Best smartwatches list: What to look for when buying a smartwatch and our top picks | Reviewed by Trevor Long
Smartwatches are the best-selling watches in the world. More people are wearing watches than ever before, and that’s probably because they’re so much more than just a watch – from customizing the watch face to getting your notifications, step counts and even more detailed health data – however, as with all technology, there’s plenty to choose from.
What to look for when buying a smartwatch
There’s no getting past the one big issue of price. Even among the units we’ve covered below, there are choices and options, sizes and features that could bump the price well over $1,000 if you wanted it to. But, for simplicity, base price is normally a very good indicator of a single brand’s features.
The main features that make a watch a “smartwatch” are the digital screen and smartphone connectivity. On top of that, you should expect basic fitness tracking capabilities. In reality, smartwatches replaced basic fitness trackers that counted our steps and then added heart rate monitoring.
And that’s where you then start looking at the features of one watch versus another.
How detailed is the heart rate monitoring on the watch?
Does the watch have advanced health features such as blood oxygen measurement, TGA authorized ECG?
When it comes to fitness, what kind of activities do you enjoy? Will it control the style of activities you do?
And of course there is style. For some, a traditional round dial is appealing, while others love the new, modern square watch style.
Base price is normally a very good indicator of a single brand’s features.
A beginner’s guide to smartwatches
Apple Watch SE
– Ease of use
– Accessories and bands
– SE model lacks advanced health features
– The cheapest models have the smallest size
I deliberately chose the entry-level Apple Watch here because it has the majority of Apple Watch features.
Exceptional activity tracking is at the heart of Apple Watch with “closing the rings”, a common challenge that many Watch users love – encouraging you to walk, exercise and get up during the day .
Plus, Apple’s Link to iPhone is the best of all smartwatches, with great notification sharing, meaning you can glance at your watch to see if it’s on. is an important email or call, and even reply to messages from your wrist.
Apple also has the most integration between smartphone apps and the Apple Watch for a truly unified user experience.
In terms of what you’re missing: With the SE model instead of the Series 8 or Ultra, you don’t get an “always on” display, which means the watch screen is black until you raise your wrist to look at it. And there’s no blood oxygen monitoring or ECG on the Apple Watch SE.
There are two sizes of SE, and its screen is slightly smaller than that of the Apple Watch Series 8.
Still, the Apple Watch is the best-selling watch in the world – hard to argue with the numbers.
– Analog watch with digital capabilities
– Advanced health features included
– No touch screen
– Small screen for notifications
– Only compatible with iPhone
The Withings ScanWatch is a favorite of watch wearers who want two really important things that no other smartwatch offers: classic analog styling and long battery life.
It’s a regular watch with an hour and minute hand that spins like watches did in the years before smartwatches. However, at the top of the face is a small digital display, which can display the time in digital mode, but also display a scrolling text string indicating your notifications.
Using a simple touch and hold on the side of the watch, you can also take blood oxygen and ECG readings, which is remarkable in a watch that really doesn’t look smart.
The plus: 30 days of autonomy. There is no watch with these health features and such long battery life.
You also get basic activity tracking and heart rate monitoring.
The Withings ScanWatch is an exceptional watch that offers excellent value for money.
Samsung Galaxy Watch4
– Classic styling
– Full screen
– Excellent fitness tracking
– Android compatibility only
– Autonomy of one day
Samsung has a long history in smartwatches, their “Gear” line was released years before Apple hit the market with the Apple Watch.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is a great middle-of-the-road option for those who want health and fitness tracking, but want rounded style and the benefit of a huge range of customizable watch faces.
Samsung’s Watch 4 has a unique “body composition” analysis for a complete picture of your health, as well as blood pressure and ECG.
Sleep tracking is also an important feature of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, although in my testing the problem was that you have to charge every day, so you have to find those few times a day to take the watch off and the recharge.
The Samsung Wearable app’s Watch Face store is a big winner, letting you have a unique look for your watch.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
– Battery life
– Fitness tracking
– Screen brightness
Garmin has a fantastic reputation for its wearables, with some of the world’s most elite athletes using them in marathons, triathlons and many other events.
Their range of smartwatches adopts a classic style in terms of design, but has a solid reputation for its fitness and activity tracking.
Week-long battery life is a huge selling point here, but it’s worth noting if you’re using GPS tracking for activities that will drop and you’re ready for a daily charge. However, for most users, you’ll see three to four days of battery life with GPS-based workout tracking included.
I always find Garmin watch faces to be a little dull but that’s partly down to the technology they use which is mostly focused on battery life which isn’t the best out there. market.
For anyone who is active at heart, a Garmin has to be near the top of the list.
Activity tracker with SoundPEATS smartwatch
– Easy to read display
– Quality and durability
– Styling and accessories
This SoundPEATS smartwatch is an example of the wide range of smartwatches under $100. That’s what it says, it pairs with your phone and will present you with notification alerts from various apps on your phone.
The display is excellent and you won’t struggle to look down to see the time.
However, you get what you pay for. This won’t have the quality materials used in its construction like the ones we mention, nor will you be able to get a range of sleek bands to suit it.
But, for many people, they just want a new look for their step counting, and a smartwatch like this will track your fitness, even sleep tracking, in addition to offering such smart features as the notifications.