page contents

Best Smartwatches 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Contemporary smartwatches seem more than an expansion of a smartphone; they are a stand-alone smartwatch. While world-leading tech giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung have evolved to meet the demands of niche markets like exercise monitoring, they have joined an arms race. Every smartwatch generation has had to outperform not only its own earlier models but also its rivals’ new versions.

It has created a booming demand for smartwatch buyers, not only for those on the market for a generalist watch like the Apple 5 or the Samsung Galaxy but also for more sport-specific watches like the Mobvoi TicWatch or Fitbit Ionic.

My goal with this article is to help you make your choices easier. Tell yourself why the smartwatch is needed before reading any further. In the pool, counting laps, Gym reps, to the pleasure of getting the new gear? Understanding why you want the smartwatch will help you find the right features. You can then rate each watch by how well it suits your needs, as you read this post. You may make the final selection by cost, brand, additional features, etc.

I have begged and borrowed as many watches as I could for this post, to try and compare and contrast them. I am sure you’ll have the details you need to make the right decision for you after reading this. There’s no better time of year with Black Friday around the corner to snack a great piece of wearable tech.

You can search the table below for a glance at the top ten list. Check the individual reviews below and the buyer’s guide at the end if you want to dive any deeper.

Product Name

Autonomy

Operating System

24 to 36hrs

WatchOS 6

Up to 4 days

Tizen OS

30hrs

Wear OS

2 days

Tizen OS

Up to 7 days

Wear OS

2 days

Wear OS

24 to 48hrs

Watch OS 5

5 days

Fitbit OS

48 to 72hrs

Fitbit OS

18hrs

Watch OS 5

Best Smartwatches 2020

1. Apple Watch Series 5 GPS – Best Overall

Apple Watch Serie 5

Specs

  • OS: WatchOS 6
  • Compatibility: iOS
  • Display: 1.78” OLED
  • Processor: Apple S5
  • Band Sizes: Different based on watch size
  • Onboard Storage: 32GB
  • Battery Duration: 24 hours to 36 hours
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC
Pros
  • The display is always on
  • Very large on-board storage
  • WatchOS 6 has great features
Cons
  • Short battery life
  • No sleep tracking
  • Pricey

Review

The new smartwatch from Apple is the best… for iPhone users. Since this is not going to work on an Android phone.

Unlike its earlier edition, the one big improvement this watch provides is an Always-On display. Of course, there are other updates to the software and hardware, but from the user’s point of view, this is the one you would most note. This makes the watch look more like a true watch and less like an athletic tracker with novelties. When you’ve never worn a smartwatch, then you’ve probably stopped knowing how long it takes your watch to wake up after you flicked your wrist. Yet as soon as you wear a watch with an Always-On display, you will know that something has gone missing.

At two stages in my day, I noticed this most – when I was doing planks and when I was on my bike trainer … Those are both cases where I sometimes want to see how much longer my timer is, but can’t turn my wrist to trigger a watch.

The watch will also go into sleep mode with any program other than Workout. The monitor does not monitor the app but rather will switch to a watch face displaying the time and other important data depending on the choice of the watch face. This was fine for me, but if you wanted to keep another device open without the watch going to sleep, then this may not be the right watch for you.

Another problem that I had with the show was the dimmer, which wasn’t as dim. It is expected to change automatically, but still shined brighter than my future (and I promise that my future is bright). So at night I finally had to trigger the cinema mode. I believe Apple was supposed to have provided a low-brightness mode like normal wristwatches with bright hands. Finding it is easy but it does not bother you. Perhaps it’s even contributed to longer battery life.

There’s a lot of excitement about the LTPO platform the Apple Watch 5 uses. Apple says this is the explanation for the longer battery life of the unit. A little testing, though, suggests it’s just an incremental improvement from the OLED display in the Apple Watch 4. The new Watch 5, of course, has a bunch of new display drivers that make things more effective, and a better light sensor than its predecessor, but it’s still nothing that the Watch 4 couldn’t have done. The cynic in me is asking if Apple really needed a further 12 months to improve this software, or if it was only holding off for 2019 to use it for marketing purposes a supposed upgrade to the previous version.

The watch will go from a refresh rate of 60Hz to just 1Hz in 1 second with the latest LTPO technology and the new drivers and sensors, making it more effective for dimming and longer battery life. The pace of the entire process is a win for Apple; other manufacturers have trouble producing displays that can easily and dynamically render such switches.

You don’t get any radical improvement in the Apple Watch 5 in terms of exterior design. Models in the Apple Watch series are legendary for everything from one generation to the next looking the same – the look is part of their brand. The frame is similar to curved aluminum. The panel is as square as ever and the digital crown, which can be used to scroll through the watch menus, has not changed either. Next to the digital crown, you can use a small button to display the applications you recently opened and to enable Apple Pay.

The Apple Watch 5 has barely earned any updates to its capabilities when it comes to the fitness app. The Apple Watch 4’s heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and GPS are the same as. One big change is the compass, which in conjunction with GPS informs you where you are heading and maps out your elevation. To hikers, joggers, or cyclists, this is a fantastic feature, but it may be of limited benefit to others.

One feature that should be noticed on the Series 5 is the EKG display that came out with the Series 4 and still functions. Read more on this our review of the Apple Watch 4.

Given the fact there aren’t many unique additions in the Apple Watch 5, it’s still a fantastic fitness watch with everything that works just as well as in the Watch 4. The GPS is super precise, so is the display of heart rate. When you swim, the watch will reliably count lengths and durations, although the watch can have difficulty telling you exactly what strokes you are making.

