions about the safety of smartwatches. Whether it’s worrying about whether smartwatches ‘cause cancer’ or just wondering if the in-built heart-rate tracker is accurate, it’s no surprise if you can’t quite tell wrong from right on what a smartwatch means for your wellbeing.

But do not worry, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, as using a smartwatch does not result in any known negative health effects. Any frequency emitting device must meet health and safety standards, so this should offer some peace of mind in that department.

If you’re still wondering about the accuracy of the heart rate monitor on your watch, one study found that the Apple Watch was accurate 91% of the time, with accuracy varying depending on device. Whilst not perfect, these stats are pretty good for those looking for a basic estimate- remember, smartwatches and fitness trackers are not medical devices!

Does a smartwatch work without a phone?

Now, this is a tricky one, as it really does depend on the type of smartwatch you buy. Whilst most need a smartphone for the initial set-up of the watch, many can operate, and even take calls, without requiring a close phone connection. So, if you hate having to constantly worry about where your phone is, or carry it around, it sounds like a smartwatch may be right up your street. However, don’t take our word for it, and always double-check each smartwatches’ specific functions before buying- as you don’t want to be disappointed!

What else do I need with my smartwatch?

Hopefully, by now we have helped you answer whether or not a smartwatch is worth it, as everyone is different and what’s useful to some may be pointless to others. Given how expensive they can be, it always makes sense to take out insurance for your smartwatch if you pick a model above £100. Even models which are waterproof and shockproof aren’t indestructible, and there’s always the risk that you might take it off and accidentally leave it somewhere, or have it stolen from your bag.

Considering this, an Arma Karma insurance subscription is the best way to go, giving you cover wherever you are, be that home, out and about, or abroad. With us, you can insure your smartwatch from as little as £4.35* a month.

But why stop there? You can pair your smartwatch with your phone under your subscription, or bundle it in with earbuds to benefit from a multi-item discount – with up to five of your items covered in one go.

Visit our homepage to find out what we can insure and get a quote to see how little you can be protecting your stuff for.

*Based on an Apple Watch Series 6 worth £379 with an excess of £125.