Best Smartwatches 2020 – Detailed Guide

From being a trendy accompaniment to smartphones, smartwatches have started to dominate the tech world, making a name for themselves, being known not as something supplemental, but as gadgets that have their own features and purposes. Smartwatches have emerged from being complementary, to being essential. Not only are they stylish and fashionable, but they have also penetrated other industries, such as wellness, and have since become “vital” especially in terms of the tracking features, most useful for athletes.

The wide availability of smartwatch options has somehow put consumers in a dilemma. What is the best smartwatch out there and which one best suits their needs? Considering how each new release is better than the previous one, it makes it much more difficult for buyers to make a choice. And if they have decided to purchase a particular model, an upgraded version, with better features, better specs, and a better look comes out. Again, upgrades are definitely made to outdo previous prototypes.

The smartwatch market is one that speaks of so much diversity – diversity in terms of brand, cost, and functionality among others. When we say market, we are not limited to market leaders like Apple or Samsung. Other performers in the niche of sports and fitness have also joined the bandwagon and manufactured their own smartwatches. This surplus of choices has only, let me reiterate, caused more confusion to buyers more than it has probably helped. So, what is the best smartwatch currently available in the market and how does one know which one to buy? That is what this article is all about.

To commence this quest for the best smartwatch, you might want to start with asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do I need a smartwatch?
  2. What features am I looking for?
  3. Is it something I need to use during workout?
  4. Do I need it to have something trendy on me?
  5. How much am I willing to spend for it?

You could also ask this additional question: do I really need a smartwatch? Nah, kidding. Of course you do. Now, to help you decide, I’ve looked into the market and searched for the top smartwatch brands and models. I’ll be presenting a summary of my top ten picks based on brand, cost, features, and overall functionality. Refer to the detailed review below if you want to feel the overall experience of using these brands. A very helpful buyer’s guide is also available to help you choose, just in case you haven’t yet decided, after reading all the comments.

Product NameAutonomyOperating System
Apple Watch 524 to 36hrsWatchOS 6

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Samsung Galaxy WatchUp to 4 daysTizen OS

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Fossil Gen 530hrsWear OS

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 22 daysTizen OS

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Mobvoi TicWatch ProUp to 7 daysWear OS

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Mobvoi TicWatch E22 daysWear OS

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Apple Watch 424 to 48hrsWatch OS 5

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Fitbit Versa 25 daysFitbit OS

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Fitbit Ionic48 to 72hrsFitbit OS

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Apple Watch 318hrsWatch OS 5

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Content [show]

Best Smartwatches 2020

1. Apple Watch Series 5 GPS – Top Pick for Apple Users

 

Specs

  • OS: Watch OS 6
  • Compatibility: iOS
  • Display: 1.78″OLED
  • Processor: Apple S5
  • Onboard Storage: 32GB
  • Battery Duration: 24 hours to 36 hours
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC
  • Band Sizes: Different based on watch size

Pros

  • Has Always-On display
  • Has LTE connection and NFC
  • Has large onboard storage

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • No sleep tracking capability
  • Expensive

Review:

This not to say that Apple dominates the smartwatch marketplace, but the Apple Watch Series 5 is, by far, the best smartwatch available. However, knowing the connectivity limitations Apple gadgets place on other brands, this is only applicable for iPhone users, since the smartwatch doesn’t work on Android phones.

One of the most salient features of this upgraded series is its Always-On functionality. This is most useful in workout routines where you can’t easily do some flicking. We all know that it sometimes takes a while to have a smartwatch activated after flicking your wrist. There will also be instances when you would want to look at the timer, or monitor your progress, but you’re stuck in a position that doesn’t allow you to. This is where the Always-On feature comes into play.

Other new features in the upgrade include the compass which works best with GPS. Apart from giving directions, it is also able to calculate one’s elevation. One functionality that may appeal to women is the Cycle Tracking app which allows ladies to monitor and add remarks regarding their menstrual cycle. This version is also equipped with NFC (near field communication) and Apple Pay, which means that paying is now easier and can be done by simply holding out your smartwatch near the payment reader.

When it comes to look, the Apple Watch 5 has remained consistent with its predecessors – maintaining the curved aluminum frame and the digital crown, used for browsing through the menus. One difference is that Series 5 has a larger screen, almost 30% bigger than the previous series.

Now, talking about issues, if you’re a little too sensitive to light or just prefer a dimmer display, this might not be the best smartwatch for you. I personally didn’t think the dimmer was enough and it had a tendency to hurt the eye. Since this smartwatch doesn’t have an option to decrease the brightness, setting it to cinema mode should do the trick. Another issue is, when using other applications that are not Workout, the watch goes on sleep mode, where it only displays the time and other information, depending on the watch theme that you choose. So, if you prefer a watch that doesn’t go to sleep and instead keeps an app open, then you might want to consider another option.

Other than the major upgrades, other apps, such as the heart rate monitor, ECG monitor, and the accelerometer, have basically stayed the same. Nonetheless, all these features still make the Apple Watch 5 the smartest choice for athletes, especially those who are into swimming, jogging, cycling, and hiking.