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch – Best for Samsung Users

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Specs

  • OS: Tizen OS
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Display: 1.2 inch or 1.3 inch 360 by 360 Super AMOLED
  • Processor: Dual-core 1.15GHz
  • Band Sizes: 22mm and 20mm
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: Max of 4 days on 46mm; lower duration on 42mm
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE (as an add-on/costs extra)
Pros
  • Great battery life
  • Useful rotating bezel
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Annoying charger
  • Poor voice assistant technology.

Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Watches line is another entrant to the Always-On option on our list. That makes sense because Apple Watch 5 is its direct competitor. These are both fantastic watches, and the real decision between the Samsung Galaxy and Apple Watch 5 is what OS you need if you don’t mind investing the money and are looking for a generalist watch with loads of features. Ios 5 is for consumers of Ios; Samsung isn’t.

The style is just another distinction. The Samsung Galaxy is the best watch on the market if you need a watch that fits a trendy wardrobe for boardrooms or fancy dinner parties. It seems something a dealer might bring in a box of shadows. Its small, stainless steel case gives it a classic look which only adds to its revolving lunette. Divers, pilots, and other professionals used to monitor time using these bezels on vintage, analog watches. The bezel is cleverly designed to access menus on the Samsung Galaxy.

This function is more useful than it might seem at first. Samsung has repurposed a classic watch style and created a feature that enables users to communicate with their watches more easily. Let it rotate to see your updates. Rotate it right to control widgets easily. This is one of the simplest watches to use in conjunction with physical buttons and a touch-screen.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 (reviewed below) also has a rotating bezel variant-but this one is a virtual bezel that uses haptics to mimic the actual bezel’s look.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch comes with two: a 46 mm and a 42 mm edition. The 46 mm model has a silver and black theme, while the 42 mm version only comes in rose gold or black at midnight. All are feeling relaxed. The bigger model appears better in more formal wear on a large wrist. The smaller version features slimmer wrists and more comfortable wear.

Looks aside though, the different sizes have a significant technical component. The larger version, 46 mm, has a bigger screen, and a battery that lasts longer than 24 hours. They are both essential components of any wearable tech and we suggest the 46 mm version for that reason.

Samsung watches – like the Galaxy – run on the Tizen OS that Samsung uses (and other devices) in its TVs. The design of Tizen as a multi-platform OS is part of what helps the bezel to rotate to the Galaxy.

Often responsible for the long battery life of the Galaxy is the Tizen OS. The 46 mm version will comfortably last 4 days (the smaller version, 42 mm and will last 3 days which is still good). It is common usage, gathering messages and updates, recording workouts, and making honest attempts to connect with Bixby, the Samsung lackluster AI.

Samsung’s Galaxy, like with all smartwatches, has health monitoring features, with a wide variety of sensors, and the Samsung Health app. When you get too sedentary, they can nudge you along and will auto-detect six separate exercises (you can set it to detect another 33 exercises). This also has a sleep tracker and is waterproof to a depth of up to 50 meters.

Some of the issues with this watch are on device end, rather than hardware starts. For example, some commonly used, even significant, third party apps are absent, like Facebook Messenger, Google Maps, and WhatsApp. Some problems include not getting any of the Wear OS fitness applications, including Google Health and others. The only applications you’ll get are those in the Tizen ecosystem that isn’t as diverse as it is in Wear OS or even iOS.

Even the voice assistant, Bixby, is below satisfied. This has trouble following certain voice recognition, which could be overcome over time as the organization updates its algorithms.

3. Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch – Best for Android

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

Specs

  • OS: Wear OS
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Display: 1.28 inch 416 by 416 AMOLED
  • Processor: Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • Band Sizes: 22mm
  • 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
Pros
  • Sleek minimalistic design
  • Pretty fast
  • Decent battery life
  • Battery modes feature
Cons
  • Poor speaker quality

Review

Since 1984, Fossil has been in the watchmaking business and has established a reputation for creating good watches … within their mid-priced range. Throughout their 35 years, they have ventured out of their “Fossil Swiss” line into other luxury items such as wallets, fragrances, handbags, and purses as well as higher-end watches. Yet their brand still tends to concentrate on mid-priced watches.

Fossil has stuck to its origins for their Gen 5 smartwatch; as of this writing, the Fossil Gen 5 is priced approximately $100 cheaper than the Apple Watch 5 and $50 cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy. Given its size, features, and functionality, it lies squarely in the middle of the watch pack from this reviewer.

Still, it’s a good sufficient watch that I think it’s the right option for some buyers-particularly Android app users. If you love your Android app and want the best way to connect with your phone, this is the phone to get.

In style, you have seven bezel/band choices, from classic stainless to the black silicone’s more athletic look. Fossil is a fashion business at heart and their watches are trendy appropriately – which you select depends on your appearance.

The one problem I do take with the style of Fossil is where it intersects into work. Like with their previous iterations of watches, their Gen 5 has three buttons protruding from the watch’s right-hand side. That may be something peculiar to me, but I noticed that when I flexed my wrist far enough (especially when wearing cycling gloves and riding on the tops), I could unintentionally swing the feet of the watch. 

The computer is an AMOLED panel with a pixel density of 328ppi. Looking at it is pretty simple, but it is unreadable in bright sunlight – you have to change the settings, which can be tricky because it’s difficult to see the screen well enough to communicate with it.

The Fossil Gen 5 chipset is the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and this makes this watch one of the most viable watches on the Wear OS platform. It has 1 GB of RAM which enables the watch to run faster and smoother than any other Wear OS world watch. You’ll always experience a bit of a pause when working through the software – but not so much that it’s frustrating or difficult to work on the features of the watch.

