A few hundred years ago, we would have considered ourselves lucky to have a watch that told the time. These days, telling the time is about the least we expect our watches to do. In the age of Smart technology, if our wrist pieces can’t track our calories, play music, follow our workouts, monitor our heartbeat, or even make a call while we're underwater, we don’t want to know. If you want a watch that’s almost as clever as you, the latest crop of Smartwatches is guaranteed to please... even if some do come with a price tag almost as sizable as their list of perks. The only real question is which one to buy. To help out, we've rounded up the top 20 smart watches in the shops to help you decide.
20. Misfit Vapor 2
As affordable smartwatches go, the Misfit Vapor 2 makes a solid choice. Despite not having any of the bells and whistles that come with higher-end products, it has all the basic smartphone functionality you’d expect, along with water resistance up to 30 meters, a heart rate sensor, and a 1.4-inch AMOLED high-resolution display. Some users have complained the watch feels slightly flimsy, so it may be better suited to a delicate wrist than someone who’s been used to hefting around a chunky Apple watch for the last few years. Despite that, it’s a good, cheap “n’ cheerful option with some great little features.
19. Lemfo LEM 8
With an outstanding design, a top-quality make, multiple features, and an affordable price tag, the Lemfo Lem 8 comes in at #19. In terms of design, the watch features a high resolution 2.8 inch, touchscreen OLED display with a 480 x 640-pixel resolution, a polycarbonate case, the largest screen on the market, and interchangeable silicon straps. Battery life is impressive, despite the wide array of features supported, and the 4G capability offers comprehensive coverage. Additional features include a 5MP sensor camera lens, a heart rate sensor, sleep monitor, weather forecast, calendar, stopwatch, voice typing, and more besides.
18. Michael Kors Access Runway
For those who value aesthetics just as much as function, and who prefer the sleek, elegant look to the more rugged style found on most smartwatches, the Michael Kors Access Runway is a dream. Features are fairly standard (heart rate and activity monitor, custom watch faces, smartphone notifications, Spotify music, swim-proof, untethered GPS, and both iPhone and Android compatibility) but its stylish design sets it apart from other pieces offering the same capability.
17. Kingwear KW88 Pro
The Kingwear KW88 Pro comes in a rugged, athletic style and offers numerous functionalities. In addition to the same standard functions of a smartphone, the watch offers a number of useful fitness features, including a heart rate monitor, a sleep monitor, a pedometer, a calorie counter, and the option to determine location, speed, and route using GPS. Battery life is where the device really comes into its own, promising 3 days of battery backup. Price is affordable at just under $200.
16. Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
For music fans, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music is a great choice. Along with its capacity to hold up to 500 tracks, there’s a number of other great little features, including the opportunity to connect to iHeartRadio and Deezer. Other notable features include the ability to record over 15 different kinds of workout, a workout tracker, heart rate monitor, and stress monitor. Battery life is solid, and the design is stylish and rugged. Offering all the best features of fitness watches along with great audio functionality, it’s a steal at just under $300.
15. Zeblaze Thor 4
With a rugged, sporty design, an aluminum alloy bezel, and a silicone strap, the Zeblaze Thor 4 is one seriously good-looking watch. The functions aren’t too bad either: along with the fairly standard LTE capability and a high resolution camera, it’s loaded with a great list of features like heart-rate monitor, proximity sensor, accelerometer, improve and accurate GPS, multiple sport mode, message reminders, social app reminders, music player, alarm, weather, phonebook, browser, calendar, camera, ebook, pedometer, remote music, remote camera, answer call, and dial call. The price is one of the lowest on the market at less than $150, while the 580 mAh Lithium iOn battery has an impressive life.
14. Montblanc Summit 2
If you want the prettiest bit of bling on your wrist that money can buy, the Montblanc Summit 2 with its exquisite stainless-steel case, sapphire crystal, and flawless attention to detail is a sure-fire winner. Elegant, sophisticated, and available in a wide range of various case finishes and strap options, it’s about as stylish as a smartwatch gets... which isn’t to say its prioritized aesthetics over utility. As well as being fully waterproof, it comes with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 3100 chipset, a high-quality circular AMOLED display, a built-in heart-rate sensor, and a battery that will stand up to a full day’s use with ease.
13. Casio Protrek Smart WSD-F20
If you want a ruggedly stylish watch with excellent functionality, you’ll find the Casio Protrek Smart WSD-F20 a seriously impressive option. It’s tough, robust aesthetic makes it the perfect accessory for the outdoorsy type, while its plethora of features (including built-in GPS, a sophisticated dual-screen setup, a 50-meter water-resistant body, and up to a month of battery life in watch-only mode) will appeal to everyone. At around $500, it’s not the cheapest option around, but it's unquestionably a great investment.
12. Emporio Armani Connected
With its cool good looks, robust functionality, and great pack of benefits, the Emporio Armani Connected makes a solid choice for the fashion-conscious. It's beautiful, fully circular AMOLED display offers great visibility, while its plethora of functions include a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 2100 chipset. The battery life is impressive, and despite being at heart a fashionista’s watch, it’s got enough going on to be more than just a piece of arm candy.
