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There are instances when we can’t check our smartphones because they are distracting and it might be rude to jump into our device.

This is when a smart watch comes in handy.A quick flick of the wrist and you can glance on a message and see what’s up.Even better, some smart watches allow users to quickly respond using their smart watch through voice, emojis or even miniature QWERTY keyboards on the device itself.

Most smartwatches make it possible to read incoming text messages, email and even apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Skype as well as the proprietary messaging apps from their specific platforms.This makes it easy to get a quick read on important communications without having to dig into their smartphones, smartwatches can also enable super-quick response right from the smartwatch.

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I usually drive with my smartphone in a bag or mounted on the dashboard if I need navigation. When messages come in while I am in traffic or parked, they show up on the smartwatch I am wearing and I can get a quick glimpse to see if it is important or not. Same when I am out on a run and my smartphone is in my pocket.

If the message is important and needs to be responded to, i have options. There are preset quick replies which I can choose to send to let the person know I have read the message or I can use the voice dictation feature on most devices to speak a response into the smartwatch.

images.jpegThe Pebble Time is one smartwatch that has very good voice response integration specially for third party applications like WhatsApp or Viber.

The Apple Watch is similarly great at taking voice responses for Apple’s Messages app and for text messages.

What the Apple Watch does really well is send animations, sketches (which you can draw on directly on the screen). Apple Watch has various animated emojis and also allows users to tap other Watch owners or even send their heartbeat.

There’s a wide range of Android Wear smartwatches, some of these allow voice response to messages or email, some have tiny keyboards which offer predictive typing so they can guess the words you are trying to type.

Microsft Band 2 isn’t really a smartwatch per se but integrates the ability to respond to messages with an onscreen keyboard as well. It is a bit better in terms of predictive texting than some other ones I hav tried but is still limited by the small screen real estate.

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Like with most technologies, your comfort level and accuracy will vary. Personally I prefer speaking into the smartwatch to send a response. I find this method is generally accurate although sometimes if there is a lot of ambient noise the messages will have typos and this can be time consuming to fix.

Typing on tiny displays does not feel natural, but some users can manage to send quick responses this way. I think it is good that not only do smartwatches are capable of letting you read your text messages but more importantly, they offer various actionable ways to respond to these messages using voice, emoji or preset text messages and sometimes even through an onscreen QWERTY keyboards right on the devices themselves.