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For those old enough to remember, all kids used to want growing up was a Dick Tracey watch. We often thought about how cool it would be to make phone calls from your wrist. Flash-forward to the early 21st century, and the best smartwatch can do just that and a whole lot more.
Join us as we take a look at 10 modern marvels of technology that can keep you connected in ways once only dreamed of. Use our reviews to help you find the best smartwatch for your needs. Whether staying connected to work or tracking fitness goals, we have just the watch for you.
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We looked at some truly remarkable devices. One of our favorites overall was the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Featuring stunning craftsmanship and a beautiful display, you’ll be staying connected in style. And, you can customize the Galaxy to your heart’s content.
Following close behind was Apple’s Watch 5. If you’re an iPhone user, this is the watch you want. It has the same high level of quality you’ve come to expect from Apple. It’s equipped with the latest software, and sports some new surprises, too.
You’ve seen a couple of our favorites; now let’s check out the rest. We want to note that almost every entry is made for both men and women. Many brands offer different colored watches, with a wide variety of bands to choose from.
The best of the best. The clear winner goes to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch. The build-quality screams class. It looks and feels like a premium watch, but with a much more acceptable price. It’s a little bulky, sure. But the weight is just right and rivals many premium watches.
If you’re looking for versatility, you’ve found it. Most buyers will likely be after the many apps you can download, but strictly as a watch, it shines. The variety of faces is incredible. If there’s a look you’re after, chances are the Galaxy Watch has it.
Navigating the device through the rotating bezel is a genius idea that works really well, aside from a hiccup here and there. Simply turning the bezel either clockwise or counter-clockwise cycles through the menu.
It’s a lot of fun to use and quite effective. There are times when you’ll spin the bezel but nothing happens on-screen. It can take a few turns before the watch ‘wakes up’. We never ran into any issue where we had to access the watch in such a hurry that this bothered us.
The bezel as a whole is pretty thick. It got caught on many articles of clothing throughout the week until finally getting used to – and remembering – it being there.
To that point, we had the 42mm version, although there’s a 46mm, as well. It’s a shade thicker and boasts really nice battery life. On average you’re looking at anywhere from 1 to 4 days of battery life, depending on size. Charging is wireless and works better than expected.
There are so many bands and colors available, making this the perfect watch for anyone. We’re impressed by the sheer number of options for customizing the Galaxy Watch. It’s solid, comfortable, and looks fantastic.
Operation is smooth and a joy to use. There’s just so much to do with the Galaxy Watch. And if you accidentally get it wet, no worries. Its water-resistant construction ensures greater longevity. Even more impressive, you can take the watch with you for a swim, if you feel so inclined.
One of the biggest strengths that puts the Galaxy Watch ahead of other entries is its compatibility. Not only does it work seamlessly with Android, but you can use it with Apple’s iOS, as well.
As a Samsung product, voice controls are handled by Bixby. It isn’t the most robust software, but it gets the job done.
You can’t have a ‘Top 10’ without Apple’s Watch. Spoiler alert: they are so good, in fact, that they make another appearance further down the list. If you’re an iPhone user, this is the smartwatch you want to get.
The Apple Watch’s strength is also its biggest weakness. It’s compatible with Apple’s iOS software only. So unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Watch, you can’t use the Apple Watch with Android devices.
Aesthetically, the Series 5 looks identical to the Series 4. Any improvements lie in the overall performance. The most noticeable and requested change is the display. Instead of going black like previous models, the screen is always on. It’ll dim after inactivity, but you can always see what’s displayed.
Menu navigation is still controlled by the intuitive jog dial on the right side of the unit. This works as smoothly as it always has, if not a bit snappier. You get more storage with the Series 5, as well, providing a commendable 32GB.
You may also choose from either a 40mm or 44mm display. Those 4 extra millimeters is going to cost you quite a bit, but the larger screen looks absolutely beautiful. This is all thanks to Apple’s excellent Retina display.
There are some other nice additions this time around, like the onboard compass. All of those great fitness and wellness applications return, too, giving you lots to work with.
We were very pleased with the look and feel of the Series 5. Apple’s craftsmanship is second to none, and their Watch line is a testament to that. In terms of customization, the options are nearly limitless. There are so many bands and colors available that you can make it look as manly or as girly as you want.
The crown dial works beautifully. Menus scroll smoothly and there’s rarely any kind of lag to speak of. Operations are snappy and responsive. And there are so many apps available to ensure you get the most out of your Watch.
The Active 2 takes everything that made the Galaxy Watch so great and improves on nearly every aspect. It’s a slimmer and sportier package that feels much better while delivering some enhancements that are sure to excite.
The first thing you’ll notice when operating the Active 2 is that the physical bezel is gone. It is replaced with a digital version that works surprisingly well. Gently sliding your finger around the perimeter performs the same action as rotating the Galaxy Watch’s bezel.
