Right now, there are a lot of great smartwatches to choose from – but the best wearable on paper may not be the best wearable for you.
The Apple Watch Series 6, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, and Fitbit Sense are just a few examples of super smartwatches with major health features, including ECG, blood oxygen tracking, and even stress detection.
However, for less than £100, there are some excellent budget choices with GPS and good health and sports monitoring functionality. From our reviews, we’ve chosen our favourite smartwatches and highlighted not just the best on paper, but also the ones we believe are best for savvy buyers like you.
- With our list of the best budget smartwatches, you can save money.
- Find out the smartwatches are the best for Android and iPhone users.
- With our best smartwatches for women, you will find fashionable choices for slimmer wrists.
Apple Watch (watchOS 7) has the most features and the most third-party applications of any smartwatch. It is only compatible with the iPhone.
Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear) – Lacks the Apple Watch’s health features. You do, however, have access to some useful third-party applications and Google Pay. It’s compatible with both Android and iOS, but the latter lacks some functionality.
Samsung (Tizen) is a mobile operating system developed by Samsung. A good first impression of a smaller app store. Compatible for both iOS and Android devices.
Fitbit OS Fitbit’s smartwatch has a dearth of high-quality games, and the watch face store is a disaster. However, it provides excellent data processing and a battery life of 5+ days across the board. Both iOS and Android are supported.
Let’s get started, here is the first great smartwatch on the list.
- Just 18 hours of battery life with iPhone (36 in testing)
- There are LTE/4G options available.
- Tracking your fitness
- Swimming is permitted.
- heartbeats per minute
- Notifications from Apple Pay, as well as making and receiving calls
- When checked, the Apple Watch SE cost £269.99 (40mm)
The new Apple Watch SE has joined the Series 6, and is the first of a new line of Apple’s smartwatches since Series 1 – and it might just be our favorite.
It’s more affordable for sure, but don’t think of it as a cheap Apple Watch. It still costs £269.99 for the 40mm version, which makes it on the pricey side given the competition out there from Huawei and Amazfit.
The Series 3 is still available for £199.99, but it now seems to be a bad compromise due to its outdated design and ageing internals, which means it will possibly miss out on potential watchOS updates.
The Apple Watch SE, on the other hand, just makes a few concessions over the Series 6, making it easy to recommend to the vast majority of people. It’s better to start with the features you don’t get: the Apple Watch SE lacks an always-on display, as well as ECG and SpO2 tracking. And the only case choices are aluminium.
However, the screen technology, sizes, GPS, sports and fitness monitoring, swim-proof design, LTE options, and Apple Pay remain the same. Anything that makes the Apple Watch our favourite smartwatch to use on a daily basis. However, when opposed to competitors, the single-day battery life (we got up to about 36 hours) is still a big drawback.
The Apple Watch SE comes highly recommended if you don’t care about the high-end health features.
- Tizen OS LTE variants in 41mm and 45mm are available.
- 360 x 360 pixels on a 1.2-inch/1.4-inch display 247mAh/340mAh Super AMOLED screen
- Exynos 9110 Dual Core 1.15 GHz ECG Exynos 9110 Dual Core 1.15 GHz ECG Exynos 9110 Dual Core
- SpO2 SpO2 SpO2 SpO2 SpO2 SpO2 SpO2
- VO2 max (heart rate/rate)
- detection of a fall
- £369.99 at the time of review
With a long feature list and a high price tag, Samsung’s latest flagship smartwatch returns to a more modern wristwatch theme. The Galaxy Watch 3 is a fantastic smartwatch that is one of the best Apple Watch alternatives available.
It comes in two case sizes: 41mm and 45mm, so there should be something for everyone. The Galaxy Watch has shrunk in size since the original, and it’s better for it, with a slim and light design that’s great for all-day wearability. Both sizes have AMOLED displays that showcase Tizen OS’s vivid colours.
In both sizes, stainless steel and black options are available. The 45mm, on the other hand, will be available in black titanium, and the 41mm will also be available in Mystic Bronze. The rotating bezel, with its pleasing mechanical click, has returned to power the menu system on this classic-looking smartwatch.
ECG and blood pressure monitoring (both now available in the US and Europe) as well as a SpO2 sensor to monitor blood oxygen levels are important upgrades. A new emphasis has been put on VO2 max. With “natural” use, you’ll get a couple of days of battery life, but it’s a shame Tizen OS couldn’t match the week-long battery life we saw on the Huawei Watch GT2e and Amazfit GTS 2.
