Smartwatches are here to stay. These wrist-worn phone companions can receive calls, texts, emails and social network notifications. Many attempts have been made, some more successful than others, some much better looking than others and some smarter than others.
This feature covers smartwatches on various platforms, from Google8217;s WearOS to Apple8217;s WatchOS. If you are only interested in Android Wear smartwatches or Apple Watch options, we have separate features you can read to find the perfect smartwatch for you.
Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch Series 4 takes a step beyond its predecessor with a bigger and more immersive display, along with a thinner build and other design tweaks. There8217;s no battery improvements over the Series 3 but the Series 4 adds a few extra features including an ECG monitor, advanced processor, and the straps from the previous generations are still compatible despite the new 40mm and 42mm case sizes.
As a smartwatch all-rounder, there is nothing better than the Apple Watch Series 4 for iOS users. It offers a great design and it8217;s a very accomplished smartwatch.
- Apple Watch Series 4 review
The Apple Watch Series 4 isn8217;t for everyone though especially if you8217;re on Android, and there are plenty of other great smartwatches to consider whatever budget you are on. Here are the ones that you should also consider:
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Like Samsung8217;s previous smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch is well-made, easy to use, durable and attractive. It comes in 42mm and 46mm models, both of which offer a solid stainless steel casing for a premium finish. The Tizen OS lacks apps compared to the likes of Google8217;s Wear OS and Apple8217;s Watch OS but it is user friendly.
Like Apple8217;s Series 4 and 3 smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch offers built-in GPS and waterproofing and it has NFC for use with Samsung Pay too, allowing payments from your wrist. The Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the few very strong competitors to the Apple Watch. It is as smart a watch as it is a sports watch and the 46mm model offers an excellent battery life, far exceeding the Apple Watch.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch review
The Michael Kors Access Runway is the perfect smartwatch for those after stylish wrist-wear with solid performance and plenty of features. Succeeding the Access Sofie and Access Bradshaw, the Access Runway introduces built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring, whilst also offering plenty of apps thanks to Google8217;s Wear OS platform.
Its battery life isn8217;t the best out there and despite a range of fitness features, it8217;s definitely a more fashion-focused device but for the Michael Kors fan, the Access Runway is a fabulous smartwatch and everything you could want.
The Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3 offers a stylish design and build quality with 22mm swappable straps. It8217;s an attractive smartwatch that is well-made waterproof and available in numerous finishes and band styles. The battery life isn8217;t brilliant and it takes a while to charge but the Wear OS platform is great, as it is on the Michael Kors Access Runway, and the programmable buttons on the Q Explorist are useful too.
For those after a smartwatch that isn8217;t as shiny as the Kors options, or as bulky as the Diesel options, the Fossil Q Explorist will suit you down to the ground. It looks and feels like a regular watch but with the addition of some smart.
The Tic Watch Pro is a very versatile smartwatch. It isn8217;t just an attractive smartwatch that can be worn to work and to work out, but it8217;s also a Wear OS smartwatch with a fantastic battery life. It8217;s quite chunky and there is no LTE connectivity but the Tic Watch Pro is comfortable to wear and it is much more affordable than its competitors.
- View offer for £286 on Amazon UK
The Diesel On Full Guard offers a great display and a fashionable, very Diesel, design. It8217;s a very chunky smartwatch so if this isn8217;t you8217;re style then the Diesel On Full Guard probably isn8217;t for you but if you are a fan of the fashion brand, this smartwatch is as Diesel as you can get.
The Samsung Gear Sport features a nice, solid design with an intuitive user interface and charger design. There is a rotating bezel, which is a lovely design feature and the Gear Sport is waterproof up to 50-metres whilst also offering good sports tracking features.
As it runs on Tizen like the Galaxy Watch, rather than Wear OS, there is still a lack of third party apps and this isn8217;t an amazing choice for iPhone users either. If you8217;re looking for a smartwatch to go with your Android device that also happens to be a great fitness and activity tracker though the Samsung Gear Sport is a very compelling device to consider.
Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch Series 3 takes all the features introduced on the Series 2 model and adds more power and capabilities, including the option of 4G connectivity. With built-in GPS, a more capable processor, water-resistance and a much greater focus on fitness than the Series 1, the Apple Watch Series 3 has stacks of potential, even if it isn8217;t quite as accomplished as the Series 4.
From notifications and Apple Pay, to heart-rate monitoring and fitness tracking; the Apple Watch Series 3 can also act as a remote to control your HomeKit smarthome devices, quickly unlock your Mac or make and receive calls without your phone. It8217;s also quite a bit cheaper than the Series 4.
- Apple Watch Series 3 review
The Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 is a lovely smartwatch 8211; one of the best looking you can buy 8211; even if it is from 2017. It drips in quality and its focus is firmly seated in fashion, reflecting the brand8217;s Carrera watches with an added emphasis on personalisation. The Connected Modular 45, as its name suggests, not only offers watch face customisation, but physical customisation too 8211; and there is a huge range of options so you can get exactly what you want8230; if you can afford it.
Armed with the credentials to be a wear anywhere premium smartwatch, the 45 also brings GPS and NFC to boost its digital skills, although it8217;s not as fully-loaded as some rival devices. What8217;s most important however, is that this premium smartwatch feels like a premium smartwatch. There8217;s really nothing that matches the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 458217;s luxury position 8211; and the modular approach is unique.
The Michael Kors Access Sofie is a stunner of a smartwatch, combining beauty with brains, especially when paired with an Android rather than iOS device. It offers a luxurious and waterproof design, enough bling to make it stand out from the rest of the Wear OS crowd, while also offering a decent performance.
It misses out on a couple of the extra features introduced with the newer Access Runway, but the Access Sofie still offers customisable Michael Kors watch faces that make this smartwatch feel that little bit more special than some competitors, while the customisation options and the way 8220;Looks8221; are organised is excellent, especially for those who like to match their watch to their outfit. For the MK fans who love the signature, chunky and blingy watches from the company but want them connected, the Sofie is a great option.
The Huawei Watch 2 is something of a surprise package: great for on-the-go independent control without a phone thanks to (optional) 4G, well built and full of top-spec hardware and features. Unless you choose the orange finish, in black the Watch 2 Sport is rather muted but the fundamentals of its design are otherwise good, making it nice to wear.
What the Huawei Watch 2 does is have a jolly good go at things. It misses the exuberance of the Casio WSD-F20 and it doesn8217;t quite have the sporting prowess of some other smartwatches behind it, but as a smartwatch that will deal well with sports, it8217;s good in many areas. It8217;s worth noting that it has recently been replaced with the Huawei Watch GT, which ditches Wear OS, but the Watch 2 Sport should be available at a pretty good price now so still worth considering.
There8217;s a lot to like about the Casio WSD-F20. It8217;s fast, fluid, responsive and very feature-rich. In fact, when we reviewed it in 2017, it was easily one of the best performing Wear OS watches we had ever used. From a sports tracking perspective, it8217;s not perfect and the so-so colour screen means the Casio WSD-F20 is slightly off the pulse when it comes to dedicated outdoor activity sportswatches.
That said, the WSD-F208217;s dual-layer screen technology is innovative and certainly makes a lasting impression. We can comfortably say this Casio is one of the best Wear OS watches designed for outdoor sports (though there are better for running). The flip side of that is that Wear OS isn8217;t necessarily the best platform designed for outdoor sports. This device has also been replaced by the Casio WSD-F30 so that might be worth considering when it becomes available.
The Nixon Mission succeeds where many smartwatches fail in offering a great design that feels nice to wear. The rugged build is also a big sell, meaning you don8217;t have to worry about water, so it8217;s well suited to being warn in rough conditions, like surf or snow.
The Nixon Mission is a good-looking watch for those who are happy with a larger-scale device. It carries a lifestyle charm to it with rugged looks and, in the case of our review sample, eye-catching looks. There are better choices for those wanting an active sports watch, but sometimes, looking good is good enough.