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Specs matter when it comes to picking the best smartwatch.
Whether you are out to get one from a big brand or are all about style and functionality, you sure need to know your way around a smartwatch. First, it has to be compatible with your smartphone lest you are looking at a piece of decorative tech on your wrist.
With lots of good news and equally bad news surrounding smart watches, you have to be on the lookout for the brands that actually work before you dig in. Wear OS smartwatches, for example, work better with Androids than with iPhones although they tend to make us believe they will work the same for both operating systems.
On the other hand, iPhone lovers have Apple watch to thank because it is not only refined in looks and details, but it offers a personalized experience for every iPhone user. The Series has the best of the best in luxurious designs. Apple Watch Series 4 tops the list as our top choice. It keeps you connected and fit while being cool, elegant, and graceful.
As you can tell, there are a variety of choices in the smartwatch market. For Android smartphones, you better grab the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. Not just for Samsung smartphones, but any other Android smartphone as it is fully compatible. It is equally a fitness tracker and sleep analyzer with some of the coolest features we have seen on a smartwatch
Apple rarely makes the first of any tech product, but whatever they bring to the table is sure to catch everyone’s eye and attention. Look at the Apple Watch Series 4. Though at a premium price, most people can’t wait to get their hands on this beautiful piece of tech.
From an updated design to a much more intuitive platform, we can’t get over the elegance of the Apple Watch 4. You get a larger display that is 30% larger than those that came before it. Available in 40mm and 44mm sizes, its counterparts stand at 38-42mm in the likes of Apple Watch 1, Apple Watch 2, and Apple Watch 3.
You’ll notice that their displays are smaller and their internal storages for Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2 are only 8GB. You can rest easy with the price because all the previous versions of Apple Watch are cheaper.
Back to our top choice, you will find the 1.78-inch OLED display large and easy to see in bright sunlight and low-lit areas. It comes with a digital crown with haptic feedback which helps to recognize that your command has been accepted.
With its 64-bit dual-core S4 processor, it offers seamless operations that are faster and smoother. Not to mention, it gives you 16GB of internal storage for countless onboard music storage and streaming.
We start with the obvious smart notifications that this smartwatch is designed to deliver. It can receive and respond to texts, make and receive calls, and get notifications from emails, social media sites, etc. Not to mention its loudspeakers that allow making of phone calls and using Siri makes it much better.
But that’s not the only good thing with this pick. This watch has electrical and optical heart sensors which are the highlight of its additional functionality. Apple Watch Series 4 can notify you of a low or high heart rate. It also carries highly accurate accelerometer and gyroscope to detect falls.
Not only that, this watch has inbuilt GPS and can automatically detect a workout and starts tracking right away. You can set up to five metrics, get involved in some friendly competitions, and track your overall health.
Apple Watch Series 4 needs a third-party app to track sleep. It is not such a big deal if you are not big on sleep tracking, but if you are, it’s something you need to keep in mind.
If only the battery lasted longer than 24 hours, you could truly have an iPhone replacement for more fun on your wrist. Apple Watch Series 4 showcases refined detailing that only Apple can give. It includes more features and most of all an ECG monitor that can track your heart rate more accurately.
Coming at less than half the price of the Apple Watch Series 4, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is an equal contender in the smartwatch market. This model is destined to have a home on the wrists of a fitness lover who also happens to like cutting edge technology.
We are talking about a smartwatch that is the epitome of style. Featuring four colors to choose in a discrete design, you will look fab and sporty without trying. It gives you customizable watch faces that help showcase your style.
The lightweight design means it’s going to be comfortable to wear over long hours. The watch is swim ready meaning no worries if you are going to be around water. Since this watch features Tizen operating system, it has a side-scrolling interface that needs using with a touchscreen. It has missed out on the bezel which makes the watch smaller and also easier to fit undershirts.
You have to rely on lots of swipes to get to the app you want. It is a little annoying than a set of buttons, but it works well most of the time. Compared to the Galaxy Watch that has the rotating bezel, you might feel this one is a bit slower.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is at the center of performance. Tizen OS continues to express reliability in terms of intuitiveness offering a fluid experience for every Android user. This smartwatch will also work with iOS but it has its limitations like Samsung Pay, SOS alerts, and responding to texts which won’t work with iPhones.
