The Struggles of Finding a Smartwatch as a Woman

I am a woman and I like watches.

And my wrists are smaller than most guys. In fact, many women have wrists and arms that are smaller than their male counterparts — and hands, too. (Duh, right?) That’s why when you are shopping at Nordstrom’s or Macy’s looking for a new watch, there are men and women options.

Aside from liking watches, I also like technology. I like cool new apps, the latest smartphones as well as the newest gadgets. So, naturally, I am highly interested in SmartWatches — which have been growing in popularity this last year.

Unfortunately, many of these SmartWatch companies are still only producing one size of their watch: a one size fits all option that is geared towards men. 

Starting My Shopping Process

Off the bat, I knew two things.

  1. I wanted a watch that was Android-friendly, ideally Android Wear (since I have an Android phone)
  2. And, of course, I want a SmartWatch that is aesthetically appealing (I mean, it is going to be worn on my wrist. This makes the appearance more important than with other gadgets like my tablet or phone.)

Fortunately, I had the sense to Google, “Best SmartWatches for women,” before diving in and buying a watch right away.

I had a hunch that there could be some size issues.

To my surprise, the options were much bleaker than I imagined. I found that there were no female-specific SmartWatches yet on the market. And in many reviews I read by women SmartWatch owners, there were complaints about the mammoth size of their new time piece.

Articles I Turned To

There were two articles specifically that guided me in my journey of finding the best SmartWatch:

  1. “Why haven’t we seen a SmartWatch for women?” by Taylor Martin
  2. “What Not To (Android) Wear: One Woman’s Search For SmartWatch Bliss” by Adriana Lee

The first article by Martin, who is a guy, painted a picture of the current SmartWatch industry. (Note: the article was written in January 2014, so it is a bit outdated.)

Then the latter piece was more like a review/analysis of the SmartWatches available for women. Lee discusses which SmartWatches work for women, and more commonly which do not. She also gets into the software behind the watch. Lee wrote her piece in July. So, still pre Apple Watch announcement — which happened in early September 2014.

Why Aren’t There Female Friendly SmartWatches?

According to Martin, no SmartWatch company has yet to make a gender distinction within their SmartWatch options. Searching today, about eleven months after the date his article was published, I also see no distinction.

An argument can be made that there is not a strong demand from women wanting SmartWatches. Women just aren’t as involved in the tech scene as men.

As Martin explains,

“The tech space is still heavily skewed towards men. That’s no secret. The brunt of our readership and viewership is men. Our team consists entirely of men. And, by comparison, the male demographic is more interested in technology.”

Perhaps the line of reasoning behind SmartWatch manufacturers is that because women are less interested in technology as a whole, they are less likely to want the latest gadget — in this case, a SmartWatch.

Nonetheless, Martin and I agree that just because men have a stronger presence in the tech space does not mean women are not looking to be SmartWatch users. Martin specifically notes women he has talked to that would love a SmartWatch, but are concerned with the large size and typically masculine appearance of the watch options available.

In fact, I believe that women are just as likely to invest in a SmartWatch as a man. (Of course, if there were decent-looking options at our disposal.)

To me, thinking otherwise is like believing that a man is more likely to use a SmartPhone or a tablet than a woman. Which is nonsense.

In fact, studies have shown that men prefer Androids while women prefer iPhones. Additionally, Pew found that “there are no statistically significant differences in tablet ownership between men and women.”

Of course, a distinction between SmartPhones and Tablets and then SmartWatches is that with SmartWatches, the look and style of the gadget are important. Wearing a SmartWatch is also a fashion choice — unlike using a SmartPhones or tablet.

In any case — whatever the reasons may be — at the moment there are still no female-specific options.

So what should I, and other girls who want a SmartWatch, do?

how to find a smartwatch as a woman

What Should Us Gals Do?

With no female-specific choices, let’s look at what’s currently available anyways. And more importantly, what can work for us.

This brings me to Lee’s helpful piece. Also, I am taking into consideration an article previously written on SmartWatches.org — “The Top Five Best Looking SmartWatches Available or Coming Soon”.

Popular SmartWatches and What Can Work For Women

Pebble Steel: While the Pebble Steel is undeniably sleeker than its’ other Pebble siblings, apparently it is a no-go for ladies. Specifically, in his article Martin talks about the Pebble Steel not being a good fit for women. He describes,

“Almost every female who has ever asked me about Pebble has always followed-up with another very important question: ‘Is there one with a smaller face?’ “

While the Pebble Steel smartwatch targets a higher-end demographic compared to other models, it does not include women.

finding a smartwatch as a woman

Adriana Lee’s arm with Samsung Gear Live, left; Pebble Steel, middle; LG G, right

LG G Watch: The LG G was the first Android Wear device to hit the scene. While it has charming technology, it’s enormous in size. (As you can see in the photo to the left.)

Even the newer LG G Watch R is reportedly too big for tiny wrists.

