The Only Guide You Need to Compare the Best Smartwatches

best smartwatches
We Compared the Best Smartwatches of 2023Stefan Vazharov

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It's been almost a decade since smartwatches began their march to becoming mainstream gadgets — and today, the latest smartwatches are much more capable than their early predecessors. Smartwatches, in addition to delivering alerts from your phone, double as sophisticated activity and health trackers, making them more useful and popular than ever. But honestly, calling smartwatches popular is an understatement because the Apple Watch alone is outselling the entire Swiss watch industry.

Whether you're looking for a basic smartwatch or the latest and greatest to pair with your iPhone or Android, there are tons of great options to consider. To help you find the best for your needs and budget, we're constantly testing the latest smartwatches to see which ones are worth your investment.

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The Best Smartwatches

What to Consider


The first thing to decide is whether you need to respond to phone notifications and summon a virtual assistant from your new smartwatch. If these tasks are essential and you have an iPhone, look no further than any Apple Watch, depending on your budget. The harmony between Apple iOS and watchOS is nothing short of perfect. Cellular models will even allow you to take a break from your iPhone without losing contact with the world.

Android phone users should consider a timepiece that runs Wear OS by Google. The integration between the tech giant's wearable and smartphone platforms is also excellent, offering similar functionality to the link between an iPhone and an Apple Watch.

Garmin smartwatches can only send quick message replies when paired with an Android phone. The same goes for Fitbit products — those can also allow you to choose between accessing Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant. Hybrid smartwatches with mechanical hands can only deliver phone notifications.

It's important to note that the Apple Watch and Google Wear OS timepieces will probably need daily charging. After years of testing products, I can confirm that the vibrant always-on displays and the close synergy with your phone make frequent charging sessions worth the effort.

Health and Fitness Tracking

Regardless of its sticker, a good smartwatch should offer a heart rate sensor in 2022 — that's the bare minimum for reliable activity and health tracking. If you're shopping for a premium one, look for additional bits like ECG (electrocardiogram) capabilities and a blood oxygen sensor.

A GPS chip for tracking outdoor runs, hikes, and bike rides is also onboard today's finest smartwatches. Hybrid timepieces need to connect to your phone and use its GPS chip for this task.

Additional Bits to Keep in Mind

A robust rating for water resistance is a must-have feature for a smartwatch at any price point. The products we selected can function at water depths of at least 30 meters or more. They are suitable for open-water swimming, diving, and other outdoor activities.

Smartwatches with cellular connectivity require you to subscribe to a monthly plan with your carrier. All major carriers offer such plans for around $10 per month.

Now that you know the most important features to look for in a smartwatch, discover the best for your lifestyle and budget among these extensively vetted offerings.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Watch Series 8</p><p>$329.00</p><p></p>

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Watch Series 8


The Apple Watch Series 8 is hands down the best smartwatch for iPhone users. If you're rocking one of the tech giant's phones, don't bother looking at other options. With the Apple Watch, you'll get a sleek and tough timepiece with a gorgeous OLED touchscreen, a best-in-class set of health- and fitness-tracking tools, and perfect iPhone integration.

apple watch series 8 best smartwatch
Stefan Vazharov

Compared to the excellent Series 7 it replaces, the Apple Watch Series 8 has the same design, but superior safety and wellness features, headlined by crash detection and an onboard temperature sensor. The former can save your life by alerting first responders when you need them the most. On the other hand, the temperature sensor brings the device's wellness- and women's health tracking capabilities to a whole new level.

Apple offers the timepiece with a 41- or 45-millimeter case in various finishes and optional cellular connectivity — from entry-level aluminum to luxe stainless steel with a matching band. Every Apple Watch iteration is customizable with cases and bands, similar to the iPhone and the iPad. If shopping on a tighter budget, consider the Apple Watch SE instead.

Reviewed: Apple Watch Series 8

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Galaxy Watch 5 (40 mm)</p><p>$219.00</p><p></p>

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Galaxy Watch 5 (40 mm)


Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 is the best for Android smartphone users, offering a cool design and, thanks to Google Wear OS, seamless platform integration that rivals the link between an iPhone and an Apple Watch. The gadget's top-tier hardware specs include a beautiful AMOLED touchscreen, an accurate heart rate sensor, and a blood oxygen tracker.

samsung galaxy watch 5 best smartwatch
Stefan Vazharov

You can choose a Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 with a 40- or 44-millimeter case in grey, silver, blue, or pink gold. I enjoyed testing a 40-millimeter version — it's understated without skimping on features and performance. Also, I tip my hat to Samsung for treating the reasonably priced timepiece to a tough and decidedly sapphire crystal. The previous iteration of the product lacked this premium feature.