But it has its share of impressive features including various ways of responding to text messages, accessing thousands of apps, and comprehensive fitness tracking. The watch has a heart rate monitor and inbuilt GPS. It can track your steps, calories burned, distance traveled, etc. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active will alert you when you need to start moving after sitting down for a considerable amount of time.
You will also find active sleep tracking on this smartwatch. Unlike Apple Watch, you don’t need a third-party app for sleep tracking.
This smartwatch like many others is still a bit of a drag when downloading music. It is also buggy when using Bixby. It does not use Magnetic Secure Transmission Technology (MST) but supports only NFC payments.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is all-in when it comes to blending of style and functional features. It is sporty but remains smart and reliable in the day-to-day running of your phone. You can’t go wrong as this model is one of the affordable options with premium features.
The third iteration of the Apple Watch brought with it LTE connectivity. But with the entry of Apple Watch Series 4, some of us are yet to understand the differences between the two models.
Apple Watch Series 3 is affordable and does not carry many differences compared to Apple Watch Series 4. It serves as a nice replacement for Apple Watch 2 thanks to the onboard cellular connectivity and large internal storage.
Although still plagued by short battery life, this smartwatch is nice to have for iPhones over cheaper offerings. We like that it comes in a decent size display with a customizable face to match your style. It is limited to two color choices and up to 42mm bezel sizes which is not much of a big deal considering how much you will be spending.
Apple Watch Series 3 bring LTE connectivity, but it is still heavily reliant on your iPhone for most stuff. The only thing it does is make and receive phone calls when you are away from your phone. Apps have to be upgraded to standalone mode if you want to receive notifications from such apps without your iPhone.
The microphone improves your listening experience as it is sensitive and easy to hear in the outdoors. It will not be of much help in the car so don’t count it in for your trips. However, we are impressed that Apple Watch 3 is water resistant to 50 meters and has inbuilt GPS.
It can track fitness activities and your heart rate using an optical heart rate monitor. It does not have an ECG monitor so it cannot help diagnose atrial fibrillation. It is useful for the usual tracking of steps, runs, and other workouts, and it even allows you to share your progress with friends.
For elderly wearers who may benefit from the fall detection feature available in the Apple Watch Series 4, you are better off with the latest iteration rather than this affordable pick that will not call emergency services when you fall.
If you are looking for cellular connectivity with your smartwatch on the cheap, Apple Watch Series, 3 is still the closest call on the cheap. It runs the latest WatchOS version meaning it can perform as great as Apple Watch 4. Except for the ECG heart rate monitor that you won’t get; it gives you a nice bang for your buck.
Fitbit Versa Smartwatch is the perfect pick for those looking for a model that will work well with iPhones as any Apple Watch. With the Fitbit Versa Lite Edition and Versa special edition already in the picture, there’s still so much to like about the original Fitbit Versa.
This smartwatch has shown great success in the industry since it is affordable and it beats the odds with a longer than average battery life. It gives you a vast collection of straps to choose from meaning you can get a unique look that fits in with your desires.
Fitbit Versa offers a lightweight design, an app store, and onboard music storage for over 300 songs. These are features we have seen on the Apple Watch, but they come cheaper on Fitbit Versa. What’ s more, this smartwatch delivers native sleep and heart rate monitoring. It is also water-resistant to 50 meters.
This smartwatch comes with a touchscreen instead of a rotating bezel. Its OS has a simple interface and aided by the three buttons for shortcuts to your notifications and music controls; it’s going to be a breeze to operate.
Fitbit Versa offers all day activity tracking. It can track your heartbeat, calories burned, hourly activity, and when you need it to track distance traveled all you need is pair it with your phone’s GPS, and it’s down to it. You get onscreen workouts that guide you as well as smart notifications including calls, texts, and push notifications.
With this smartwatch, you will wake up to gentle pulses delivered in slight vibrations. Nothing to startle you back to life. It covers most workout types thanks to the inclusion of 15+ workout modes. It is very straightforward as it allows you to see real time performance.
For ladies, you also get to log your period on the Fitbit app and get fertility tips. Not forgetting, personalized reminders that will keep you motivated to stay active.
The only thing you have to put up with is the limited number of apps on the app gallery. If you were hoping for a similar number of apps to Apple Watch, then you have to reconsider if it’s what you want.
