Best smartwatch for iPhone: Apple Watch, Wear OS and everything else

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So you want a smartwatch to use with your iPhone? The great news is there are a lot of choices right now packed full of interesting features while also sporting luxurious designs that will ensure your wrist always looks fashionable.

The bad news is you're going to have a very hard decision to make choosing the best smartwatch to use with your iPhone. Things have moved quickly in the smartwatch space since the release of the original Apple Watch in 2015.

We've had an updated version called the Apple Watch 2 and that's already been discarded in favor of the newly-released Apple Watch 3. There's even rumors of the Apple Watch 4 launching at some point in September 2018. On top of that, there's now a plethora of other smartwatches that also play nice with your iPhone including Google's own Wear OS.

To help you decide, we've made a guide to explain which watches will work with your iOS device. We've also recommended our favorite watches and highlighted why each is a great companion for your iPhone.

What watch should you use with your iPhone?

Although Wear OS and Tizen - a rival OS to Apple and Google - watches work with iPhones, the best watches right now are the Apple Watch 3 and Apple Watch Series 1.

Both of these devices are tailored for the iPhone experience, with watchOS working perfectly with iOS, so it makes sense to buy one of these.

If you can still pick up an Apple Watch 2, that might be a good budget buy, as it offers many of the best features of the Watch 3 at a lower price. Though Apple has now discontinued the device, so we don't expect you'll be able to buy it for much longer.

But you can get a selection of both Tizen and Wear OS watches that work with the iPhone too, and we've put together the list below to show you the best for battery life, features and style on the market right now.

For all the options below, you'll need an iPhone 5S or later that's running iOS 11 software to ensure you'll get all of the benefits of owning a smartwatch.

Best Apple Watch: what are the choices?

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1. Apple Watch 3

The best watch for your iPhone

OS: watchOS 4 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.65" OLED | Processor: S3 dual-core | Band sizes: Varies based on watch size | Onboard storage: 16GB | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: Water-resistant to 50m | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE

Good battery life
Clear, bright screen
Only iPhone compatible
Siri still patchy

As the latest and greatest Apple Watch, the Apple Watch 3 is of course the best smartwatch to use with an iPhone.

The Series 3 has a bright, high-quality screen, built-in GPS, waterproofing, optical heart rate monitoring and well over a day of battery life, plus all the things that make the Apple Watch 2 great, like a stylish design, water resistance and enough fitness features to cater to most users.

It’s a great all-rounder then, with style and substance, suited to both the office and the gym. There’s even an LTE model – though at a higher price. And of course, being an Apple Watch, it works perfectly with iPhone.

Read our full Apple Watch 3 review

2. Apple Watch 2

Fitness takes over the Apple Watch, but the price is high

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: Water-resistant to 50m | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC

Water-resistant
GPS onboard
Expensive
Lack of useful apps

Until recently the Apple Watch 2 was the best smartwatch for you to use with your iPhone. It's water-resistant, which means it's more durable than many 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.

With GPS onboard and watchOS 4 software running on it, if you own an iPhone this is a great choice, and a touch more affordable than the Apple Watch 3. Apple itself has stopped selling it, so the Watch 2 may start to become hard to find and the Apple Watch up next in this list is far cheaper than this one.

Read our full Apple Watch 2 review

3. Apple Watch Series 1

The original iPhone-tailored smartwatch is cheaper now

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

Stylish design
Clever interface
Expensive at any level
Battery life is one day

Perhaps you're looking for an Apple Watch, but want something a little more affordable? 

Fitness features are a little more limited as there's no GPS sensor like there is in the Apple Watch 2 and 3, but the original Apple Watch does cost a lot less. 

If you buy the original Apple Watch you're less likely to be supported for as long as if you buy a more up to date Apple wearable, but if budget is a deal breaker than it may be worth it for you with that cheaper price.

Read the full Apple Watch review

Wear OS and Tizen watches

A variety of other devices work with your iPhone too. We've listed them below including watches that are running both Wear OS and Tizen software.

Earlier this year, Google renamed its Android Wear platform to Wear OS and said a good amount of the most recent devices running the software will be toting the new name in the coming months. 

It's all an effort from Google to make it clear these watches run just as well on iPhone, and you don't need to own an Android device to have one of these on your wrist. 

There's also Tizen as well, which Samsung uses for its smartwatches and that plays nice with iPhone now as well. Below you'll find a selection of our favorite Wear OS and Tizen watches.

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1. Ticwatch Pro

Our favorite Wear OS watch comes with two screens

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED paired with LCD screen | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h, 5 extra days in Essential mode | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC

Innovative screen tech
Premium design
Limited app
No LTE features

Our favorite Wear OS watch is the Ticwatch Pro, which you can use easily with your iPhone. Ticwatch is a little known brand so far, but this watch comes with two different displays that helps it stand out from the rest of the crowd.