To help give you better feedback, there’s a nice vibration feature that kicks in with every increment of ‘rotation’. The digital bezel is largely responsible for the Active 2’s sleek look and feel. Since there’s much less bulk now, it’s much more comfortable to wear.
The screen resolution is stunning and crisp. And the menu is a cinch to use, with clever use of long-presses and gestures. It helps to open this model up to greater versatility and performance. And that’s really what the Active 2 is all about.
It’s meant for those who love fitness and exercise, or those wanting to improve their daily activities. You can check your heart rate and things of that nature. But what makes this watch so beneficial is its built-in electrocardiogram feature.
This detects any irregularities in your heartbeat. It will alert you to seek medical attention and potentially save your life. You hear about these kinds of stories popping up from time to time, where a smartwatch prevented major heart troubles.
You can also monitor your sleep, stress levels, and more. It’s packed with nearly 40 different workout programs to help keep you in tip-top shape. Combined with the standard fare of apps and wireless charging, the Active 2 is a worthy upgrade.
Adding to this is its water-resistant construction. With so much going on under the hood, this is always a nice feature to see. The Active 2 gives you a lot to like, but we do have a few complaints to discuss.
You’re still only getting 4GB of storage, and the processor is also the same; a 1.15GHz dual-core. Sadly, the battery takes a dive, with its life being cut in half. Where the Galaxy provides up to 4 days of use, the Active 2 gives you just 2 days.
The good news is that there’s a very minimal increase in price. For all the cutting-edge and useful features you’re getting, we think it is well worth it.
The digital bezel takes only a few seconds of use to get comfortable with it. From there, operations are a breeze. The Tizen operating system works really well here, with clear instructions to help you along the way.
Fossil is known for the quality of their traditional watches. So how does their smart variation fare? Surprisingly well, for a lot of reasons. The Sport is powered by Google’s Wear operating system, making this watch compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones.
There’s a lot to do with the Fossil Sport. It’s loaded with fitness apps and all the standard features you’ve come to expect from a smartwatch. You can make payments, check email and weather, plan routes with GPS, and more.
And since it’s powered by Google, you can download a slew of apps to further expand on the Sport’s versatility. We did run into a few issues with this, however. Some applications are lightning fast and work really well, while others suffered from serious lag.
Although the processor is a 1.2GHz, it’s also a quad-core. So you wouldn’t think this much slow-down would be so prevalent. You’re also getting just 4GB of storage. This may be plenty for some people, but heavy users will wonder where all their space went.
The Sport is a very well-made device. It looks classy and functions admirably. You can even swim with the thing if you like. Our only complaint in terms of design is its buttons and dial. They stick out just a little too far. We found that they impeded our wrist movement on more than one occasion.
Battery life ranges from 1 to 2 days, depending on what you’re running on the Sport. For a smartwatch, this is pretty typical, so we can’t knock it too much.
Aside from the spotty lag, Google’s Wear OS is a pleasure to use. It’s very user-friendly and is a breeze to learn and understand. If you’ve never used it before, it won’t take you long to become acclimated.
If you’ve never heard of TicWatch, don’t feel bad. They aren’t the most well-known of smartwatch manufacturers. But that may be changing soon, as their latest entry is a commendable effort.
Not only does the E2 perform well, it’s also very affordable compared to its competition. We like that it’s powered by Google’s Wear OS. This gives it greater compatibility, working with both Android and Apple smartphones.
The overall design of the E2 is a bit plain, if not downright boring. That being said, it’s built tough and can even go swimming with you. There are lots of health-related apps built-in, like TicMotion and Google Fit. If you’re looking to stay in shape, the E2 will help you out there, as well.
You get the same features found in most smartwatches these days. Voice commands, GPS, heart monitor, wireless syncing – all of that is found here. Although NFC technology is noticeably absent.
The basics work well on the E2, but it doesn’t strive to do anything greater. Thankfully, the price is nice and somewhat makes up for what’s missing.
The E2’s touchscreen display works well with Google’s Wear OS. Gestures and commands are easy to do, and operations are quick and responsive.
TicWatch’s Pro makes up for what the E2 lacks. Many of the same features are present, and more are added. The Pro has NFC, which was missing from the E2. You can also track your sleep and monitor your heart rate.
Water-resistant protection makes a return, allowing you to safely take your watch for a swim. Battery life is improved, ranging from 2 to 5 days depending on usage.
Operation is much the same, as the Pro is once again powered by Google’s Wear OS. The processor is identical to that of the E2, with performance staying pretty high across the board. Helping to keep things snappy is 1GB of RAM.
One of the biggest differences lies in the display, or displays, technically. The Pro is equipped with both an AMOLED and LCD screen. This allows the time to always be at the ready while consuming much less battery power. It’s interesting how TicWatch utilized both and put them into action.