However, unlike its predecessor, the LG Watch R has a circular face. (Which does give it a more elegant feel in my opinion.)

ASUS ZenWatch: This watch was not mentioned in Lee’s piece because it just came out in October. But it did make it onto SmartWatches.org’s latest list.

This ASUS Watch is Android Wear.

Unlike the LG Watch R, this watch has a square face. It is attractive looking from the photos. They even show women wearing the watch on the website — which is a good sign. (Unlike some websites that only show men wearing their watch!)

Overall, the online reviews are pretty good. This definitely seems like a viable option for women.  

Moto 360: And lastly, the Moto 360. The specs between the ASUS ZenWatch and Moto 360 are very comparable: Android Wear, 512 MB of RAM, 4GB internal storage, etc.

Except the Moto 360 boasts a circular face. Moreover, Lee praises the Moto 360,

“It’s a genuinely good-looking smartwatch, which is a rarity in the current market. While it too boasts a big screen, the Moto 360—like the Martian analog-digital smartwatch mash-up before it—offers a rounded aesthetic that bucks the boxy dictum. This is sexy hardware design that might work as a high-tech boyfriend watch, at least. “

moto 360: hope for women looking for a smartwatch?

Moto 360 watch from official website.

Is there hope!? 

The Moto 360 has now been on the market for a few months. The biggest downside I’ve been seeing in reviews is a poor battery life, that is if you leave it on full notifications all day long.

I realize that I am predominantly covering what looks good on a woman. Nothing about the software behind the scenes is being mentioned — so do you research before buying!

Looking Into the Future

As the SmartWatch market continues to blossom, I undoubtedly believe the options for women will open up.

Already Apple seems to be heading in the right direction. The highly anticipated Apple Watch will come in two size selections. As their website reads,

“Everyone’s style is different, as is everyone’s wrist. So Apple Watch comes in two case sizes: 38mm and 42mm. Both of which can be set up to work on either your left or your right wrist.”

will the Apple smartwatch work for women?

Apple Watch.

As always, Apple puts lots of forethought into their product. Of course, this watch won’t be out until “Early 2015” — whatever that means. But there’s hope.

Nonetheless, Apple’s watches are not gender differentiated. It’s merely a size difference: just like the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. However, they offer a variety of bands and designs that can cater to both men and women.

In the End, I went with the Moto 360

Lee’s remarks on the Moto 360 had me sold. Plus, I wanted a watch with a circular face rather than square — I feel like it’s more traditional.

Here are other reasons why I chose the Moto 360:

  • Decent reviews (except a not-so-hot battery life)
  • Attractive appearance
  • Looks OK on women’s wrists (as seen in photos … we’ll see in real life)
  • Android Wear
  • Relatively Affordable

As I am writing this, I am waiting for the watch to arrive in the mail. We’ll have to see if the Moto 360 meets my expectations.

Either way, there needs to be a change in the SmartWatch industry. SmartWatches combine fashion and technology: it would be insane to leave women out of the equation. (Click here to Tweet this!)


Smartwatches for Women Update (April 15, 2015)

In the few short months since I wrote this piece, the smartwatch scene for women has changed…at least according to some.

What about the Apple Watch?

I spoke about the Apple Watch in the original piece.

But now, that it’s so close to release date, what do people think about the Apple Watch…for women?

This article, posted on Guru Focus, thinks the Apple Watch is a sound solution for women wanting instant wrist notifications.

The author points specifically to Angela Adherents, former Burberry CEO who is now Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales, as the lady behind the scenes to thank.

On the other hand, recent article on The Cheat Sheet by Jess Bolluyt, has a few bones to pick with the Apple Watch as a solution for women.

Notably, she points to the Apple Watch still being too big and masculine for female consumers. She also mentions the watch not offering enough functionality for the female buyer. And one mistake many wearable manufacturers make when trying to appeal for women: making the device “pretty”…but not functional.

Apple Watch Consensus

At the time of writing, the Apple Watch has yet to be released. Time will tell if the Apple Watch is a good fit for women… Or not.

However, in my opinion, it does appear to be making a step in the right direction.

What about other smartwatch options for ladies, beyond Apple Watch?

Since the time of initial publish, other options have came to the scene for women. Here’s a quick look at two options that look promising for women: the Omate and Kenneth Coles’s new smartwatch line.

1. Omate

Omate claims to have designed “the world’s smartwatch designed exclusively for women”. The “Lutetia”.

While the specifications are impressive (with five days of standby battery time, and iOS and Android compatible) as well as the appearance (clearly a feminine watch)…it isn’t available yet for purchase. Or at least you can’t buy it on their site .

2. Kenneth Cole Connect™

Kenneth Cole is partnering with the Geneva Watch Group to launch a new Kenneth Cole Connect™ smartwatch collection.

This source says it will be launching in late April 2015. While information is relatively limited, it seems as if there will be men and women models available.

Moreover, this watch will be compatible with Android or iPhone smartphones. Also — you can apparently take selfies with the wearable.