As far as battery life is concerned, Fossil’s Gen 5 adverts itself as having “24 + hours” with “Multi-Day Modes.” What that means in practice is that there are sometimes too many choices in terms of settings. There are the “Regular” and “Extended” options, which are common to most tech users. But then there are also options such as “Style” and “Time Only,” which don’t seem so bad. When you know that each one of them even has 12 different settings to choose from. There are tech junkies who would love to play with these settings and optimize their battery consumption … but with fewer choices, most of us will feel safer, and the confidence that the watch is smart enough to give us a functional amount of battery life.

The watch includes features that for this generation are pretty common – built-in NFC, GPS, heart rate tracking, and mic. Fossil asserts the ability to diagnose sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation using the Cardiogram device. The watch is water-resistant to 3 pressure atmospheres – making it more than adequate for bathing, showering, or even recreational swimming.

The primary activity tracker application is Google Fit which works with both an Android phone and an Apple phone. It monitors your success by using heart points and moving minutes, which is perfect for those on their smartwatch monitor who don’t like being bombarded with so many technicalities. Nonetheless, if you want better, more detailed data, you are always welcome to install an application from a third party.

4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – Best for Fitness Accountability

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Specs

  • OS: Tizen OS
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Display: 1.2 inch 360 by 360 Super AMOLED
  • Processor: Dual-core 1.15GHz
  • Band Sizes: 20mm
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: Approximately 2 days
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Pros
  • Great haptic dial control on-screen
  • Great minimalist design
  • Battery life is decent
Cons
  • Very few third-party apps

Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 came after the original Galaxy Watch Active a mere six months, and the two aren’t that unique. The hardware and software were subject to slight updates, including corresponding changes in screen size, battery capacity, etc.

For me, the main difference between the two is that the Active 2 has a simulated version of the rotating bezel of the Galaxy Watch (which is a huge deal, and in a few words, I’ll talk more about that).

The difference in the Active 2 is the inclusion of integrated fall detection and ECG – announced by Samsung, but not yet usable. Next, they need approval from the FDA, which they hope to receive in the first months of 2020. Nonetheless, features like this also target the audience of the watch-people involved in fitness and exercise.

Yet – and this could be a major problem for the Active 2 – their monitoring is not as reliable as other apps. It holds for both GPS monitoring and counted steps; the Active 2 appears to overestimate distance.

There are situations where it is not going to matter. If you buy the watch to help you be more responsible, and want to track activity for an event rather than practice, the watch will work well. Even, if you’re going to use this watch and only this watch to keep track of your training progress, then you’re honest enough with yourself that you can make a profit. However, if you use this watch to prepare for a half-marathon, for example, then you will be shocked when you hit mile 11 on the day of the event and find that the race is two miles longer than you would have been preparing for, or that your average time is much lower than you thought it would be.

That said, the watch does have a lot to do with it. As I described, my favorites include navigating apps with virtual bezel. The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a revolving physical bezel, which allows users to switch between devices. Active 2 doesn’t have this physically spinning lunette but uses haptic technology to mimic it well enough to feel intuitive and it was quick.

Successful 2 has YouTube, Twitter, Spotify, and more phones, too. And while those worked well enough, it’s up to you if you watch YouTube videos or read texts on such a small screen or not.

The Spotify app, however, allows you to access playlists and listen offline, which is a huge bonus for users in the weight room, on the treadmill, or in almost any other fitness environment. Also, features such as monitoring sleep (with a clever “goodnight” mode that dims the screen) and water, food, and caffeine intake are a huge plus for people interested in keeping themselves accountable, but maybe they aren’t preparing to win the next New York City marathon.

The Running Coach is also enhanced, and now offers real-time speed metrics and an outline about what to anticipate before you start your workout. Audio signals can be heard through watch’s headphones, or via Bluetooth device.

All this could sound fantastic for casual fitness buffs or even for people getting into fitness. All these features make Active 2 a perfect fitness smartwatch, which can last for years for amateur athletes. Be warned, though, that if you’re planning to hit even high levels of college training, you’ll outgrow this watch.

The chipset on the Active 2 is the dual-core processor Exynos 9110, which is the same one used on the Galaxy Watch. Feeling intuitive is easy enough, and the 768 MB of RAM is more than adequate to switch between devices. If you are searching for the more costly LTE edition, you can get even more RAM (1.5 GB).

The Galaxy Watch Active 2’s round face gives it a classic feel, and matching your style comes in a range of colors. The types of stainless steel are much more costly, and the bands are interchangeable.

The bottom line of this watch is that this is not for users with an iPhone-hands down, they will go with an Apple Watch. In comparison, this watch pairs most easily with Samsung phones. Its kit is pretty normal for this watch generation-with controlling heart rate, GPS tracking, etc. Although its name suggests that it is aimed at active users, it may not be sufficiently accurate for college athletes or hardcore coaches to evaluate their performance to gain strength. Even it is a Samsung watch, though, which is a reliable brand. This watch is perfect for users who just want to keep fit and want a system that will help to hold them accountable. And for those concerned with ECG tracking and fall detection, this may be one of the best watches on the market (once the FDA approves those options).

