Is a Dick Tracy Watch in Your Future?


On my birthday, my wife and daughter bought a Samsung Gear S watch for me.  It is a smartwatch or as I call it a Dick Tracy Watch.  I am waiting for Mumbles to call.  But before they bought it for me, I spent over a year looking at smartwatches before recommending the Gear S to them.

There are several different types of smartwatches ranging from Apple, LG, Motorola, Pebble and Samsung etc.  They can receive text and email alerts.  Some can monitor your heart, your exercising, and have navigation (GPS).

But the first question is:

What is a smartwatch?

A smartwatch is wearable technology that connects to your smart phone.  It can receive notification of incoming calls, text alerts, email alerts, social media alerts.  Some smartwatches are like a Dick Tracy watch where you call, talk, and receive phone calls.  They can run apps on your phone or on the smartwatch.

The second question is:

What are you going to use it for?

Me, here are the things that I wanted:

1 .The ability to call and receive calls without having my phone nearby.  I hardly ever take my phone when I go jogging early in the morning (I don’t have a place to store my phone when I go jogging).  My wife gets worried if I am not back from my morning jog by 6:30.  Now she can call me when I am jogging.  This ability requires a phone data plan

2. Bluetooth capability to see who is calling without having to dig out my phone from my jacket or pants pocket. How many times have you gone to reach for your ringing phone to see who is calling and by the time you pull it out, the person calling has hung up. The watch will allow me to see who is calling and I can either answer the call with the phone, a Bluetooth headset or the watch.

3. To receive notifications (texts and emails) or check my calendar without having to dig out my phone to see the message.

4. The ability to hear music while jogging, I can either listen to music that I downloaded or from the Internet.  I couldn’t do that before.

5. A heart rate monitor on my arm. I no longer have to attach a device to my chest to monitor my heart rate while jogging

6. GPS is built into the watch to map my jogs and for directions when I travel

7. Exercise programs for walking, running, cycling or even if I decided to go hiking.

The third question is:

 How much you want to pay for your smartwatch?

The price range of a smart watch can run from $50 for a Chinese knockoff to the thousands of dollars.  The Gear S outright purchase price is $329.99 (Bluetooth capability only).  If you purchase the Gear S and put it on a data plan it will cost less upfront but will cost more over time.  We are with AT&T, the phone was 199.99 plus a $40 activation fee, and 2 year data plan at Best Buy.  Amazon had the watch listed for $149.99 with an AT&T plan and Best Buy matched the price.  The monthly cost of having this phone on our data plan is about $12.00 month.  After the 2 years, total cost of the phone will be close to $500.

The fourth question is:

Will my smartphone be compatible with my smartwatch?

For full use of the Gear S, it will only work with a Samsung Galaxy Phones running Android 4.3 or higher.  But it can work with any smartphone (including the iPhone) but only in limited capability.  Here are 3 YouTube videos showing how the Gear S will work with an iPhone or a non-Samsung Galaxy Phone in a limited capability. or or

The Apple watch will only work with an iPhone.  Please check the Apple website to see which iPhones will work with the Apple watch.

The Pebble will work with Android smartphone or the iPhone.

Whatever smartwatch you decide to purchase, please check the smartwatch manufacturer’s website to see which operating system are compatible with it.

The fifth question is:

Will the smartwatch be comfortable to wear all day?

The Gear S size doesn’t bother me.  It looks big but it is really light.  Most of my watches weigh over 3 ounces and the Gear S is under 3 ounces.   The curvature of the watch allows it to be sleek.  It doesn’t bother me wearing it all day long.  Have you seen the sizes of some of the Invicta watches?

But before you buy a smartwatch, please try it on

The sixth question is:

Can you put up with the battery charge life of a smartwatch?

In my opinion, the BIG issue is battery charge life.  Smartwatches have a small battery, the more you use it, the shorter the charge lasts.  Most manufacturers are saying that you should be able to go a 2 to 7 days before having recharge your smartwatch.  Right now, I am recharging my watch every night and after I do my morning jog.  But I am still learning how to extend my battery life.  Since I am charging my watch every night, I cannot use the sleep app to monitor my sleepL.  The battery charge life reminds me of the printed miles per gallon to the actual miles per gallon for a car.

The last question is:

Do you mind being an early adopter?

Smartwatches have been around for short time compared to smartphones but they are evolving quickly.  In six months to a year, they could be totally different due to technology.  But who knows.