You may not have hundreds of dollars to spend on an Apple Watch, but when you need a smartwatch that will work as great, Fitbit Versa is hands down the best option. It is more fitness oriented; hence you can expect comprehensive fitness tracking.
Garmin vivoactive 3 is not your usual smartwatch. Replete with fitness features and a ton of useful apps, triathletes and marathoners will be caught in this smartwatch than any other.
This is a smartwatch you will like to wear. Not just for workouts and training sessions but you can also grab drinks without feeling its weight on your wrist. Its all black design is complemented by silver hardware to give a professional look.
Garmin vivoactive 3 is available in a single size, but it has an adjustable band that makes it easy to fit comfortably on any wrist size. You get to personalize the watch face from thousands of options as well as access apps on the Connect IQ store.
This model comes with a heart rate monitor and GPS to rival premium options in fitness tracking. It offers up to seven days of battery life which is as good as it gets when you want to track fitness activities as well as receive notifications.
Garmin vivoactive 3 gives you a range of functions. Its heart rate sensor is quite accurate as most users have come to agree. It allows you to track your heart rate along with sleep 24 hours a day. Combined with its inbuilt GPS, it can give you the precise distance traveled when you go out for runs or cycling sessions.
It has over 15 sports modes for detailed tracking. With the help of VO2 Max, you can now monitor your fitness regarding oxygen consumption such that you can increase intensity and practice endurance which will impact on your performance especially if you are a professional athlete.
You also get to enjoy connectivity features such as smart notifications like calls and texts. It also allows you to create personalized profiles for activities not included. It is ready for sports such as golf, yoga, swimming, and many others.
Although it allows for contactless payments, Garmin Pay is not accepted universally. Also, you cannot store music on the smartwatch meaning you have to pair it with a phone at all times to listen to music.
Garmin vivoactive 3 falls right in with affordable sports smartwatches. It competes with the Fenix 5x but does not require a high-end investment. For what it’s worth, this model packs a punch in bridging the fitness tracking and smart features world.
Fossil Women Gen 4 Venture HR takes the lead as the most stylish smartwatch. While most smartwatches bear a masculine look, this one gives you an elegant design and must have features giving you every reason to invest in it.
Fossil Women Gen 4 Venture HR is a small device that looks nice on small wrists. It has a premium metal build with a metallic crown and programmable pushers that make it easy to navigate the interface. It also has touchscreen functionality which gives you a dozen ways of operating the watch.
You can choose from three different colors as well as nine different straps. This smartwatch is also swim proof. With 24-hour battery life, you don’t have to remove when taking a shower. Fossil Women Gen 4 Venture HR features a heart rate monitor and GPS for fitness tracking.
This model operates much like any other smartwatch offering smart notifications and app alerts. Google Wear OS runs it. The watch performs great with Androids but will also give you reasonable performance with iOS devices. It allows you to download apps from Google Play Store which provides you with endless capabilities on the types of apps you can have.
When it comes to fitness tracking, you can’t go wrong with its built-in GPS and heart rate monitor. It can track most activities and deliver stats right on the watch. What’s more, it has three sensors which include a gyroscope, altimeter, and accelerometer. Together, the sensors can help in navigation in the outdoors.
Fossil Women Gen 4 Venture HR also supports Google Assistant which comes in handy when receiving calls and replying text messages. It is contactless payment-enabled and is universally accepted.
The only thing you won’t enjoy is minute on minute heart rate monitoring. It takes a reading every 20 minutes, and it does not give you detailed readings.
Small wrists also need an elegant companion. Fossil Women Gen 4 Venture HR is all in providing the best of fitness tracking and smart features. It is unique in design and is attentive to details thanks to its independent GPS and heart rate monitor.
Withings Steel HR Sport Smartwatch offers up to 25 days of battery life. It is highly reliant on your smartphone for most stuff which is why it can conserve charge for so long that you don’t need to remember to recharge it every single day.
The durable stainless-steel case on this smartwatch is probably the first thing you’ll notice on this model. It is water-resistant to 50 meters, and you can choose from different straps to suit your preferences.
With close to a month of battery life, you would think it requires longer to charge, but it takes only two hours. All you need to do is switch to the battery saving mode, and you can enjoy the most extended runtime on a single charge. Otherwise, it will run for only five days on the workout mode.