The LCD portion is essentially stacked on top of the AMOLED display. The execution delivers a novel concept that works surprisingly well. Could this, or something similar, be the future of smartwatches? If you were to solely use the LCD watch screen, you could have a full month’s worth of use before needing to recharge.
The design of the Pro is still a little bland, but it has more character than the E2. This one definitely looks more like a traditional watch, thanks to its textured bezel and large buttons protruding from the side. But it’s not anything you haven’t seen before.
The Pro is a bit heavier than the E2, but it’s nothing you’ll likely notice. It’s pretty comfortable on the wrist, although the large knobby buttons tend to get in the way from time to time. The price is considerably higher, too. If the added features aren’t important to you, stick with the E2.
Google’s Wear OS works as good as, or better than, it does on the E2. The touchscreen is responsive and operations are snappy. Having NFC alone helps in its own unique ways for those who like to use it.
You can tell the Versa 2 is trying to mimic Apple’s Watch. The display is much larger, but from afar, it’s hard to tell the difference. From color choices to band design, not much is changed, and that’s clearly the intention.
Where Apple uses Siri, Fitbit uses Alexa. Each one has their fans, but both do a fine job when it comes down to it. The Versa 2 mainly focuses on the health side of life. You can track heart rate, calories burned, steps taken, and even monitor your sleep.
As mentioned, the display is quite large. Huge, in fact. It’s nicely rounded and feels really lightweight. The big face takes some getting used to, but the weight helps a lot.
The Versa 2 is a capable smartwatch that is perfect for those wanting to track their health. It’s missing GPS navigation, but it does have NFC and Bluetooth. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it definitely has its place.
The Versa 2 uses the Fitbit OS, meaning it’s compatible with both Android and iOS. Storage is pretty limited, translating to fewer apps being able to run. The large screen makes functionality much more manageable, however.
If you want to save a few bucks, the Apple Watch 4 is still an excellent option. It’s a bit pricey compared to other entries – it is an Apple product, after all – but it still has a lot to get excited about. The Retina display looks as crisp as ever and processes are snappy and responsive.
With the release of the Apple Watch 5, people may forget just how great the Watch 4 truly is. Updates aside, it’s still a very worthy contender and packed with useful features. This was the series that introduced more in-depth heart monitoring.
You get a whole load of fitness and tracking software to help you stay in shape. You’re still getting excellent GPS navigation, Siri voice commands, haptic feedback, and more.
The processor, while slightly dated, is still able to run circles around much of the competition. If you aren’t too thrilled with Apple’s latest offering, pick up the Watch 4. You’ll be pleased with what it has to offer.
Apple’s watchOS 4 is no slouch. We found that it’s incredibly quick and still capable of delivering the goods. The onboard storage is more than enough for most users, allowing you to try out many of your favorite apps.
The Ionic is yet another entry from Fitbit that works wonders for tracking your health and fitness. You may want to dismiss it as being ‘just another Fitbit’, but the Ionic is so much more.
It successfully bridges the gap to your smartphone, allowing you to accomplish more than ever from your Fitbit wearable. You can check messages and other notifications, as well as store and play music.
You’ll also find GPS navigation, weather, and even NFC technology. Feel like taking a swim with your new smartwatch? No problem there; the Ionic is water-resistant, too. The battery life is commendable, as well, providing up to 5 days of use.
The design of the Ionic is most excellent. It’s super-thin and sporty, almost resembling a classic digital Timex watch. It works really well here, giving the Ionic a unique look not typically found on modern units.
If you’re new to smartwatches in general, this is the one for you. It’s very accessible and won’t break the bank.
The Ionic uses the Fitbit operating system. It’s not the most robust software, but it works well in this setting. The storage is pretty limited, so you’ll likely have to get creative with what apps you choose to use.
OK, you’re on a tight budget but want to experience the smartwatch craze. With many models costing a tidy sum, what are you supposed to do?
Simple. Check out the Amazfit Bip. This affordable entry is the perfect solution for those who don’t want to spend a lot on the latest and greatest smartwatches. It’s limited, sure, but it has enough to keep you connected.
You can check Facebook messages, texts, emails, Twitter, and more. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones. And, it’s equipped with GPS for better tracking of your health statistics.
In fact, it’s pretty well-loaded with handy fitness applications, including sleep monitoring. If you’re into improving your cardio, there are several running and cycling programs to help you get the most out of your regimens.
The design of the Bip is very basic. It’s definitely not going to win any awards for creativity. It’s a simple colored slab on a rubber strap. We looked at the black model, but you can choose white, red, or green, as well.
If you don’t mind the plain look and limited features, the Bip should work well for you. It’s a little sluggish in places, but you can’t expect Apple- or Samsung-quality operation here. For the price you’ll pay, it’s more than acceptable.
The proprietary operating system used on the Bip is fairly straightforward. It lags here and there and certainly isn’t the fastest. But after the initial setup (which is quite aggravating), you’ll find it to be quite capable.
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.