5. Mobvoi TicWatch Pro – Best Battery Life

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro

Specs

  • OS: Wear OS
  • Compatibility: Android 4.3+ and iOS 8+
  • Display: 1.4 inch 400 by 400 OLED and second LCD screen
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
  • Onboard Storage: 4GB
  • Battery Duration: 7 days in essential mode and 48hrs otherwise
  • Charging Method: Magnetic pin
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, NFC
Pros
  • Impressive battery life (in Essential mode)
  • Beautiful design
  • Great innovation on screen
Cons
  • No LTE connectivity
  • So-so performance
  • Poor battery life (in Smart mode)

Review

Mobvoi TicWatch is a newer field entrant. I hadn’t heard of the names TicWatch or Mobvoi before last year, to be frank. Since being a young company with new products, however, it has managed to keep control of its market share with a clever marketing strategy and sound designs. Both the Mobvoi TicWatch E and S were great, and now we have the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro, which is also the top-notch offering to date.

Mobvoi began creating speech technology for artificial intelligence. They then expanded into smart home appliances and wearables, concentrating on the Chinese underserved market.

Their core design concept has been by skimping on external prototypes to produce high-end specifications on a budget. This is a fair trade-off.

Yet they deliver a high-end platform with their normal specification specs with the TicWatch Pro, plus some genuinely revolutionary features.

There’s no rotating bezels or crowns like other smartwatches – much of the contact will come through the display itself, or the two buttons on the side of the watch. While the top serves as a home button, the bottom is a programmable shortcut.

The first major innovation introduced onto the market by Mobvoi is the display of this watch. Not because it was a screen, but that there are two displays embedded in the same face of the watch.

The top panel is a translucent LCD. It is the computer used in low-power mode, or “Essential.” Data such as time and date, step count and heart rate can be seen on a low-power screen which is still noticeable even now in direct sunlight.

The same kind of touchscreen that almost all smartwatches use is mounted under this LCD panel. This much more power-hungry monitor is high-resolution (at 400environ 400 pixels) which is used for smartwatch navigation and monitor features, as well as other main functions.

This clever mixture of displays is the explanation for the TicWatch Pro’s second revolutionary feature-a battery capacity that can be tested during the day. Whenever possible, placing the watch into Critical mode (which it will do itself when the battery is too low) implies the watch requires very little power. It gives you restricted access to the smartwatch’s other apps but enables you to use the watch for days on end, without really worrying about reloading.

Mobvoi has stepped up their game in terms of looks here, Yet they won’t be competing with Fossil, Samsung, or even Apple. The TicWatch Pro does have a real face and the bezel is marked in 5-minute intervals-it looks like a higher-end watch at one glance. Yet closer inspection will show that it is what it is – midpriced.

It feels a little thick and heavy on the wrist, but not painful so. Eight different strap styles are available, from colored silicone to brown leather. More importantly, there are also possibilities for straps that combine silicone with leather.

This watch’s main drawback is that it isn’t as user friendly as the other watches. For example, no LTE version is available yet. It uses the Wear OS but also includes downloading the Mobvoi software to allow the watch to function at all. The Mobvoi app itself is not only mediocre but other essential features, such as the phone feature, are not as good as what you can find on other smartwatches.

The health monitoring features of the TicWatch Pro are all right and will work quite well for most users. If those users choose to go swimming – although the watch is waterproof, Mobvoi advises not getting any wetter than a hot shower. If fitness monitoring is high on your smartwatch list of needs, there are others on our list which are more reliable and have better options.

6. Mobvoi TicWatch E2 – Best for Budgets or Gifts

Mobvoi TichWatch E2

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: Approximately 48 hours
  • Charging Method: Magnetic pin
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi
Pros
  • Battery life is pretty good
  • Can track swims and surf
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • No NFC so payments next to impossible

Review

There is one surprising thing about the Mobvoi TicWatch E2-its sticker price. Cost just $160, this is one of the cheapest Wear OS smartwatches to run.

You’ll probably think at first glance that the architecture of the E2 favors features over fashion – and you’ll be right. The watch comes in just one color – black polycarbonate. The unadorned face is round. The single nondescript press

But if you’re in the market for a cheap smartwatch – if, for example, you’re indulging a preteen’s Christmas wish – then you may not find one as functional as the E2. It uses Google’s Wear OS, which will give its user access to one of the biggest platforms on the market.

Its chipset is an obsolete Snapdragon 2100, sadly. It was a great chipset in its day, but it’s a bit too much for modern demands. Navigating between devices is sluggish enough to feel frustrating when you’re used to higher-end tech at least.

That said, Google’s transition from Android to Wear OS has centered on staying viable with date chipsets. This entire means is that while its efficiency may not be up to your expectations, the majority of items you may like will still be going.

In terms of battery life, before it has to be recharged you can see almost a full day of use. It will not be enough on a tracker such as a Fitbit, since other people prefer the sleep monitoring features that those devices provide. But, because the E2 does not have sleep monitoring, a fully viable alternative is to wear it for a full day and charge it at night.

The TicWatch E2 provides monitoring of your health. But we’ve noticed persistent accuracy issues. The heart monitor seemed to take some time to detect changes. It resulted in some workouts not counted, and demonstrably wrong calories burned and other metrics. It might not be the watch for them, for extreme fitness buffs, or for those who just need to monitor fitness.

That said, the watch does have a feature called “Swim.” This is water-resistant up to an equal pressure of 5 ATM (about 50 meters or 170 ft depth). The display automatically locks itself on the swimming pool selection, so that you do not swipe accidentally while underwater. Later, just click the power button when you’re out of the water to light the show again. You can also determine the length of the pool as long as it does not exceed 100 meters. You can set things like your target distance, size, and how many lengths you like. I’m not a swimmer, but that wasn’t a choice on every smartphone, but it seemed easy enough to even be useful for people concerned with these characteristics.