11. Fitbit Versa Lite
The Fitbit Versa Lite may not offer music storage nor track as many activities as the Fitbit Ionic (more on which coming up), but for a basic smartphone with enough fitness features to suit everyone but the most extreme athlete, it’s a very decent choice. Granted, it’s not got the bells and whistles of some of Fitbit’s other offerings but is you’re prepared to sacrifice a few functions for a much more affordable price tag (and still come out of the deal with a very decent watch), it’s certainly one to consider.
10. Fitbit Versa 2
For Versa Lite users looking to step up the experience with a few added functionalities and a slighter higher price tag, the Fitbit Versa 2 is the obvious choice. It may not have quite the same number of fitness features as the Ionic, but what it lacks in range it makes up for in stylish good looks and a still substantial arsenal of perks, including a heart rate monitor, music storage for up to 300+ songs, Alexa built-in, sleep & swim tracking.
9. Fitbit Ionic
For Fitbit users looking to switch over to the latest products without losing any of their old fitness data, the Fitbit Ionic makes a very solid choice. Packing in more activity-tracking features and health monitors than the average gym (the ability to follow your workout through instructions on the screen is particularly handy), along with one of the longest-lasting battery lives around at up to 4 days, it’s ideal for anyone who’s prepared to sacrifice some of the good looks of the Fitbit Versa (unquestionably the prettier sibling in the Fitbit family) for improved functionality.
8. Garmin Fenix 5S Plus
For sports fanatics, the Garmin Fenix 5S Plus makes a sound choice. Granted, it’s not the cheapest watch on the market (don’t expect to get much change from $750), but its list of outstanding features more than makes up for the price tag. Garmin Pay contactless payment solution, storage capacity for up to 1,000 songs, sophisticated training features to monitor and track your workouts, built-in mapping and navigation, Trendline popularity routing, (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) satellite reception… the list goes on. Even if the features weren’t quite as good as they are, the elegant design would still go a long way in justifying that price tag.
7. Samsung Gear Sport
With a stylish design and an abundance of great little features, the Samsung Gear Sport makes a very solid addition to our round-up. The wearable, 1.2-inch super AMOLED display offers a 360 x 360 resolution and a vibrant 302ppi, while its 5ATM water resistance, swim tracking software, heart rate sensor, Spotify offline playback, and workout mode with 50 workouts makes it the ideal accessory for sports enthusiasts.
6. Samsung Galaxy Watch
“Live a stronger, smarter life with the watch that lets you stay connected without reaching for your phone. With sleep cycle & calorie tracking, guided breathing exercises, individual workout detection and GPS capabilities for long runs, you’ll have everything you need at your wrist”… so says Samsung about the very smart Samsung Galaxy Watch, and we can’t say we’re too inclined to disagree.
5. Huawei Watch 2
According to PC Mag, the Huawei Watch 2 offers excellent fitness tracking capabilities, along with being the strongest showcase for Android Wear 2.0 the publication has seen so far. Granted, it’s not perfect - the WIFI connectivity can be a little hit and miss, while the strap isn’t quite so easy to swap out as it could be. However, overlook these few minor flaws and you’re looking at a very smart watch indeed, with great battery life, a continuous heart rate monitor, and an excellent step and distance tracking.
4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
If you like the Samsung Galaxy Watch but can’t quite face the price tag, the slimmer, more affordable Samsung Galaxy Watch Active makes a great alternative. As Cnet notes, its lightweight, simple design makes it ideal for wearing during workouts, while its range of health and fitness features pack an even mightier punch than the far more expense Fitbit Versa.
3. Apple Watch Series 3
The first appearance from Apple comes with the Apple Watch Series 3. The design is a classic, while the range of features on offer is exceptional. Fitness trackers, interchangeable bands, an Optical heart sensor, swim-proof, Siri enabled, a breath app to help you manage everyday stress, calorie tracking… essentially, if you can think of something you’d like your watch to do, it probably does it. As you'd expect, app availability is excellent - if you want to bring Uber, Yelp, Spotify, and more to your wrist, Apple's extensive range of apps will do just that.
2. Apple Watch Series 4
As good as the Apple Watch Series 3 is, the Apple Watch Series 4 is bigger, faster, and according to most, even better. On top of the great features we’ve already seen with the Series 3., there’s a high and low heart-rate detection, fall detection with SOS trigger and an FDA-cleared ECG app for more comprehensive heart readings. The starting price is a little higher, but few would quibble over a few dollars when they experience the excellent functionality, crisp display, and super-fast speed.
1. Apple Watch Series 5
For all the Apple Watch Series 4 improved upon the Apple Watch Series 3, the Apple Watch Series 5 beats both out of the water by a clean mile. While still delivering the same excellent aesthetics of previous versions, the series 5 is packed with improvements, from the superlative heart health diagnostic tools to the always-on display (letting you see what time it is, regardless of how your wrist is positioned) to the built-in compass. At $399, it’s not the cheapest watch around, but neither is it the most expensive. What it, with very little question, is the best.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn