The best smartwatch you can buy
With the Apple Watch available since April, Android Wear on its third generation, and indie developers popping up on KickStarter everyday, and wearable tech still undeniably a thing, smartwatches are coming into their own.
Whether they’re keeping you updated with notifications, feeding you information from apps, making sure don’t spend too long sat down or just, y’know, showing you the time, this latest crop of smartwatches are far improved over the previous generations.
There's a number of platforms to choose from, and the smartphone sitting in your pocket will have a rather large bearing on your options.
Google's Android Wear now works with both iOS and Android headsets, although its functionality is reduced on iOS. The Apple Watch is only compatible with iOS (of course). Samsung's Tizen-powered Gear S2 only works with Android, although an iOS update may come in the future. Pebble works across both Android and iOS. Nothing works with Windows Phone. Sorry about that.
One thing worth bearing in mind is that because Google allows no skinning or messing about with Android Wear, a cheap Android Wear wearable will be functionally all but identical to the high-end likes of the Tag Heuer Connected.
10. Vector Luna
The Vector Luna is a wearable straight out of left field, it's not made by a well-known tech brand, instead it's from a start-up company from former Timex big-wig Joe Pantolino.
The Luna's best incarnations (there are numerous options, both round and square) are quite handsome devils, made from stainless steel and sporting metal and leather straps. We think it looks stylish and sophisticated.
The monochrome LCD display won't win awards for vibrancy or pixel counts, but visibility is acceptable even in direct sunlight, and it's always on. Its low resolution and lack of colour also mean the Vector Luna can manage an impressive 30 days battery life on a single charge.
The brand's slogan, 'What matters', denotes that functionality is stripped back to the absolute core essentials of the smartwatch market: message notifications, step counting and diary appointments, which are shown around the outer edge of the Vector's faux-analogue watch faces. It's deliberately simple, and you can forget about fripperies such as voice control, touchscreens, navigation or anything of that ilk.
As noted, there are a number of different Luna design options, but our favourite is the matte black case with dark brown leather strap.
Verdict: The sophisticated Vector Luna is an impressive watch, especially if you value battery life over anything else. Its functionality is limited to just the essentials, however: message and calendar notifications plus step counting.
$349 (around £230) | Vector
9. Sony Smartwatch 3
The third iteration of Sony’s Smartwatch is the first to ditch the proprietary software and run with Android Wear, making it much more likely to attract a larger audience.
The display is 1.6-inches, it is IP68 rated for water resistance, there’s 512MB RAM and 4GB of internal storage and it’ll connect to your device through Bluetooth LE and NFC. GPS is also a bonus, in fact, it's the first (and one of the only) Android Wear watches capable of tracking your run without a phone connection.
It's getting old now, but performance is still on par with new, more expensive Android Wear watches.
Verdict: The Sony Smartwatch 3 is a very capable device, it's not the most powerful or fully featured, but it does most things well at a very reasonable price.
£115 | Sony
8. LG Watch Urbane
LG's newest Android Wear toting smartwatch comes packing a circular face, classic good looks, and top of the range specs.
It's a chunky device, there's no getting away from that, but the LG Watch Urbane is one of the most powerful smartwatches you can buy.
It runs the latest version of Android Wear, so it's iOS compatible and has the latest, slickest UI.
Battery life is merely okay, at around 1.5 days, which is a shame for such a chunky device.
Verdict: The LG Watch Urbane is a very impressive device, it's got a great screen and impressive performance, but it's slightly on the chunky side.
£200 | LG
7. Tag Heuer Connected
The Tag Heuer Connected is a handsome looking device, it mimics a traditional mechanical watch, has a fully circular display, and is made from grade II titanium.
We're big fans of mechanical watches here at T3, so to see an established Swiss watch brand wade into the wearables segment is very exciting and this one undeniably is a class above its Android Wear siblings, and aesthetically preferable to the most expensive Apple Watch variants, which are its only rivals in the 'smartwatch luxe' market.
The only thing that jars about the Connected is that the screen is lower resolution than cheaper rivals. That's not to say it's a bad screen, but for the money, we'd expect it to be best in class. Watch collectors will be interested to note that you can trade it in for a mechanical Tag Heuer Carrera after two years, although you will have to pay a further £1,100.