You get 4 GB of storage, which would be probably the norm with most smartwatches out there. Importantly though, on most $160 smartwatches, it’s not normal. It offers plenty of space to access several different apps and even music tracks to listen to during the next workout or a boring car ride etc. You can also attach the Bluetooth headphones to the watch so you can listen to music without relying on a smartphone or bothering other people.

The display is the same as the preceding 1.39-inch TicWatch E2 gene. It’s an OLED screen with 400 by 400 resolution, and 404ppi pixel density. It is colorful and vibrant and has ample detail to make any text displayed on it legibly. The display is sufficient as with most apps on this watch.

I consider the user interface, like other Mobvoi watches, to be less than helpful. It says that the Mobvoi software is configured to function on the watch-but it doesn’t have to be used. And I’d consider not using it, but going straight to Google Play instead.

The watch is equipped with GPS which makes things like fitness tracking possible. It’s not coming with NFC (near-field communication) though. It is most commonly used to make payments for items like Google Pay, without taking out your wallet or credit card. There is also no LTE-version available.

It is not a bad watch, at the end of the day. This is a perfectly good watch if you want to get into the smartwatch game but don’t want to spend a lot of money out. It does all the important things people want in a smartwatch – music streaming, communicating with various devices, health monitoring, and telling the time (let’s not forget). Yet it’s not a super fantastic watch, objectively. When I think of the sentence, “You get what you’re paying for,” it doesn’t apply to this watch. You get more with the E2 than you’re charging for. But this won’t be as easy, as precise, or as stylish that some of the more luxurious watches on our list.

7. Apple Watch 4 – Best for Mid-priced iOS

Apple Watch Serie 4

Specs

  • OS: Watch OS 5
  • Compatibility: iOS
  • Display: 1.78 inches OLED
  • Processor: Apple S4
  • Band Sizes: Depends on watch size
  • Onboard Storage: 16GB
  • Battery Duration: Between 24 hours and 48 hours
  • Charging Method: Wireless
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC
Pros
  • Large display
  • Loudspeaker
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Poor battery life
  • Difficult to find

Review

As Apple Watch 4 hit the wrists for the first time, many felt it was the best smartwatch money that could buy. It was fast. It was polyvalent. And it was cutting-edge.

This was before the Apple Watch 5, of course. Now the obvious question is, “Why wouldn’t I just be buying Series 5? The response is, if you have an iPhone, if you don’t mind paying the extra $95 (at the time of this writing), You will also get an Apple Watch 5.

But if you pause with that extra capital, read on for a discussion of the differences and similarities.

Both are more similar in style than distinct. They have shapes and bands identical in sizes and types. We have the same amount of memory, the same processor, and the same digital crown used for navigating applications and accessing the EKG. And both give detection for drops. They even run on the WatchOS 6 (like all Apple Watches, except the original).

As we described at the start of the article, the Series 5 has some updated drivers and an enhanced display that gives exponential interface and battery life improvements, but there are just two disadvantages to purchasing the Series 4.

The first, and perhaps least significant, is that a built-in compass is absent in the Series 4. It makes runs or riding a little less precise etc. Yet even for fitness gurus, not enough to matter-if fitness monitoring is what you want, then both Series 4 and 5 are good enough for professional athletes.

The other drawback to Series 4 – and this one is a big change in terms of user experience, but not generally functionality – is that the Always-On monitor is available from Series 5. For my time, it’s worth investing in Series 5 for that very reason alone. But if this isn’t a deal-breaker for you, or if you’re thinking about having the watch as a present for someone (especially someone younger or older, who doesn’t want to have all the latest features), then the Series 4 is still a great watch.

Series 4 is the watch that brought wearable tech from novelty products to medical equipment when the Approved by the FDA its use as an EKG and an irregular heart rate monitor. Such features are also included in Series 5, but since this feature was innovated by Series 4, I’d like to explore it here.

The watch works in the background to check the heart rate every two hours, to test for abnormal heart rhythms. If it senses an irregularity, the watch will give you a warning.

The EKG is an active method, which means it is not done in the background but must be done intentionally. You must simply sit still and keep your finger on the digital crown of the watch after a simple setup. An electrical pulse is transmitted into your body, and the watch will then send you a reading of the rhythms of your heart. A diagnosis of “Atrial Fibrillation” implies the identification of an abnormal rhythm (a natural “Sinus Rhythm” is).

While this information is not sufficient enough to treat anything other than an abnormal pulse, it is useful enough to take more tests with your doctor.

The Apple Watch 4 has also incorporated advancements in fall detection – a valuable benefit for communities at risk. And while Series 5 encourages improvements to all of these systems, you probably won’t see any difference between it and Series 4 in practice.

Hopefully, the bottom line here is what you suspect. In terms of price and feature the Apple Watch Series 4 falls between Series 5 and Series 3. The Series 4 provides much of the Series 5 features, but is, in some important respects, an upgrade from Series 3 (discussed below).

8. Fitbit Versa 2 – Best for Sleep Tracking

Fitbit Versa 2

Specs

  • OS: Fitbit OS
  • Compatibility: Android 7+ and iOS 11+
  • Display: 300 by 300 AMOLED
  • Onboard Storage: 2.5GB
  • Battery Duration: 5 Days max
  • Charging Method: Magnetic pin
  • IP Rating: Water-resistant
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, NFC
Pros
  • Battery life is great
  • Always-On AMOLED display
  • Great sleep tracking features
Cons
  • No GPS
  • No Google Fit or Apple Health integration

Review

Forbes named Versa 2 Fitbit as the justification why Google decides to buy Fitbit. It is because Fitbit has come closer to matching the elegance and functionality of the Apple Watch series, which has long dominated the smartwatch industry, with this watch than any of its rivals.

