One of the most-asked questions about wearable tech is:

What does it have to offer that a smartphone with various apps cannot?

It’s a perfectly normal question, since buying a new device that would only duplicate features of your existing gadgets seem like a waste of investment. When it comes to tracking steps, it has been proven in a 2015 experiment published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that six of the most popular fitness-tracking devices provide the same results as four of the top fitness smartphone apps.

However, this study only focused on the pedometer feature of wearables and apps.

Wearables with sleep tracking work mostly the same as smartphones with sleep-tracking apps. Users have to push a button to “tell” the device they’re off to bed. The advantage of wearable tech, in this case, is that it provides more information, such as quality of sleep (Fatigue Science), dreams (Luciding), or sleep waves and muscle tension during sleep (Neuro: On).

In health, there is no smartphone app that could help monitor the user’s glucose levels (Google’s Verily glass), pain management (Quell Relief and Cur), nausea (ReliefBand), asthma (Health Care Originals Intelligent Asthma Management), back problems (UPRIGHT and Lumo Lift), muscle pain in the lower back (Valedo), and other specific health conditions.

There are numerous wearable tech devices designed for sports performance that smartphone apps cannot beat. For instance, the vest-like Catapult is used by many NFL teams to monitor heart rate, speed, and other 100+ metrics of athletes to prevent injury during workouts or a game. The three-piece Athos set, used by NBA players, is designed to monitor muscle data, breathing, and heart rate in real-time.

In other instances, wearables and smartphone apps are used together to create a one-of-a-kind system. Ford’s Valencia, Spain plant was the first to adopt the Portable Quality Assurance Device, a smartphone-type device worn on the wrist, as part of day-to-day QA tasks. It worked with a smartphone app and has saved workers a 1-kilometer daily walk by completely doing away with the production line’s paper-based system.

Comparing wearable tech and smartphone apps is tricky since both can be useful to consumers. The great thing is that with the rise of wearables, smartphone companies are trying to up their game and include built-in features to match wearable tech.

On the other hand, wearable tech brands are thinking outside of the box to provide a need that no smartphone app could offer. If you think about it, the situation is a win-win for consumers, whether they choose a wearable device or a stick with their smartphones’ apps.

Avoiding Common Beginner Mistakes with Wearable Tech

Wearable tech is so much more than just a fitness tracker. This technology has been adapted into a wide range of applications in varying sectors from IT to fashion, sports to security, communications to medicine, and many more.

Below are 7 of the most common beginner mistakes consumers make when it comes to wearable tech:

Did Not Enter Personal Info

Wearable devices often provide users with an online account or access to apps where data can be monitored. While sharing personal data can be tricky to anyone who values security, adding your information actually helps you maximize the potential of your device. This is particularly true for fitness trackers with advanced features like calorie consumed/burned, since your weight, height, and other vitals are calculated along with new metrics.

Assume All Wearables Provide 100% Accurate Results

Not all wearable gadgets are created equal. For instance, medical-grade fitness tracking may be able to provide 100% accurate results, but other non-FDA-cleared trackers may have problems with accuracy. The key to finding devices with respectable accuracy of data is to check which devices were tested, validated, or certified by a third-party organization, such as a university or testing lab.

Did Not Set-Up Or Calibrate The Device

Although most manufacturers tell users that calibrating a device is optional, some inaccuracies of wearable data can simply be solved by checking out the unit’s settings.

Not Doing Your Research

This is one of the biggest mistakes out there.

Look at this scenario – an individual decides they want to change their lifestyle and become more active. In order to do this, they’d like to go for one of those nice gadgets that help keep track of calories burned, steps taken, heart rate, and all of that beautiful stuff. They don’t know what they’re doing, all they know is that they want one. So, with those thoughts in mind, they go out and purchase the first one they come across.

That right there is one of the mistakes you should avoid. Never go out and purchase wearable tech before you do research. When you research, you need to learn about the features, the data, the battery, and the whole nine yards.

Asking a Sales Representative

You should never ask a sales representative what the best one is. They will probably give you false advice and lead you towards what THEY want you to buy.

Set Unrealistic Goals

Whether you are looking for fitness wearables that could potentially help you lose weight, or a device that could streamline your daily communication, it is important that you set realistic goals.

At the end of the day, these gadgets are just gadgets. If you are trying to shed pounds, you still have to work on it and not just rely on your device. If you are aiming to reduce the number of gadgets you use for social networks, e-mails, and other tasks, it will still be your decision if you’re going to stick to just your smartwatch or other types of wearable tech. Of course, this doesn’t pertain to medical wearables and implantables that were designed to prevent pain, manage diseases, or even save a life.

Mistakes The Term ‘Water Resistant’

When it comes to fitness trackers, manufacturers often state if the device is water-proof. However, this can be tricky to interpret since some gadgets will be perfectly fine getting wet, but will be damaged if submerged in water. Other devices are made specifically to be used even while taking a shower or swimming. It is important to identify how well the device does underwater, or if not at all.

These 7 common mistakes can be avoided by proper research before buying any wearable device. Avoiding these mistakes not only allow users to maximize the potential of the gadget, but also extend the life of wearable tech.

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