Some devices, however, do stand out in the crowd, and each one has its own pros and cons. From the popular Apple Watch with its fast performance and great compatibility with the iOS ecosystem, to the Samsung line of smartwatches with their smooth-running Tizen platform and attractive circular form factor, to all the rest. Let’s explore all the worthy options that are on the table.
#1: Apple Watch Series 5
Fast, functional, independent and with the best apps
The Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch out there and the Series 5 (S5) is all about one key improvement: an always-on display. This is made possible to a brand new type of a screen used on the S5, one with a variable refresh rate, so when you are not using it the screen will refresh only once a second compared to 60 times a second when you actively use the watch. This has allowed Apple to maintain the same 18-hour battery life on the S5.
The rest is pretty much unchanged: you have the S5 in either a smaller, 40mm size, or a larger, 44mm version. WatchOS feels incredibly fast, swapping watchfaces is a breeze and happens with a simple swipe, and the watchfaces themselves are beautiful.
The Apple Watch excels in the fundamentals: it’s comfortable to wear, it’s fast and base apps like the weather that are so crucial to the experience deliver a very accurate and precise info. We also love the health and fitness features: the heart rate monitor is extremely accurate, it gives a detailed breakdown of workouts and the new EKG feature is useful. And of course, the rings system is great for fitness and helps you stay motivated to hit those fitness goals every single day.
#2: Huawei Watch GT2
Amazing 2-week battery life, sleek design
The Huawei Watch GT2 is a smartwatch that beats all the others in one key aspect: battery life. Huawei says it will last you two weeks on average, and in our experience, this number is not far from the truth.
Unlike other long-lasting smartwatches that use a monochrome display, this one uses full color and it also looks extremely well-made and stylish, especially if you opt in for the steel model with a leather band. It comes in two sizes, the bigger 46mm one is the more common, but there is also a small variation.
The good news is that it works with both Android and iOS, it delivers notifications promptly to your wrist, runs fairly well and it even has a loudspeaker.
#3: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Works with both Android and iOS, looks good and has double the battery life of an Apple Watch
If you don’t want to be tied to the Apple ecosystem yet want a true smartwatch that is comfortable to wear, has reliable performance and a beautiful screen, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is probably your best bet.
At a price more affordable than the Apple Watch, it still ticks most of the boxes: it comes in two sizes at 40mm and 44mm, it features a more premium stainless steel version that looks beautiful, it performs fast, has great automatic workout tracking and supports a bunch of activities. It doesn’t quite have the same amount of apps as the Apple Watch, nor the refined haptics of that wearable, but those seem like details that are not quite all that important.
#4: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Elegant and built to last
The Galaxy Watch 3 boasts a premium, classic watch design and a genuine leather strap. It features one of the best ways to interact with a smartwatch too – a rotating bezel. Running on Samsung’s Tizen operating system, the Galaxy Watch 3 is perhaps the best pick for those who are already rocking a Samsung phone. It has a wide range of great first and third party apps, along with support for the Bixby smart assistant.
The Galaxy Watch 3 has plenty of watch face customization options and can track any types of physical activities, from walking and swimming to yoga. It comes in three colors – black, silver and bronze, and two sizes – 41mm and 45mm. In addition to the base model that has Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS is also an LTE variant which can make and receive phone calls without the need of a smartphone.
#5: Garmin Vivoactive 4
Great battery life and tough design
Plus, you’d appreciate having physical buttons here and not having to rely only on touchscreen gestures.
The most notable update to the Vivoactive lineup is not a single feature, but just having two different sizes, a smaller and a larger one, making it easier to pick the right one for different sized wrists. Of course, there are also a few new features that come in handy and music is now included in all models.
#6: Fossil Gen 5
The best of Wear OS
If you want a different smartwatch, the Fossil Gen 5 is the best one running Google’s Android Wear OS platform. And yes, you are forgiven to think that platform was dead, but it’s not and in fact, Google will be investing new effort in it in 2020.
#7: TicWatch Pro (2020)
A WearOS durability champ with dual layered displays
The TicWatch Pro (2020) sports a highly power-efficient LCD display on top of a standard AMOLED display. Thanks to this, it can last up to 30 days on a single charge, although without utilizing the LCD display too much, it has a fairly standard battery life of 2 days.
Since it’s a WearOS smartwatch, it comes with a built-in Google Assistant and supports all the apps the platform offers. In addition, it has NFC, heartrate, workout and sleep tracking, and is built to be durable and waterproof.