The best smartwatches pair with your phone and run on a second screen, with notifications, fitness tracking features and more. They are equipped with a wide range of sensors and wellness features that allow you to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, sleep, stress and more.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are smartwatches with an LTE connection and a separate GPS, which can track your run and provide music storage space. Depending on your usage, you may want to check out our roundup of the best fitness trackers and best smartwatches for women.
If you’re using an iPhone, it’s easy: get an Apple Watch Series 7. Otherwise, read our picks.
Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 remains the best all-round smartwatch for iPhone users, with a new, larger screen that really makes a difference to what was already a top-of-the-range smartphone.
It has a robust selection of fitness and health and wellness monitoring features, including blood oxygen and EKG monitoring. For the most part, this is a modest upgrade, but our tester found that the screen, which is 20% larger than the 6 Series, really does make the 7 Series a lot more usable. In fact, the reflective edges make it look even bigger in real life than it actually is. Apple has even managed to fill in a keyboard that is (only!) accessible with one finger.
Elsewhere, there are a few minor updates to the Series 6, but nothing to write home about, other than a new, faster charging cable that Apple says (and our tester agrees) can take the Watch from 0% to 0.80%. To upload. In 45 minutes and 100% in 75 minutes. Since the watch can track your sleep, it’s a handy addition – it means you can wear the watch overnight and charge it in the morning before bed or in the shower.
On paper, the display is really the only upgrade here. But considering the 6 Series was our previous pick and still stands out above the competition, it’s not a disaster. Overall, this is arguably the best smartwatch on the market, and the larger screen means it’s an upgrade worth considering even for Series 6 owners.
Best for new features: Samsung Galaxy Watch3
The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is very similar to the previous Galaxy Watch model (oddly, there is no Galaxy Watch 2), opting for a traditional wristwatch silhouette with a smart rotating bezel that you can use to navigate menus. It looks glossy and still feels heavy, although Samsung has thankfully shed nearly 10 grams from the larger model thanks to clever finishes and tweaks.
What’s less great is that battery life is also reduced, the app ecosystem is missing, and the price has increased by $70-$80 depending on the model. Still, Samsung’s premium watch is a good option, especially for Android users. However, iOS’ limitations make it a weaker option on the iPhone side than the competing Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE, both of which take advantage of Apple’s tight integration and wide range of apps.
Best Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Versa 3
If motivation to move is hard, Fitbit Versa 3 helps you change your habits. This latest version of the popular Versa 2 includes more health tools and connected features to keep you active and connected 24/7. Highlights include the most accurate Pure Pulse technology for heart rate measurement, both for measuring resting heart rate and heart rate, heart rate zones and other active training zones. You can also set daily intensity minute goals to ensure you are achieving your cardiovascular health values. Another ally in your corner is the new built-in GPS, which allows you to leave your smartphone at home for your next bike ride, walk or run.
With your phone nearby and the Fitbit app active, you can set reminders to start exercising at a specific time with Amazon Alexa, and even answer text messages and calls if you’re an Android user. Android users can also boost their sweat sessions by downloading playlists directly to the device with Pandora or Deeper subscriptions. For now, the Spotify app only provides playlist management when the Spotify mobile app is open and running. The companion Fitbit app is also key to unlocking more detailed sleep and heart rate monitors.
Best Value for Money: Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is a cheaper alternative to the top-of-the-line Apple Watch Series 6 that omits some key features and lowers the price. Starting at $ 279 (versus $ 399 for Series 6), the Apple Watch SE includes most of the familiar features of Apple’s popular smartwatch, including solid fitness tracking, messaging features, water resistance, and a heart rate monitor.
However, it loses the always-on display of the Series 6 and Series 5 earlier, turning off the display to save power when the wrist is not raised. It also lacks an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood oxygen sensors, limiting some of its health sensing capabilities. Fewer color and material options are also available for the frame, which comes in three colors only in aluminum. But if health sensors aren’t a big selling point of the Apple Watch experience for you, you can save a lot of money by going with the SE model.
Best for active Samsung users: Samsung Galaxy Watch
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is a great choice for fitness-conscious Samsung users who want many of the same features as the Apple Watch. Our reviewer Poona found that the Active2 offers the same comfortable, snug fit as the previous model and added a feature many users have requested: a frame. Although the bezel is not physical like the Samsung Galaxy Watch3, it is touch sensitive and simulates the same rotating motion as a physical dial.
Other new benefits include the improved heart rate measurement system. Active2 now has eight sensors and a new curved design that records your heart rate better and warns you if the readings seem too low or high. There is also talk of an ECG function, just like the Apple Watch, but it hasn’t been launched in the US yet.
Best budget: Amalfi GTS Smartwatch
Amalfi GTS is an elegant and compact wearable that does not weigh you down and does not clash with your wardrobe. This trendy device seems to have taken much of its inspiration from the Apple Watch, combining its square screen and single button design. The GTS also comes with a flexible and comfortable silicone sports strap in a variety of colors to suit your mood and style.
The 348 x 442 AMOLED display is vibrant and easy to read and highly customizable thanks to customizable widgets on the main digital or analog watch screen. In watch mode (without Bluetooth or heart rate monitor and other smart settings active), the manufacturer claims a battery life of up to 46 days. In the typical mode of use, with active smart features, Amalfi GTS can last up to 14 days and recharges in just about two hours.
Best GPS: Mobil Tic Watch Pro 3 GPS
The Mobil Tic Watch Pro 3 GPS smartwatch is a sporty wearable with a large, visible display. While the overall design is smaller and lighter than the previous model, the dual-layer touchscreen is still great. The 1.4-inch AMOLED Retina 450 x 450 display is bright and touch sensitive. In smart mode, with all connected features activated, this display can run for up to 72 hours before needing to be recharged. But the main feature of the watch is its powerful low-light display on an AMOLED layer. Use this feature manually or rely on your watch to activate it when the battery drops below 5%. When you wait between charges, this watch functions as a convenient timing device. If you want to use it purely as a watch, the Essential mode offers up to 45 days of use.
In addition to an impressive battery, the Tic Watch Pro 3 also offers an impressive range of connectivity and fitness features. With an Android phone, you can easily reply to text messages and phone calls. Both Android and iOS users can receive notifications on their wrist and keep up with their well-being 24/7 with the Google Fit and Tic Health and Tic Exercise apps. There are some overlaps in fitness offerings, but some advanced blood oxygen saturation and sleep measurements are part of the Tic Watch offering. While the fit can be a challenge for users with smaller wrists, this watch offers a versatile smartwatch experience if you can find a comfortable fit.