There's a transparent LCD display at the top with a full color OLED panel below it. That means you can get a full Wear OS watch experience with the Ticwatch Pro, but when the battery dies off you can then still get some details like heart rate, date and time through the secondary display.

That's a great feature - but there's lots else to love here including GPS, NFC for Google Pay and the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset we've seen in almost all the Wear OS watches on this list.

The best part is the lower price than a lot of other top-end smartwatches, which makes this one of the best Wear OS choices to use alongside your iPhone.

Read the full Ticwatch Pro review

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2. Ticwatch E

Cute design, big on features, low on price

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: iOS / Android | Display: 1.4-inch OLED (400 x 400) | Processor: MTK MT2601 1.2 Ghz Dual Core | Band sizes: Fits 20mm bands | Onboard storage: 4GB + 512MB | Battery: 300mAh, 48-hours normal usage | Charging method: | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS

Great feature set for the price
Display withstands sunlight well
Basic design
No NFC for Google  Pay

The Ticwatch E (Express Series) offers a host of marquee features for a very modest price tag. The Wear OS watch brings a wealth of options from the Google Play Store and includes a heart rate sensor and built-in GPS. 

It’s less fitness-focused than some of the other watches in our list, but there is an Apple Watch-like activity ring to help you stay in-touch with your daily movements. 

Most folks will find the design either cheap or charming and we lean towards the latter. There’s no NFC though, which will be a deal-breaker for people hoping to use Google Pay from their wrist.

Read the full Ticwatch E review

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3. Misfit Vapor

Fashion and fitness in one

OS: wear OS | Compatibility: iOS / Android | Display: 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 326ppi | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Band sizes: 20mm | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: All day | Charging method: Proprietary magnetic charging cable | IP rating: 50m | Connectivity: Connected GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Large, vibrant AMOLED display
Affordable
Chunky design
No NFC for Google Pay

The Misfit Vapor sees the company graduate from wristbands to a fully-fledged Wear OS smartwatch, complete with Google Assistant onboard. 

It’s a happy medium for those interested in fitness, but will only suit those who don't need the super advanced features of a Garmin Forerunner or other running watch. There’s an always-on display and a standalone music player, which negates the need to bring your phone along for the ride. 

Unfortunately, it only packs connected GPS, so you will need your phone if you’re trying to accurately track your run. As with the Ticwatch E, there’s no NFC so you won’t be able to use Google Pay. 

Read the full Misfit Vapor review

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4. Ticwatch S

Another sophisticated smartwatch with a budget price tag

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: iOS / Android | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED | Processor: MediaTek MT2601 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1

Affordable
Comfortable design
Lacks NFC
Can't change the strap

Another from that little known brand Ticwatch here, and it's a remarkably similar device to the one you've read about above in this list.

The Ticwatch S is a slightly more expensive version of the watch but it comes with the GPS sensor built into the band rather than the casing itself. The company claims that should make it more accurate, but we didn't notice any stark differences.

It's comfortable to wear the watch that offers Wear OS and although the price is higher than the Ticwatch E, this is still one of the more affordable watches you'll find on this list.

Read the full Ticwatch S review

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5. LG Watch Style

One of the thinnest Wear OS watches

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8.2+ | 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

Devilishly good-looking
Reasonably priced
Disappointing battery life
Lacks NFC and broader connectivity

One of the first watches to come with the second version of Android Wear onboard,  the LG Watch Style now totes Wear OS and is one of the best-looking devices you can use alongside your iPhone.

The design of the LG Watch Style is on point as it's one of the thinnest smartwatches on the market, sporting a sleek metal build.

Our only complaint is the battery life on the LG Watch Style, but if you're happy to recharge your device every day or so this won't cause a major problem for you.

Read the full LG Watch Style review

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Samsung Gear Sport

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6. Samsung Gear Sport

The stylish swim-proof Samsung option

OS: Tizen | Compatibility: iOS / Android | Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED | Processor: 1GHz dual-core | Band sizes: Compatible with all 20mm bands | Onboard storage: 4GB + 768MB | Battery: 300mAh | Charging method: wireless charging dock |  IP rating: 5ATM / 50 metres | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS

Great screen
Speedo swim skills
Limited Tizen apps
Poor S-Voice integration

Arguably Samsung’s best fitness wearable yet, the Samsung Gear Sport is an attractive smartwatch with a pin-sharp screen, accurate GPS/GLONASS and a heart rate sensor.

It’s also water resistant to 50m and has a handy rotating bezel to the control the UX. The Tizen OS app store isn’t as well supported as rivals, but it does offer access to apps from Speedo (yes, it’s swim-friendly), Under Armour and Spotify offline. 

S Voice is also on board, but its presence is negligible. It’s compatible with iOS thanks to the Gear app, but understandably works best with a Samsung Galaxy device.

You may want to hold off getting the Gear Sport just now though as the Samsung Galaxy Watch has just launched and claims to offer better battery life and some added fitness features. We hope to have a full review of the watch for you to read very soon.

