At Resco, we see smartwatches as the next big thing for business. With various features and sensors, companies using wearables can gather valuable data from employees and their work environment. Optimized manufacturing processes, better activity management, or real-time health tracking are just some advantages you can achieve with smartwatches.
Currently, we’re expanding our vision, bringing Resco Inspections to several smartwatch models and support for more will follow soon. As smartwatches become more and more suited for work use, we looked at some of the best options on the market. First, we made a list of essential features to check before buying, and then we list our top picks that can enhance your workflow and provide new possibilities for your operation. No matter the position or industry you work in.
What makes smartwatches useful?
Certain features make usage of smartwatches especially convenient and productive. At the same time, one or two drawbacks can screw up the whole experience. So, here are the features you should pay attention to when choosing your smartwatch:
- Operating system (OS) and app support – Vendors and third-party developers create many productivity apps enhancing the possibilities of smartwatches, but not all devices support all apps. Apple with watchOS, followed by Google with WearOS, have the largest app selection in their stores. Tizen from Samsung provides many useful features straight out of the box, and even without extensive app support, it’s one of the best smartwatch operating systems. Other OS are more limited and vary in performance;
- Battery life – The absolute minimum is a full day of operation, so you can use your watch during the day and charge it when you sleep. Charging can become quite time-consuming, so the more the battery lasts, the better;
- LTE connectivity – At work, it’s often vital to stay connected and some smartwatches can connect even to cellular networks. With mobile network reception, you can receive notifications, messages, and also calls just with the device on your wrist, no phone needed;
- Support for answering messages – Ability to receive notifications, e-mails, or messages is an essential function of smartwatches, but devices on the market differentiate in their ability to respond to them. Some support typing, quick suggestions, or voice recording, so you can directly respond to emails and messages;
- Design and overall build quality – Watches suitable for official meetings look elegant, devices used in the fieldwork are more rugged. Therefore, choose accordingly and adjust to your work position and needs. Don’t forget to consider water resistance, to avoid inconveniences due to rain or splashing water;
- Size and display – Sizes of smartwatches and their displays have significant effects on the overall user experience. Generally, the size of a smartwatch ranks from 40 mm, appropriate for smaller hands, to 46 mm, mostly suited to men. Displays of smartwatches in the business range are generally high quality and offer sufficient resolution;
- Sensors, virtual assistants, and activity tracking features – Smartwatches can track the number of steps, GPS position, heart rate, or even the quality of sleep, helping you optimize your workflow and energy management. Support of virtual assistants that can further maximize your productivity is useful as well;
- Connectivity and storage – Bluetooth is a necessity for connecting to your phone and wireless headphones, NFC will provide you with contactless payments, and Wi-Fi is a bonus for connecting to the Internet. Dedicated storage can also offer space for offline music playback;
- Price – One more significant point to consider. The most affordable smartwatches in our ranking start at about $150. The most expensive can rise up to a few hundred dollars. Ultimately though, we recommend to consider all of the aspects above, and make a choice based on what’s most important for your use case;
Best smartwatches to improve your productivity:
1. Apple Watch Series 5
Pros: Best app support on the market, elegant design, various sizes, advanced heart-rate monitoring and activity tracking capabilities, best overall performance
Cons: Working just with iPhones, one-day battery
Price: Starts at $399 (no LTE)/$499 (LTE support)
Why: Apple sets the bar for smartwatches every year, and the new Apple Watch Series 5 is the best device on the market you can buy right now. Highest processing power and fine-tuned OS with unrivaled support of third-party apps are the foundation of the success. Followed by elegant design, LTE support, water resistance, and many possibilities for personalization with an extensive range of braces. Advanced heart-rate monitor with electrocardiogram can even save lives, multiple options for answering messages remain unmatched, and NFC for Apple Pay makes great use for contactless payments.
Battery life is still a little problematic, so you will probably need to charge it every day. However, if you are an iPhone owner, these are the smartwatches you should consider in the first place. Elegant look, powerful apps & features, and overall performance make them a perfect match for use on any occasion.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Pros: The best option for non-iPhone users, works with iOS and Android, elegant design, rotating digital bezel for fast navigation, offline Spotify storage
Cons: Few third-party apps
Price: Starts at $279 (no LTE)/$429 (LTE support)
Why: Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a fresh addition to the market and the best solution if you own an Android phone. It comes in two sizes with a 40 or 44mm option. Both use 20mm interchangeable straps, offering countless possibilities to find your look. However, they look elegant and stylish right from the box. Galaxy Watch Active 2 also offers an LTE model so you can use them for making calls and connecting to cellular data. Battery life is roughly two days.
