Smartwatches are a great way to receive notifications from your phone and track your health, right from your wrist. We've used and reviewed all the of the latest smartwatches for Android and iPhone, and here we've ranked ten of the best.
The Apple Watch Series 5, may seem like the obvious choice for iPhone users (until the Apple Watch Series 6 goes on sale on 17 September), but there are loads of great Wear OS rivals to choose from via Huawei, Motorola and others. Add in hybrid smartwatches from the likes of Withings and Fossil, and you're bound to find something that suits your style and has the features you need.
1. Apple Watch Series 5 - Best for iPhone users
It's unsurprising that the Series 5 is the best Apple Watch to date (until Series 6) and remains the best smartwatch you can buy - if you have an iPhone that is.
This model has been improved namely with an always-on display along with other minor enhancements. The price varies wildly depending on how luxurious you want to go. The good thing is that the watch itself is still the same at the base price. The thing we still want to see is improved battery life.
Read our full Apple Watch Series 5 review
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 - Best for Android users
The Galaxy Watch 3 is among the best smartwatches available at the moment, topped only by the Apple Watch Series 5. The thinner, lighter body and larger display of the Galaxy Watch 3 make for a premium look, and the rotating bezel continues to outshine the competition as the most intuitive way to interact with a smartwatch.
The Tizen OS 5.5 user experience is not quite as extensive when it comes to fitness as dedicated trackers, but it still offers an impressive feature set, with automatic tracking for seven types of exercise, along with the ability to take VO2 Max, ECG and SpO2 readings (in countries where it has certification).
It’s one of the best all-round smartwatches you’ll find on Android, and there’s a lot for iOS users to like too.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review
3. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 - Great for fitness
With two-day battery life, excellent design and fitness features that don’t overpower the overall experience, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is one of the best smartwatches you can buy for an Android phone.
It melds decent fitness tracking, sleek design, a cool touch-sensitive bezel and two case sizes into a smartwatch that is more than its 'Active' name pigeon-holes it as.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review
4. Amazfit GTS - Great for affordability
The Amazfit GTS looks an awful lot like an Apple Watch, with an uncannily similar metal body and rectangular AMOLED display - though it actually runs a little slimmer than Apple's own device.
Despite this, it's still a fraction of the cost of Apple's latest, despite offering way more battery life (up to a month, as long as you keep the always-on display turned off), plus additional features like sleep tracking.
Software is the only thing that lets the GTS down really. Amazfit's operating system is slow and a little awkward, and the same problems extend to its phone app. Plus, since it's all proprietary, there's no app support beyond some basic phone notifications.
It's enough to make you miss Google's Wear OS, which is really saying something and is the only major downside to a smartwatch that otherwise punches far above its weight.
Read our full Amazfit GTS review
5. Fossil Gen 5 - Best for design
Fossil's Gen 5 is a great all-round smartwatch in its own right but also serves as a triumph for the wider Wear OS contingent too. The new hardware and software render this a truly competitive offering against established players from the likes of Apple and Samsung.
The Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, additional RAM and tweaks to Wear OS's power management grant greater control over what gets to sap power from the Gen 5's 310mAh fast-charging battery, not to mention it offers a genuinely smooth user experience - something that can't be said for any of its predecessors.
The Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch may still boast a more responsive user experience but the Fossil Gen 5 narrows the gap more than ever before and better yet, it offers some of the most adaptable and flexible styling and aesthetics out there.
Read our full Fossil Gen 5 review
6. Fitbit Ionic - Best for fitness
The Fitbit Ionic is the most fully-featured Fitbit smartwatch and activity tracker. It has it all, and its built-in GPS is great for runners or general fitness fans who don’t want to lug their phone around with them.
As well as all the usual fitness stats it features automatic multi-sports tracking, on-screen workouts, Caller ID and texts notifications, can store up to 300 songs with music control and be used for contactless payments, as well as support from a range of third-party apps (Weather, Starbucks, Runkeeper, Strava, and more).
The Fitbit Versa 2 (which has the same features minus the built-in GPS) is cheaper, smaller and offers an improved screen but the Ionic is still lightweight enough for you not to realise you’re wearing it.
Read our full Fitbit Ionic review
7. Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 2020 - Most versatile
The original TicWatch Pro launched in 2018 and two years on, this 2020 refresh doesn't rewrite the rulebook but that's really no bad thing.