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch – Top Pick for Samsung Users

 

Specs

  • OS: Tizen Based Wearable OS4.0
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Display: 1.2 inch or 1.3 inch 360 by 360 Super AMOLED
  • Processor: Exynos 9110 Dual-core 1.15 GHz
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: 4 days maximum (46mm) ; lower duration on 42mm
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE((as an add-on/costs extra))
  • Band Sizes: 22mm and 20mm

Pros

  • Has impressive battery life
  • Has Always-On display
  • Has easy-to-use rotating bezel

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Voice assistant technology needs improvement
  • Limited access to third party apps

Review:

Not only is the Samsung Galaxy watch the best smartwatch for Android users, but it is also the most suitable for those who opt to have a watch with a sleek, professional, classic look. The watch has a rotating bezel that is embedded in a stainless, steel case that makes one look more like he’s dressed to the nines. This bezel is a fusion of style and functionality as it not only adds to the overall premium look, but also makes navigating through the menus easier. To check notifications, rotate the bezel to the right; to access the widgets, rotate it to the left.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch uses a Tizen OS, which is a multi-platform OS that allows such features as the rotating bezel, and a longer battery life. Charging is also made easier because of its wireless charging capability.

If this smartwatch has something in common with other smartwatches, it’s the feature that allows athletic tracking. This feature, incorporated with built-in sensors and a health application, alerts the user to get on the move when it notices that it has been idle for a while. Stats gathered, such as calories burned and nutritional goals, from the fitness tracker, may be synced with other Samsung devices through Samsung Health. If this doesn’t impress you, its water resistance capability probably will. The Samsung Galaxy Watch is water resistant for up to 5 ATM. However, it is not advisable to use this watch when scuba diving or when participating in high-velocity activities.

If you think that the Always-On feature is only available for iPhone users, then you’re wrong. Being one of leading smartwatch manufacturers, the Samsung Galaxy Watch also has its own version of the Always-On option. Probably the only thing that sets them apart is that if you have an Apple phone, then you need an Apple watch; if you have a Samsung phone, then the Samsung Galaxy watch is the best option for you.

But, as with all other smartwatches, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is not without issues. In fact, although running on a Tizen OS has worked to its advantage, it has also limited its application diversity. For instance, Facebook Messenger, Google Maps, and Google Health are not available in this smartwatch; whereas, Wear OS and iOS have these third party applications. There are also reported issues of Bixby, the voice assisting AI, having trouble understanding some voice commands. Nonetheless, the overall classic look, I guess, makes up for these lack.

There are different sizes and themes available for the Samsung Galaxy Watch. The 46mm version, which comes in a silver and black theme, has a larger screen and a longer battery life (up to 4 days; although some users report 5). This is most suitable for more formal looks. On the other hand, the 42mm version, which has a rose gold or midnight black theme, is best paired with active wear, and has a battery life of about 3 days.

3. Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch – Top Pick for Android Users

 

Specs

  • OS: Wear OS
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Display: 1.28 inch 416 by 416 AMOLED
  • Processor: Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: 30 hours
  • Charging Method: Proprietary method
  • IP Rating: Water resistant up to 3 ATM
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC
  • Band Sizes: 22mm

Pros

  • Has decent battery life
  • Not too expensive
  • Fast performance and easy navigation

Cons

  • Has protruding buttons
  • Poor speaker quality
  • Difficult to read display in bright sunlight

Review:

Being an industry frontliner, Fossil has made a mark for being a manufacturer of exceptional, yet affordable, watches. They have been in the business for 35 years, making their debut in 1984. It is, therefore, not a surprise that Fossil makes it to our list of top smartwatches with its Gen 5 smartwatch.

For Android users, this, in my opinion, is the best option for a smartwatch. It boasts not only of standard features, but of being cost-efficient as well. Let’s decipher the great features offered by this smartwatch.

For purposes of fitness monitoring, Fossil’s Gen 5 is equipped with Google Fit which tracks and displays the amount of time of your movement. This works well with the built-in GPS that allows efficient tracking of distances. Heart points are also displayed as the device monitors the heart rate with a cardiogram app. One feature that swimmers would love about this smartwatch is that is it water resistant (3 atmospheres of pressure). This means that you can take this watch, wherever the water takes you, as long as it’s not too deep. With its speaker, users can now make phone calls and receive audio notifications on some apps, use Google Assistant for queries, and listen to music.

When it comes to battery life, Gen 5 can last up to 24 hours or more. It runs on a Wear OS and has 1GB of RAM. What is notable though is, despite its tolerable lag time, in terms of performance, it is still faster than most smartwatches in the market, and communicates smoothly with android smartphones. The watch has an AMOLED screen with a 328 pixel density. This means that, it is prone to glaring in bright sunlight, making the display difficult to see.

Fossil seems to present one of the most diverse looks with their smartwatches. There are seven options of bezel or band and the appearance can change from being classic to athletic. It all depends on the look you want to achieve. With the use of stainless steel and black silicone, Fossil’s eye for fashion really comes through, even in their smartwatches.

