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 with GPS, and letting you check-out at the grocery store without reaching for your wallet.
Oh – and they look absolutely stunning to boot. If you're thinking that a smartwatch is a pointlessly geeky accessory... think again. These choices are well-made, powerful and can genuinely make you fitter through some smart nudges.
And now it's Black Friday, we'll be updating this piece with the best deals we're seeing - keep an eye on our widgets to see the top prices for your next digital timepiece.
- Feeling active? Check out our Best Fitness Trackers
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 3
A better connection with the world's best smartwatch
OS: watchOS 4 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.53" OLED | Processor: S2 dual-core | Band sizes: Varies drastically per watch size | Onboard storage: 8GB / 16GB (Non-LTE and LTE respectively) | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
The Apple Watch 3 (or Apple Watch Series 3, if we're being picky) is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. Yes, it's essentially just the Apple Watch 2 frame with some new innards... but they make a big difference.
The LTE connection is the headline event, although that's not really as useful as some might hope - plus it costs a lot more to use, and drains the battery.
What we like is the non-LTE version, which is a lot cheaper, and offers all the smarts of the Watch 2 but with a longer battery life and faster speeds when flicking through - that's the right kind of upgrade on the best smartwatch in the world, in our opinion.
It's still water-resistant so you can swim about when using it nor 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 top watchOS 4 software.
We're not expecting many deals on this watch come Black Friday given it's so new, but we'll be keeping an eye out in case there is.
Read the full review: Apple Watch 3
2. LG Watch Style
The thinnest Android Wear smartwatch yet
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS8.2+ | Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 P-OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB charger | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The LG Watch Style (built in collaboration with Google) offers everything that's to love from the best Android Wear smartwatches, ditches the dreaded flat tire, then fills in the gap with cool, useful features and a whole lot of… style.
Roll that all up and you're left with an extremely alluring presentation that makes a mighty strong argument for Google's wearable platform. But there are some familiar wrinkles here.
Battery life is still a low point, and, as independent as Android Wear 2.0 claims to be, Google is still in the early days of filling the new Play Store with compatible apps that are enticing enough to bother with aside from its own.
The Style's appeal lies more in what it will be soon, rather than what it is at launch.
That said, it’s easy to express why the Style is the only smartwatch we want to put on our wrists. For a recently-lowered price, it offers just as much utility as prior smartwatch attempts, but ups the ante with a slim, dashing design and several welcome features, like the voice-activated Google Assistant and a refreshed user interface that's full of clever tweaks.
We're not seeing a huge amount of price drops for this watch at the moment - it's a sleek model though and could be up for some discounts soon.
Read the full review: LG Watch Style
3. 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 full 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 - that's some of the best battery life we've seen on a smartwatch.
Samsung recently made the Gear S3 (and Gear S2, for that matter) compatible on iOS too, so if you're looking for a more traditional-looking alternative to the Apple Watch, you may have found your match.
Samsung is heavily discounting this model at the moment - by up to a third - in the buildup to the Gear Sport launch, and given it has very similar features it could be worth picking up, and other retailers are making it even cheaper.
Read the full review: Samsung Gear S3
4. Garmin Forerunner 735XT
A fitness watch that sticks it to the smartwatch world
OS: Garmin own | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 31.1mm Transflective | Processor: Unknown | Band sizes: 23mm | Onboard storage: Inaccesible | Battery: 7 days | Charging method: Clamp | IP rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
OK, we know this isn't a true smartwatch - but it's a brilliant running watch with smartphone connectivity, and to many it's good enough to achieve what they need.
The notifications are basic but rich enough, and you can control your music from the wrist. Yes, this will be a bit basic for some, but if you're in any way interested in fitness this watch can do it all - and it's a half-decent fitness tracker too, with a super long battery life that puts many on this list to shame.
It's also discounted heavily during Black Friday - with the additional heart rate monitor it's a top buy.
Read our full review: Garmin Forerunner 735XT
5. LG Watch Sport
Google's Android phone on your wrist
OS: Android Wear 2.0 | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.38" OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Band sizes: Fixed large band | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 16 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
LG Watch Sport would be the smartwatch to beat right now, because it's a full-featured fitness tracker wrapped in a smartwatch running Android Wear 2.0.
