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.
What’s more impressive is that many of today’s best models can also perform a ton of novel tricks, such as enabling you to search the internet with your voice, tracking your exercise over GPS, and letting you check-out at the grocery store without reaching for your wallet.
Oh yeah – and they look absolutely stunning to boot.
For some time, jumping into the world of smartwatches was a risky move. But now, with competent efforts put forward from Google with Android Wear, Apple with watchOS, and more, there’s never been a better time to strap up with wearable technology.
Choosing the smartwatch that’s right for you isn’t easy, but we hope to make the exciting process of getting paired up with your next (or first!) smartwatch as simple as possible.
1. Apple Watch 2
Fitness takes over the Apple Watch
OS: watchOS 3 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.53″ OLED | Processor: S2 dual-core | Band sizes: Varies drastically per watch size | Onboard storage: 8GB (only 2GB and 75MB allowed for music and photos, respectively) | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Lack of useful apps
The Apple Watch 2 is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. It’s water-resistant, which means it’s more durable than most of the other devices on this list 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 newest watchOS 3 software. Design wise it’s looking very similar to the original Apple Watch. Be warned though, the Apple Watch 2 is expensive.
If you already own an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch 2 may not be worth the upgrade, but there are a few solid improvements that mean it’s worth spending that bit extra if this is your first wearable from Apple.
2. Samsung Gear S3
Samsung’s latest goes big against Apple – literally
OS: Tizen OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.3″ 360 x 360 Super AMOLED | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: S (105 x 65mm) L (130 x 70mm) | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: 3 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G
Great activity tracking
Very large on wrist
Severe lack of apps
Despite a serious lack of original apps, the Samsung Gear S3 is one of the best smartwatch options on the market.
The intuitive controls and Super AMOLED screen from the Samsung Gear S2 are back in full form here. Plus, GPS makes its debut on the Gear S3.
While its look is more executive than the Gear S2, it rocks a IP68-protected build and can last up to 3 days of use before needing a charge.
Samsung recently made the Gear S3 (and Gear S2, for that matter) compatible on iOS. So, if you’re looking for a more traditional-looking alternative to the Apple Watch, you may have found your match.
Read the full review: Samsung Gear S3
3. LG Watch Style
The thinnest Android Wear smartwatch yet
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS8.2+ | Display: 1.2″ 360 x 360 P-OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB charger | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Disappointing battery life
Lacks NFC and broader connectivity
The LG Watch Style (built in collaboration with Google) offers everything that’s to love from the best Android Wear smartwatches, ditches the dreaded flat tire, then fills in the gap with cool, useful features and a whole lot of… style.
Roll that all up and you’re left with an extremely alluring presentation that makes a mighty strong argument for Google’s wearable platform. But there are some familiar wrinkles here.
Battery life is still a low point, and, as independent as Android Wear 2.0 claims to be, Google is still in the early days of filling the new Play Store with compatible apps that are enticing enough to bother with aside from its own. The Style’s appeal lies more in what it will be soon, rather than what it is at launch.
That said, it’s easy to express why the Style is the only smartwatch we want to put on our wrists. For $249 (£249 / AU$325, but not confirmed for AU), it offers just as much utility as prior smartwatch attempts, but ups the ante with a slim, dashing design and several welcome features, like the voice-activated Google Assistant and a refreshed user interface that’s full of clever tweaks.
Read the full review: LG Watch Style
4. LG Watch Sport
Google’s Android phone on your wrist
OS: Android Wear 2.0 | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.38″ OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Band sizes: Fixed large band | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 16 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Calls and data without a phone
Excellent strength training
Appealing design despite big size
Battery life falls short
Standalone apps still coming
Phone calls (US only) require a SIM card
LG Watch Sport is the smartwatch to beat right now simply because it’s a full-featured fitness tracker wrapped in a smartwatch running Android Wear 2.0. While other smartwatches can do “fitness tracking” that just amounts to logging runs and calories burned, this watch tracks your all-important strength training, too.
It’s also one of the few smartwatches that supports an LTE connection, meaning, if you pop a SIM card into the back of the watch, it can make and receive calls and data – without your smartwatch nearby.
It doesn’t have the best battery life, despite its bigger-than-normal size, and apps are still being announced for Google’s newly refreshed platform. But it’s a proper step up for Android Wear and smartwatches in general.
