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Smartwatch guide
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Best smartwatches for everyone, from athletes to couch potatoes

Smartwatches keep us connected more than any other gadget that exists today. You can do so much more with them than check the time. You can even pay for things using your smartwatch. Tap or click here to find out how.

If you’ve looked for one recently, you’ve found that they’re a dime a dozen. Endless no-name brands we’ve never heard of claim outstanding features in their cheap-looking watches. So how do you cut through the fluff?

You get down to brass tacks and critically sort out all the differences. We’ve done the sifting for you to find the best smartwatches for nearly every application. Here are the diamonds in the rough.

Best overall – Apple Watch Series 7

We have to hand it to Apple: it knows how to turn a simple concept into something extraordinary. Apple Watch Series 7 offers many features, including a blood/oxygen reader, heart rate monitor, and highly tactile sports band to capture the correct data.

RELATED: 10 Apple Watch tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner

Beyond stat-tracking aspects, Apple built this with its Retina Display for higher pixel density and an overall smoother experience. With a resolution of 352 x 430 crammed into a 41mm or 45mm watch face, it feels as responsive as any iPhone you’ve ever used.

Smartwatch screens are made of glass. It increases responsiveness, but it’s fragile. Apple met this challenge with an all-new crack-resistant front crystal. It feels as smooth as the Series 6 without compromising quality (or inflating the price).

Apple has done a phenomenal job of tying in connectivity with its iOS devices. It’s improved connectivity time and signal strength for the Series 7, allowing you to effortlessly link your AirPods and iPhone to maintain a fluid experience.

The improved accessibility is fantastic, but Apple’s still having a hard time with its battery. It charges quickly but loses that charge just as fast. To combat this, it’s included a variable refresh rate down to as low as 1 Hz during the idle state, which at least saves battery life where it can.

Between the fitness apps, built-in mindfulness app, and flawless connection with your iPhone and other iOS devices, the Series 7 is simply the best smartwatch you’ll ever buy.

Best for fitness and tracking – Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch

Apple may have a good grip on the fitness game, but we can’t forget about the brand that started it all. Fitbit has come a long way, and its Sense Advanced smartwatch proves it. Let’s start with the Fitbit ECG system, which allows you to track data and share it with your doctor.

That’s fantastic: your smartwatch is reliable enough to provide doctors with actionable intel, showing we’ve come a long way since the first fitness trackers hit the market. With an operating temperature of 14 degrees up to 113 degrees and an operating altitude range up to 28,000 feet, Fitbit doesn’t quit.

One of the most impressive elements has to be its battery life. You get up to six days of charge with infrequent use or up to 12 straight hours of use on GPS mode with the screen on. That outdoes many other smartwatch batteries.

With built-in features like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, you’re always connected, and the glorious screen makes it easy to access any app you want. While it’s not quite Retina Display-level from Apple, Fitbit offers a 336 x 336 OLED screen for peak brightness and eccentrically smooth responsiveness.

Fitbit may not be the most accessible compared to Apple and Samsung, but it wipes the floor with both of them regarding fitness tracking. There’s a reason Fitbit is still around.

Best reactive screen and connectivity – Samsung Galaxy 4 Classic

Samsung’s Galaxy 4 smartwatch comes with an impressive 450 x 450 display, but the pixel density isn’t why we crowned it for having the best reactive screen. It has a level of smoothness that could only be rivaled by Apple. But even then, the Apple Series 7 Watch falls narrowly behind.

RELATED: 10 must-try Samsung smartwatch tips and tricks

Slight touches and twitches are all detected and the sensitivity can be adjusted, so you can have the exact level of responsiveness you want. The user experience makes you immediately fall in love with this watch.

You get Sp02 and ECG monitoring built into the back of the watch, an interactive step counter, and an excellent 16GB of internal memory to help store health data for later use and review.

LTE connectivity allows you to use your smartphone even when it’s left at home. You don’t need to have the phone in your pocket to use most of its functions. However, the LTE model does bump up the price. For that connectivity, the Galaxy comes in at a higher cost than Apple Watch Series 7.

Choose from LTE, Bluetooth, or classic connectivity to your phone. Galaxy also offers a wireless charger in a bundle.

Best budget pick for beginners – Blackview R3 Pro Smartwatch

You want to start with a smartwatch, but you don’t know where to begin. An Apple watch is much more expensive than the Blackview R3, and that’s a lot to spend when you don’t know if you’ll like the solution.

Blackview’s R3 Pro is a great entry point to smartwatches. While running the most recent versions of iOS and Android, the R3 Pro continually supports every integrated app.

These include your sleep monitor, heart rate monitor, activity tracker, and more useful fitness functions to survey your health. To be completely clear, this is not a premium choice: it’s simply the best budget-friendly choice that we found.

The screen is less responsive and reactive than others on this list, though the brightness is similar and easy to adjust. One fascinating advancement that Blackview has made over other budget-friendly picks is the battery life.

You get a full seven days of active battery life, which is a bit staggering at this price point, and up to 30 days of idle battery life. IP68 waterproofing allows you to swim in the pool with it still on. However, budget tech like this shouldn’t be treated like a diving watch.