While other smartwatches can do "fitness tracking" that just amounts to logging runs and calories burned, this watch tracks your all-important strength training, too.
However, despite supporting an LTE connection ( so if you pop a SIM card into the back of the watch, it can make and receive calls and data – without your smartwatch nearby) it's been limited to US-only availability.
It doesn't have the best battery life, despite its bigger-than-normal size, and apps are still being announced for Google's newly refreshed platform. But it's a nice step forward for Android Wear and smartwatches in general.
We're seeing this watch discounted by nearly half earlier this year, so if you can get it for under $199 it's a bargain buy (sadly, not available in the UK).
Read the full review: LG Watch Sport
6. 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 one to think about. It has a great display, useful hardware buttons and good battery life.
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.
This model is getting heavily discounted (in the US, at least, it's down to $179 in some places and £199.99 in the UK) and is another good choice if you're thinking of joining the Android Wear tribe.
Read the full review: Asus ZenWatch 3
7. Fitbit Ionic
The fitness brand makes a big smartwatch play
OS: Fitbit OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: TBC, 1000 nits | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: Large | Onboard storage: 2.5GB | Battery duration: 2-3 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: 50M water resistant | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The Fitbit Ionic was always going to be a tough move for the brand, trying to enter the world of smartwatches from fitness bands.
The effort succeeds in some places: namely fitness, as you might imagine, where you can track all manner of things, from running to weight lifting to swimming. There's also dedicated bodyweight coaching sessions in there, and you can pay for items on the go using Fitbit Pay.
Where it lacks is the price - it's expensive, and the amount you can do with it compared to other smartwatches is limited. However, if you're a Fitbit fan looking to do more with the a band, this is a nice option.
It's already being discounted too - in the UK it's already down to £249.99 at Curry's, and we're waiting to see if that gets mirrored in the US as well.
Read the full review: Fitbit Ionic review
8. Apple Watch 2
Fitness takes over the Apple Watch
OS: watchOS 4 | 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 was the best smartwatch around - until it got replaced. 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. It's no longer as expensive as it once was, either.
The downside is that stocks are starting to get severely limited as Apple has discontinued it on its wooden shelves - so you'll need to pick one up sharpish if you're looking for a good alternative to the Apple Watch 3.
The Apple Watch 2 is ripe for a Black Friday discount - it's already down to £259 at Argos in the UK and around $299 in the US, although we're expecting to see better than that given this model is no longer being made by Apple.
Read the full review: Apple Watch 2
9. Moto 360 (2nd Gen)
Moto's smartwatch is still a thing of beauty
OS: Android Wear 2.0 | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.37" or 1.56" LCD | Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz | Case dimensions: 42mm or 46mm diameter, each 11.4mm thick | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 1.5-2 days depending on size | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The second generation oto 360 certainly gets our vote as one of the best smartwatches when it comes to the design - and it's also one of the most comfortable wearables around.
The new size options give the Moto 360 the extra reach it needed the first time around. That, and the new-found comfortable fit (along with the added customization to the design), brings it all together as one of the best smartwatches of 2016, and still a strong option in 2017.
It's harder to buy at the moment, which suggests stocks are drying up - but we've seen it on sale for $139 / £115 earlier in the year, so if you see it for similar then it's worth snapping up.
Read the full review: Moto 360
10. Apple Watch
The iPhone-tailored smartwatch is expensive, but convenient
OS: watchOS 4 | 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
Still on sale as the 'budget' Apple Watch, this device is still well worth a look.
OK, it doesn't have the water resistance, LTE connectivity or GPS of the top Apple Watch 3, but it also doesn't have the price.
Being able to check when you've got a message, or see who's calling and be able to make snap decisions, still is possible here and great when you're exercising or in another situation where grabbing your phone isn't practical.
The new enhancements from Apple's watchOS 4 really do help this smartwatch leap forward, even if the hardware is years old now. It's now faster, more usable and comes with watch faces that make it feel more personal.
This watch is still on sale from Apple, so deals might be a bit sparse, but the Apple Watch Series 1 can be found at lower cost if you're sharp.
Read the full review: Apple Watch