Watch This!

All together now: “Smartwatch! HOOH!. What is it good for? Absolutely…” quite a lot, really.

Ever since I was a boy, I have always had a watch. My first was a Timex that I received as a Christmas present at the age of seven. For most of my life I have always sported one on my wrist. One of my most prized possessions is a gold watch that belonged to my father, who passed away some years ago. I wear it on special occasions.

A few years ago, When my last watch — an Accurist — died of old age, I stopped wearing a watch on a daily basis… coincidentally, just around the time when the first Apple Watch came out. I did not care much for the Apple Watch. It was big, it was bulky, it was expensive, and they seemed to be bringing out a new version every year, which was not very encouraging to those who had splashed out hundreds of dollars on something that became obsolescent before its first birthday. Besides, I have always had Android phones, and had no wish to mix devices that were designed to operate in different ecosystems.

One day I found someone selling a Gear S2 online. Turned out that this person was switching from Android to Apple and was thinking the same thing. Long story short, I picked up a gently-used Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch for a very reasonable price ($60, in case you were wondering). Since they were selling for more than 100, I figured that I could sell it if I didn’t like it and make a little profit. As it turned out, i needn’t have worried, as the device has found a place in my heart and my life.

Pass the Remote: The best way I can describe a smartwatch is as a write-mounted remote control for your phone. This particular one talks to an app that runs on the phone that allows you to load add-on apps and faces to the phone, as well as transferring screenshots and pictures to and from the phone. But it is so much more than that…

It’s a watch! It has taken me a while to get used to looking at my wrist when I want to know the time; to this day, I still occasionally pull out my phone. However, the watch has a huge variety of faces. Many can be installed to the watch, and a few of my favorites are shown below:

Some of the watch faces are even customizable, as you can see from the following examples:


It’s a Fitness Band!
I’ve never been much of a fan of FitBits. Not because of anything inherently wrong with them, but because of the kind of people who tend to wear them. Like Starbucks Coffee, I have always associated them with the Trendy Hipster lifestyle. However, this watch allows me to track workouts (such as the occasional bike ride and even-more-occasional run). Which helps me explore the abyss between how much walking I think I did and how much I actually did.

It’s a sleep monitor! If worn all night, the phone can monitor your heart-rate and movement, and hence determine whether or not you are asleep, and whether your sleep is deep, light, or restless.

It’s an Egg Timer!

Yes, really. One of the built-in apps is a countdown timer that I have found useful on all sorts of occasions, from brewing tea to… timing eggs. This is perhaps my most-used feature as I am notoriously forgetful. It comes in especially useful when I am brewing tea.

It’s a Heart Rate Monitor! Of course, as part of its fitness tracking capabilities, it can also continuously monitor your heart rate.

It’s a text tickler! Another neat feature is that you can receive and reply to texts using the watch. This is particularly useful when in meetings, driving, or out and about in inclement weather where you cannot or do not want to take out your phone. The interface is too limited for complicated replies, but most of the time a simple reply is all you need.

Bottom line: perhaps the best sixty dollars I have ever spent.

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