The rotating digital bezel is a unique solution, which makes navigation in the Tizen operating system fast and fluid, although third-party apps support is not so extensive as in watchOS. However, the watch enables to use internal storage for offline Spotify music playback, which is a unique feature on the market at the moment. Galaxy Watch Active 2 also incorporates NFC for contactless payments, 5ATM water resistance, and a sharp-looking display. ECG monitoring should come in future versions.
3. Samsung Galaxy Watch
Pros: Works with iOS and Android, elegant design, rotating digital bezel for fast navigation in a menu, best option for a field workers, battery life, offline Spotify storage
Cons: Few third-party apps
Price: Starts at $329 (no LTE)/$379 (LTE supported)
Why: Galaxy Watch is one of the most successful devices on the market and offers many useful features. Exceptional is the mechanical rotating bezel, which is one of the best ways of interacting with a smartwatch. Other strengths include an OLED display, Tizen OS, optional LTE, water-resistance, or NFC for contactless payments. Battery life delivers between 3 to 5 days of daily usage for one charge. With more rugged build and a mechanical rotating bezel, it’s a great option even for field workers.
4. Fossil Gen 5
Pros: Great design for men and women, best experience with Google’s Wear OS
Cons: The operating system lacks at usability against watchOS or Tizen, no LTE support
Price: Starts at $295 (no LTE)
Why: Fossil brings an updated processor with more RAM and improved WearOS to their take on a smartwatch. They offer the best experience with Google’s operating system, supporting various third-party apps and that’s why we ranked them 4th. With a 44mm casing, the device can look slightly bulkier on smaller hands, but the design is exquisite for more formal occasions. Battery life provides one to two days of operation. Fossil Gen 5 also offers NFC for Google Pay contactless payments, GPS, and heart-rate monitor. Water resistance at 3 ATM means they are not suitable for swimming or bathing. Generally though, all of the features combined make Fossil Gen 5 into a capable all-around smartwatch.
5. Huawei Watch GT (2)
Pros: Unique 2-week battery life
Cons: No third-party app support, no LTE support
Price: Starts at $229 (no LTE)
Why: Huawei Watch GT has a special place on the market. It doesn’t support third-party apps, or LTE connectivity, but one of its capabilities is unrivaled. Two weeks of battery life provide exceptional time to enjoy its features uninterrupted. It can display notifications coming to your phone without the need to pick it up, and you don’t need to think about charging for days. If battery life is your main concern for smartwatch use at work, Huawei Watch GT might be the right choice for you. Although availability in the US can be an issue due to trade restrictions related to this Chinese manufacturer.
6. TicWatch Pro 4G
Pros: Dual display that saves battery life and provides excellent visibility on direct sunlight
Cons: No rotating bezel or hardware buttons
Price: Starts at $299 (LTE version)
Why: The specialty of TicWatch Pro 4G is a dual-display system, which saves battery and provides excellent visibility on direct sunlight. It uses both OLED and LCD panels, which may come in handy, especially for field professionals working outdoors. TicWatch Pro 4G adds 2-day battery life, water resistance, LTE connectivity, NFC, GPS, and a heart-rate monitor. The lack of hardware buttons makes navigating through the menu a little more difficult, though.
7. Fitbit Versa 2
Pros: Long-lasting battery life, tracking features
Cons: No GPS, less intuitive OS than watchOS or Tizen, limited notification answering capabilities
Price: Starts at $199 (no LTE)
Why: Fitbit is better known for making fitness bands, but relatively recently it also entered the smartwatch arena. The second edition of Fitbit Versa is a good-looking and well-performing device with some limitations. It’s still more suited for physical activity tracking and lacks features like LTE connectivity or a dedicated GPS module. With approximately a week-long battery life and renowned fitness andsleep tracking features it can be a nice to have device, especially in scenarios where physical performance of the staff plays a key role.
Join us in Rome for more
As we mentioned, we see smartwatches as the next big thing in business. Expanding capabilities and features make wearables more and more valuable in the work environment, helping companies and employers optimize productivity and performance.
Join us at resco.next in Rome, where we‘ll be introducing new Resco solutions coming to smartwatches.
Oh, and there’s also a special, conference-exclusive surprise for every attendee. Make sure you don’t miss out.