Click here to tweet this

My thoughts on this collaboration? The fact women are in the promo video is promising. 

But, as with the Apple Watch and Lutetia — time will tell.

 

 

About The Author

Laurence Bradford

Laurence Bradford loves technology and writing about it. An avid exerciser, she is interested in the combination of gadgets and fitness optimization. Find her online at learntocodewith.me.

  • Jude

    So are you pleased with it? and lets see a picture on your wrist. (Love the article thanks)

    • Hey — yes I am very happy with it! (image attached below)

      • Briley Kenney

        Looks good Laurence!

      • Amynta

        Wow. I still think that would look way too big on me for daily wear. For just an athletic outting, it would be fine.

        • The only time it ever bothers me is when I type on my laptop. But that’s only sometimes 🙂

          • smartwatches

            Approve.


            Thanks,
            Chris
            SmartWatches.org

  • dean’s fangirl

    Amen! I have been waiting two years for a smaller smart watch for my wrist! I think women would be all over this. Men just have to pull their phone out of their pocket, but we have to dig into our purse to see every notification.

    • Elisabeth van der Zalm

      Hi Laurence, thanx for the article The watch is good looking indeed. But to be honest, i think this one still looks very big. Does the size bother your movements at all? I hope that maybe the Swatch watch will be an option. As an Android fan, the Apple watch won’t be.

  • Elaine

    Sorry but this watch is huge…much to big for wearing 24/7. I really want a Smart watch..I love tech and related toys so this is definitely the next thing to get.
    Why is it thought women won’t buy these things…its very frustrating.
    I am a executive women and rely on technology a lot, I want to get fit. I love my Samsung gadgets, so why are these people not catering for a huge market, I’m sure I’m not the only one!!!

  • Wendy Joerns

    Today I went to apple store and checked out the Sports Watches – smaller size for a woman looks pretty good. I was happy 5 different coloured bands. Pricing for smaller watch 499.00. So does look great and if I cannot find anything else that is smaller and looks as good I would probably get it. But by the look of it I think I can settle on something way cheaper than that. The larger sports watch cost $100.00 more than the smaller one. I actually sat there with a store one and worked it all out really easily and I am a woman who is not that tech savy. Just that I am past my fitbit and wanting to move forward with fitness etc.

  • Starlinguk

    I’m a skinny-wristed lady and ended up with a nasty bruise on my wrist bone from my Pebble Steel. I’ve had to sell it, such a shame. I wish I’d backed the Time now!

    • Samantha Manewitz

      This is my pebble time with a purple NATO watch strap and a watch face I created with the watch face generator. I’m pretty happy with it.

  • davehorne

    I’m a guy with smallish wrists and have the same issues as the woman who wrote this article.

    I’m sure as time goes on there will be more from which to choose.

  • Samantha Manewitz

    I have the pebble time, and I really like it. It doesn’t look huge on my wrist, and when I swapped out the original band with a purple NATO strap, it looked pretty good on my wrist.

    When the pebble time steel comes out, I think it will be a good option for women who don’t it can’t get an Apple watch.

    Since I don’t have an Apple phone, and I’m a social worker (earning a social work salary ), the Apple watch was a no go for me.

  • Matt Pool

    In all honesty I don’t doubt that another part of the issue is size of tech. It costs more to make things smaller and companies want to make a watch that is affordable. While I don’t think that is any excuse to NOT make watches that work better for smaller wrists, I can see it being used as one, and it would be true, to a point.

    I can see, potentially, a future where women’s smart watches may cost more than men’s purely based on the size and not on functionality. Whether it is because it ACTUALLY costs more… well, marketing is marketing. I just don’t know enough about the components and cost of building a smart watch to be a good judge as to whether it should cost more.

    Maybe a good compromise on the company side would be to charge an average price? So if a smaller watch costs $400 to make and larger costs $300 maybe they sell both for $350? (totally arbitrary numbers)

    In the end, it is all speculation. My wife wants a smart watch and I am constantly on the hunt to find one that will work well for her – we are eying the Pebble Time very closely and hope to see one in the wild before purchase. I currently wear the original Pebble Steel myself.

  • Shammane Paris

    Hi everyone,

    We have a brand of smartwatches for women. The brand is SHAMMANE and we are live on indiegogo right now: : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/shammane-smartwatch/

    You can have a look and back us if you like !

  • nonev

    Also I guy who wants a smaller watch. Small wrists, but also looking for a more for a thinner classical styled smart watch around 38-40 mm

    • Awghost5

      Check out the pebble time round. It’s seriously thin. I have the 14 mm watch band model, but the 20mm band models are more unisex.

  • Awghost5

    I have the pebble time round and love it. It’s thin, it’s pretty, and I get compliments on it all the time. It’s like wearing a Skagen or Swatch, only it does stuff. (Ignore the messy desk.)
    I know this is over a year after this was written, but hopefully there will be other companies following in Pebble’s footsteps.

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