In terms of issues, there is but one minor functionality that I found to have interfered with a flawless operation. Fossil watches are reputed to have protruding buttons. Whether these are added for fashion or practicality, or even for the sake of consistency, I do not know. What I have realized is that because these buttons protrude, there is a risk for these to be accidentally configured and have the settings changed.

Overall, considering the functions and the cost, Fossil proves to be the most compatible smartwatch for android smartphone users. To think that it is £100 less than Apple Watch 5 and about £50 less than Samsung Galaxy Watch, and still have competitive features, it is easy to see why Fossil is never behind its competitors in the smartwatch industry.

4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – Top Pick for Fitness Accountability

 

Specs

  • OS: Tizen OS
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Display: 1.2 inch 360 by 360 Super AMOLED
  • Processor: Dual-core 1.15GHz
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: 48 hours approximately
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Band Sizes: 20mm

Pros

  • Has impressive battery life
  • Has easy-to-use virtual bezel
  • Has more design options

Cons

  • Inaccurate tracking sometimes
  • Issues with using third party apps
  • Compatibility issues with Samsung Pay

Review:

Another one from Samsung makes it to top 4. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 made it to the market shortly after the first Galaxy Watch Active was released. Hence, these two have similar features, and only minor enhancements. Still, this smartwatch is worth checking out.

One of the major differences between Active 2 and the original Galaxy Watch Active is the rotating bezel which comes in a virtual version, using haptic technology, making navigation easier and faster.

Active 2 also pioneered the built-in fall detection and ECG in the Samsung Galaxy Watch Series. Other minor improvements have to do with battery life and the size of the screen.

In terms of apps, YouTube and Twitter are still available. Active 2 also has Spotify, which allows playlists to be downloaded and played offline. There are also other useful features such as monitoring the amount of sleep one gets, and the amount of water, food and caffeine consumption.

For those who are into the sport of running, Active 2 has upgraded Running Coach. This is an app that tracks one’s pace, provides the metrics, and gives a run-through of how the exercise program will go. More about this upgrade is that users can now set targets, such as distance, and the app guides them into accomplishing these goals. Truly a reliable accountability partner during workouts. Users can also listen to the audio instructions through a Bluetooth speaker or by using the watch’s built-in speakers.

When it comes to design, Active 2’s digital bezel fits well with the watch’s slim and light body, making for a nice mix of contemporary and classic look. In some models, the watch face also transforms to match the user’s outfit. This can be done by taking a picture of your ensemble and the watch interface changes into something that will suit what you are wearing.

5. Mobvoi TicWatch Pro – Top Pick for Battery Life

 

Specs

  • OS: Wear OS
  • Compatibility: Android 4.3+ and iOS 8+
  • Display: 1.4 inch 4400 by 400 OLED and second LCD screen
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: Essential Mode: Up to 30 days
    Smart Mode: 2 hours
  • Charging Method: Magnetic pin
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, NFC
  • Band Sizes: –

Pros

  • Has impressive battery life (on Essential Mode)
  • Has more design variety
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • Unimpressive water resistance feature
  • Short battery life (on Smart Mode)
  • No LTE connection

Review:

For consumers who are inclined to try something new but, at the same time, offers cool, competitive features, Mobvoi Ticwatch might just be the best choice. Although Mobvoi is a novice in the smartwatch market, it has already made a name with its maiden releases – the TicWatch E and S. It is different in so many ways from Apple and Samsung, but it’s not far behind in terms of innovation and technological application. Now, with its new introduction, Mobvoi TicWatch Pro, the brand has obviously raised the bar higher with better specs and fresher features.

One upgrade in this new model is the multi-layered watch display. This means that there are multiple screens in one watch face. The first one is a screen on “Essential” mode or low-power mode, which constantly displays the time, date, heart rate, and step tracker. This top screen is transparent to allow for the configuration of the second layer. The underlying touchscreen is used for navigating through the different menus. This layer uses more power and has a higher resolution. This is where settings are configured and other apps are displayed.

What makes these features cool is they actually contribute to the watch’s impressive battery life. By using a low-power screen to display basic data, the watch is able to preserve energy and make the battery last longer. Full power is only used when accessing other apps. What this basically means is that users can enjoy using the watch for days instead of hours.

Speaking of convenience, Mobvoi has enabled TicWatch Pro with NFC and made it compatible with Google Pay, making shopping and making payments much much easier. The built-in Google Assistant, which can be activated using voice commands and instructed to make a call or give directions, also adds to this convenience.

While good battery life may sound tempting for athletic geeks, Mobvoi TicWatch’s fitness tracking capabilities may sound rather unconvincing. For one, swimmers may not find this watch useful despite it being water resistant, as the brand itself has advised against using or immersing it underwater. Another thing is, apps used for tracking do not present anything special or exceptional when compared to other brands. In other words, in terms of tracking purposes, TicWatch may be a bit lackluster.

Now, what it lacks in tracking, it makes up for in appearance. There is a wider variety of options available for this watch – from leather straps, to silicone straps, or a combination of the two. Silicone straps come in eight different colors, and may be changed according to your style or mood. If you opt to look more formal, the leather strap sounds like a good choice. But if you want to look stylish, then a colored silicone is the strap for you.

