Here are the best smartwatches on the market right now
All of these smartwatches are right on time.
If you’re in the market for a smartwatch, there are a bewildering number of choices to look through. Aesthetics will always play a big part, considering it will be visible on your wrist most of the time. Do you prefer square or round faces? Do you want a silicone band for the gym, or prefer leather or metal for the boardroom? Do you want it to look like a normal watch while still tracking your fitness stats?
Then there are choices when it comes to functionality. Do you need voice control, inbuilt GPS for tracking your running without lugging your smartphone around, Android or iOS compatibility, or even ECG tracking to keep an eye on your heart? Do you want a fitness-focused wearable or do you want it for other uses, with fitness being an added bonus?
With all of those points to consider, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at the smartwatch market. It’s not like the early days where you had the Apple Watch and a lot of “also-rans,” nowadays there are many viable options from both wearable companies and traditional watchmakers.
We’ll give you the rundown of the best smartwatches you can buy today to fit all tastes and budgets.
Okay, so the Apple Watch Series 5 isn’t cheap at $414, but then again it is the best Apple Watch ever, and some will argue that it’s the best smartwatch, period. The new always-on display sips battery, and it’s the only real choice if you own other Apple products. The seamless linking to your iPhone is just *chef’s kiss*.
The Series 5 also comes stuffed with fitness tracking capabilities, like the new ECG monitor for early detection of heart issues, GPS tracking, and more. You could get one with cellular capabilities as well, but expect to add a few hundred to the buying price. Better to get used to running with your iPhone, we think.
The third generation of the Moto 360 is one of the sleekest smartwatches around, and packs all the engineering inside a hardened exterior that’s as tough as it is pretty. It runs Wear OS, so it’ll work on iOS too, with a huge selection of your favorite apps. It has inbuilt GPS, heart rate and step counting, compatibility with all your favorite fitness apps, and wouldn’t look out of place on the catwalk, never mind the gym.
Gorilla Glass covers the touchscreen, the back screws are titanium for toughness, and the 3mm thick steel case is PVD coated for even more scratch resistance. Don’t ask if it’s tough enough for your workouts, ask yourself if you are tough enough for the Moto 360. It’s on sale right now too, for $200 – a 33% discount.
Alpina has been at the forefront of horological innovation since 1883, so it’s no surprise for us to see a hybrid smartwatch from the Swiss brand. The AlpinerX Alive uses all the traditional watchmaking smarts, with the addition of an OLED inset screen to show fitness tracking, dual-time zones, hydration levels, and more.
Get weather forecasts on your wrist, as well as performance insights, sleep tracking, relaxation techniques, and all the usual notifications you would expect to find on a smartwatch. You can opt for either a navy fiberglass (from $795) or stainless steel case (from $995), multiple face and hands options, and a 360-degree bezel. All of your fitness data goes into a companion app, which can offer suggestions for improvement, among many other features.
Polar Grit X
The $430 Polar Grit X comes with all the features you would expect from a high-end smartwatch, but the hardware is only part of the equation. Polar’s software suite helps you do route planning, tells you when to refuel your body during training, feeds you ready-made workouts to push you towards your goals, and more.
Think of it not as a smartwatch, but as a digital trainer, and you’re closer to the mark. Training plans, activity tracking, progress reports, guided breathing, and more is all contained in Polar Flow, the app and web service that keeps you accountable. Nice.
The $350 Garmin Venu builds on Garmin’s reputation for GPS accuracy, bringing up to five days of battery life in smartwatch mode, and six hours in GPS and music mode, long enough for even the most strenuous workouts. Play your Spotify, Amazon Music, or Deezer playlists from your wrist, follow along with animated workouts, and monitor your overall health with everything from energy levels to respiration and sleep.
You can even set up automatic safety features to contact emergency contacts if something goes wrong, perfect for those backcountry trail runs. Garmin also built in a personal AI running coach, so you can get marathon ready in style. Or yanno, get coached on the walk to the supermarket.
TicWatch Pro 2020
We really liked the first version of the TicWatch Pro, with its innovative dual-screen that uses an LCD layer over the normal OLED so you can see important information all the time, without draining your battery. The $250 new version doubles the RAM to 1GB, which should make it snappier to use.