Best middle-of-the-road pick – Garmin Venu GPS Smartwatch

Garmin is known for outdoor gear and tools, yet its Venu GPS smartwatch is far from its usual inventory. This stylish smartwatch comes with an attractive rose gold watch face and off-white ban, with a high resolution of 390 x 390.

Garmin’s smartwatch has an incredibly luxurious feel on par with Samsung and Apple. It just doesn’t offer any style alterations. You have no options for an LTE connection; it has a standard watch-to-phone Bluetooth connection.

While completely utilizing the GPS function, you get five to six hours of battery life. In idle mode, you get five full days’ worth of charge.

The integrated exercise apps are similar to Fitbit’s quality and effectiveness. On-screen animations guide you through each step, which is a much more interactive experience than many smartwatches offer.

Garmin includes its digital payment option, Garmin Pay, with the watch. You lean your watch against a point of sale device, and much like Apple Pay, it connects and pays. Easy as can be.

While Garmin is no Apple Watch Series 7, it’s a competitor with the Galaxy 4 Classic. It has an excellent quality feel and a highly responsive screen. Garmin has outdone all of its previous models with this one.

Best tactical smartwatch – EIGIIS Military Smartwatch for Men

Last on our lineup is the EIGIIS Military smartwatch, a brand that most of us have never heard of. That’s for a good reason. This isn’t the most luxury watch, but it is budget-friendly and provides tactical use that you don’t get with many other smartwatches.

It includes Bluetooth calling with a built-in speaker, and for the price point, that’s a bit more than we were expecting. Operating temperatures range from an impressive 158 degrees Fahrenheit to a low of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

One major issue with off-brand watches is software updates. iOS and Android update regularly, and you want a company that can follow suit. EIGIIS is one of the only ones we found that regularly updates its watch.

Beyond essential smartwatch functions, EIGIIS includes reliable health monitoring systems for distance and calorie burning and different modes for running, cycling, or other activities.

It’s tactical and useful but by no means an Apple Watch. EIGIIS is an excellent pick if you want connectivity, but you plan to be rough on your watch and use it outdoors often.

Smartwatch buying guide: How to find the best smartwatch for your needs

A smartwatch is an investment in your tech setup. Think of smartwatches as the glue that binds your many devices together. Your phone, laptop, PC, and smart hub can interconnect and keep you in the know.

This guide answers your burning questions and teaches you to identify if a smartwatch fits your needs.

Features to look for in your next smartwatch

You can have the most expensive smartwatch in the world, but if it doesn’t come with the features you’re after, there’s no point. Hunt for the features you want before being blinded by a brand name.

Not sure what features matter to you? Let’s go over them now to provide clarity.

  • Connectivity: How many devices can the watch connect to simultaneously? Is it exclusively iOS, or can it also connect to Android? If you own both Apple and Android products, consider connectivity before buying.
  • Battery Life: Smartwatches typically have long-lasting batteries. It depends on how much use it gets (how many times a day it lights up for notifications, for example). Battery life tends to last for less than 10 hours across all watch brands.
  • Durability: Smartphone screens are glass and require some TLC, while bands are replaceable. Your watch bands can take a beating. Smartphone screens should be cleaned regularly and inspected for cracks. Screen protectors are your saving grace.
  • Longevity: The acreage expectancy for a smartwatch is less than five years. That’s admittedly more than most smartphones. Fitbits have a longer life expectancy of up to nine years, while Garmin watches range from four to eight years, depending on how often you use them outside.

What brand of smartwatch is best to buy?

Apple and Samsung are the top dogs of smartwatches, with few others competing in the same bracket. Fitbit is a top-tier fitness tracker first and a smartwatch second. Garmin is excellent for survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts.

Apple and Samsung are best for professionals with connectivity-based features and responsiveness to a fast-paced work environment. Productivity is the primary reason someone buys a smartwatch, which is why Apple and Samsung can charge as much as they do.

How accurate are smartwatches?

Smartwatches provide near real-time updates from your smartphone or other connected devices. For personal health features such as step tracking, accuracy is difficult to predict.

Some watches have a low 50% step tracking accuracy rating. Features like heart rate monitoring tend to have a 94% to 100% success rate depending on software updates, device age, and of course, the brand that they come from.

Is Apple Watch worth the cost?

Apple Watch is absolutely worth buying. Apple offers features that few competitors can match. You pay a premium compared to other brand names for exceptional features, though anyone who’s used an Apple Watch would agree that the price tag is justified.

If you don’t own iOS devices and are still considering the Apple Watch, you’ll have less connectivity. So be selective based on your connected devices and needs. An Android-compatible smartwatch might be best for you if you use an Android phone.

Can I leave my phone at home and use my Samsung watch?

Yes, you can. You can leave your Samsung phone at home and still connect to its features, thanks to LTE technology. Receiving texts, calls, streaming music, and notifications are all possible.

While a smartwatch has limited functionality compared to your phone, staying connected is essential. Samsung makes it possible in a way that other smartwatches don’t.

We may receive a commission when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
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