The smartwatch is the ultimate smartphone accessory. It can tell the time, of course, but it can also beam important notifications straight to your wrist, and run native apps.
What's more impressive is that many of today's best models can also perform a ton of novel tricks, such as enabling you to search the internet with your voice, tracking your exercise over GPS, and letting you check-out at the grocery store without reaching for your wallet.
Oh yeah – and they look absolutely stunning to boot.
- Feeling active? Check out our Best Fitness Trackers
For some time, jumping into the world of smartwatches was a risky move. But now, with competent efforts put forward from Google with Android Wear, Apple with watchOS, and more, there's never been a better time to strap up with wearable technology.
Choosing the smartwatch that's right for you isn't easy, but we hope to make the exciting process of getting paired up with your next (or first!) smartwatch as simple as possible.
- Looking for something running Google's OS? Here's our best Android Wear smartwatch round-up
1. Apple Watch 2
Fitness takes over the Apple Watch
OS: watchOS 3 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.53" OLED | Processor: S2 dual-core | Band sizes: Varies drastically per watch size | Onboard storage: 8GB (only 2GB and 75MB allowed for music and photos, respectively) | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
The Apple Watch 2 is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. It's water-resistant, which means it's more durable than most of the other devices on this list and you won't have to worry about getting it wet in the rain when you're out for a jog.
There's GPS onboard to make running that little bit easier plus it comes running the newest watchOS 3 software. Design wise it's looking very similar to the original Apple Watch. Be warned though, the Apple Watch 2 is expensive.
If you already own an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch 2 may not be worth the upgrade, but there are a few solid improvements that mean it's worth spending that bit extra if this is your first wearable from Apple.
2. Samsung Gear S3
Samsung's latest goes big against Apple - literally
OS: Tizen OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.3" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: S (105 x 65mm) L (130 x 70mm) | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: 3 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G
Despite a serious lack of original apps, the Samsung Gear S3 is one of the best smartwatch options on the market.
The intuitive controls and Super AMOLED screen from the Samsung Gear S2 are back in full form here. Plus, GPS makes its debut on the Gear S3.
While its look is more executive than the Gear S2, it rocks a IP68-protected build and can last up to 3 days of use before needing a charge.
Samsung recently made the Gear S3 (and Gear S2, for that matter) compatible on iOS. So, if you're looking for a more traditional-looking alternative to the Apple Watch, you may have found your match.
Read the full review: Samsung Gear S3
3. Asus ZenWatch 3
ZenWatch grows up with its third iteration
OS: Android Wear 2.0 | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.39" 400 x 400 AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Case dimensions: 44mm diameter, 9.9mm thick | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 2 days | Charging method: via proprietary USB charger | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
If you’re in the market for an Android Wear smartwatch, the Asus ZenWatch 3 should be near the top of your list. It has a great display, useful hardware buttons and good battery life. And although it has been slow to adopt Android Wear 2.0, the long-awaited update is finally available.
It’s styling might not be for everyone, and it's lacking in a few sensors, but Asus did a commendable job designing a watch that looks more like a premium watch than a piece of lifeless technology.
Read the full review: Asus ZenWatch 3
4. Huawei Watch 2
A well-equipped smartwatch with too many features
OS: Android Wear 2.0 | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.2" AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Band sizes: Fixed, replaceable band at 140-210mm | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: Up to 2 days | Charging method: Wired | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G (In select regions)
Not quite the successor that we imagined that it would be, the Huawei Watch 2 appeals to a sporty crowd that values function over form. And in terms of functions, this smartwatch is filled with them. GPS, NFC, even 4G connectivity is available in some regions.
For all its perks, we wish that the Huawei Watch 2 stuck with a premium design. The bulky, mostly plastic build doesn't fare well against the tougher competition. Also a downside is that its screen is smaller in this iteration, but on the plus side, it has gained the spiffy Android Wear 2.0 software.
Read the full review: Huawei Watch 2
5. Apple Watch
The iPhone-tailored smartwatch is expensive, but convenient
OS: watchOS 3 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.53" OLED | Processor: S1 System-in-Package (SiP) | Band sizes: Varies drastically per style | Onboard storage: 8GB (only 2GB and 75MB allowed for music and photos, respectively) | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Once you get past the high price, this is a genuinely useful thing to have around at times. Being able to check when you've got a message, or see who's calling and be able to make snap decisions, feels like the future, especially when you're exercising or in another situation where grabbing your phone isn't practical.
The new enhancements from Apple's watchOS 3 really do help this smartwatch leap forward, even if the hardware is over a year old. It's now faster, more usable and comes with watch faces that make it feel more personal.
And as more app developers use the new tools, there will be loads more to come too.
Plus, with the Apple Watch 2 now out it's not quite as expensive as it once was.
Read the full review: Apple Watch
6. Huawei Watch
Huawei's wearable debut makes a striking entrance
OS: Android Wear | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.4" AMOLED | Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz | Case dimensions: 42mm diameter, 11.3mm thick | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 2 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The Huawei Watch is not perfect, with iffy battery life watering down the gorgeous presentation. The impending update to Android Wear 2.0 should hopefully help to improve that.
But that shouldn't stop you, as its once-high price is rapidly dropping and overall, it's a near seamless blend of fashion and technology that edges closer to earning the 'smartwatch I'd actually wear' title.
Read the full review: Huawei Watch
7. Samsung Gear S2
A smartwatch that has stood the test of time
OS: Tizen OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: S (105 x 65mm) L (130 x 70mm) | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Over 1 day | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G (in select regions)
Although it's outpaced by the Samsung Gear S3, the S2 is still a solid choice for those looking to enter the world of smartwatches on the cheap.
From a value perspective, there's a lot to love here, with only the lousy app selection being forgettable.
For a smartwatch that's compatible on both Android and iOS, you can't do much better for the price than Samsung's last-gen model.
Read the full review: Samsung Gear S2