My Not-so-Smart Smart Watch
I have come to rely on my smart phone completely. I use it to organize my life and work tasks, access email, social media, take pictures, and navigate. A smart watch seemed like a natural step in the progression of my digital life experience.
I've been wearing an Android smart watch (specifically, the LG G Watch) for a few months. I've found that it is really helpful when I have a busy meeting day. It provides a handy way to preview alerts for upcoming meetings and my ToDoIst app alerts. It also gives me at least a preview of incoming calls and I can dismiss or attend to them as needed. The GPS integration with my phone is very nice.
However, on weekends I leave it at home and on work days when I'm just at my desk I usually wear it as a watch, but I don't connect it to my phone. This is partially due to the battery drain on my phone (slightly more than a typical day) and also because the redundant alerts just get annoying.
It does matter and I am very conscious of it - the watch is quite large and noticeable on my wrist. I'm 5'2" (heels get me to 5'5" if I'm lucky) and the watch covers more of my arm than two of my typical watches. The wide, though comfortable, band is not attractive. This watch was clearly designed for a man.
Using my palm to put it to sleep is surprisingly challenging. My palm is just not that big. I'm not sure if it's the lack of light or the "heat" from the hand that it senses, but I just don't provide what it needs to sleep.
It's audacious. I assume the man it was designed for typically wears long sleeves at work. When you are in a meeting, elbow-to-elbow with colleagues, you don't necessarily want them all to be able to read your personal alerts. While I can turn the alerts off, what's the point of wearing it if it's not alerting you?
It's winter now so I'm always in long sleeves, plus being a manager I tend to wear a jacket most days. I do wonder what if my behavior will change as the weather warms up. I don't think I'll be as eager to put it on (if you could call me eager now).
In addition, there are times when I don't want to call attention to electronics on my arm. A giant glowing device on my arm calls more attention than I would prefer when I am trying to keep a low profile.
As I expected the pedometer is not as accurate as my FitBit and way over-estimates my activity. It doesn't help that I wear watches on my right arm and I am right-handed. So if I do any activities - cleaning, tossing a ball, etc. they are typically with my right arm. It looks like I've been quite active, but really I was mixing cake batter (not a relaxing activity, but not an aerobic one either).
Google has my numbers
Google already owns me as far as access to data. Now they have my steps. Some watches also track heart rate and other data. Hey Google, how's my heart rate when I'm reading that news article? How about when my GPS showed I was at a basketball game? How about when I took those photos of my kids? When I responded to that inflammatory tweet? So much data is being collected. At what point does connecting the dots between all of this information start to be too much? I'm still game, but aware of the risks.
On the other side, as a big data nerd, this amount of data is awe inspiring. The data that Jawbone collected (https://jawbone.com/blog/napa-earthquake-effect-on-sleep/
) during the earthquake in California a few months ago was not terribly helpful, but really interesting. Think you're the only one who can't go back to sleep? Nope.
It's late for holiday gifts, but if you are still considering a smart watch, consider carefully who will receive it. These watches make a great gift for people who need their hands during the day and cannot reach for the phone, people who use their GPS a lot, and those that work in an environment where they need to be kept apprised of alerts from their phone. If you have one already, please share your experience in the comments.