If it’s wearable technology, we’ve tested it. From smartwatches and activity trackers to Bluetooth rings and sleep-logging wristbands, we’ve covered it. These are the wearables you can purchase, whether you’re an Apple fanatic or an Android fanatic.
Spring 2021 buying forecast: There haven’t been many wearables releases so far this year, but you can bet we’ll see some high-profile items later on. Fitbit usually launches devices in the spring and fall, so we may see an update before the summer. There are also reports that Samsung is working on a new device, possibly a redesign of its Galaxy Watch Active 2 since the Galaxy Watch 3 was only released in the fall of 2020.
To claim that the Apple Watch is the best is a bit of a cliche at this stage, particularly because the Series 6 is a very iterative update.
Best All-rounder: Apple Watch Series 6
A new SpO2 sensor, an always-on altimeter, improved battery life (though it’s still not multi-day), a brighter always-on display, and a new S6 processor are all included. In terms of watchOS 7, we liked new features like cycling directions and handwashing timers that seem to be built to help us get through the pandemic, but others, like the much-anticipated native sleep-tracking, are just okay.
And, with Family Setup, you can now set up an Apple Watch for children or elderly parents who don’t have iPhones.
Best Fitness Smartwatch: Suunto 7
The Suunto 7 is a big, bulky smartwatch with a hefty price tag to match. However, it’s also a full-fledged workout machine. It’s a highly accurate fitness tracker that also allows you to download offline maps and tracks 70 different sports. You’ll get some cool heat maps that show you where other Suunto users want to run, climb, and walk.
You won’t be left out when it comes to advanced smartwatch features, either. You get NFC for mobile payments and access to the entire Google Play store, which Garmins and Polars don’t have because of their closed ecosystems.
Plus, considering the massive 50mm case, it’s actually very light, and it’s not at all ugly.
Best Smartwatch for Android Users: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Samsung, you’ve actually done it! We’ve been waiting for a comprehensive, Android-friendly smartwatch like this. It, like the Apple Watch Series 6, can monitor the blood oxygen levels on the go and has an FDA-approved ECG app. Samsung introduced a number of additional health-tracking features, including a new VO2 Max app and advanced running metrics, to its existing sleep-tracking capabilities.
You can also cast exercise videos to your Samsung TV and see your stats overlayed on the workout, similar to Apple’s Fitness+ service.
It’s also a lovely round smartwatch with an easy-to-use rotating bezel. It also fixed the software flaws that plagued previous Samsung smartwatches.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Galaxy Watch 3 is only compatible with Samsung smartphones. Unfortunately, certain features, such as ECG, will not be available on non-Samsung Android devices.
Best Looking Smartwatch: Skagen Jorn
The Skagen Jorn is essentially the Fossil Hybrid HR’s Scandinavian minimalist relative. You get the same beautiful E ink monitor and 2-week battery life, but it comes in a classier box, in our opinion. Skagen’s owner, Fossil, has also updated the app’s features with GPS charts, real-time weather, challenges, and automated activity monitoring.
The Skagen Jorn is a simple-yet-stylish smartwatch that delivers some of the best bang for your buck. It lacks NFC payments and navigation between menus can be a little finicky, but as far as a simple-yet-stylish smartwatch goes, it delivers some of the best bang for your buck.
Best Smartwatch for a Budget: Amazfit Bip S
This looks more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker, but for the price, it’s hard to beat. You get very accurate GPS and heart rate monitoring, as well as a good companion app.
It costs about half as much as a Fitbit Charge 4, but it also has built-in GPS. Custom watch faces are available, and the 15-day battery life—which can be extended to 40 days if the power-usage settings are tweaked—is hard to beat. It’s a great deal that reminds me of the old Pebble watches.
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.