This series’ first version, the Fitbit Versa, targeted consumers who wanted a fitness watch with some of the smartwatch’s functions. They needed to get updates and react, with no disruptions hundreds of apps can bring.

Fitbit has pushed this product squarely into the smartwatch market with the Versa 2 – though it is still a fitness-focused device.

As for style, casual users would be forgiven for mistaking an Apple Watch for the Versa 2. The Versa 2, also based on exercise monitoring, has bands that are more silicon (which doesn’t absorb sweat) and don’t give anything like the Fossil range or the more expensive brands. The only possible difference between both the Versa 2 and Apple Watch 5 is, though, that the original is much more square and the latter more rectangular.

The original Versa Fitbit has 3 buttons in it. Versa 2 has only one, which can be used as a back button as well as a pick button. And you never have to do more than 2 clicks to get it to the function you’d like to use. You can perform any other actions you like on the touchscreen.

The screen also reflects a major advancement over its predecessor. This was an LCD-display on the Versa. Versa 2 however features an AMOLED touchscreen protected by Gorilla Glass 3 – that has an Always-On option. By turning this feature on, the battery can drain twice as quickly, it’s a great choice when I work out and want to see how much time I’ve left onboard (for example) without having to raise my wrist to activate the watch.

The Versa 2 also has an improved processor, that not only helps it to handle more of a smartwatch’s functions – including more integration with applications – but also to move seamlessly between them.

Since Fitbit first bills itself as a fitness tracker, battery capacity is one of the most important characteristics. That’s just because several watches are designed to last just one day before being charged – so they can’t track sleep. Nonetheless, sleep monitoring is one of the selling points for Fitbit, and Versa 2 doesn’t disappoint. Not only are its sensors reliable, but its battery will last up to 5 days (assuming the Always-On display is a sparing one).

To obtain the launcher app, swipe from left to right onto the phone. For each tab there are 4 app shortcuts that you can modify as you like; all you need to do is click the button gently before you get haptic feedback. If you want to see the data from the day, you can swipe it up and start Fitbit Today. This shows up to seven items from which you can select, including steps per hour, total steps, heart rate, sleep data, water, and food intake.

When you swipe down, you get access to the alerts, as well as the Fast Preferences, Fitbit Pay, and controls on music. You can switch between Screen brightness, Always-On monitor, Sleep Mode, and Do Not Disturb in Fast Settings.

Whereas the Versa is an excellent smartwatch and a decent fitness tracker, there are now many of its best features behind a paywall. Of example, there are two variations of the sleep tracker-the paid and the unpaid. The unpaid option will take into account your sleeping habits and will give you a ranking. Anyone dealing with poor sleep may record this to track their sleeping patterns over days or weeks and see any improvements in their routine becoming successful.

Nevertheless, the paid option does not only track their sleep but will also show them periods of restlessness and overall duration of sleep, as well as REM cycles. It will show variations in heart rate, deep sleep vs. light sleep, and equate their past 30 days’ night.

Fitbit Premium costs only $9.99 / month (as in this article, which is pre-Google buyout). It would be a deal-breaker for others. Nevertheless, the calculation is complicated by the comparatively low price of the sticker on the watch itself – which is $230 less than an Apple Watch 5 (as written in this).

Fitbit Versa 2 fits with iPhones – but iPhone users will also benefit from the seamless mixing of apps between their phones and an Apple Watch, making the Versa 2 a less appealing choice for Ios users. Nevertheless, the Versa 2 is a true contender on the Android market with a sticker price lower than the Galaxy Series, particularly for users who want a fitness-focused accessory.

9. Fitbit Ionic – Best for Workouts

Fitbit Ionic

Specs

  • OS: Fitbit OS
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz
  • Onboard Storage: 2.5GB
  • Battery Duration: 48 hours to 72 hours
  • Charging Method: Proprietary
  • IP Rating: 50m
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Pros
  • Great for fitness
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Slow
  • Limited music offering
  • Somewhat controversial design

Review

Unlike the Versa 2, Ionic Fitbit is above all a fitness watch. The Ionic is considered the flagship of Fitbit, and at the expense of a bigger, chunkier model, it provides more options and improved functionality. For people really in fitness, it can be awkward and distracting to have a big watch on their wrist (and distractions are a concern for people trying to be dangerous Personal Records in any sport). Around the same time, over the smaller, less costly Versa 2, Ionic provides improved functionality. I can’t tell you if this lack of convenience is worth the practical benefits but, in my opinion, it’s a tradeoff that should be weighed.

The body of the Ionic is titanium, with bands on the side of the antenna. It is also quite elegant despite this and looks like a true luxury watch. A single click is on the left, with two more at the top. We are sitting in the same position as the Fitbit Blaze and can help you find your way around the Fitbit UI.

The LCD screen has a 250 by 384 resolution and a 1000-nit brightness which is around the same as the Apple Watch 2. Which means you could even read the show in bright sunlight.

Often I found the touchscreen to be sluggish and sometimes I had to be more active while raising my wrist to get the raise-to-wake feature to work. Whether you’re running or cycling, it’s not an ideal scenario.

That said, all the strength and conditioning-oriented features in this watch that Fitbit is loved for being alive. Owing to new algorithms operating behind the scenes, and a structure that allows the sensor to get much closer to your face, the heart rate monitor is more precise than other Fitbits.

