I Tried To Become A Smart Watch Person & Here's What Happened
Save for some gaudy plastic numbers that I wore in grade school, I’ve never worn a real, adult watch. Telling time without a little bracelet has never much been a problem, because wall clocks and cell phones exist. As Flavor Flav would say, I pretty much always know what time it is. But what if a watch could do more for me than just telling time? Can a smart watch turn me into a watch person? My hypothesis is: meh, probably not.
Intent on finding out whether one of these newfangled time-telling devices would change my life, I spent a full waking day wearing one. Would it help me get my life together? Would I become more punctual? Would it make me into a superhuman machine of professional efficiency? Or would I tire of the experiment halfway through the exercise, unable to complete my endeavor?
Strapping this foreign object to my person and taking it for a test drive is the only way to answer these questions. The people at Samsung were nice enough to allow me to borrow a Samsung Gear S2 to complete my experiment. Assessing how it affected several areas of my life — health, fitness, punctuality, information, and general swagger — I was able to evaluate the likelihood of transforming myself into a watch person. Yay for the scientific method!
Me, at right, in my natural habitat.
Before the watch: Most fitness calculators would call me sedentary to lightly active. Being a New Yorker, I'm on my feet a fair amount, but I spend the majority of my waking hours sitting at a desk (because job). Post-work, you can find me lying supine on my bed watching Key & Peele sketches instead of sweating it out on an elliptical at the gym.
Wearing the watch: Thanks to the Gear's pedometer, I became mildly obsessed with walking. In addition to recording your steps, you can set a step goal, against which it measures your progress throughout the day. Plus, if you're at rest for more than an hour, the watch buzzes with a gentle reminder for you to get moving. It also lets you know how long you've been sitting for.
In the interest of meeting my 6,000 step goal, I got off the subway at an earlier stop and took the scenic route to pick up my lunch. I strolled, trotted, and sashayed around the office all day for no other reason than the sheer thrill of watching my step count go up. I can only imagine what my coworkers thought of this behavior, but the sense of accomplishment of reaching my goal was well worth the side-eyes. This was pretty much the most fit I've felt in months.
Goodbye, sedentary lifestyle... hello, "moderately active" existence!
The "Gluttony Bag" accurately speaks to my nutritional habits.
Before the watch: I eat a lot of Spicy Tuna Rolls (mercury central) and pasta, and drink far more coffee than I do water. I'm still relatively young at 26 years old, which means that my chronically bad habits haven't resulted in extremely poor health (yet). Still, there's room for improvement.
Wearing the watch: By twisting the watch's extremely user-friendly bevel to the right, you'll find an app that tracks glasses of coffee and water. While my excessive coffee habit remained, the water calculator motivated me to hydrate more diligently than usual.
In spite of needing to get up to use the restroom more (step bonus!), I also found myself going to fill my water glass repeatedly throughout the day. Instead of feeling buzzed and anxious, I felt satisfied, healthy, and like my blood was not being actively spiked by dark roast coffeee.
Before the watch: As Rust Cohle says, time is a flat circle, but I live and die by the capricious whim of that two-dimensional sphere. Punctuality is my middle freakin' name. This has less to do with being Type A (the farthest thing from my personal aura) and more to do with a crushing, anxiety-borne fear of what will happen if I am late to things (being fired, friends never speaking to me again, other miscellaneous disasters). This means I am chronically 15 minutes early and generally the friend who waits.
After the watch: Though there was little room for improvement in this department, I can confirm that this watch did not adversely affect my habit of being early or on time. My watch kept me on time for all my meetings and effectively informed me when lunchtime was. Additionally, I found myself reflexively raising my left wrist to check the time throughout the day life a real watch person would. (A miracle!)
Before the watch: The above picture of my bed accurately depicts a general state of disarray.
After the watch: Sure, the Samsung watch can't physically make my bed for me. However, you can handily sync it with your Android phone calendar to keep track of your appointments, bill due dates, and other things that you need to accomplish as a functioning member of society. Voice commands make all of this easy as speaking clearly to the watch. Some questions are sadly too big for it to answer:
But sometimes, admitting you're a little lost is all you need to do to get on the right path.
Hey! It's trying.
Before the watch: Working at a media company, I can't escape the news. However, when things are busy, the extent of my "reading up on current events" consists of scrolling through the feed of headlines on Facebook rather than reading actual articles. I'm a textbook millennial in that way.
On the literal edge of my seat...
After the watch: On my day with the Samsung Gear, I could see via Facebook's trending topics that Kim Kardashian had named her baby. But because I was cowering over a tsunami of work, I didn't have time to click the headline. Instead, I asked my electronic personal assistant to give me the lowdown. Sammy (as I have nicknamed my watch) retrieved an abbreviated article about the Kimye spawn, which had the intel I was looking for. I even read the whole thing this time! Good for me!
Before the watch: My personal brand falls somewhere between "offbeat classic" and "where did I put my phone?"
Me, rocking the uniform of my general brand identity, plus cats
After the watch: The Gear made me feel official. Its sleek, dark face was futuristic and rich, making me adopt the confidence of a space billionaire with a day full of astro-business lunch and coffee meetings. Eventually, I became a bit intimidated by my own swag, and changed the watch face to something a bit more me. In this case, that meant something that would appease my inner toddler.
With this duck-themed watch face, I felt more appropriately like the overgrown child I happen to be. All is right with the world.
How do I feel? Pretty, pretty, pretty good!
Is my life more together? While my room is still in questionable shape, and I still have no clue which way to steer the leaky paddleboat that is my life, I'm more on top of current events, more physically fit, and more hydrated. Taking all that into account, I would say that my life is slightly more together with the Gear.
Am I a watch person? After all is said and done, I'd need a little more convincing to become a classic watch enthusiast. Because I've spent about 99 percent of my existence with a bare wrist, it's still most comfortable with nothing on it. However, if I spent a little more time with Sammy as my wrist-bound life coach, there's a high likelihood that I'd be unable to live without her.
This post was sponsored by the Samsung Gear S2.