The heart rate monitor had some inaccuracies, but the swimming monitoring and plethora of running metrics were impressive. Of course, you’ll need to purchase a new band because the regular leather strap isn’t ideal for sweaty conditions.
- Compatible for both Android and iOS devices
- Case size: 40/44mm
- Battery life of up to two days and behaviour monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- ECG (Electrocardiogram)
- Sleep tracking software that works automatically
- Tracking your swimming
- Support for Spotify offline playlists
- Samsung Pay is a mobile payment system developed by Samsung
- £248 at the time of review
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a great sporty smartwatch, particularly for Android users who can’t get an Apple Watch.
In comparison to the Galaxy Watch 3, the Active 2 is smaller and less expensive, and its silicon strap makes it a more natural match for active users. It comes in two sizes, 40mm and 44mm, to suit most wrists, and both have top-notch Samsung displays. It’s a touchscreen, but there’s also a touch-sensitive bezel to help you access Samsung’s Tizen OS.
On the sports and fitness monitoring front, it’s more of the same, with a good optical heart rate sensor on board, built-in GPS, and a new run coach to help you get going faster and clocking up faster times.
In a recent update, it gained new features from the Galaxy Watch 3. Fall detection, VO2 max, running coach, and running dynamics are now included in the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. That’s in addition to the ECG and blood pressure tests. Notification support and excellent music functionality round out the smartwatch features (offline Spotify playlists FTW).
Battery life is comparable to that of the Apple Watch, with a maximum of two days depending on which functions are used.
In short, even in the wake of Samsung’s latest flagship, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 remains a great purchase.
- Only works for iPhones.
- Display that is always on
- SpO2 and ECG
- GPS and GPS/LTE are also available.
- Case sizes of 40mm and 44mm are available.
- An optical heart rate monitor is a device that measures how fast the heart beats.
- GPS built-in
- Microphone and speaker
- Waterproof to a depth of 50 metres.
- Apple Pay is a service that allows you to pay
- Price at the time of review: £329.99
The Apple Watch Series 6 is hands down the best Apple Watch, with the most features and cutting-edge wellness technology. It features a SpO2 sensor for monitoring blood oxygen saturation and an ECG for testing the heart rhythm for signs of Afib. If that’s not important to you, the Apple Watch SE could be a better option.
It’s the same storey elsewhere, and it’s a slight improvement over Series 5. There’s GPS, sports monitoring, 5ATM water resistance, and all of the other features you’d expect from an Apple Watch. Climbers and hikers can appreciate the always-on altimeter. Third-party apps abound in the App Store, and if the Apple Watch doesn’t do anything, there’s usually an app for that.
Unfortunately, the Apple Watch battery life is also the same. Apple claims 18 hours of battery life, but we found it to be closer to 36 hours. Of course, this is highly dependent on use. However, if you want to use the Apple Watch to monitor your sleep, you’ll have to think about when to charge it, which has become an issue.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is, in a nutshell, the best edition of the best smartwatch. However, consider how important SpO2 and ECG are to you. If you don’t, the Series 6 is only worth the extra money because of the stainless steel finishes and always-on show.
- 336 x 336 pixels on a 1.58-inch touchscreen
- 50m water resistance with Google Assistant and Alexa GPS
- There are over 20 different sport monitoring modes available.
- Battery life of six days
- Rapid recharging
- When it was checked, the price was £299.99
The Fitbit Sense is a versatile fitness watch that is also an ordinary smartwatch. It is recommended for those who want as much health data as possible.
It’s a great sleep tracker and heart rate monitor, with features like ECG for Afib monitoring, SpO2 for sleep tracking and sleep disorder detection, an electrodermal activity sensor for stress detection, and even a temperature sensor to keep you in touch with your body and health.
Fitbit has increased the emphasis on its Fitbit Premium service, which costs £79.99 a year and includes more details. Premium unlocks a new dashboard of raw data called Health Metrics for all devices, but Sense takes advantage of it the most. On one metre, you can see your temperature, resting heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen saturation, and heart rate variability.
One criticism is that the data isn’t analysed, but if you want graphs, the Fitbit app is the motherlode. Few devices give you access to this much information about your body, and it’s perhaps the ideal device for these pandemic times – but there are some caveats.
The Fitbit Sense isn’t a particularly impressive smartwatch. The watch face gallery is clumsy and full of paid-for apps with a strange payment mechanism, and Fitbit Pay support is spotty.
However, you get about six days of battery life and a lightning-fast charge. Fitbit Pay is also on board, if your bank allows it. This is a perfect option if you want to get the most health data possible.
Affiliate Disclaimer: George James London is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.