Withings Steel HR Sport Smartwatch does not have inbuilt GPS. Instead, it links to your smartphone’s GPS via Bluetooth for distance tracking. It offers heart rate monitoring with the help of the Health Mate App to see your stats. It will enter into sleep tracking automatically. It gives you a sleep score showcasing your sleep duration, light & deep sleep, overnight interruptions, and even the sleeping heart rate.
This smartwatch will only receive notifications like texts and calls, but you won’t be able to respond to them. If you want to text back and receive calls you will want to look at an advanced model like Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.
Withings Steel HR Sport Smartwatch offers a clean look that can be worn in professional settings. It has a nice companion app that makes tracking easy and enjoyable. Though limited on what you can do with notifications, it is impressive for the price.
Introduce more fun in the gifts you get your kids. They too can enjoy the advantages of smartwatches from their devices. We are talking the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX. This model will not only provide fun activities, but it will also serve as an educational tool.
VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX looks good and smart. It comes in different colors from blue to purple and even pink. It features a slim design that will sit comfortably on most kids’ wrists. It is suitable for kids from the age of 4 to 9 years as they can understand how to use the watch.
The watch has 50 clock faces on a touchscreen that helps in operating the smartwatch. It allows kids to engage in dozens of activities while recording their precious moments. It has onboard storage for photos and videos for that purpose.
We like that the camera has photo effects and a voice recorder. It supports voice changing effects which make games fun. Not to mention its motion sensors that help kids to record their playtime.
VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX features three action challenges, five games, and three fun activities. It is inclusive of popular games that most kids will find fun and engaging. The smartwatch can also tell the time, and it includes an alarm, stopwatch, calendar, and calculator.
As you can see, the smartwatch supports mental and physical growth. If you are looking for a cheaper kids’ smartwatch, Vtech Kidizoom also offers their original model with lesser features.
For older kids, Fitbit Versa is an excellent option as it is not complicated to use.
This smartwatch is independent of smartphones. As such, parents cannot track their kid’s activities.
Kids also get to join in the smartwatch fun with the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX. It is a well-thought product that taps in kids’ desires to use smart devices. It remains child-friendly which is why most parents prefer it over any other.
Huawei GT Sport can be as large as 46mm and as small as 42mm. From these dimensions, most women will not fancy such a large watch on their wrists. As such, the Huawei GT Sport is best for men.
Huawei GT Sport comes in a lightweight form factor. It has a double crown, ceramic bezel, AMOLED screen, and a stainless-steel shell all in a bid to stay cool and elegant at the same time. You can get it in a variety of straps, and it is also possible to change the clock faces.
Perhaps the most significant feature is that it is ideal for on the go. It can keep a charge for up to 14 days. It has a double chipset that will keep up with your lifestyle whether you hike or rock climb; it offers multisport tracking wherever the adventure takes you.
Huawei GT Sport is efficient at real-time heart rate monitoring using innovative sensors that deliver accurate results. Its inbuilt satellite positioning supports GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo for worldwide positioning and distance tracking.
The smartwatch will tell your fitness level using VO2 max, and it will also help to guide your workouts using a personal coach. You can track your sleep, and indoor activities as this model does not skimp on activity tracking.
Since this watch has switched to Huawei’s Lite OS, it offers a user-friendly screen. We could say it’s much better than Wear OS, but you have limitations to the apps you can access.
There are inconsistencies in sleep tracking performance of this model. It is better as an activity tracker rather than a sleep analyzer.
Huawei GT Sport is all about fitness and the outdoors rather than responding to calls and texts. This model covers multisport tracking while offering a long battery life. It can work with iOS and Androids thus improving its usefulness with different smartphones.
TicWatch Pro Bluetooth Smartwatch promises longer battery life and NFC capability. It is the best of its previous versions which means it is better in features and performance.
This smartwatch offers a durable build quality using premium materials. The case has a construction from carbon fiber reinforced with nylon for improved longevity. Its most popular feature is the second display which is transparent offering the always-on functionality.
This model has an AMOLED and an LCD screen which influence the modes and the battery life. On the Smart mode, the watch uses the AMOLED display to offer up to five days of battery life. On the Essential mode, it uses the LCD screen which is viewable in sunlight and offers up to 30 days of runtime.
You’ll like that it is not affected by outdoor elements as it is iP68 water resistant rated. It is dustproof, so the outdoors should not give you a scare.