Let’s discuss issues with this watch. Apart from having passable fitness functions, there are other complications to using the watch conveniently. Users are required to download the Mobvoi app for the watch to work; however, this doesn’t entail having access to superior functions. I believe there are other, more decent choices available in the market. But then again, when it comes to battery life, and if you’re only after basic features, then you can get yourself a midpriced Mobvoi TicWatch Pro.

6. Mobvoi TicWatch E2 – Top Pick for Being Budget-Friendly and a Good Gift Idea

 

Specs

  • OS: Wear OS
  • Compatibility: Android 4.3+ and iOS 8+
  • Display: 1.39 inch 400 by 400 OLED
  • Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: 48 hours approximately
  • Charging Method: Magnetic pin
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi
  • Band Sizes: –

Pros

  • Has decent battery life
  • Has Swim-ready capabilities
  • Not too expensive

Cons

  • Inaccurate tracking sometimes
  • No NFC
  • No sleep tracking feature

Review:

If you’re the type of person who values functionality over aesthetics, then this is the right product for you. Not to mention, for £145.99, it’s easy on the pocket as well. This is why I’ve rated Mobvoi TicWatch E2 as the best option in terms of budget. What’s more, it’s also perfect as a Christmas gift.

Mobvoi Ticwatch E2 is one smartwatch that focuses more on function, rather than being trendy. Its chipset is Snapdragon 2100, which used to be pretty competitive back in the days. But now that smartwatch technology has become more advanced, there might be better choices in the field in terms of performance. With this chipset, accessing apps might not be fast enough compared to its rival brands. Nonetheless, basic features are still usable. And just remind yourself, functional and budget-friendly is not a combo you always see out there. I’d say, it’s still a good bargain.

This smartwatch runs on Wear OS, has a 1.39 inch display, and a 400 by 400 OLED screen with a pixel density of 404ppi. For its price, it remains at par with other brands in terms of onboard storage. A 4GB storage space is enough to accommodate downloaded playlists and more third party applications. It has a decent battery life, considering that it can last up to 48 hours.

Talking about its user-friendliness when used for athletic tracking, TicWatch E2 is water resistant up to 5 ATM. This is where its Swim feature becomes useful. When using the Swim mode, a user may set the target distance, number of lapses, as well as the duration. What makes this function even more cool is, when underwater, the auto-lock display is activated. This means that there are no risks of accidentally swiping when the watch is submerged in water. To access the display again, simply press the power button.

More on its tracking capabilities, Mobvoi TicWatch E2 allows fitness tracking using GPS. It is equipped with a 24-hour heart monitor, and a tracker for calories burned. However, there are minor inaccuracies as reported by some users, which will be discussed later. But speaking of other capabilities that health buffs might find useful, TicWatch E2 allows connection between the smartwatch and a bluetooth headphone. This means that people can listen to music while working out.

As was previously mentioned, Mobvoi TicWatch E2 prioritizes function over fashion. Hence, it comes in a very basic, monotonous black polycarbonate material, a round interface, and a power button. But then again, it’s usable, and it’s inexpensive.

Now, for the downside, although TicWatch E2 is equipped with fitness tracking options, consumers have reported issues with inaccurate tracking. For instance, when using the heart or calorie monitor, the watch misses counting some exercises, leading to incorrect reports. This probably has something to do with the watch’s slow speed when navigating through and using the apps. Another issue, which I’d rather call a missing feature, is a sleep tracker. This watch currently doesn’t have this app, which I believe would have been a great additional function. Another thing is NFC, which is supposed to make payment transactions more convenient for users.

7. Apple Watch 4 – Top Pick for Mid-priced iOS

 

Specs

  • OS: Watch OS 5
  • Compatibility: iOS
  • Display: 1.78 inch OLED
  • Processor: Apple S4
  • Onboard Storage: 16GB
  • Battery Duration: 24-48 hours
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC
  • Band Sizes: –

Pros

  • Has fall detection functionality
  • Has a large display
  • Has LTE connection and NFC

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Inconsistent tracking activity
  • Bulky and heavy on the wrist

Review:

Before Apple Watch Series 5, Apple Watch 4 made the rounds for being the best smartwatch ever to be manufactured. Why not? For one, not to sound biased but, it’s an Apple smartwatch. This means that you’re in for a reliable performance and superb features, for, take note, a much cheaper price. Basically, if you don’t want to spend extra on a gadget on your wrist, Apple Watch 4 is not a bad deal. In fact, it might just be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make… that is, again, if you’re an iPhone user. So, what makes Apple Watch 4 so special?

Apple Watch Series 4 is very similar to Watch 5 in terms of design. And like Series 5, this version also runs on Watch OS 6, uses Apple 4S processor, has the same amount of memory, and is also capable of fall detection. Series 5 is definitely un upgrade of Series 4 with enhanced drivers and an improved battery life. To add, although both make use of a digital crown, there are also some improvements on the watch face. But now that we’ve tackled the similarities, I think it would be more interesting to discuss the differences, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

One innovation that helped smartwatches break out from being trendy gadgets to becoming wearable items that have medical use is that Apple Watch Series 4 introduced the heart monitor and ECG system. The heart monitor allows the detection of irregular heart rhythms. If the watch senses any irregularity, it sends an alert notifying the user of this condition. To use the ECG, the user must find a comfortable sitting position, place one finger on the watch’s crown, and wait for the watch to send an electrical pulse through the body. If no irregularity is found, the user should see “Sinus Rhythm” on the display. In the event that the ECG system detects any irregularity, it shows the result “Atrial Fibrillation”. Although this is not meant to be diagnostic in nature, this should be a good first step to making sure your cardiovascular health is sound.

