Picking the best smartwatch for you is tougher than ever, given the breadth of choice on offer. With Samsung and Apple innovating and a strong field of Android Wear watches from big designers like Fossil, Nixon and Casio, there’s never been a better time to buy.
We’ve completely overhauled our best smartwatch guide to try and help those looking to make the right decision.
Before you make your decision, bear in mind that two new Pebbles are just about to land. Read our first look Pebble Time 2 review and first impressions of the Pebble 2 before you buy. And don’t forget Samsung’s upcoming Gear S3 duo as well.
Best overall smartwatch – Apple Watch Series 2
With the Series 2 Apple has shifted the focus to health and fitness, adding GPS to the mix for accurate run tracking without needing to carry your iPhone around. The Series 2 is also waterproof and offers an array of swim tracking and metrics. Apple has also introduced a new Breathe app to help you relax. The objective is clear: Apple is making a big play forsports watch owners.
With watchOS 3, Apple is also looking to right the wrongs of its predecessor, improving the way you interact with the Series 2 on a daily basis, offering better third-party app support and more.
Is the Apple Watch Series 2 the perfect smartwatch? No. But it makes a much more compelling argument than any that have come before it.
From $369, apple.com | Amazon
Best Android Wear smartwatch – Huawei Watch
The stunning AMOLED display on Huawei’s Android Wear debutant is a 1.4-inch, 400 x 400, one with a 286ppi count – the highest density on an Android Wear smartwatch so far – and there’s no annoying flat tyre either. The screen is made all the more impressive thanks to a 10,000:1 contrast ratio.
When we first reviewed the Huawei Watch, we called it the slickest looking Android Wear smartwatch but lamented that those looks came at a premium. Fast forward a few months and the price has tumbled and, given it plays nicely with the new Mode interchangeable bands and can run the preview of Wear 2.0, it’s now our top pick from Google’s stable.
From $399, consumer.huawei.com | Amazon
Best for Samsung smartphone users – Samsung Gear S2
As easy to live with as a Pebble, as slick as an Apple Watch and with a tactile, rotating bezel as its secret weapon, the S2 is the kind of smartwatch you’d kick yourself for leaving at home. You’ll have to pay extra for the cellular version to make the most of the GPS features but even the standard version feels like a leap forward – until you can get your hands on the Gear S3, at least (it goes on sale soon).
The battery life is better than most rivals; we’ve used Android Wear watches day to day and Samsung’s smartwatch beats these hands down. The lack of apps is a niggle, but we don’t think it impacts the overall experience enough to recommend many rivals over this device.
From $299.99, samsung.com | Amazon
Best budget smartwatch – Sony SmartWatch 3
An old choice but a good choice, the Sony SmartWatch 3 has built-in GPS connectivity, which means you can leave your smartphone at home when you go for a run.
The sports styling makes it perfect for a weekend jog, and while the screen is a little dull compared to some of its rivas, the Steel edition adds a touch of class to the smartwatch that we at Wareable agree offers the most bang for your smartwatch buck.
From $159, sony.com | Amazon
Best if money’s no object – Tag Heuer Connected
It doesn’t take long before you realise this Intel powered Tag smartwatch is the best built, and highest quality, Android Wear device to date. From afar it genuinely looks like a regular Tag Heuer watch – it’s only when you get up close that you notice it’s quite a bulky beast.
Now available in rose gold, its watch faces are another delightful addition and after two years, you can trade it in for a mechanical Tag watch.
Best for sports – Garmin Vivoactive HR
This second-gen Garmin smartwatch has the same 24/7 activity tracking and support for smartphone alerts as its predecessor, the Vivoactive. What it adds is Garmin’s own Elevate heart rate tracking technology which monitors your HR continuously and gives accurate indications of calorie burn through the day and night. And it’s better looking.
There’s GPS and dedicated apps for cycling, swimming, running and golf plus support for skiing and paddle boarding too. Connect IQ adds apps while battery life is eight days, 13 hours with GPS. You can check out our full, in-depth Garmin Vivoactive HR review to see what we made of it.
$249.99, buy.garmin.com| Amazon
Best for running – Polar M600
The Polar M600 is very much a Polar running watch first and an Android Wear smartwatch second. Not just because it has the familiar Polar watch faces already loaded but because it strong-arms you into getting Polar Flow up and running on your smartphone almost instantly. There’s a physical button that’s dedicated to Polar Flow. Your first ever push of it will fire up the app on your phone and, from thereon in, it’s your speedy gateway to tracking your runs and workouts.
The GPS run tracking is on the money and the stats and metrics the excellent Flow app provides post-run make it the top smartwatch for runners. Read our Polar M600 hands on review now.
$329.95, polar.com | Amazon
Best for battery life – Vector Watch
When it comes to smartwatch battery life, it doesn’t come much longer than the Vector watch. With around 30 days from a single charge, the Vector will out-last most business trips and holidays, meaning you don’t have to pack a separate charger for your travels. It’s a competent smartwatch with notifications, fitness tracking and a clever way of visualising your day through rings placed around the watch face.
Of course, 30 days of battery doesn’t come without sacrifice, and the low-power screen does ruin the aesthetic. We’d also advise looking beyond the basic models for a far more pleasing finish.
From $205.99, vectorwatch.com | Amazon
Best for geeks – Pebble Time
Everything that made the original Pebble brilliant is still on board: that affordable price, an impressive seven-day battery life and both iPhone and Android compatibility.
There are also some serious upgrades to both the software and hardware, the most notable of which are the new colour e-paper screen and the revamped Timeline OS. Plus with thePebble Time 2 on its way, this watch has dropped in price.
$99.99, pebble.com | Amazon
Best for outdoor action sports – Nixon The Mission
Its inclusion on Nixon’s surf and skiing smartwatch shows that Android Wear can be more than just another operating system on the wrist. The Mission is an unashamed monster action smartwatch, with the surf and slopes firmly in its sights.
The 48mm case dwarves most Casio G-Shock timepieces and it’s every bit as large as the Casio WSD-F10. The rugged design is water-resistant to 10 ATM and is adorned in 316L surgical grade stainless steel. That means you can take it surfing and it will withstand even the most spectacular wipe-out.