The best smartwatches for every wrist and interest


This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.

Your phone might feel like an essential tool in your daily life, but how irritating does it become to take it out of your pocket every time you need to do something quickly? In a world where the smartphone quickly overtook the need for a watch on your wrist, things are turning back the other way. Smartwatches give you all the benefits of a traditional wristwatch while also providing you with many additional features you’d see on your smartphone.

Picking out the right smartwatch for you is a little more complicated than buying a regular wristwatch. More expensive, the best smartwatches don’t come down to a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Instead, even your choice of smartphone can affect what’s best for you, with Apple smartwatches only working with Apple phones and some Android watches only working with other Android devices. 

If you’ve decided you want a smartwatch on your wrist, we’re here to assist you in figuring out what’s most important. Alongside that, we’ve picked out our favourite smartwatches, which we believe are some of the best smartwatches you can buy today. 

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a smartwatch?

A smartwatch is a lot like a regular wristwatch, but it’s effectively a wearable computer in the form of a watch. Like your smartphone, it (usually) has a touchscreen interface with a series of features you can use. These include allowing you to access social media apps, receive and reply to messages, make calls, and track your workouts. Many also work as portable music players when you pair them with earphones. GPS is a standard feature for many smartwatches, so you can track where you’re going and where you’ve been, along with health monitoring tools such as heart rate monitoring. 

A smartwatch also functions as a regular watch, so you can still see what time it is, set alarms, and use a stopwatch function. 

What do smartwatches offer?

As with buying anything, thinking about why you want a smartwatch is essential. These days, smartwatches can cost tens of pounds or they can cost in the high hundreds. It all depends on what features you need them to offer. 

Almost all smartwatches cover the basics, such as working as a regular watch, offering basic fitness tracking tools, and pairing up with your phone to provide extra functionality. If you’re solely interested in the fitness side of things and don’t need your device to work so much as a smartwatch, you might need one of the best fitness trackers instead. These tend to be more basic than a smartwatch (although not always) but will still hold you accountable when working out. 

When buying a smartwatch, think about why you want it. Are you looking for an accessory that will help you hike further and explore off the trail more easily? Or do you simply want a fantastic fashion accessory on your wrist that happens to do some equally cool things? Either option is viable, but you’ll need to focus on different smartwatches to get the most from your aim. Some smartwatches do all those things but also have a price to reflect their flexibility. Think about your budget, too, as you want to spend an appropriate amount for your lifestyle. 

If you’re looking for something for your kids to wear, one of the best smartwatches for kids could be a better option than the ones below.

Is it worth getting a smartwatch?

Only you know the answer to that. Few smartwatches are cheap, and you’ll need to invest in your purchase to get one of the best ones. If you don’t particularly like wearing anything on your wrist, a smartwatch will likely be a passing interest that will soon end up in a drawer forgotten about. 

However, it can be a worthwhile purchase if you plan on using a smartwatch to enact change in your life. We’re not just talking about using it to motivate you to work out more frequently. Having a smartwatch can reduce how often you look at your smartphone throughout the day, which can boost your productivity levels or allow you to be in the moment more so than usual. Plus, of course, smartwatches can be a lot of fun for tech fans.

What are the disadvantages of a smartwatch?

The most significant disadvantage to a smartwatch is its battery life. Some devices offer weeks of battery life, but the majority only provide you with a couple of days before you need to recharge them. Because of that, they require more maintenance than a regular wristwatch, although you can always recharge one in the same way as you do your smartphone. 

The tricky part is how easy it is to forget to recharge your device, meaning you don’t use it for a day or so and the habit is lost. 

How long do smartwatches last?

We’ve discussed the battery life of smartwatches, but it’s important to remember that such devices also have a lifespan. As with your phone, technology gets older, and you may find that your smartwatch eventually stops having updates, meaning it falls behind and you invariably feel obliged to buy a new one.

That doesn’t happen with regular watches, which is why they can be passed down the generations. A smartwatch isn’t really a generational hand-me-down because of its software limitations.

Do you need to carry your phone with a smartwatch?

This depends on what kind of smartwatch it is. Some smartwatches have cellular connections, so you can add it to your phone account and use it entirely independently from your phone. Others have built-in memory so that you get limited functionality while it’s away from your smartphone.

For the most part, it’s best to assume you need to have your phone near the smartwatch for Bluetooth connectivity, but that can easily mean either keeping it in your pocket or a bag nearby.

What is the best smartwatch?

The best smartwatch for you will depend on a number of factors, and it’s important that you carefully consider all of the options out there before making any sort of decision. To help make your decision a little easier, we have lined up a selection of impressive models from top brands like Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Garmin, and more.

These are the best smartwatches in 2023.

Best For Features


  • Battery life:: Up to 18 hours
  • Compatibility: iOS only
  • Sensors: Blood oxygen monitor, ECG, temperature, GPS, sleep tracking

The Apple Watch Series is expanding to include the Ultra and Apple Watch SE as other price options. Still, the standard Apple Watch Series 8 is easily the best smartwatch for Apple owners and one worth switching to iOS for. It looks good on your wrist with a seemingly endless supply of wrist straps to apply and plenty of Apple Watch cases. Extensive fitness features and encouragement via Apple’s activity rings system are great motivation, while there are safety features like car crash detection and fall detection for other occasions. An always-on display looks excellent, so you can always see what’s happening at a glance. Finally, sleep tracking tools and heart rate monitoring ensure you can always keep an eye on what’s happening in your body.