Another difference is, when Series 4 was released, there was no built-in compass yet. This means that cyclists or hikers missed the opportunity to have this convenience in one of their adventures. Even so, other health tracking features were sufficient and most athletes still found a good use for them. Not to mention, Series 4 has a considerably large display that makes reviewing stats easier.

As was discussed earlier, one other enhancement in Series 5 is the Always-On functionality. Read the review on Series 5 to know more about this feature.

We know how Series 5 is already better than this version, but still, let’s talk about how similar they are. I’ve mentioned that these two models look very similar in terms of appearance. Their shapes and sizes are almost the same, the straps share similar designs, and both use a digital crown to access apps and other features. This means that Series 5 has kept Series 4’s overall look and feel for the most part.

With these, it’s easy to assume that Series 5, with all the added features and upgraded functionalities, takes home the crown. But, if you don’t think that a heftier price is worth any of those upgrades, then, by all means, go get an Apple Watch Series 4. After all, its superiority and versatility, in terms of overall performance, should be enough to make up for the Always-On feature and the compass.

8. Fitbit Versa 2 – Top Pick for Sleep Tracking

 

Specs

  • OS: Fitbit OS
  • Compatibility: Android 7+ and iOS 11+
  • Display: 300 by 300 AMOLED
  • Processor: –
  • Onboard Storage: 2.5GB
  • Battery Duration: 5 days maximum
  • Charging Method: Magnetic pin
  • IP Rating: Water resistant
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, NFC
  • Band Sizes: –

Pros

  • Has impressive battery life
  • Has NFC
  • Has a built-in Alex

Cons

  • No built-in GPS
  • Has music playback issues
  • No health apps

Review:

Fitbit Versa 2, from the name itself, is a fitness-focused wearable technology equipped with the functions of a smartwatch. This is one of the few smartwatches in the market that actually has a reliable sleep tracking feature. More on this later.

Taking after its predecessor, Fitbit Versa, Versa 2 runs on an upgraded processor and makes use of a Gorilla Glass 3 protected AMOLED touchscreen. This upgrade has a better display and functions better in terms of navigating between menus or accessing apps. Also, unlike Fitbit Versa which has 3 buttons, Versa 2 only has 1 button that functions both as a select button and a back button. With battery performance, Versa 2 is a real deal with a battery life that can last up to 5 days, even with the sleep tracking on. Given, of course, that the Always-On option is not activated.

Known for a very versatile and reliable sleep tracking function, Versa 2 is equipped with amazingly accurate sensors. Take note, however, that this function comes in a paid and an unpaid version. The unpaid version records sleeping habits which is helpful in analyzing sleeping patterns over periods of days or even weeks. The app also assigns a score based on the user’s sleep habits. On the other hand, the unpaid version takes sleep tracking a notch higher by not only monitoring sleeping patterns, but also recording sleep duration, REM, heart fluctuations, detect periods of restlessness, and identify deep sleep from light sleep. This function also presents stats that allow the comparison of sleep patterns for a period of 30 days. All these features for £148.88/month is not bad a deal at all.

On using Fitbit Versa 2, nothing makes navigating easier than using only one button to select an option and go back to the menu. The app launcher is accessed by swiping the screen to the right. This displays four app shortcuts, which can be rearranged to your preference. Fitbit Today can be accessed by swiping up. Fitbit Today shows the data for the current day, and displays up to seven options: sleep stats, heart rate, steps per hour, total steps, and water and food intake.

Notifications, Quick Settings, and Music Control can be accessed by swiping down. Quick Settings allows the configuration of the following: Sleep Mode, Do Not Disturb, and Always-On display. This version also supports a built-in Alexa which can be used to set reminders or even check the weather.

More of the similarities between an Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa 2, both use silicon bands, which are perfect for athletic tracking as the material prevents sweat from being absorbed. And if there’s actually one smartwatch that can work with an iPhone, it’s the Fitbit Versa 2. But then, considering the compatibility between an Apple watch and an iPhone, and all the features that go with an Apple smartwatch, more people would rather buy a smartwatch with the same brand. Nonetheless, looking at the smartwatch market competition, given Versa 2’s affordability, it still comes through as a great choice for Android devices.

mance, should be enough to make up for the Always-On feature and the compass.

