It’s easy to get excited about the best smartwatches out there only to be overwhelmed by all the choices. Whether it’s the latest and greatest from Apple to rivals attempting to steal their thunder like the high-powered Samsung Galaxy Watch line, there are just so many different options out there. There are even premium-tier smartwatches, like the TAG Heuer Connected that just scream style and luxury.
Smartwatches have become essential pieces of tech for many people, whether you're always out and about, headed back to school or university or just like to have your communications easily accessible on your wrist.
Finding the best smartwatch is more than just getting the most popular or the priciest, though I have included both the always cutting-edge Apple Watch and the elegant TAG Heuer that fit those descriptions perfectly. It’s about finding the one that fits your needs. Luckily, I've reviewed hundreds of smartwatches to help you find the right one.
For Android users, the Samsung Galaxy Watch range should be a very attractive alternative to the Apple line, and the Fitbit and Garmin smartwatches included here are perfect for sporty people who need something a little different.
What to look for when buying a smartwatch
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But there can only be one 'best smartwatch' and right now I think the best smartwatch in the world right now is the Apple Watch Series 7. Of all the smartwatches available, the Apple Watch has the most developed platform. It's also the most attractive, and, arguably, more technologically advanced than its competitors.
iPhone users might also want to check out the Apple Watch Series 3 for those who want an Apple Watch without breaking the bank, and the Apple Watch SE which splits the difference between the two other options. It’s no wonder that so many of Apple's watches are on this list since they are always pushing the limits of what a smartwatch can do and are notably fashionable (which is actually pretty important when it comes to choosing something you're going to wear).
If you're after a rundown of the best smartwatches for iPhone users, then we'd suggest you read T3's guide to the best Apple Watch, because while Samsung and Wear OS smartwatches do work with iPhones, the Apple Watch is much better integrated with iOS.
However, if you're an Android user, you can’t go wrong with any of the alternatives on this list, especially if you need something that works with an Android phone or the best cheap smartwatches. If battery life is your highest priority when you should read T3's guide to the best hybrid smartwatches, which blend on-wrist notifications and fitness tracking of a smartwatch with the traditional design of a mechanical watch.
If you're struggling to choose a smartwatch, here are a few things to consider:
- Compatibility: Apple Watches only work with iPhones. Smartwatches running Wear OS, Garmin and Fitbit are compatible with both Android and iPhone.
- Price: Smartwatch prices can range from very affordable to pretty expensive. Paying more will get you enhanced health and fitness tracking and build quality. Anything more expensive than an Apple Watch and you're paying for prestige branding and exclusivity.
- Battery life: Most smartwatches last around two days, if that's not enough for you, then opt for Huawei, Fitbit or Garmin, which offer slightly impaired functionality for vastly improved battery life.
- Fitness tracking: All smartwatches will do basic tracking, but if you're training for a marathon or triathlon then you'll want a more serious running watch from Garmin or Polar.
- Communication: All smartwatches have Bluetooth – that's how they connect to your smartphone. Some have a 4G/Cellular connection as well, which means you can stream music, receive messages and calls, even if you've left your phone at home. It costs extra, and probably isn't worth it for most.
- Size: Size is important. If you've got slender wrists you're going to want a smaller smartwatch, this is not due to looks, but due to comfort.
If you're looking to buy a smartwatch for your child, then check out T3's guide to the best smartwatch for kids, because while an Apple Watch or Samsung might be okay for teenagers, they certainly aren't ideal for younger children.
And finally, while most of these smartwatches will count your steps, track your workouts, and measure your heart rate, if you're really serious about exercise (like training for a marathon serious), then we suggest you take a look at the best running watches, best fitness trackers or best outdoor watches.
We have an amazing collection of smartwatches to help you find the best option for you so take a look and find the smartwatch that speaks to you.
The best smartwatch you can buy today:
The Apple Watch is, in my opinion, the best smartwatch. I think this is partly because it's the most stylish option available – it's a wearable you actually want to be seen wearing – and that has helped it survive so many generations.
The other reason the Apple Watch is so popular is its big focus on health and fitness. The Apple Watch can monitor your heart rhythm and suggest you see a doctor if it detects something irregular, it can call the emergency services you've fallen over, and it will keep you healthy by tracking your run. These potentially life-saving features are a major reason people are ditching their traditional watches for an Apple Watch.
I also think the design is almost perfect – the two size options fit a majority of wrists, and they're also incredibly comfortable.
We've reviewed every generation and have seen minor improvements that have gone a long way to perfect the Watch. The Series 2 added waterproofing and GPS, and the Series 3 improved on that by adding Cellular, so it can use data without your iPhone present. The Series 4 improved the design, with a stunning new screen that stretches to the edges of the device. The Series 5 added more customisation options and an always-on display. The Apple Watch Series 6 added a pulse oxygen sensor to its range of health systems, as well as a new S6 processor, and the Series 7 got five stars from us for its bigger and brighter screen, and new fast-charging capabilities.
What was added to the Apple Watch Series 8? It gained a temperature sensor which can be used for cycle tracking, and a low power mode which can extend the battery life whilst maintaining core smartwatch functions.