Best For Android


  • Battery life: Up to 50 hours
  • Compatibility: Android only
  • Sensors: Enhanced GPS, temperature sensor, heart rate monitoring, body composition analysis

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 offers some of the most advanced fitness tools for a smartwatch. It has a body composition analysis tool known as Samsung health. It can provide readings on body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, basal metabolic rate, Body Mass Index, and all the figures you’ll see elsewhere. It’s powerful stuff that makes the Galaxy Watch series one of the best Android smartwatch ranges. It also has advanced sleep coaching, enhanced GPS, and automatic workout tracking, all while looking good thanks to a robust but stylish crystal glass face. If you want a modern way of getting fitter, this is an ideal option with extra functionality like Samsung Pay proving useful. Remember that while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 uses Wear OS rather than the Tizen OS of earlier Samsung devices, it won’t work with an Apple phone.

Best For Battery Life


  • Battery life: Up to 3 days in smartwatch mode or up to 45 days in essential mode
  • Compatibility: iOS and Android
  • Sensors: GPS, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking

The TicWatch Pro 3 is a rare smartwatch with reliable battery life. It offers up to three days of battery life with regular use or a massive 45 days of longevity if you don’t mind cutting back to the essential options. It’ll be somewhere in between for most users, but it’s good to have options. Elsewhere, there’s the usual bevy of fitness tracking features, plus it looks as attractive as a regular watch — something not all smartwatches succeed at. This is an Android smartwatch with a difference and a good option for anyone looking for original extras like noise detection and stress monitoring.

Best For Running


  • Battery life: Up to 26 hours in GPS mode or up to 12 days in smartwatch mode
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Sensors: Heart rate monitor, heart rate variability, GPS, blood oxygen, stress, respiration

All runners swear by Garmin’s smartwatches as the ultimate fitness trackers for their needs. That means the Garmin Forerunner 255S doesn’t look as stylish as some smartwatches, but if you’re an avid runner, you’ll love its features. It offers up to 26 hours in GPS mode or up to 12 days in smartwatch mode. Each morning, you’ll receive a report on how your body is doing and what workouts you should do that day. It also offers up training tips and completion time predictions based on past performance and how you’re progressing. It’s basically a personal trainer on your wrist with its fitness features excellently targeted towards runners. It won’t look stylish in the office, but it still offers all the essentials.

Best For Voice Assistant


  • Battery life: Up to 6 days
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Sensors: GPS, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking

Read our full review of the Fitbit Versa 3

While Fitbit focuses on the fitness tracker world, it also has some smartwatches in its arsenal. The Fitbit Versa 3 has all the benefits of the Fitbit ecosystem, so it’s straightforward to use while offering a smartwatch-style experience. It provides a daily readiness score based on your activity levels, so you know what’s right for you each day. Built-in GPS tracking keeps you on top of things, with heart rate monitoring further helping. However, in downtime, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support enables you to control your home security devices and set reminders and alarms with your voice, saving effort. It’s a reliable all-rounder with smart features that suit every mood throughout the day.

Best For Swimmers


  • Battery life: Up to 36 hours
  • Compatibility: iOS only
  • Sensors: Blood oxygen monitor, ECG, temperature, advanced GPS, sleep tracking

The Apple Watch Ultra lives up to its name. It’s far more expensive than other Apple Watches because it’s much more rugged, capable, and designed for all kinds of intense activity. In particular, it works well as a diving calculator as well as a smartwatch, thanks to its Oceanic+ app, which gives you all the insight you need. Away from the water, a redesigned compass app gives all-new views and functionality, including the ability to mark compass waypoints and backtrack from your previous path. It’s overkill for anyone simply looking for a stylish smartwatch, but if you love to explore off the beaten path, the Apple Watch Ultra is highly comprehensive and versatile.

Best For Style


  • Battery life: Up to 14 days
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Sensors: Heart rate tracking, GPS, SpO2 monitoring

If you want a smartwatch that looks as classy and distinguished as a regular watch, the Huawei Watch GT 3 is a fine choice. At first glance, it seems expensive but is actually cheaper than some listed here. With decent battery life, it still provides accurate heart rate tracking along with over 100 different workout modes. It’s able to figure out a running plan, but it doesn’t look like a running watch, so it’ll suit when you’re in the office. Huawei means some limitations for UK users, but if you can look past that, it’s an attractive watch with some useful smart features.

Best For Tight Budgets


  • Battery life: Up to 24 hours
  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • Sensors: GPS, Blood oxygen, heart rate monitoring

Keeping costs down, the Amazfit range is a good bet for anyone who wants to dip into smartwatch technology without spending a fortune. With the Amazfit GTR 2e, you still get reliable battery life for a day, along with GPS tracking and fitness monitoring. It’s not the most stylish of watches for office wear, but if you can look past that, it’s great for receiving notifications from your phone and tracking your daily activities. Alexa is also built-in, which proves helpful in controlling all your smart home devices. It’s even water resistant which is impressive at this price.

Photo of Joseph Green

Shopping Editor

Joseph joined Mashable as the UK Shopping Editor in 2018. He worked for a number of print publications before making the switch to the glittery world of digital media, and now writes about everything from coffee machines to VPNs.

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