9. Fitbit Ionic – Top Pick for Workout Companion

 

Specs

  • OS: Fitbit OS
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Display: –
  • Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz
  • Onboard Storage: 2.5GB
  • Battery Duration: 48 – 72 hours
  • Charging Method: Proprietary
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Band Sizes: –

Pros

  • Has decent battery life
  • Has built-in GPS
  • Has excellent fitness tracking feature

Cons

  • Bulky on the wrist
  • No LTE connection and NFC
  • Small onboard storage

Review:

Staying true to its reputation as a fitness watch manufacturer, the Ionic is another one of Fitbit’s fitness-focused smartwatches. Compared to Versa 2, however, Ionic, being Fitbit’s flagship product, is stocked with enhanced features and more superior functionality. However, this also means that the Ionic is heavier and bulkier, making it more uncomfortable to wear. Imagine having a bulky piece of technology attached to your wrist while doing your round of cycling or having a session at the gym. But, to reiterate, this bigger build has a lot more to offer performance-wise.

To discuss the basics, Fitbit Ionic runs on a Dual-core 1.0GHz processor and has an LCD screen resolution of 250 by 384, and a 1000-nit brightness, making the display visible under bright light. This model has two buttons on the right, which are used to access the menu or browsing through the apps. A single button on the left is also provided.

Since Fitbit is known for making fitness-focused watches, expect a lot of fitness tracking features in Ionic. First, its built-in GPS contributes to reporting better metrics when tracking distances, pace, and lapses when running or cycling. This version also has a Fitbit Coach which is a built-in digital workout program that religiously guides you through each exercise routine, detailing the motions and movements for you to follow. What makes Fitbit Coach sound like a real coach is it also allows you to give feedback on how you would want to modify your workout for the next session. This means that you can tweak the program and make it aim at letting you improve, making your workout more intense as you progress.

The Ionic is also equipped with a program for monitoring levels of oxygen in the blood using the SpO2 sensor. This also works with Dexcom G5 Mobile sensor that allows tracing of blood glucose levels. These functions are useful for people suffering from diabetes and other related health concerns.

Fitbit Ionic’s body is aluminum. It has antenna bands on the side, which helps improve its appearance, making it look more expensive than it actually is.

The only downside to the Ionic is its chunkier build. But then, this is probably a reasonable tradeoff for people who are considering buying this not only as a health monitoring device, but also as a workout companion or an athletic tracker. Again, if this is your reason, then the additional features might actually be worth the extra weight and the extra space on your wrist.

10. Apple Watch 3 – Top Pick for iPhone Users on a Budget

 

Specs

  • OS: Watch OS 5
  • Compatibility: iOS
  • Display: 1.53 inch OLED
  • Processor: S2 Dual-core
  • Onboard Storage:8GB for non-LTE version
    16GB for LTE version
  • Battery Duration: 18 hours
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: IPX7
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC
  • Band Sizes: –

Pros

  • Not too expensive
  • Has LTE connection and NFC
  • Has good fitness tracking capabilities

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Need monthly data subscription for LTE
  • Has lower specs than Series 4 and 5

Review:

For iPhone users who are on a budget, Apple Watch Series 3 may just be the right smartwatch for you. Having all the basic functions of a smartwatch and some added features by being an Apple product, why not?

Series 3 runs on an S2 Dual-core and has a battery life of up to 18 hours. It uses a 1.53 inch OLED screen. There are two sizes available for this series – 38mm and 44mm. Consumers also have a choice between GPS and GPS+Cellular models. The difference between the two is that the GPS+Cellular model is enabled with LTE connection and has a 16GB memory, whereas the GPS model only has 8GB of memory, and no option to use cellular data because of the unavailability of an LTE connection.

Compared to Series 2, a number of features have been upgraded in Series 3. For one, Beats Radio and Apple Music can now be accessed, taking music streaming to a whole new level. In terms of performance, this version is also faster and navigating through apps is much easier because of the upgraded chipset and drivers.

Being one step ahead of Series 2, Apple Watch Series 3 has LTE connection capability. This means that the watch can work as a standalone device, without the need for an accompanying phone. However, this is not absolute as an iPhone is still needed to access other functions. The LTE connection only allows the receipt of some app notifications, as well as phone calls in the event that the phone is not accessible. This LTE connection also requires a monthly data subscription for the smartwatch.

Now, these details prove how Series 3 is better than Series 2. But before you decide, remember that Apple has released Series 4 and Series 5. What will convince you to choose the predecessor over the newer versions?

It is probably better to begin with how Series 4 and 5 are ahead of Series 3. Apart from being upgrades, Series 4 and 5 run faster and have more improved battery performance. It is also given that the latter versions have been loaded with additional functionalities, especially for fitness tracking, that Series 3 doesn’t have. For instance, Series 3 is not equipped with fall monitoring and has no ECG. Although Series 3 has a heart monitor, it is not capable of recording irregular heart rhythms. Not to mention, Series 3 also has a smaller display, which some users may find inconvenient, or even annoying. So, again, what will make consumers choose Series 3 over Series 4 and 5? Well, it’s simple. The price. For a similar smartwatch experience, and completely disregarding the fact that Series 3 may have slower functions, it is still much cheaper than the other two. So, if you’re an iPhone user, wanting to own an Apple smartwatch and not willing to cash out a big amount of money, then Apple Watch Series 3 is the best wrist gadget currently available in the market.

