Smart band vs. Smartwatch | What is the difference?

Wearable fitness technology has continued to gain more popularity in sports and fitness; the most common devices are smartwatches and smart bands.

Though often used interchangeably, there is a huge difference between smart bands and smartwatches. In this article, you’ll find how to distinguish between the two fitness trackers and learn about the different types. Read on.

What are smartwatches and smart bands?

Just as the name sounds, smartwatches are like your casual wristwatches. They have a screen that may be rounded or squared and are usually high-res color touchscreens. Most of them come with advanced features like GPS and digital cameras.

Smart band vs. Smartwatch

Though also worn around the wrist, smart bands, on the other hand, are slimmer than a smartwatch and usually have an oval screen. They are also called smart bracelets. 

Smart bands vs. smartwatches 

Smart bands differ from smartwatches in so many ways. Let’s see their differences based on the following parameters.

1. Features

While smart bands function primarily as health and exercise tracking devices (heart rate sensors, calorie counters, sleep monitors, etc.), the smartwatch offers many more features.

Below are some functions of smartwatches that are absent in smart bracelets.

  • Music streaming control.
  • Call management.
  • Reply to emails and SMS.
  • Play and listen to songs.
  • Download apps.
  • Camera features.
  • Sim card slot.

2. Design

From the design perspective, smartwatch has a more traditional wristwatch look as compared to the band which looks like a bracelet. Let’s further consider design based on screen size and weight.

Screen size

Smart bands have a smaller screen size than smartwatches. A typical smartwatch has a screen size of about 1.20 – 1.35 inches, while a smart band screen is about 0.9 – 1.1 inches.

In addition to this, a smart band is usually operated via a button; however, more advanced smart band models like Xiaomi Mi Band 6 and Fitbit Charge 5 come with touchscreen functionality.

Lastly, smart bands usually have bland and monochrome displays, but smartwatches have vibrant and colored displays.

Weight

Because smartwatches have more functionalities than smart bands, their hardware is usually heavier. Thus, they have more weight than smart bands. 

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6, for example, weighs only 12 grams as compared to most smartwatches that weigh over 40grams.

So aside from screen size, you can easily differentiate between fitness trackers by just holding them in your hands. 

3. User-friendliness 

Because of its large screen display, interactivity is much better and simpler on a smartwatch when compared to smart bracelets. 

Smartwatches are operable with fingers and a stylus, as against smart bands that need buttons for operation.

4. Independence

A smartwatch works just like a smartphone; it can function independently without connecting it with your smartphone all the time. However, smart bands need a smartphone connection to carry out all their functions. 

The Xiaomi Mi Band 6, for example, needs to be connected to a smartphone to access its settings.

5. Battery life

Smartwatches tend to consume battery faster than smart bands because of their many advanced features such as color touchscreen and smart notifications. As a result, you’ll need to charge them more frequently than you will for a smart band.

Despite carrying out many tasks, models like Garmin Descent Mk2i and Withings Steel HR smartwatches have a very good battery life and can last for up to 30 days after a full charge. 

6. Price

If you guessed that smartwatches are the more expensive of the two, you are correct. Smartwatches cost quite a lot more than smart bands. 

As prices vary according to the features, some smartwatches will cost more than others. Models like Amazfit Bip U Pro Smart Watch and Fitbit Versa 2 with Alexa-enabled features and sleep stage monitors will cost more than other regular smartwatches.

Most smart bands cost about $60 or less, depending on the brand.

Other examples of smartwatches 

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch
  • Fitbit Ionic
  • TicWatch E3 Smart watch Wear OS
  • Skagen Women’s Hald Stainless steel and leather hybrid smartwatch
  • Apple Watch Series 5 GPS
  • Apple Watch 3
  • Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
  • Mobvoi TicWatch Pro
  • Mobvoi TicWatch E2
  • Apple Watch 4
  • Fitbit Versa 2

Other examples of smart bands 

Which is better – smartwatch or smart band?

The answer to this question largely depends on the features you are looking for in your wearable device. If you want a device that can track your heart rate, monitor your sleep, and track your fitness activities, then a smartwatch is the best option.

However, if you are more interested in simple features like monitoring your heart rate, tracking your steps and daily activity, then a smart band is ideal.

Which should I buy – smartwatch or smart band?

If you are unsure what type of fitness tracker to purchase – a smartwatch or a smart band, here are a few things to consider to help you make the right decision.

Your budget

If you have a low or fairly moderate budget, you may consider getting a smart bracelet instead of a smartwatch. 

What feature will you use most often? 

If you are mostly interested in tracking your fitness and activity levels, a smart band would be more appropriate for you.

However, if you are looking for a device that can do more such as receive notifications and track your sleep, then a smartwatch would be a better option.

How small do you want the device to be?

If you are not concerned about flaunting your new device in business meetings and events and want to purchase a less fashionable accessory, a smart band may be the best option for you. 

Is your workout likely to damage a larger screen?

This will determine if you need a big or small screen size, hence helping you select between the two options.

How important are features like music control and response?

If you don’t mind handling your smartphone separately to control music and other playback functions, then a smartwatch may not be for you.

However, if you would like these features to be available on your fitness tracker, then a smartwatch is a better option.

How often do you want to charge your device before finding it uncomfortable?

This tip is particularly important if you’re an older adult or want to purchase a fitness tracker for one. 

Whichever way, inquire about the user’s charging preference before deciding what type to purchase.

Conclusion

Smart bands and smartwatches perform similar functions; the major difference is their outlook and weight. Whether to purchase a smart band or a smartwatch depends on the user’s preference. Both trackers are recommended and would accurately monitor your fitness activities.

Precious is a vast researcher and has a knack for writing. She is also passionate about learning and personal development. She is a graduate of Human Anatomy and is given to helping people live a healthier and happier life.