It’s got all the hardware you would expect from a top-tier smartwatch, including GPS, heart tracking, sleep tracking, and a solid IP68 weatherproofing rating. The kicker? You can get up to thirty days of battery life if you only use the LCD screen in Essential Mode. Thirty! Find another smartwatch that can do that, I dare you.
Withings Steel HR Sport
Withings has long been at the forefront of the fitness space, and the superb $200 Steel HR hybrid smartwatch is fantastic if you want all the smartwatch functionality without actually looking like you are wearing a smartwatch. You get heart rate tracking, GPS (when connected to your smartphone), physical watch hands for telling the time, a dial to show how close to your daily step target you are, and notifications on the inset OLED screen.
You also get integration with Apple Health, Fitbit, Google Fit, MyFitnessPal, and Strava, so your fitness data can stay wherever you’re already used to putting it. That’s a nice touch, and means you don’t have to migrate data around. Withings isn’t just a smartwatch company though, as it has multiple other connected health devices such as blood pressure monitors and scales, so you can track almost every metric to do with your health. Expect an ECG-enabled version of this watch to be on the market at some point, whenever the FDA approves it.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Samsung opted to roll their own operating system, Tizen, for their smartwatches, and the Galaxy Watch is no exception to this. It’s got battery power to spare (up to four days worth!), a very useful rotating bezel for navigation through those annoying menus, and decent fitness tracking capabilities.
The app selection isn’t as wide as we’d like, thanks to Tizen OS being used instead of the more common Wear OS or watchOS from Google or Apple, but there’s enough here for most users. It’s cheap too, with the Bluetooth only version being $240, and the LTE-enabled version coming in at $270.
Fitbit Charge 4
If all you want is a fitness tracker, the $130 Fitbit Charge 4 should be your go-to device. It’s got all the fantastic health tracking synonymous with the Fitbit name, seven-day battery life, and a new trick for the series – inbuilt GPS so you don’t need your smartphone to track your runs, cycles, or other activities.
The new Active Zone Minutes rewards you for staying inside your target heart rate while exercising, Fitbit Premium has all kinds of content from workouts to guided meditations, and you can listen to Spotify from your wrist. Oh, and if that’s not all, there’s Fitbit Pay for secure contactless payments, and smartphone notifications so you don’t have to pull your phone out of your pocket to check every little thing.
Hublot Big Bang e
If you want a smartwatch from one of the most respected names in watchmaking, the $5,200 Hublot Big Bang e is exquisite enough to adorn any wrist. The range was first created in 2018 for the referees and other officials during the World Cup Russia 2018 (that’s the soccer World Cup). Back then, it was simultaneously the cheapest Hublot and the most expensive smartwatch, and not much has changed in the interim.
It’s Hublot’s complicated “sandwich” construction, housing a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 powered Android smartwatch, with the best of horology meshed with the best of Wear OS. Scratchproof sapphire glass protects the touchscreen, navigation is simple with the rotary crown and integrated pusher, and Hublot has created a series of unique watchfaces specifically for this range.
Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle
Fossil may be a traditional watchmaker, but don’t count them out from the smartwatch game. Some of the best Wear OS watches have come from here, blending technological advancements with the classic styles that Fossil is known for. Grab heart rate and activity tracking, the best of Wear OS, and built-in GPS, all inside a case that will be eye-catching for all the right reasons.
The Gen 5 Carlyle is around $300, depending on which options you choose, which lets you take phone calls from your wrist, has 8GB of storage for apps and music, and more, all powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset.
Suunto is one of the best-known names in the sports watch space, and its smartwatches are no slouch. The $270 Suunto 5 has GPS, wellbeing monitoring, heart rate monitoring, stress and recovery monitoring, and a lightweight shell that you won’t even notice you’re wearing. Use it to see heatmaps of the best running routes (or to help with social distancing!), generate weekly training plans based on your recent activity levels, and more.
I’ve been using one for a few months to track my fitness levels, and I’m always amazed at how little I need to recharge it, even managing two days with GPS enabled! Just know the screen is slightly dimmer than most, possibly to aid that battery life. Not a bad trade-off in my experience.
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