Buyer’s Guide

Before you decide to buy a smartwatch, make sure you understand what it is and what it’s for, and if there really is a need for it. Basically, a smartwatch is a gadget that works both as a watch with the extra features of a smartphone. Not a very smart description, I would say, but that’s the gist of it. If you have a smartwatch on your wrist, you can do more than just tell time. Depending on the smartwatch that you own, some will allow you to receive message alerts or app notifications, download or stream music and listen to playlists, and some will even allow you to make phone calls. If you own one that is equipped with NFC or near field communication technology, then you can actually use your watch to make wireless payments. As is the trend these days, most smartwatches act as aids in health or fitness monitoring. To function well as a fitness tracker, it is important for a smartwatch to have GPS and sensors. These added features make tracking of distances run or steps taken possible. If you have a smartwatch with a built-in compass, then it will tell you the direction you are supposed to take and even calculate your elevation. For health monitoring, the sensors on smartwatches allow for such functions as sleep tracking or heart rate monitoring. What impact does this have on the field of health and wellness or even medicine? Well, by having access to these advanced technologies, it will be easier to track sleeping habits, record heart rates, identify irregularities, and recognize possible health problems before they become worse. It is not correct to rely on smartwatches for diagnosis, but these at least give one a glimpse of where he stands when it comes to his health. New innovations on smartwatches even allow blood glucose monitoring, which is something very beneficial for diabetics. Today, several smartwatch manufacturers have enabled LTE connection on their products which means that these devices can function almost completely independently of smartphones. However, a smartwatch being a totally standalone device is something that has yet to be explored by technology experts.

Now, you know what a smartwatch is and you’ve decided that you need one. How do you decide which one to purchase? Let’s go back to the questions you first need to ask yourself.

Why do I need a smartwatch?

There are endless reasons why you would want a smartwatch for yourself. Perhaps you need an extension of your smartphone on your wrist so you can function more effectively and comfortably on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps you need a tracking device for when you do your morning jog or when you go on a cycling adventure with your buddies. Perhaps you are suffering from a form of sleep problem and you want to be able to monitor your sleep habits as a precaution. Once you know your reason for wanting to own a smartwatch, this is where you can start looking for the features necessary to meet your needs.

What features am I looking for?

To answer this question, you will still need to go back to the primary reason why you believe you need a smartwatch. If it is for fitness purposes, then you might want to consider looking at built-in sensors, GPS, or a compass. Having a watch with the Always-On option is also a smart decision if you are into workout routines that involve constantly checking the time, but that also only allows you limited movement. If you’re a swimmer and want to track your lapses or distance covered, then consider buying a smartwatch that is water resistant. If you want a health monitoring device, then look for a smartwatch equipped with ECG, a heart rate monitor, or a sleep tracker. If your only purpose is to have a device that will allow you to listen to music without the need for your phone, then a smartwatch with built-in speakers is what is most suitable for you. You can choose one with additional features for downloading, streaming, or storing music. Now, if you simply want a smartwatch to function as an extension of your phone, then you want something with LTE connection capabilities to receive phone calls and notifications. A higher memory will also serve the purpose of downloading third party applications that you need as you work or work out. Important smartwatch features will be discussed later in this buyer’s guide.

Is it something I need to use during workout?

If you read the reviews again, most smartwatches today have very similar features when it comes to athletic tracking. Only a few innovations set them apart, and these innovations are what you would want to look further into. Buying the best smartwatch for you highly relies on knowing how effective it is in catering to your needs. For fitness enthusiasts, the most useful features are GPS, built-in sensors, a compass, and actually, even a decent battery life. You don’t want a smartwatch that will only last you a few hours before needing a recharge. You also would not want something bulky and that could possibly get in the way as you complete your exercise program, unless of course it makes up for other functions.

Do I need it to have something trendy on me?

This may be the last thing on your mind but, it does count. There are probably less people who care about fashion, and find that function is more important. However, reality is, whether something looks good on you or not matters in the kind of society we live in. Speaking for myself, for instance, I want a smartwatch that will not only serve its purpose well, but will also make me feel good as I look at it. I would not want to look at my wrist to check the time and be bothered by how silly I look or how the color of the watch doesn’t suit me. The least I want to happen is for me to be annoyed or irritated by how bad a device looks on my arm. Well, apart from appearance, there is actually more to choosing the right kind of materials. This takes us back to our purpose. If you live an active lifestyle, then choosing a watch with a band that is made of silicon is best because this would prevent sweat from being absorbed. If you are like a jack of all trades who has numerous engagements and would want to have something stylish every time you attend an event, then you might to consider buying a watch with changeable bands or one that has a design suitable for all types of occasions. For instance, some smartwatches allow you to change from leather bands to silicon bands. Other watches have minimalistic designs that have this universal look that make them perfect for any outfit. Still, other smartwatches have that sleek, classic look that is most fit for business gatherings.

How much am I willing to spend for it?

Budget is another important consideration when looking for the best smartwatch. With the availability of options in the smartwatch marketplace, and with the variations in terms of features, choosing the best one to buy could sometimes take time. It will take minutes or even hours of comparing prices, features, looks, functionalities before one can finally decide. This also comes with the fear of regretting your decision if you suddenly realize that you unnecessarily compromised some cool, additional functions for a few pounds off the price tag. The challenge here now is distinguishing a proper tradeoff from a careless decision to be stingy.