Probably the most important distinction between the Ionic and the Versa for users trying to determine is the presence of built-in GPS in the Ionic. This makes it possible to accurately track speed and distance and climb runs and trips, and if that’s how you want to track those metrics, then the Ionic is the obvious winner here (but I bring my phone when I walk, so the Versa is more than enough).

The Fitbit Coach is identical to the Fitstar app you can use on your computer. All routines are personalized to your needs and will take you through the motions, telling you what to do. You can also give feedback when you’re finished with a workout to Fitbit Coach and tell him if you want anything more or less demanding in the next round. The whole idea is to get you better and stronger and to inspire you to try different workouts. Such coaches won’t make much use of fitness buffs – but I loved them when I traveled, for example, and couldn’t carry my bike or find a gym. And they were adequate to make me break a sweat.

Some other great option is the SpO2 sensor which tracks the oxygen levels in your blood. You can also combine your Fitbit Ionic with a Dexcom G5 Mobile monitor and it will be able to display your blood glucose levels.

The fact of the matter between both the Versa 2 and the Ionic is that it’s a disadvantage that the Ionic is bulkier sufficient. But the bulk makes other key aspects, such as GPS built-in. If you want to use this not only as a fitness app but also to map routes and make progress in running or cycling, then the tradeoff is probably worth it. When at the gym you’re more into hitting weights, then I don’t see that the Ionic provides anything to make the additional cost and discomfort worth.

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

Apple Watch Serie 3

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
Pros
  • The screen is bright and clear
  • Great fitness features
Cons
  • Somewhat overtaken by newer models
  • You have to pay more for cellular connectivity

Review

The biggest upgrade that came with Series 3 compared to Apple Watch 2, is the LTE link. It effectively helps the watch to operate independently of your smartphone.

Sadly, this doesn’t mean you should purchase an Apple Watch without first buying an iPhone. What this means is that when you lose your phone at home, you will receive updates on certain devices and even phone calls, but you will always need your iPhone around for other things. You’ll need to pay up to $10 a month sending cellular data to your watch.

That said, the quality of calls received on Apple Watch 3 is good enough for fast conversation or for when you can’t reach your phone. Perhaps there’s an explanation of why our culture isn’t full of wanderers talking into their hands. It’s hard enough to deal with people who are always speaking in public on their mobile – just imagine if they were all on the mic!

The Series 3 comes with a combination of GPS or GPS+Cellular in two sizes-38 mm or 42 mm. Apart from the opportunity to use cellular data (LTE), the latter model also contains the memory twice – 16 GB vs only 8 for the GPS-only model.

Series 3 is, in several respects, a significant improvement over Series 2. Music streaming is easier, with both Beats Radio and Apple Music available. Better the chipset and drivers allow for a smoother, less stressful ride.

However, in my opinion, the main question is how different Series 3 from Series 4 is. And the differences here are important.

The Series 4 (and 5) chipset is clocked at twice the Series 3 level-a significant improvement not just in the user experience, but also in the watch’s durability. As we expect these devices to be doing more and more, they need processors faster and faster. Slower chipsets such as the Series 3 can get obsolete quicker while still usable.

Only the Series 3 has a smaller display and lacks EKG fall detection and tracking and Series 4 and 5 abnormal heart rhythms. Series 3 also provides a heart rate monitor, to be sure. But the dashboard lacks the two features that made the Series 4 stand out in its generation from any other smartwatch. In comparison, the Series 3 heart rate monitor is not as reliable as later watches – even less costly ones, such as the brand Fitbit.

So far as the operating system is concerned, Series 3, 4, and 5 are all running on WatchOS 6-which means they can all give you a similar experience. The Series 3’s slower pace will nevertheless be visible.

This watch is still the best customer for that. The consumer is someone who hasn’t been involved in all the innovations technology has provided us in the last 24 months or so.

Objectively, two years is not a long period, in most parts of our lives. But two years is a very long time in the tech industry, equaling roughly twice the capacity.

However, if you’re an Apple user who’d be satisfied with all the apps that smartwatches had to offer two years ago and don’t need the new widgets, then Series 3 is still a fine watch, and probably still the best watch in its price range.

Smartwatches Buyer’s Guide

Let us begin by wondering what a smartwatch is. It’s a tool you’re carrying on your arm, so it can send you alerts for items like email, calls, so updates on social media. To put it that way, the obvious thing that stands out is that smartwatches appear to be phone extensions you wear on your wrist. But these watches can do a lot on their own as well. Most of them come with wireless connectivity, which enables them to make up calls and download music independently of the phone. These do have lots of built-in devices to track physical activity, such as heart rate monitors, barometers, accelerometers, and others. Whether they have NFC technology in them, you can also use them for making wireless payments.

When did the Smartwatch Craze begin?

Arguably, the first smartwatches were digital watches. Most of them, after all, had unit converters, and calculators. You were even allowed to watch TV with a specific Seiko model! Yet the true rise of watches with smartphone-like capabilities began sometime after 2010.

Although major companies such as Sony, Samsung, and Apple currently control the market, the credit for promoting the modern smartwatch goes to a small startup called Pebble. In 2013, Pebble switched to Kickstarter to raise funds for his smartwatch and then not only raised millions of dollars but also sold over a million units.

Technological developments, such as miniaturization of silicon chips, have also allowed many companies to develop smartwatches that are dedicated to specific purposes. Take Garmin’s Fenix watch, for example, this watch has lots of sensors and trackers built for rural expeditions and it is smarter than the average smartwatch. On the other hand, Suunto and other companies make smartwatches for scuba diving that can endure the high water pressure for long periods. 

Smartwatch Features

Many features are very common for most smartwatches, whether they were designed for everyday use or some special purpose.

