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A computer you can wear on your wrist used to be the stuff of science-fiction, but today, consumers can choose from a growing selection of smartwatches. They vary widely in looks, functionality and budget, so it pays to do some careful research before you decide which one you are going to buy.

Alcatel advises the following few things to consider when you are shopping for a smartwatch:

1.       Budget

Smartwatches vary in price between a couple of grand and R10,000.00 or more. Set your budget before you start shopping around.

2.       Functionality

The most important question is perhaps: ‘What do you want to use your smartwatch for?’ Do you want a watch for your child? Then look for an affordable but robust model with basic messaging, calling and GPS features that let you stay in touch with your offspring.

Are you an active sportsperson? Then choose something with strong fitness monitoring features and apps. Swimmer? Go for a waterproof model. And if you simply want to access messages and emails on the go, you should opt for a model with a larger face that makes it easy to read text. Fashionistas, meanwhile, can look for something with personality and style.

3.       Apps

Think about which apps you will need access to. A full-featured Android watch will offer access to customised versions of many of the apps you use on your smartphone, including media players, maps, messaging, email, games and fitness apps. But for some users, a simpler model with a few preinstalled messaging and communications apps could be a better fit.

4.       Battery life

Battery life is perhaps even more important for a smartwatch than for a mobile phone – you really don’t want your smartwatch running out of juice before you go to bed in the evening. Ask about the battery life and read some reviews to check that the smartwatch you are considering won’t let you down an inopportune time. A good smartwatch should offer at least a full day’s battery or more on a single charge.

5.       Compatibility

Some smartwatches have cellular connections and are designed to operate independently of other devices. Others pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to access data and services. In the latter case, you will want to ensure that your smartwatch is compatible with the phone you use.

6.       Ease of use and comfort

Try out the smartwatch you are thinking about purchasing to make sure it fits comfortably on your wrist and that it doesn’t feel too bulky. Ensure that you can easily ready the text. Also, make sure you find it easy to use the features and functionality that matter to you.