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Best Samsung watch 2021: our top smartwatch choices before buying

Included in this guide:

A selection of the best Samsung watches, including Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
(Image credit: Samsung)

If you're wondering what the best Samsung watch for you is, the answer is actually very simple. It's the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. 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 other great Samsung watches out there too. 

That's because 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.  While the Apple Watch Series 7 might be out soon, we're expecting the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to remain pretty popular among those looking for something a little different. 

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.

The majority of Samsung watches use the Tizen OS which works with both Android devices as well as iPhones, with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 which is Android-only. The watches also 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, along with newer models. We took into account what you can do with each watch, its design, the price and much more when curating this ranking.

Before you dive in, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up at the end of November. Now is the time to check out the best smartwatch Black Friday deals going on as well as the best smartwatch Cyber Monday deals too.

Best Samsung watch 2021

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

(Image credit: Samsung)

The pick of the bunch

Specifications
Compatibility: Android
Display: 1.4-inch 450 x 450 Super AMOLED
Processor: Dual-core 1.18GHz Cortex-A55
Onboard storage: 16GB
Battery duration: Two days
Charging method: Qi wireless charging
IP rating: IP68
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
Reasons to buy
+Smart design+Extensive fitness features
Reasons to avoid
-Only a virtual rotating bezel-Limited phone compatibility 

With a new operating system - One UI Watch 3 - the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 just got even better than the previous best, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. It may have limited support for non-Samsung smartphones and no support for iPhones but its extensive fitness features including heart rate tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and body composition tools are sure to be useful for enthusiasts. 

Alongside that, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 looks great and offers speedy performance that should last a couple of days without an issue. There's no physical rotating bezel any more but its virtual one is a reasonable replacement. 

Expect reliable performance each step of the way and a watch that will look good whether you're at the gym, in a meeting, or on a date. 

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

(Image credit: Samsung)

Formerly 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)

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)

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)

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)

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

James Peckham

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.