Update: We have now tested the Apple Watch 4 - scroll down to see where it sits in our best smartwatch ranking.
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 too.
What's more impressive is that many of today's best models can also perform a ton of tricks, such as enabling you to search the internet with your voice, tracking your exercise with GPS and letting you pay 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.
Below is our full list of the best smart wristwear you can buy right now including options from the Apple Watch to Fitbit and Tizen. Plus there are quite a few watches running Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear) which is Google's own smartwatch operating system.
- Feeling active? Check out our Best Fitness Trackers
- We've also put together our guide to best Android Wear watches
1. Samsung Galaxy Watch
The sporty Samsung watch gains some style
OS: Tizen OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.2" or 1.3" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED | Processor: Dual-core 1.15GHz | Band sizes: 22mm or 20mm | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: 4 days on 46mm / less on 42mm | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: 50m | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Our best smartwatch you can buy right now is from Samsung, and instead of opting for the expected Gear S4 name it's called the Galaxy Watch. Following on from the Gear S3 series and the Gear Sport in 2017, the Galaxy Watch is much improved.
We've tested out the larger 46mm version of the watch and it comes with a phenomenal four day battery life even when you're using it extensively. That's impressive considering a lot of other watches on this list last a day or so from a single charge.
The rotating bezel remains a highlight of navigating around the Tizen OS on the watch, and the interface is one of the easiest to pick up that we've seen on a smartwatch.
Apps available on the watch are more limited than Wear OS or watchOS 4 - two rival smartwatch operating systems - but it still offers the core basics and Samsung had provided a watch that's good at fitness as well as sporting a great design and lots more functionality too.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch review
2. Apple Watch 4
The best Apple Watch money can buy
OS: watchOS 5 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.78" OLED | Processor: Apple S4 | Band sizes: Varies based on watch size | Onboard storage: 16GB | Battery: 1 to 2 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: Water-resistant to 50m | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE
Coming in a close second, the Apple Watch Series 4 is our second favorite smartwatch you can buy right now. This is the first time Apple has updated the design of its smartwatch line, and it looks all the better for it.
You get a much bigger screen with the choice of 40mm or 44mm watch sizes, there's a wider display (which is still bright and clear) as well as all the rest of the tech we've come to expect from the Apple Watch.
The speaker on this watch is louder than before, the design is still lightweight (yet it feels premium) and you can use all your existing Apple Watch straps with this latest generation too.
The most exciting tech is the fact there's an ECG feature within the heart rate tracker. It can test your heart to see if you're at a high risk of atrial fibrillation, which will allow you to seek help earlier if your health is in danger.
This tech isn't present at launch, and right now we only know it'll be available in the US. I's not an upgrade relevant to everyone, but for some people this could be some life changing tech.
There are still tons of fitness features and the latest watchOS 5 apps onboard so you'll likely love this smartwatch. The Apple Watch 4 is our favorite watch you can use with an iPhone (this won't work with Android devices), but it's just been pipped to the title of best overall smartwatch.
Read our full Apple Watch 4 review
3. Fitbit Versa
A smaller and cheaper Fitbit Ionic
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
Fitbit is one of the biggest names in fitness tracking tech, but until late in 2017 the company hadn't gone anywhere near smartwatches.
The company has now released two smartwatches, and both feature on this list but first we're starting with our favorite that was announced in March 2018 and will be ready to buy in mid-April.
That favorite from Fitbit is the Versa that is a touch smaller than the other one (that's the Ionic) but it comes with Fitbit Pay for contactless payments, 2.5GB of storage for music and battery life that'll last around three days.
It doesn't have GPS for tracking your runs and the design doesn't feel as premium as some of the other watches on this list, but we really like the Fitbit Versa and it's one of the more affordable choices on this list.
Read the full Fitbit Versa review
4. 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 (Non-LTE) | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
The Apple Watch 3 (or Apple Watch Series 3, if you're picky) was the best smartwatch but has recently been bumped off the top spot by the launch of Samsung Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch 4.
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 apps. This is the right kind of upgrade on the best smartwatch in the world.
It's still water-resistant so you can swim with it 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 latest watchOS 4 software and will be updated to watchOS 5 later in the year.
Read the full Apple Watch 3 review
What's next? The Apple Watch 4 was announced on September 12 sporting two new sizes, a larger screen than the Watch 3 and new internal tech. It's also the first watch that can carry out an ECG, too. Be sure to read our hands on Apple Watch 4 review, and expect to hear whether it places in this list in the next few weeks.
5. 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.
Read the full review: Fitbit Ionic review