Smartwatch Features: A Complete List on What All They Can Do


Smartwatch Fitness Apps

Those of us that don’t mind wearing something around our wrist know how convenient a smartwatch can be. For those of us who have become unaccustomed to wearing a watch, and perhaps even for those of us with a smartwatch, we may not know all the features and benefits of a smartwatch.

In General, Smartwatches are capable of doing everything a smartphone can, as well as using sensors (such as heart rate) to collect data that smartphones are not capable or collecting from your pocket. Smartwatches can also provide quick and easy access to app notifications on your phone.

I’ve compiled a list of all the smartwatch features I could find. Keep in mind, that not every smartwatch has every single one of these features. You may have to research out which watch fits your needs. The top end models should have most of these features mentioned.

Clock Features

  • Time/date
  • GPS Time Syncing (or Cell Tower)
  • Automatic
  • daylight-saving time
  • Alarm clock
  • Timer
  • Stopwatch
  • Sunrise/sunset times

Standard Smart Features (Things you would expect from a smart phone)

  • App store compatibility (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)
  • App Notifications
  • Text response
  • Phone response: answer or reject phone call with text (Android™ only)
  • Calendar
  • Weather
  • Music Control
  • Music Storage
  • Find Your Phone (and vice versa with finding your watch )
  • Camera Remote Control
  • Smartphone pairing compatibility (iPhone, Android, etc)
  • NFC Payments (Hold your phone/watch to payment terminal to complete payment)
  • Wireless charging
  • Solar Charging (Just extends battery life, but does not keep up with full battery consumption)

Heart & Health Monitoring

  • Heart Rate (constant monitoring by wrist)
  • Daily Resting Heart Rate
  • Abnormal Heart Rate Detection Alerts
  • Respiration rate (Know your breathing rate 24×7)
  • Blood Oxygen Saturation (Usually measured by a Pulse Oximeter)
  • Stress Tracking
  • Relaxation reminders and breathing strategies
  • Sleep Monitoring (Advanced sleep metrics & suggestions)
  • Hydration (keep track of how much water you drink)
  • Menstrual Cycle

Heart & Health Monitoring When Exercising

  • Heart rate zones
  • Heart rate alerts
  • Maximum heart rate
  • Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) (the difference between your Maximum Heart Rate and Resting Heart Rate)
  • Recovery time
  • HR Sharing (Share your heart rate with paired devices)
  • Respiration rate (during exercise)

Location & Activity Tracking Features

  • Step counter
  • Movement reminders
  • Daily Activity Goals
  • Calories burned
  • Elevation changes (counts steps/floors climbed, hills hiked)
  • Distance traveled
  • Intensity minutes (measure high intensity workouts vs low intensity such as walking)
  • Activity Identification (identify periods of movement that match familiar exercising patterns such as biking, running, swimming, walking)
  • Sync with activity trackers (such as Fitbit)
  • Activity profiles (Sets your smartwatch up for a specific activity. Changes screens, etc.)

Activity Specific Features

In addition to the basic activity tracking we have all become used to, smartwatches have to ability to help us track and manage specific activities, such as going to the gym, or even golfing.

General Activity

  • GPS speed and distance
  • Customizable activity profiles
  • Automatic Pause (Stops tracking automatically if you take a break.)
  • Interval training
  • Downloadable training plans
  • Lap Counting (Automatically count laps for certain activities.)
  • Heat and altitude performance adjustments
  • VO2 max
  • Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.)
  • Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC)
  • Training load focus
  • Training Effect (measures the impact of an activity on your aerobic and anaerobic fitness)
  • Audio prompts
  • Start & Finish times
  • Virtual Partner
  • Course guidance
  • Round-trip course creator (running/cycling)
  • Activity history

Gym

  • Workout routines
  • Workout animations (show the specific exercise to perform)
  • Counts Reps & Sets Automatically

Running Features

  • Adjustable based on run type (Outdoor Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track Running, Trail Running)
  • GPS-based distance, time and pace
  • Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion and the cost-benefit ratio with stride length) (with compatible accessory)
  • Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry) (with compatible accessory)
  • Stride length (real time) yes (with compatible accessory)
  • Cadence (number of steps per minute)
  • Performance condition (after running 6–20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level)
  • Lactate threshold (through analysis of your pace and heart rate, estimates the point where your muscles start to rapidly fatigue) (with compatible accessory)
  • Run workouts
  • Race predictor
  • Foot pod capable

Cycling Features

  • Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goals including time, distance, heart rate or calories)
  • Courses
  • Cycle Map (routable cycling-specific street map)
  • Adjustable based on cycling type (Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon)
  • Bike lap and lap maximum power (with sensor)
  • Race an activity
  • Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display)
  • Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar)
  • Compatible with Varia™ lights
  • Other Speed and cadence sensor support (various Bluetooth Smart sensors)

Swimming Features

  • Adjustable based on swim type (Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/Running)
  • Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, calories)
  • Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count, calories)
  • Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly)
  • Time and distance alerts
  • Pacing alerts (pool swim only)
  • Countdown start (pool swim only)
  • Pool swim workouts
  • Critical swim speed
  • Underwater wrist-based heart rate
  • Heart rate from external HRM (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim)

Golfing Features

  • Preloaded courses from around the worldwide
  • Yardage (front, middle and back of green)
  • Yardage to layups/doglegs
  • Automatic Measures shot distance (calculates exact yardage for shots from anywhere on course)
  • Digital scorecard
  • Game stat tracking (strokes, putts per round, greens and fairways hit)
  • Green View with manual pin position
  • Hazards and course targets
  • Handicap scoring
  • TruSwing
  • Round timer/odometer
  • Club tracking compatible (requires accessory tracker placed on club)

Other Outdoor Recreation

  • Available outdoor recreation includes: Hiking, Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddle boarding, Rowing, Kayaking, Surfing, etc.
  • Point-to-point navigation
  • Bread crumb trail in real time (Know how to get back home)
  • Back to start navigation
  • Elevation tracking
  • Distance to destination
  • Barometric trend indicator (Know if a storm is coming in)
  • Vertical speed
  • Total ascent/descent
  • Preloaded topographical maps
  • Preloaded ski resort maps
  • GPS coordinates
  • Seasonal Hunting & Fishing calendars
  • Projected waypoint estimates
  • Sun and moon information
  • Tidal information

Sensors

Here are the sensors used to make the calculations and provide the information in this list.

  • GPS (Outside of US may use GLONASS or Galileo for location tracking)
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Compass
  • Gyroscope
  • Accelerometer
  • Thermometer
  • Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor
  • Ambient Light

Additional Information

This list was compiled using information from the following smartwatch manufacturers. Each link goes to their smartwatch website.

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