Put simply, the Apple Watch Series 8 impresses us greatly. The design is well-considered and sleek, the larger screen is perfect, and the number of third-party apps and accessories is unrivalled.
Of course, it's iOS only, so if you have an Android phone, you're going to want to continue reading this guide…
The Google Pixel Watch is a beautiful piece of technology and probably the closest we've seen a brand come to creating a rival to the Apple Watch, for that reason, I think the Pixel Watch is the best smartwatch you can buy if you're an Android user.
My admiration for the Pixel Watch is more than just skin deep, however, as I found this smartwatch to be genuinly useful with all of the intelligent software features you'd expect from Google. Is there really anything more convient than having Google Assistant on your wrist? I don't think so.
The Pixel Watch is no slouch when it comes to health and fitness either, thanks to its deep integration of Fitbit. You can get all of the metric you'd want from the Pixel Watch, from automatic exercise tracking to sleep monitoring, and heart rate tracking to ECG readings, all of which can be viewed in the Fitbit app on your phone. It's great to have a trusted brand like Fitbit powering this side of things.
The Pixel Watch isn't perfect, however. This is a first generation smartwatch and it shows in a few key areas.
For a start, this smartwatch's display is a bit on the small side. This can make using the Pixel Watch feel a little awkward at times. Also, the battery life is much shorter than most of its rivals, and that's a big dissapointment.
Overall, though, it's easy to look past these first gen foibles and fall in love with the Pixel Watch. It's useful, comfortable and very endearing - you won't want to take it off.
Want something a little more extreme than the Series 8 and Pixel Watch? Enter the Apple Watch Ultra, a true flagship product for the range with advanced features aimed at adventure and extreme sports. For me, the larger, brighter screen and chunkier build is reason in itself to pick this over the Series 8, although the chunky design might not be for everyone.
Of course, the added features, such as the superior GPS, three-microphone array, longer battery life, depth guage and siren make it a serious choice for divers, climbers and endurance athletes.
Granted, most Apple Watch users won’t need these extra features and will be better served with smaller and cheaper Series 8. Others, meanwhile, will find that the Ultra isn’t extreme enough, especially in terms of battery life. For anyone wanting the very best that Apple can offer in a smart watch, the Ultra excels.
This is a great looking and highly functional smart watch. It does more than most people will ever need, which is no bad thing, and is priced no more than the former titanium Apple Watch. I can’t wait to see where this version goes in future models, as I’m sure it will only continue to improve. For now though, this is the ultimate Apple Watch.
Okay, so the Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch for iPhone, but if you have an Android phone then the Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 is a great option for you.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is a modern, stylish take on a smartwatch - it’s slim and we found it very comfortable. It's made from tough armour aluminium so it’ll be able to withstand knocks and bumps, oh, and it’s waterproof too.
The latest generation of Samsung's smartwatch impressed us with its new 'BioActive Sensor' which is able to track everything from your heart rate to blood pressure and ECG, you can use it to measure your rough body composition. It takes a matter of seconds and you’ll be able to see data about your skeletal muscle, BMI, body water and fat percentage.
The only downside here is battery life, we found at 40 hours it’s not the longest-lasting on this list, and that goes down a fair amount when you’re using the GPS or workout tracking features. It’s still good enough for most people though. Find out more in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review but long story short, this is one of the best smartwatches if you're an Android user.
Be sure to check our Samsung discount codes to get a great deal.
TAG's latest attempt at a smartwatch, the TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4, is a handsome looking wearable, mimicking a traditional mechanical watch, with its fully circular display and sporty-looking case. The new model improved on previous generations by offering two sizes, 45mm and 42mm, longer battery life, brighter screen, and more sports tracking options.
The Connected is undeniably a class above its Android Wear siblings, and aesthetically preferable to the most expensive Apple Watch variants, which are the only rivals in the 'luxe smartwatch' market. Out of all of the smartwatches we've tested, it feels the most 'watch-like'.
Basically, if you're looking for a luxury Android smartwatch – this is the one for you.
If you've got an iPhone and don't want to spend lots of money on the Apple Watch Series 7, then the Apple Watch SE is a great alternative. Despite being 'the affordable' smart watch from Apple, we think the SE is a truly excellent smartwatch.
You won't notice where Apple as made cutbacks in general use, making it feel like a full Apple Watch experience, with all the advantages that brings in convenience, fitness tracking, and health and safety features.
For those who can spend the extra over the cost of the Apple Watch Series 3, you'll be very glad you did – it's better in every way. From screen to design to sensors to being more future-proofed thanks to its faster processor. It's also important to note that these translate into better health features, including more accurate heart sensing (important for detecting irregularities) and fall detection.
If the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a little on the pricey side for you, then the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is the next best thing. It boasts a similarly sleek design and powerful hardware.
Let's start with the circular screen, which is certainly on par with the Apple Watch, so too is the gorgeous, streamlined design. It comes packing some neat abilities as well, such as Blood Pressure monitoring, the ability to take ECG readings and water resistance.
A collection of new, information-filled watch faces give it a modern edge, and while it lacks quality third party apps we think you'll find the built-in apps sufficient. Overall, it's a very compelling package, and one we would definitely recommend.
