There are so many great smartwatches to choose from right now – but the best on paper may not be right for you.
With options for sporty people, runners, the fashion-conscious, and those on a tight budget, there’s a lot to think about when buying a smartwatch. We’ve picked our favorite smartwatches from our reviews, based on smartphone type, sports features, and a range of budgets.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 is certainly an interim update, with no headline new features or wellness sensors to get stuck into. But Apple has overhauled the screen tech and there are improvements across the design.
The Series 7 grows to 41mm and 45mm sizes (but retains the same strap sizes), but the black border around the display has been reduced to 1.7mm. The result is that the display appears to be edge-to-edge, making for an impressive updated look that immediately makes the SE/Series 6 look old and dated.
That means there’s 20% more screen surface than the Series 6 and SE, and that it’s 50% bigger than Series 3, which remains on sale. The larger screen size means you can see 50% more text, and Apple has added an on-screen keyboard for text input, including predictive input.
In short, the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch going, and the Series 7 is the pinnacle of that experience. It replaces the Series 6 at the same price, but with a significantly superior screen – that’s a win in our book, and a solid, tangible reason to shell out more over the SE.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a huge reset for the Samsung brand, and hits reset on four generations of devices by moving to Wear OS and merging Galaxy Watch and Active brands.
And it’s the undisputed best watch for Android users, with Samsung returning to run the new revamped Wear 3.0 with a superb integration.
There are two very distinct versions of the Galaxy Watch 4. The standard version (left) replaces the Galaxy Watch Active 2 in 40mm and 44mm sizes, while the Watch 4 Classic retains the dress watch feel of the older Watch 3 in 42mm and 46mm options.
Those older devices on Tizen OS now have a limited life, with Samsung only providing critical updates for three years. That means they’ve been removed from this list.
The new smartwatches move to Wear OS, although retaining the traditional look and feel of Galaxy Watches via the One UI Watch 3 overlay. We’d wager most users wouldn’t notice the difference, and the Watch 4 retains the bezel control, close integration with Samsung services, and features such as blood pressure monitoring, ECG, and GPS.
Huawei Watch 3
The Huawei Watch 3 is a superbly built smartwatch with premium materials and a price to match.
It debuts Harmony OS, Huawei’s new smartwatch operating system that promises more apps and features – although the current selection certainly isn’t worth getting excited for. However, it does offer users the chance to untether with LTE capabilities.
The screen is also a triumph with a 1.4-inch AMOLED display kicking out an eye-searing 1000 nit.
There’s built-in GPS, the new TruSeen 4.5 heart rate monitor, which powers SpO2 tracking of blood oxygen, stress monitoring, fatigue, VO2 Max, training load and it performs excellently as a sleep monitor. But again, most of this is found on the GT2e.
And then there’s the battery life. You’ll get around 3-4 days in normal mode and there’s a power saver that will give you around 10 days – and still keep most of the sports tracking modes, sleep, fitness, and notifications running. It gives you great flexibility around how long you want to spend away from the charger.
Garmin Venu 2
Garmin’s updated AMOLED smartwatch is still extremely sports-focused, with dedicated modes for running (indoor, outdoor, treadmill), cycling (indoor/outdoor), swimming (pool only thanks to 5ATM water resistance), golf, strength, cardio, elliptical, indoor rowing, yoga and more. HIIT has been boosted specifically, with special modes for EMOM and AMRAP sessions, and it will track reps in guided strength workouts, too.
The glossy 416 x 416 resolution screen (the Venu 2S has a 360 x 360) will attract those tempted by the Apple Watch, but the Venu 2 offers over a week of battery life, and a bunch of advanced health metrics, including pulse ox, top-notch health tracking and stress monitoring.
We also really liked the health features – and Garmin has made big strides in inaccuracy with the Venu 2. The stress tracking felt immediate and useful, and we could see stressful feelings spiking the real-time tracking. Likewise, sleep tracking has improved massively, which also feeds into Body Battery measurement of energy. It will also record blood oxygen levels at night or 24/7 if you desire.