To avoid going over your set budget, but, at the same time, make sure you’re getting the best deal for the product’s price, try to weigh the pros and cons, or the advantages and the disadvantages. If the item that you like has a price that is totally out of your plan, analyze whether the added features are truly worth the extra cash. If not, then it is time to look for something that’s within the price range you can afford, and still has all the functionalities that you are looking for in a smartwatch.

Important Smartwatch Features

Before you make the final step of deciding which smartwatch is best, it is also important to first be familiar with the different basic features of a smartwatch. We have discussed some of these in the review, but here, we’ll be putting a spotlight on each one for you to know how any of these could and should impact your decision.

Apps

Depending on the operating system that a smartwatch runs on, it should be able to access various applications. Some smartwatches also support third party apps that may be downloaded if the specs allow.

Media

Since a smartwatch is designed to be an extension of your smartphone, then it is able to support several functions such as access to media files. Some smartwatches are not only limited to playback controls, but may actually be used to download, stream, and play music.

Notifications

This is one of the most standard features of a smartwatch – allow you to receive notifications without the need to check your phone. This could include message or call alerts, or app notifications. Some smartphones are able to send notifications as well. A perfect example would be the Apple smartwatch that has enabled fall detection which sends out an alert if it senses that something bad, such as a fall, has happened to you.

Calls and Messages

With the fast-evolving technology, smartwatches are not limited to receiving messages anymore. With the right operating system, some smartwatches can now be used to respond to text messages and even engage in voice calls because of built-in speakers and LTE connections.

Fitness Tracking

Smartwatch manufacturers are smart to think that a fitness tracking functionality would help boost their market rankings. By incorporating such functions as GPS, sensors, barometers, accelerometers, heart rate monitors, and other tracking programs, they were sure that more people would dive into the smartwatch craze. This innovation brought smartwatches out of the “phone extension” domain, and into the “almost standalone” wearable device. If you can have a small, wearable gadget that will allow you to access basic phone functions and, at the same time, help monitor your health statistics, wouldn’t you take the plunge as well?

What to Consider When Buying a Smartwatch

Now, to the most exciting part. It’s now time to finally decide which smartwatch is worth the spend. After carefully looking at the features and assessing whether these serve your purpose, here is a summary of the important points or specs you must consider before you finally buy your own smartwatch:

  1. Compatibility. What smartphone are you using? You need to make sure your smartwatch runs on an OS that is compatible with your phone. If your watch doesn’t work with your device, then you will only be limiting its capabilities.
  2. Features. This I cannot emphasize enough. You have a specific reason for purchasing a smartwatch. If the features do not, at all, meet your requirements, then it totally defeats the purpose of getting one in the first place. Make sure that the smartwatch you choose is able to deliver. If your purpose is fitness tracking, then get one of those that have outstanding distance trackers, GPS systems, and built-in sensors. If your purpose is for health monitoring, there are smartwatches that are best known for returning accurate results when it comes to heart rate monitoring or tracking sleep habits. If you know that you will be using your smartwatch for water activities, then make sure it comes with a water resistance feature. Again, it all boils down to your purpose. Make sure the features work for you. From the whole market of smartwatches out there, there should at least be one that will stand out and appeal to your needs.
  3. Battery Duration and Charging. Another important consideration when getting a smartwatch is how long the battery will last. There are smartwatches that are now designed to last for days, at the expense of some features of course; while there are also watches that you can use for a whole 24 hours before they drain out. Usually, these smartwatches also come with superb functionalities. I recommend choosing one that is able to, somehow, balance battery life with the added functions. You must also consider the method of charging your device. If you prefer a smartwatch that enables wireless charging, there are a bunch of them available. If having to use charging docks or cables doesn’t bother you at all, then there are products that are still charged this way.
  4. Connectivity. Most watches now are enabled with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. If you want something that will allow you to do more, then consider buying one that also allows LTE connection and NFC. Getting your smartwatch to have its own data connection could expand its use to making calls or downloading more apps. Meanwhile, NFC will allow you to use your smartwatch to make wireless payments, a convenience a lot of people are dying to get nowadays.
  5. Appearance, Make, and Comfort. While this may not matter much to some people, it still does to some. If you realize how one smartwatch works well during workouts because of the simple fact that the material it is made of doesn’t absorb sweat, then you’re in for a real treat. If you find how versatile your smartwatch is because it seems to go with whatever you are wearing, then you’re saving yourself the stress of having to mix and match. This also doesn’t mean you have to own multiple smartwatches and assign one per outfit. It sounds ridiculous but some people have these problems. Comfort is also an important thing to keep in mind. You would not want to wear a watch and feel like something is dangling on your wrist because it’s too bulky. If you are slim, then you opt to choose a smartwatch with a slimmer band or has a lighter design. Yes, comfort matters. If you’ve compared smartwatches and see that they all have similar features and prices, your choice will now depend on one deciding factor – how good or how bad it looks on you, or how comfortable you’ll be wearing it.