TicWatch Pro Bluetooth Smartwatch is an excellent health and fitness companion. It has a built-in GPS for running, cycling, and steps. The watch can track your heart rate, calories burned, speed and cadence for cycling sessions.
The best thing is that you don’t have to wake this watch to look at notifications. Thanks to the second transparent display you can have a glance at the date, steps, battery level, and the time at all times.
TicWatch Pro Bluetooth Smartwatch still suffers the qualms of Wear OS smartwatches. It uses the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset that has issues with lags while opening apps and performing basic commands.
TicWatch Pro Bluetooth Smartwatch is not the cheapest Wear OS smartwatch on the market, but it has taken strides in ensuring you get a better experience on the platform than most smartwatches in its class.
Our list is not entirely complete without recognizing two brands that have unique features. Casio Men’s Pro Tek Resin Outdoor Watch is an exceptional model for navigation. It is a military-style smartwatch complete with a digital compass, barometer, altimeter, and GPS.
Misfit Vapor 2 also deserves honorable mention as it supports multiple time zones while offering smart notifications that you can respond to. You can reply to text messages and also receive calls using an inbuilt microphone. It also supports activity tracking and has inbuilt GPS allowing it to compete effectively with the likes of TicWatch Pro.
Purchasing a smartwatch was easy a couple of years ago. Only a couple of models existed, and it wasn’t hard to decide which one to buy. The same can’t be said today, because there are hundreds of models of smartwatches out there.
Finding the best smartwatch is not an easy task. As luck would have it, we have spent countless hours gathering all of the relevant data, so you don’t have to. We will tell you everything you need to know in order to make a smart purchase.
While there are no official types of smartwatches, we have decided to classify them in a couple of categories to make your shopping easier.
The operating system(OS) of a smartwatch depends on the manufacturer. Apple watches utilize the watchOS 5 operating system. WatchOS 5 gives you plenty. It gamifies the exercise by presenting you with achievements and competitions, but that’s not all. The watchOS 5 can recognize when you are starting your workout, reminds you that your pace is slow, allows you to view web content, and more. If you are a fan of Apple products, then you will most likely enjoy using the watchOS 5.
At the same time, Android smartwatches come with Wear OS. This OS comes with an assistant that will make sure that you never miss a flight or an appointment. It also allows you to get directions, make lists, and even pay if the smartwatch model allows it. You can stay connected to your friends and family via SMS and email without grabbing your phone. Wear OS comes with many fitness apps that are bound to be useful to anyone who loves exercise. If you enjoy using Android products, then you could consider a smartwatch that comes with Wear OS.
Other companies have created their own operating systems, but those can’t compare to the ones created by Apple and Android. It doesn’t mean that they are bad. They simply lack some of the functionalities and features, and their design might be unfamiliar to you.
While most of the modern smartwatches can do many things, we think that there are some functions that are a must-have.
Besides these basic functions, there are plenty more that you might find useful. Some smartwatches come with a thermometer that can track temperature changes. Other models have a barometer that shows you changes in the pressure. Climbers could look for a smartwatch that comes with an altimeter that measures the altitude. Some smartwatches come with Near-field communication(NFC) that allows you to transfer your data and pay in any store that supports it.
All in all, our advice is to find a smartwatch that comes with at least some of the must-have functions that we have named. All of the other functions are the cherry on top, and you should figure out which ones are useful to you.
Some of the smartwatches can work only for a day before you need to charge them. Conversely, others can work for days and even weeks. We have noted the length of battery life for every model we have reviewed, so you don’t have to search for it elsewhere.
Some of the smartwatches are splash-proof, and they will survive in the rain, but not much else. While some of the models can be submerged underwater, our advice is to take off your smartwatch when you go swimming.
Most of the smartwatches out there come with straps that can be changed. Plenty of smartwatch manufacturers make gorgeous straps for their products. On the other hand, some smartwatches don’t come with swappable straps. So, if you want to express yourself by using different straps, then make sure that you are purchasing a model that allows you to do it.
Plenty of smartwatches come with plenty of storage space, but not all of them. Some of the models out there come with only the most basic storage space, while other models come with no storage space at all. If you need a smartwatch that allows you to store files, photos, and more, then opt in for a model with lots of storage space.
Unfortunately, most smartwatches are expensive to fix. While the price of the repair won’t set you back more than the watch did, it can still be expensive. So, take good care of your smartwatch and you won’t need to fix it.