Checking Notifications

Smartwatches warn you of updates, important events, and activities. The styles of alerts would be different from those of viewing. For example, smartwatches that are linked to your smartphone usually mimic anything your phone already tells you. Others can send you updates that can only be provided by a smartwatch. Subsequent Apple Watch generations, For instance, have a fall sensor in which if you fall and the watch doesn’t sense any corresponding motion, it will give you any escalating alerts, and if you don’t reply, the watch will warn you and the authorities.

Apps

Smartwatches also offer a great many different applications. The actual ecosystems rely on the OS ( Operating System) that runs on the smartwatch. The Google and Apple ecosystems are the best software ecosystems on the market today. In general, special purpose smartwatches will often support apps that help them fulfill their mission and will sometimes not allow you to add certain types of apps

Media

Most standard smartwatches are combined with your phone and you can handle media playback using the smartwatch. Take the Apple product family, for example: when listening to music on your iPhone on your AirPods, you can use your Apple Watch to adjust the track and volume.

Message Responses

Everyone reminds us of those old Dick Tracy comics where the detective will often use their watch as though it were a machine. Many modern smartwatches running Wear OS or Watch OS give you the ability to respond to messages through voice dictation. Apple Watches also have a walkie-talkie feature that allows you to communicate with other Apple Watch wearers nearby.

Fitness

If you’re very fit, then you’re going to enjoy the fitness features that most smartwatches have. If all you want to see is a fitness tracker, though, purchasing a smartwatch with fitness features that be a little overkill.

Fitness trackers have heart rate monitoring apps that use sensors at the watch’s bottom to track your pulse through your wrist and record your heartbeat. They do have other trackers to help track various aspects of your exercise routine, such as gyrometers, barometers, accelerometers, compasses, and others.

Even fitness trackers function as trackers for general operation. The capacity of the Apple Watch to feel when you fall does not necessarily fall into the fitness category. It is more of a tracker of the action. The same applies to count the number of steps you took in a day, although that will spill into general activity and fitness. Some of the sensors used for exercise monitoring are often used for general activity tracking, at any pace.

We have had fitness trackers with us for quite a while, with Fitbit being the most common fitness tracker maker. Nevertheless, with the rise of smartwatches, sales of fitness trackers dropped as smartwatch apps became more and more capable of imitating fitness tracking features, and it was people who wanted usability and improved smartwatch functionality. Smartwatches have all of the fitness tracker features and more. It is the ‘more’ which makes this very important to most people. That said, fitness trackers are small and probably cheaper than smartwatches, so if you only want to track your fitness, having one is a good idea.

Personally, while I love technology, I also appreciate the fact that we need to escape from their distractions sometimes. To me, this means that while I’m working I can always turn off my phone and a simple exercise tracker is just what I need. When my watch alerted me to some social media update, I’d probably have to shut it off, too.

GPS Functionality

Many current smartwatches do have an integrated GPS, which allows the watch to track your position for fitness purposes and also to give you location-specific alerts.

What are the different types of Smartwatches?

Smartwatches are with two general characteristics. On the one side, we have smartwatches with general intent, such as Wear OS apps and Watch OS. Such watches are highly smartphone-dependent and are intended to be a support system for your phone; an extension you’re wearing on your wrist. 

On the other side, we have specialized apps that are meant for particular reasons, standing somewhere in between fitness trackers such as the Fitbit and a standard smartwatch.

Hiking watches are a case in point. These are designed for longer trips in remote locations, and feature items like weather forecasts, simple vital tracking, GPS, and good battery capacity.

A further source is diving watches. Your first-stage regulator will usually be linked to your diving watch through Bluetooth. Devices such as the Garmin Descent MK1 give you indicators for items such as temperature, remaining time, and distance, among others. 

We even have a niche market for flying watches, such as the D2 Delta PX from Garmin. It offers a logbook, a moving map powered by GPS, and a pulse Ox on the wrist.

What should you consider when getting a Smartwatch?

Certainly, there are some interesting vulnerabilities among smartwatches. Most of them have a hard-to-use connector while others can only connect to a limited set of mobile devices. What you should be looking for while shopping with the smartwatch depends very much on your interests. Here are a few items you might think of when shopping around:

Compatibility – The smartwatch should be compatible with your mobile, or with whatever device you wish to combine.

Comfort – The smartwatch should be feeling at ease on your wrist. Today most models are round except for the Apple Watch and other similar versions. Even the smartwatches get slimmer and lighter by the day. Yet there’s always the occasional big and chunky device no one wants to wear.

Battery life – Based on the quality of the tech in the watch, a decent watch will go on daily use for at least one day. Many also go for weeks, although the technology in these smartwatches is usually simpler.

Water Resistance – Many of today’s smartwatches on the market are at least a little water-resistant. Many of the higher-end models are also monitoring swimming as a sport. If this matters to you, you’ll need to print out the details.

Charging-Most uses wireless charging and some use ports for charging. Others also use charging cables. If that matters to you then you can test the specs for sure.

Features – Check that the smartwatch has the specific features that you like. When you want something to help you with your fitness routine, then you can get a smartwatch with the right sensors, such as a heart rate monitor to measure your heart rate, an accelerometer, a barometer, a compass, and other sensors to help you keep track of things like your steps, distance run, etc. Today, most smartwatches can provide heart rate monitors and default built-in GPS. Though, because not all of them provide it, it’s important to check for the unique features you want before you buy a smartwatch so you won’t be shocked unpleasantly later on.

Likes:
0 0
Views:
47
Article Categories:
Tech Gear

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *