Ditch Your Smartphone – Can Smartwatches Take Pictures?
For many smartwatch early adopters, part of the appeal of having a fully functional smartwatch is that they don’t need to carry a smartphone around with them. With contacts, payment options, and apps galore all on your wrist, who needs a larger standalone device? Actually, when you ditch your smartwatch for a smaller wrist worn device, you potentially leave behind one of its best features: the camera. Most smartphones these days take such good, crisp photos with strong colour and a good range, that the standalone digital camera market has withered. If you leave your smartphone behind, can smartwatches take pictures?
And sort of.
Like a lot of tech questions, the answer is a little complicated.
Your Watch is Not a Camera
That’s not to say that they aren’t great little devices (they are) that make your life simpler and, let’s face it, more cool because you’ve basically got a computer right on your wrist (they do).
However, when it comes to functioning as an image capturing device, most of the big names in the field just don’t do it.
OK, Your Watch Might Be a Camera
A handful of less popular smartwatches actually do include onboard cameras. For example, the Samsung Gear 2 has one, as does the ultra low budget Aipker smartwatch, and the upcoming Arrow Smartwatch includes a one of a kind 360 degree rotating camera. Plus, surprisingly, the VTech Kidizoom smartwatch for kids (for kids!) has a built in camera. So, if you want a smartwatch that can take pictures, you do have a few options.
Can Smartwatches Take Pictures?
However, the photo quality from smartwatch cameras isn’t all that great. On the Samsung Gear 2, for example, the camera is a two megapixel affair, and that seems to be about the going resolution for built in smartwatch cameras. It’s not much, and these cameras are also crummy in low light.
The photos you take with it will be noticeably inferior in quality to the photos you take with your iPhone or Android device. You also need to practice a little more than you’d expect with a smartwatch camera, as you want to get just the right angle to avoid those up the nose selfies.
So, a smartwatch camera is certainly not a good replacement for your current smartphone, but to answer the question: yes, some smartwatches can take pictures.
And, looking ahead to the future, the smartwatch camera may be an area in which we see drastic improvement; future versions of the Apple Watch, Pebble, and other smartwatches may be able to capture more viable images.
Your Watch Can Be a Camera Remote
Both the Apple Watch and Android-based smartwatches can be used as a remote for the camera on any synced smartphone. It’s a remarkably helpful feature for getting the perfect selfie or for putting some distance between yourself and your camera. You’ll want to use either the Camera Remote app on watchOS or the Google Camera app on Android Wear, and both are easy to set up.
Smile — You’ll Be on Smartwatch Camera
Ultimately, your smartwatch just isn’t ready to be a camera yet, even if it has a camera, much in the same way that those flip phones we were all using ten or 12 years ago weren’t poised to replace our Powershots and Coolpixes. So we’re not quite there yet.
However, it’s a good bet that if you were to ask the same question — can smartwatches take pictures? — in two or three years, if smartwatches are still around the answer would be a resounding yes.
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Sony SmartWatch 3
Apple Watch Series 2