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Best Samsung watch 2021: see our top smartwatch choices before buying

Best Samsung watch
(Image credit: Samsung)

If you're wondering what the best Samsung watch for you is, the answer is actually pretty simple. It's the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. The watch builds upon its predecessor's achievements by adding a sleeker design and providing new features such as fall detection. It's easily taken our top spot here but there are plenty of other great Samsung watches for other purposes too.

Samsung is one of the very best smartwatch makers on the planet so it's hardly surprising to see so many good options here. The company competes admirably against the likes of the Apple Watch 6, Garmin Fenix 6 and Fitbit Sense

The company has been in the smartwatch game since 2013 when it introduced the square-faced and (by today's standard) woefully lacking Samsung Galaxy Gear, Samsung has gone from strength to strength ever since. We've seen various iterations of its wristwear over those last six years, and the company has since come into its own with its latest series of rebooted Galaxy wearables.

We're expecting to see the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 4 sometime later this year with rumors that they might run Wear OS instead of Samsung's own software - Tizen. That might be a good move as while Tizen is quite good, third-party app support is slightly more limited on Samsung watches than on other choices. Either way, a lot of the big apps like WhatsApp, Facebook and Spotify are still available on these devices.

Whatever happens, Samsung watches work with both Android devices as well as iPhones, plus they generally offer strong battery life alongside their plethora of top-end features. 

Read on while we take a look at the very best Samsung watches out there right now. The list includes perennial favorites like the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the sportier Galaxy Watch Active 2. We took into account what you can do with each watch, its design, the price and much more when curating this ranking.

Of course, before you do anything, it might be worth your while to hold off on making a purchase until Amazon Prime Day 2021. The two-day sales event is very likely to have big discounts on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 so you could end up saving a fair bit if you're willing to wait for it. Older watches such as the original Samsung Galaxy Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 could also feature in the sales. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Our best smartwatch in the world right now

Specifications
OS: Tizen OS
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.2" or 1.4" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED
Processor: Dual-core 1.15GHz
Band sizes: 22mm or 20mm
Onboard storage: 8GB
Battery duration: 3 days on 45mm / less on 41mm
Charging method: Wireless
IP rating: IP68
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE (for extra)
Reasons to buy
+Great, premium design+Rotating bezel is useful
Reasons to avoid
-Battery could be better-High price

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 was a long time coming but worth the wait, as it betters its predecessor (the original Galaxy Watch) in a number of ways.

It’s a slimmer, lighter and all-round better-looking wearable, but while it looks classy enough for the fanciest of affairs, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is also an excellent workout companion, with numerous workout modes, many of which can trigger automatically, plus GPS, a heart rate monitor, VO2 Max readings, sleep and stress tracking, fall detection, and water resistance.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 even sports an electrocardiogram and blood pressure monitoring – though neither of these are active in most regions at launch.

The Watch 3 also has a bright, crisp, circular screen that’s easy to read in all lighting, and thanks to the wearable’s rotating bezel it’s also easy to navigate.

Despite all its good points the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 isn’t a perfect wearable – it’s expensive, and the battery life could be better. But it is a very good wearable, and a real rival to the Apple Watch.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

What the original Galaxy Watch Active should have been

Specifications
OS: Tizen OS
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED
Processor: Dual-core 1.15GHz
Band sizes: 20mm
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: Around 2 days
Charging method: Wireless
IP rating: 50m
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+High-end design+Digital bezel dial
Reasons to avoid
-Price bump puts it closer to Apple Watch-Still limits features with iOS

Samsung released the Galaxy Watch Active 2 half a year after its predecessor and it includes a few coveted features we thought were missing from the original Galaxy Watch Active.

Samsung's Active line of devices are designed to be slimmer than the Galaxy Watch and therefore more appropriate for those who want a device specifically for working out. How is it slimmer? It has dropped the rotating bezel that you find on the Galaxy Watch.

The company has instead included a digital rotating bezel that you can run your finger around to navigate through features on the watch. It doesn't have the tactility of the bezel on the device above, but we found the feature to work well nevertheless.

If you're after a sporty smartwatch and you want one that comes from Samsung you'll like this as it's comfortable to wear when you're working out. It features a heart rate monitor, can automatically track workouts, there's GPS and there's also storage so you can upload tracks to your watch and listen on Bluetooth headphones. If you don't want to do that manually, you can use the Spotify app on Tizen instead.

It features a 1.2-inch 360 x 360 display, which may sound small on paper, but we found it big enough to interact with and apps looked great on the screen.

While its list price increased nominally (into older Apple Watch territory), the Active 2 is still more affordable than the most expensive smartwatches on the market. If you're after a smaller watch that will suit both working out and everyday wear, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a great choice.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch

The sporty Samsung watch gains some style

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Impressive battery life+Useful rotating bezel
Reasons to avoid
-Annoying charger-Bixby isn't great

For a long time the original Galaxy Watch was Samsung's best smartwatch, and it remains a very good one.

It comes in two variants. If you're looking for the largest watch, you'll want the 46mm version that comes with a bright 1.3-inch display. Then there's also the smaller (yet thicker) 42mm variant. 

Both watches feature a rotating bezel that you can spin to navigate through menus and certain features on the smartwatch. It's a more tactile way to travel through the watch's operating system and features.

Both versions of the Galaxy Watch also feature Samsung Pay - that's a service that allows you to make mobile payments from your wrist - as well as GPS for tracking your location.

The design is also waterproof so you can track swimming, and we found the fitness features to be impressive considering this is a premium looking timepiece as well. The larger version of the watch also comes with around four days of battery life from a single charge.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

The original Galaxy Watch Active is now cheaper

Specifications
OS: Tizen OS
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.1" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED
Processor: Dual-core 1.15GHz
Band sizes: 20mm
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: Around 2 days
Charging method: Wireless
IP rating: 50m
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Competitive price+Lots of features
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks rotating bezel-Limited storage

This device isn't dissimilar to the one you've just read about above, and that's mostly because it only came out six months before the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

You can still buy the original Galaxy Watch Active, but it lacks mobile internet or the digital rotating bezel that we've seen on the newer version of the smartwatch that you've just read about.

You may still want to consider it instead of the Active 2 as you can offer find it for less now there's a more recent device from Samsung. 

It still offers strong battery life and the same set of fitness features that you'll find on the device above, so if you find this for a more affordable price you may want to opt for the older Watch Active.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review

Samsung Gear Sport

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung Gear Sport

Cheaper (but lesser) than the Galaxy Watch

Specifications
OS: Tizen OS
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED
Processor: Dual-core 1GHz
Band sizes: 22mm
Onboard storage: 4GB
Charging method: Wireless
IP rating: 50m
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Sleek design+Effective software
Reasons to avoid
-Limited exercise tracking-GPS can be erratic 

On paper, the Samsung Gear Sport doesn't sound all that different to the Galaxy Watch but if you were to compare the two watches you'll notice a lot of differences. 

The company smoothed out a lot of the problems with the Gear Sport, but you may be fine with them considering how discounted the price of the Gear Sport now is.

A lot of what you get on the newer generation is here alongside the latest in Tizen software, so you've got access to all of the apps that you'll get on products like the Samsung Galaxy Watch.

The screen on the watch is large and easy to navigate around. The watch can track your location when you're running, and you can upload music to your watch and listen to it through Bluetooth headphones; overall there's lots to love here.

If there's a big downside, it's that the overall visual design isn't as slickly implemented. All of that said - it's still a good-looking watch that you may want to have on your wrist if you''re after one of the best Samsung watches but you don't want to spend lots of money.

Read the full Samsung Gear Sport review