Read the full Samsung Gear Sport review

Other alternatives

There are quite a few devices you can use with your iPhone including some running Fitbit OS and others that you may not even refer directly to as a smartwatch. Read on about them all below:

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Fitbit Versa

The best smartwatch from Fitbit

OS: Fitbit OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: TBC, 1000 nits | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Onboard storage: 2.5GB | Battery duration: 3-4 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: 50M water resistant | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Lightweight design
Relatively low price
No GPS
Feels a little cheap and childish

A second attempt at the smartwatch from Fitbit has seen the brand create one of its best devices in years. The Fitbit Versa is slimmer and smaller on your wrist than an Apple Watch, but offers a lot of great fitness features including swim tracking and HIIT coaching.

The watch is also cheaper than Fitbit's other watch called the Ionic (which you'll find coming up in this list) making it an attractive option for your wallet as well as your wrist.

Fitbit OS isn't as fully fledged as the Wear OS or Apple Watch devices above in this list as there are still a limited amount of apps available to you, but if you want to have a watch as a fashion piece and focus on the fitness elements you'll enjoy the Versa.

It allows you to listen to music on the move, plus you have Fitbit Pay so you can do contactless payments when you're out jogging too. Our main gripe with the Versa is the lack of GPS technology, but if you plan to exercise with your phone in your pocket or strapped to your arm it's unlikely you'll find this to be an issue.

Read the full Fitbit Versa review

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Fitbit Ionic

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Fitbit Ionic

A noble first effort from the fitness kingpin

OS: Fitbit OS | Compatibility: iOS / Android | Display: 1.45-inch LCD | Processor: Unknown | Band sizes: Small (its wrists 5.5" - 6.7" in circumference) and large (its wrists 6.7" - 8.1" in circumference) in box | Onboard storage: 7 days of movement | Battery: 4+ days (10 hours of GPS) | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: 50m water resistance | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS

Solid battery life
Great fitness features
Controversial design
Lack of apps

Fitbit’s answer to the Apple Watch’s fitness threat piles all of its best fitness-tracking features into a highly functional smart timepiece. 

There’s GPS, continued heart rate tracking, excellent multi-day battery life and the ability to track multiple activities. 

That being said, the Fitbit Ionic runs off the bespoke Fitbit OS so it doesn’t offer the full fat smartwatch features of watchOS or Wear OS.

There’s also a shortage of apps available right now, you can download around 300 songs and connect Bluetooth headphones for phone-free exercise. Also, the design’s a bit controversial and very much has the look of a first-gen smartphone.

Read the full Fitbit Ionic review

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Garmin Forerunner 735XT

For serious fitness fanatics only

OS: Forerunner 735 software | Compatibility: iOS / Android | Display: 1.23-inch IPS | Processor: Unknown | Band sizes: QuickFit 22mm | Onboard storage: 80 hours activity data | Battery: 14 hours in GPS mode | Charging method: Proprietary wired | IP rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Bluetooth, GPS

Great looking
Advanced fitness and training features
Thick-ish bezel
No music storage

If you’re seeking a powerful fitness companion rather than a wearable extension of your smartphone, they don’t come much better than the Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The multi-sport GPS watch, designed with triathletes in mind, features an optical heart rate sensor and reams of deep data insights into your performance. 

Runners, for example, will glean metrics like ground contact time, balance, stride length, vertical ratio and much more. There’s a VO2 max estimator, race predictor and recovery adviser too.

Read the full Garmin Forerunner 735XT review

Nokia Steel HR

Nokia Steel HR

That great hybrid watch with a new name

OS: N/A | Compatibility: iOS / Android | Display: OLED monochrome 72 x 36 | Processor: Unknown | Band sizes: Fits wrists up to 200 mm | Onboard storage: One week of data | Battery: 25 days | Charging method: Magnetic charging pad | IP rating: 5ATM (50m) | Connectivity: Bluetooth LE

Best-in-class design
Reliable data
Expensive for functionality offered
No replaceable battery

Nokia’s rebranding of the Withings Steel HR arrived in late 2017 and, barring some slight design and software tweaks, it’s the same great hybrid smart fitness watch with a new name. 

It features a built-in digital display that’ll show your heart rate in real time, as well as step progress and limited smartphone notifications. It has the neat analogue dial showing process towards a daily movement goal and can automatically track activities like running and swimming. 

There’s no GPS so you can’t expect hyper-accurate distance tracking, but the Nokia Steel HR is still a fantastic, stylish watch with great battery life that you can wear around the clock.

Read the full Nokia Steel HR review

Looking for a smart running watch?

You should also check out our extensive range of devices to help you run - in our cunningly named best running watches round up - as many of these offer incredibly battery life as well as smart notifications from your wrist.

For instance, the Garmin Forerunner 935 will last almost 10 days on a single charge while running every day, allow you to take or reject calls and control your music - plus it's one of the most gifted exercise companions we've seen.

So if you're thinking of getting fitter - check out the burgeoning world of running devices to help you out.