Read the full review: LG Watch Sport
5. Asus ZenWatch 3
ZenWatch grows up with its third iteration
OS: Android Wear 2.0 | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.39″ 400 x 400 AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Case dimensions: 44mm diameter, 9.9mm thick | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 2 days | Charging method: via proprietary USB charger | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Excellent battery life
Lacks heart rate sensor, NFC, GPS
If you’re in the market for an Android Wear smartwatch, the Asus ZenWatch 3 should be near the top of your list. It has a great display, useful hardware buttons and good battery life. And although it has been slow to adopt Android Wear 2.0, the long-awaited update is finally available.
It’s styling might not be for everyone, and it’s lacking in a few sensors, but Asus did a commendable job designing a watch that looks more like a premium watch than a piece of lifeless technology.
Read the full review: Asus ZenWatch 3
6. Huawei Watch 2
A well-equipped smartwatch with too many features
OS: Android Wear 2.0 | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.2″ AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Band sizes: Fixed, replaceable band at 140-210mm | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: Up to 2 days | Charging method: Wired | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G (In select regions)
Built-in GPS and NFC
Screen is too small
Design is less premium than predecessor
Not quite the successor that we imagined that it would be, the Huawei Watch 2 appeals to a sporty crowd that values function over form. And in terms of functions, this smartwatch is filled with them. GPS, NFC, even 4G connectivity is available in some regions.
For all its perks, we wish that the Huawei Watch 2 stuck with a premium design. The bulky, mostly plastic build doesn’t fare well against the tougher competition. Also a downside is that its screen is smaller in this iteration, but on the plus side, it has gained the spiffy Android Wear 2.0 software.
Read the full review: Huawei Watch 2
7. Moto 360 (2nd Gen)
Moto’s smartwatch is a thing of beauty
OS: Android Wear | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.37″ or 1.56″ LCD | Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz | Case dimensions: 42mm or 46mm diameter, each 11.4mm thick | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 1.5-2 days depending on size | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Battery life remains iffy
Flat tire bezel is back
The second generation oto 360 certainly gets our vote as the best smartwatch when it comes to look. Plus, it’s also one of the most comfortable wearables around.
The new size options give the Moto 360 the extra reach it needed the first time around. That, and the new-found comfortable fit (along with the added customization to the design), brings it all together as one of the best smartwatches of 2016, and still a strong option in 2017.
Read the full review: Moto 360
8. Apple Watch
The iPhone-tailored smartwatch is expensive, but convenient
OS: watchOS 3 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.53″ OLED | Processor: S1 System-in-Package (SiP) | Band sizes: Varies drastically per style | Onboard storage: 8GB (only 2GB and 75MB allowed for music and photos, respectively) | Battery: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Expensive at any level
Battery life is one day
Once you get past the high price, this is a genuinely useful thing to have around at times. Being able to check when you’ve got a message, or see who’s calling and be able to make snap decisions, feels like the future, especially when you’re exercising or in another situation where grabbing your phone isn’t practical.
The new enhancements from Apple’s watchOS 3 really do help this smartwatch leap forward, even if the hardware is over a year old. It’s now faster, more usable and comes with watch faces that make it feel more personal.
And as more app developers use the new tools, there will be loads more to come too.
Plus, with the Apple Watch 2 now out it’s not quite as expensive as it once was.
Read the full review: Apple Watch
9. Huawei Watch
Huawei’s wearable debut makes a striking entrance
OS: Android Wear | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.4″ AMOLED | Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz | Case dimensions: 42mm diameter, 11.3mm thick | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery: 2 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Premium build and materials
Sharp and fully-circular screen
Only comes in one size
So-so battery life
The Huawei Watch is not perfect, with iffy battery life watering down the gorgeous presentation. The impending update to Android Wear 2.0 should hopefully help to improve that.
But that shouldn’t stop you, as its once-high price is rapidly dropping and overall, it’s a near seamless blend of fashion and technology that edges closer to earning the ‘smartwatch I’d actually wear’ title.
Read the full review: Huawei Watch
10. Samsung Gear S2
A smartwatch that has stood the test of time
OS: Tizen OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.2″ 360 x 360 Super AMOLED | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: S (105 x 65mm) L (130 x 70mm) | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Over 1 day | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G (in select regions)
Polished Tizen OS
Unique rotating bezel controls
Good apps are hard to find
Although it’s outpaced by the Samsung Gear S3, the S2 is still a solid choice for those looking to enter the world of smartwatches on the cheap.
From a value perspective, there’s a lot to love here, with only the lousy app selection being forgettable.
For a smartwatch that’s compatible on both Android and iOS, you can’t do much better for the price than Samsung’s last-gen model.
Read the full review: Samsung Gear S2