However, if you need a smartwatch right now and are not sure what to pick, we’ve got a handy list of the best smart timepieces available on the market right now. Looking for a stylish watch with a classic design? No problem! Or maybe you’re in the market for something with great fitness tracking abilities? We’ve got you covered! But what about something that strikes a balance between both? There’s something for you as well!
Samsung Galaxy Watch
The age-old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra is in full effect here, as the Samsung Galaxy Watch looks and feels a lot like the company’s last few smartwatches. It retains the classic appearance and circular design, allowing it to look more like a lifestyle accessory and less like a geeky toy. Whether you’re at the office, out for dinner, or exploring the great outdoors, the watch won’t seem out of place on your wrist.
Whether you have an LTE model or not, the Samsung Galaxy Watch can be used to make phone calls. On a non-LTE model, the watch simply acts as a Bluetooth speaker while the call itself is handled by your phone. Call quality isn’t stellar, but it is acceptable. The speaker built into the watch is sufficiently loud and produces clear voice tones. Voices do sound muffled and digitized on the other side of the line, but having a conversation in a relatively quiet environment is definitely possible without much effort.
Just like Samsung’s last few smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch delivers solid battery life. The smaller, 42mm variant easily lasted through 2 full days between charges, while the bigger, 46mm model got me through 3 full days – with the screen always enabled on both. Disabling the Always-On Display feature makes them last a day extra.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
The Samsung Galaxy Watch strikes an almost perfect balance between a high-end lifestyle gadget and a capable health tracker. However, if you’re really into tracking your sporting activities wit your smartwatch, you may want to look into the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active instead.
Just like other Samsung smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch Active runs on Samsung’s own Tizen platform. However, unlike those other Samsung watches, this one does not have the convenient rotating bezel that you use to navigate around the menus. This is both a good and a bad thing, as it streamlines the design of the watch even further, turning it into a surprisingly minimalist and elegant timepiece. On the other hand, however, the convenience that Samsung’s trade-mark rotating bezel provided is now lost.
As far as battery life goes, it’s a solid 2-day experience. You wear it a full day, sleep with it, then wear it one more day and its battery runs out by the time you get back from work. Of course, if you run for an hour with the GPS on, and do reps in the gym on the same day, you might not get that much juice, but for everyday averages, it’s a 2-day battery experience.
Apple Watch Series 4
The new Series 4 looks a lot like previous Apple Watch models, as it has the same rectangular form, the same digital crown and one button below it, but just turn on the screen and you witness a brand new experience. Apple has trimmed the bezels, adding more than 30% of extra screen space, and this makes a world of difference. The internals have also been completely rearranged, so you get louder sound for calls and Siri, and best of all, this new watch is very, very fast.
While for many people, the Apple Watch is a great daily companion for notifications and calls, and just for style, for many others, its true value lies in the accurate and effortless activity and health tracking features. Tests have shown that heart rate monitoring accuracy of the Apple Watch is very close to the readings from a dedicated chest strap and this is impressive. On the Series 4, you get more consistent readings with fewer errors than before and readings happen very fast.
For several years now, Fitbit has been a name synonymous with activity trackers. The Fitbit Versa, however, is much more than a wearable gizmo that counts your steps. It is a full-fledged smartwatch and a capable fitness companion – one that you can safely swim with, one that stores music for offline listening, one that lasts for days between charges. And all of that comes with a very reasonable price tag.
The touchscreen display on the Fitbit Versa may be small, but it is bright and detailed. It displays pretty colors and has great outdoor visibility. However, since the screen is of the LCD variety and not an OLED, there is no always-on display option available, unless you’re tracking an exercise.
The Fitbit Versa easily lasts multiple days between charges, which anyone coming from an Apple Watch or a Wear OS device would find awesome. On auto brightness and with notifications enabled, we were getting four full days of use out of it. But as expected, music streaming and leaving the screen on during exercises shortens the Versa’s battery life significantly.
Huawei Watch GT
The Huawei Watch GT is a refreshing device. It looks like a classic smart watch but it’s by no means trying to replace your phone. Instead, it aims to be a complement, with a focus primarily on fitness tracking. Sure, it can receive notifications from Android or iOS devices, but that’s about all the phone functionality you’ll find – interacting with these would just obfuscate your fitness goals as the Huawei Watch GT would see it.
Running its own proprietary OS, the Huawei Watch GT is very focused on fitness tracking and providing stellar battery life. It sports a stylish and solid construction with 5-ATM water-resistance. The shiny, two-tone casing looks premium while the feel of it, and the sturdy click on the buttons, make it feel as well-made as it looks.
Huawei boasts 2-week battery life on the Watch GT with mixed usage and 90 minutes of tracked exercise per week; we’d say that’s right about in line with our experiences. On our heaviest usage days, which included setup, multiple updates, lots of flicking around the OS, and an hour of exercise, we shaved off around 20% battery, but on more typical days we’d be more in the 5%-10% range. If you’re the type that exercises 5 days a week for around an hour a day you might fall closer to the 8 to 10-day range, but compared to most other watch accessories which usually last closer to a day, we’d say the stuttery animations are a worthy trade-off for smartwatch looks with replete fitness tracker functionality.