As a stylish lifestyle smartwatch, the Garmin Venu can't really compete with the market's more established smartwatches, like the Apple Watch, but it excels where these devices don’t – through some impressively detailed fitness and health tracking features, performance and battery life. This, coupled with a brilliant and vibrant display that no other Garmin watches have, makes it one of the best smartwatches you can get your hands on right now, especially if you're tracking multiple sports.
In our Garmin Venu 2 review, we called it a 'stunning fitness watch with amazing battery life and a beautiful AMOLED screen'.
Despite coming from two very different companies, the Fitbit Sense is actually very similar to the latest Apple Watch. They both offer a near-comprehensive suite of health and fitness tracking features, covering everything from heart rate to sleep. They also both stream music and handle calls and notifications from your smartphone, and they have interchangeable straps to change up their look.
Of course, the Fitbit Sense works on Android as well as iOS, whereas the Apple Watch is iPhone-only, and the Fitbit destroys the Apple Watch when it comes to battery life, with an impressive six days.
The Fossil smartwatches have been solid Wear OS options for years, although they are rarely the most exciting options. The new Fossil Gen 6 packs a few new upgrades, including the Snapdragon 4100 Plus chipset which we found noticeably more responsive. Eventually, later this year, it will get new Wear OS 3 as well.
The design has only minimally been altered from the previous generation, but we don't think that's too bad, as the Gen 5 was an attractive smartwatch. The latest model has more pronounced pusher buttons that are a little easier to press and it now has guards around the crown to give it a rugged traditional watch look.
The Watch GT 3 is a brilliant update over the Watch GT 2, and considering the modest retail price, you would be a fool not to get one today. The Huawei Watch GT 3 surprised us with a set of robust fitness features and it's simply mind-blowing how long the battery lasts, considering a watch with such a huge and bright AMOLED display.
We thoroughly enjoyed testing the Huawei Watch GT 3 and we can wholeheartedly recommend it to people who aren't keen on getting a diehard running watch but would like to have the option to track their physical activities accurately nevertheless.
While the MARQ boasts all the features that make Garmin watches the most comprehensive fitness tracking devices out there, its large price tag might be too much to swallow for most.
There’s no denying that this is a luxurious watch packing some damn right gorgeous, high-quality materials, but we just don't think that’s enough to justify its price given what else is available. Especially since a Fenix 6 offers pretty much the same software for a third of the cost.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s definitely nothing wrong with the MARQ, it’s just not a product many people are going to be genuinely interested in buying.
Still, most opinions about this watch will be split into two camps: you’ll either think it’s a ridiculous waste of money, or you think it’s a beautiful object that you just have to own. And to be honest, either is fair. If you’ve got the dosh and want to treat yourself, go ahead: you’re likely to be disappointed (well, maybe except for the display).
The Moto 360 was, at one time, one of the hottest smartwatches around, long before Apple announced the Apple Watch. Those taken in by the nostalgia of the name and shape will feel right at home – the iconic design has been updated with more accurate sensors, and improved software, courtesy fo Google. The design, while bold, isn’t big and bulky, with the slick stainless steel and choice of colours leaves the user looking and feeling like they’re wearing a mechanical timepiece.
- Moto 360 review (opens in new tab)
The Garmin Fenix 6x Pro Solar is not cheap. Not by a long shot. But it more than justifies its price by offering a whole lot of functionality. Packed in the smartwatch are a ton of features like a Vo2 max and Pulse Ox sensors, and altimeter and barometer for elevation and weather respectively, to list just a few.
It’s not the easiest smartwatch to use - it’s not a touchscreen for instance. And it’s more than double the price of a flagship Apple watch. But with all its features, as well as amazing battery life - It sports a tiny solar array to give you up to 24 days of battery life - this is a great option for anyone who needs a smartwatch for a long trek into the mountains.
The Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F21HR is a rugged 'action' smartwatch, and we really like it. The durable casing can take a bashing, while the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor keeps things ticking inside. It runs Android Wear, but also comes with some useful pre-installed apps which track your hikes and other outdoor activities. It's water-resistant to 5ATM (roughly 50m), and best of all, it comes in some bright colourways.
How we test the best smartwatches
We spend a lot of time reviewing the latest smartwatches, so when it comes to recommending what smartwatch to buy, you can be safe in the knowledge that we'll recommend the best options for you.
We'll usually spend a week or longer testing the latest smartwatches. We try out the very latest features to see if they work and if they're useful. This might be a new health monitoring tool, a new fitness tracking mode, or how comfortable a new strap is. We test everything in-depth, so if it's a new fitness feature, for example, we'll get our fitness editor to review it thoroughly.
All of these new features also get tested alongside everything a smartwatch should be classically good at, such as how bright and clear the display is, how reliable the smartphone connection is, how long the battery lasts, and how comfortable it is to wear every day.
Once the initial review period is complete we'll publish a full review, give the smartwatch a star rating, and add an abridged review to this guide.
If the smartwatch is then substantially updated after our initial review, we might choose to revisit that model to see if we need to change our verdict.