£1,100 | Tag Heuer
6. ASUS Zenwatch 2
Entering the wearable market for the second time, the Asus ZenWatch 2, a features a sleeker design, premium(ish) build and a couple of nifty software additions.
First of all, it comes in two sizes (42mm and 38mm) so it can fit wrists big and small.
The a AMOLED display is bright and colourful, but it does have a rather large and hideous bezel, which ruins the appearance somewhat.
The Zenwatch 2 comes with a load of customised watch faces and apps, plus the more unique 'wellness' features.
Verdict: We really like the Asus Zenwatch 2, it's perfectly priced for a smartwatch, but the large bezel does let it down.
Around £125 | ASUS
5. Moto 360 (2015)
Just like the first generation, the new Moto 360 is easily the best looking Android Wear smartwatch we've seen so far, it manages to be both futuristic but also traditional.
Motorola's newest wearable retains the (almost) circular face and more customisation options than ever thanks to the Moto Maker.
Running the latest version of Android Wear, it takes many aspects of Google Now and puts them on your wrist, even working with iOS (partially).
The Moto 360 doesn't suffer from a lack of power like the original did, now with top of the range specs.
Battery life is around one and a half days, and the watch is available in two sizes (plus a 'Womens' edition, which is great if you don't have the wrists of a Lumber Jack).
The only thing that hasn't been improved from the original the 'flat tyre', which still remains at the bottom of the screen.
Verdict: The Moto 360 is a truly desirable smartwatch, it's powerful, but the infamous 'black bar' still lets it down.
£154.50 | Moto 360
4. Pebble Time Steel
The Pebble Time is a big step up from the original Pebble smartwatch. Now with a colour e-ink display and a slimmer design.
The 'timeline' UI allows you to easily see both past and future events, and the large developer community have created an impressive number of applications and watch faces for it.
It's water resistant (we took it white water rafting), and the battery life lasts around five-days.
The regular Times comes in a plastic shell, while the Time Steel adds a premium metal finish.
Verdict: We really love the Pebble Time's geeky, retro vibe. It's got unmatched battery life (on this list), but it just doesn't feel as futuristic as other watches we've included.
£179 | Pebble Time
3. Huawei Watch
The Huawei Watch is one of the best smartwatches in the market, but then again it should be, because it's also one of the most expensive.
The extra money does mean you get more premium materials, build, and specs. There's no question the impressive circular screen is one of the best I've seen on a smartwatch.
Android Wear has improved a lot recently, but it's identical on all devices, so that price isn't really buying you any more functionality.
It's a 'nice' addition that the current crop of Android Wear watches are now compatible with iPhone, although functionality is limited, and you're better off with either an Apple Watch, or getting an Android phone.
Verdict: If you want the best Android Wear device available right now, the Huawei Watch is the one to go for.
from £299 | Huawei
2. Samsung Gear S2
Samsung officially went smartwatch crazy in 2014, releasing countless wearable items running all manner of operating systems, none of them were particularly good.
But IFA 2015 saw the introduction of the Samsung Gear S2, with a circular screen, innovative rotating bezel, and an attractive design.
The OS is perfectly suited to a small smartwatch display, and it's incredibly intuitive. The lack of compatible apps is a disadvantage however.
Battery life is good, at between two or three days usage, and the screen is among the best we've seen on a smartwatch.
It's a tough fight between the Gear S2 and the Apple Watch, both have their unique advantages and disadvantages, with the Gear S2 more than rivalling Apple's popular wearable.
Verdict: One thing is clear however, the Samsung Gear S2 is the best smartwatch you can buy for Android phones.
£249.99 | Samsung
1. Apple Watch
What has Apple added to revolutionise the smartwatch? Well, let's take a look. First off is the Digital Crown - a twisty button on the side that acts as the main mode of navigation. It's smooth, and it works great.
There's heaps of customisation options too, with three models in two sizes and a load of straps to give you that personal watch feeling.
The Apple Watch will run apps, show notifications, track your fitness levels and it'll charge wirelessly with a MacBook style Magsafe charger.
Protecting that Retina display is sapphire glass, so scratches should be few and far between.
It's one of the most thought out, premium smartwatches, but just like every other watch on this list, it's far from perfect.
Verdict: Apple's first smartwatch has really impressed us, the design and screen are amazing and the number of big-name apps is impressive. It's not perfect, but it's certainly the best out there.
from £299 | Apple