With such a feature-packed foundation, Mobvoi's only seen fit to create a hardier and more refined design, as well as adding more memory to deliver a smoother user experience.
The dual display setup is still a very powerful standout feature in the wearable space, though. You can enjoy a fully-featured Wear OS smartwatch for three days or a simple digital watch for up to 30 days on a single charge.
Read our full TicWatch Pro 2020 review
8. Moto 360 2019 - Great design
The Moto 360 is back, complete with a more refined design than its 2015 predecessor. The flat tyre bezel that plagued previous models is gone, much to the joy of Moto fans, but the chunky surround isn't a perfect alternative.
The inclusion of a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor and 1GB of RAM means that performance is great, with no noticeable lag, while the 355mAh battery is enough to keep the watch going all day, although it'll still need a top-up every now and again. Still, with a 0-100 percent charge time of an hour, it's not a huge issue.
Throw in a heartrate monitor and 3ATM water resistance for basic fitness tracking and you've got a capable, albeit slightly expensive smartwatch.
Read our full Moto 360 (2019) review
9. Fossil Sport - Great for kids
The Fossil Sport is an eye-catching smartwatch with undeniable advantages, such as its bright display, its many pre-registered activities, a heart rate monitor and notification management.
However, it's not all plain sailing, as the watch lacks responsiveness and suffers from weaker battery life than some of the other entries in this list.
Read our full Fossil Sport review
10. Amazfit GTR - Best for affordability
The Amazfit GTR is a triple threat: it has a classic design, offers everything you need for fitness tracking and comes in at a low price in comparison to other smartwatches on the market.
This model from Huami offers GPS, heart monitoring, sleep tracking, water resistance, goals for your steps and a whole lot more. It doesn't necessarily have all the fancy features that a more pricey smartwatch would but the price allows that to slide.
The lack of mainstream firmware may be an issue for some and the app isn't the greatest we've seen. Nevertheless, this is a great starter watch that should offer everything you're looking for.
Read our full Amazfit GTR review
Your buying guide to the best smartwatches in 2020
Why do you need a smartwatch?
There's an interesting theory that smartwatches are to the smartphone what wristwatches were to the pocket watch. Picture the way the average gentlemen used to have to rummage through his pocket for his watch prior to the 20th century. Now skip forward 100+ years and the average smartphone user still has to dive into his/her pocket to check their phone.
The kicker now is that your smartphone holds far more information than a pocket watch ever did, yet all of which is still locked into your pocket.
Smartwatches aren't for making phone calls, although some can, but instead, they (among other things) provide a quick and easy way to check what notifications are on your smartphone, so you can decide whether it's worth delving into your pocket or searching around your bag to fetch your smartphone or not.
What type of smartwatch should you look for?
There are two types of smartwatch around at the moment: those with a colourful touchscreen, like you'd find on your phone and those which combine a regular analogue watch with smart features.
These are known as hybrid smartwatches - some have the smart bits almost completely hidden, while some give you information via a small integrated display.
While a fully-fledged smartwatch can do a lot more, the juice guzzling screen results in a shorter battery life. Semi-smart watches benefit from longer battery life with some even having separate cells for the watch and smart features.
If you're an Android user then a Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) smartwatch is the obvious choice but it's not necessarily the best for everyone. Google's OS tweaked for wearables also plays nicely with iOS but with cut down functionality so iPhone owners will get more from the Apple Watch. Read more on how to use Android Wear with iPhone.
What makes a good smartwatch?
When testing for the best smartwatch, the important factors to consider are 'how much of your smartphone's functionalities can it perform?', and 'how well does it handle each task?', the final attribute is obviously style - it's still bling after all.
You'll also want to make sure it's compatible with your smartphone - some are only for iPhone or Android while others support most phones. Note that Wear OS now has iOS support but, like we already said, the experience is cut down in comparison.
Fitness fans will want to look for a device with a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS, although the heart rate monitors are often poor. Many also come with NFC which can be used for contactless payment via services like Google Pay.
We consider the important factors of a smartwatch to be level of notification detail, battery life, style, water resistance, compatibility with a range of devices/smartphones, plus additional features such as microphones and Wi-Fi support so you don't have to connect to a phone for full functionality.
With very similar, if not identical, hardware on offer with many of the Wear OS smartwatches, a large part of the decision will come down to design and price. Find our how we test wearables.