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Privacy Smart Watches

Privacy Smart Watches

So, you're in the market for a "smart" watch that might do things like tell you where you are and what your heart rate is.  There are two issues with most smart watches that make them bad designs: lack on anonymity (privacy) and terrible battery life.  If you don't want to compromise on those two things your options are pretty limited, but there are some options.

GPS is a useful feature for smart watches and USB connectivity is a decent compromise, rather than Bluetooth.  So GPS watches are one way to go.

  • Timex GPS watches. Not the R300.  But the other ones.  Has USB connectivity and no Bluetooth, no WiFi  and no Cell transmit capabilities.  The GPS _is_ a radio, but it's receive-only.
  • Soleus GPS Sol. (Review, summary) Uses a chest strap to measure heart rate. 30 day battery.

Of course, there other "DIY" options:



James Andrew Smith is an associate professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department in York University's Lassonde School.  He lives in Toronto, Canada.  While on sabbatical in 2018-19 with his wife and kids he lived in Strasbourg, France and taught at the INSA Strasbourg and Hochschule Karlsruhe and wrote about his personal and professional perspectives.  You can find him on Twitter.