Consider the pricier Galaxy Watch 5 Pro with a bigger titanium case if you want to give your wrist the best treatment. Variants with cellular connectivity are also available.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>GTS 2 Mini Smartwatch</p><p>$79.99</p><p></p>

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GTS 2 Mini Smartwatch


The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini has a lightweight build and an adequate set of features such as an AMOLED display and a heart rate sensor — all at a reasonable sub-$100 price point. On the other hand, its battery life is longer than the endurance of many pricier rivals. It's available in black, blue, or pink.

If you're looking for an affordable smartwatch that can deliver notifications and keep track of your activities, the GTS 2 Mini is up to the task if you don't mind the Apple Watch-like silhouette. I also suggest that you manage your performance expectations. The Amazfit product's platform and overall speed are not on par with Apple and Googles Wear OS products, but ok for the money. Well-priced Amazfit smartwatches with a round case are also available.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>ScanWatch Hybrid Smartwatch</p><p>$299.95</p><p></p>

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ScanWatch Hybrid Smartwatch


If touchscreens just aren't your thing, the Withings ScanWatch is the smart timepiece for you. It looks like a traditional dress watch, but thanks to a circular display integrated into its dial, it can serve you notifications and a ton of health and fitness data. As its name suggests, the ScanWatch packs an accurate heart rate sensor and a blood oxygen monitor, with the last bit being particularly noteworthy for a hybrid timepiece.

My favorite thing about the Withings ScanWatch is that it looks and feels like a traditional timepiece, not a tech product. Its stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, and lacquered brass dial give it the hefty feel of a mechanical watch. The product's workmanship makes it ideal for old-school watch aficionados looking to make the jump to a connected timepiece.

withings scanwatch best smartwatch
Stefan Vazharov

Getting up to a month of use between charges is another reason why you should consider the product. You can order the Withings ScanWatch with a silver or gold case (38- or 42-millimeter) and a black, blue, or white dial.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Neutra Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch</p><p>$229.00</p><p></p>

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Neutra Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch


Fossil has a solid track record for making hybrid smartwatches, and the Neutra Gen 6 is one of our favorites from the brand. The timepiece has a chronograph-like three-button layout with mechanical hands and a discreet always-on display. The latter can show phone notifications and activity data captured by the gadget's onboard heart rate sensor.

Another bit that impressed me about the Neutra Gen 6 is its onboard blood oxygen sensor. The feature was unavailable on older hybrid watches from the brand, making the newcomer a better health- and wellness-tracking device.

The Fossil Neutra Gen 6 can't interact with notifications like a touchscreen-toting smartwatch, but it makes up for this shortcoming by offering a much longer battery life. The product is available with a black or a steel case on a strap or a metal bracelet. And if you're looking for different hybrid smartwatch options, I have good news — Fossil offers many more hybrid smartwatches on a swappable leather strap or metal bracelet.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Venu 2 Smartwatch</p><p>$299.99</p><p></p>

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Venu 2 Smartwatch


The Venu 2 smartwatch — our favorite from Garmin — is a solid alternative to the Apple Watch and Google Wear OS products if you're obsessed with exercising and health tracking. The sleek timepiece has a vibrant touchscreen and longer battery life (I enjoyed not having to charge it for days while testing), though it can't handle platform notifications as proficiently. For example, you won't be able to respond to messages from an iPhone.

This Venu 2 version has a 45-millimeter case. More compact Venu 2S (40 mm) and Venu 2 Plus (43 mm) are also available. If luxury is what you are after, consider the much pricier Garmin epix Gen 2 instead — it's bigger, tougher, and much more capable.

<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Sense 2 Smartwatch</p><p>$298.95</p><p></p>

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Sense 2 Smartwatch


Fitbit's range-topping Sense 2 smartwatch has an excellent set of health-, wellness-, and sleep-tracking tools that make it well worth your consideration. The same goes for the product's solid battery life and compatibility with Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant.

Unlike most of its rivals, the Sense has a temperature sensor for next-level sleep tracking and the ability to measure your stress levels. Its heart rate sensor is ECG-capable, too. If ECG is not a must, consider the cheaper Fitbit Versa 4 with a similar design.

The Sense smartwatch can reliably deliver smartphone notifications, though you should know that an Apple Watch or a Google Wear OS timepiece will offer a better experience in this department. If you are an Android user, know that the costlier and sleeker Google Pixel smartwatch will trade superior interactions for fewer, still Fitbit-powered fitness tools and shorter battery life.

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