Wareable picks: Smartwatch of the year

The team reveal their top smartwatches of 2015
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

A huge category in our daily run-down of the year's wearable tech, there were so many choices for the best smartwatch of the 2015.

A slew of great Android Wear devices, three new Pebbles and some watch from Apple made it a busy year for wearables. But which watches would the Wareable team choose? Read on for our choices.

James Stables: Apple Watch

Wareable picks: Smartwatch of the year

I'm going to take the mantle of nominating the Apple Watch, because let's face it, someone has to. Regardless of what you think about Apple as a company – and people are bound to share their feelings in the comments – expectations were sky high. And because of annoying limitations imposed by the boundaries of physics and technology invented by humans, Apple didn't manage to miraculously solve any of the problems experiences by the likes of Google and Pebble. Except the one that matters: sales.

Essential reading: Apple Watch review

Ignore what desperate receipt counting companies and headline hungry analysts have said, the Apple Watch is selling shedloads. I've been writing long enough about technology to know then when you see as many folks on the tube, in airports and restaurants wearing a single gadget, as I have with the Apple Watch, it's selling well.

Apple's done something that seemed unlikely a year ago: made smartwatches mainstream this year, and that's why it gets my nod for 2015.

Wareable picks: Smartwatch of the year

Paul Lamkin: Tag Heuer Connected

Wareable picks: Smartwatch of the year

I wear the Sony SmartWatch 3 almost everyday. That's my go-to Android Wear device and Google's smartwatch OS has become a big part of my digital life in 2015. However, the Tag Heuer Connected has done what no other smartwatch has managed so far – to be a watch first and a connected device second.

The Tag Heuer Connected is a ridiculously good-looking smartwatch that is also ridiculously well constructed. We expected nothing less from the Swiss watchmaker. It's impossible to compare the Connected to any other Android Wear smartwatch; it's a different beast entirely.

It's the first smartwatch that puts time-telling front and centre. It's almost as if the connected credentials were an afterthought and Tag was more concerned with unleashing a kick-ass digital timepiece. And it succeeded.

The definitive verdict: Tag Heuer Connected review

Mike Sawh: Garmin Forerunner 630

Wareable picks: Smartwatch of the year

I know it's a running watch first and foremost, but Garmin has done a terrific job introducing smartwatch features to its Forerunner range without forgetting what its sports watches do best. There's definitely a few smartwatch companies that could learn a thing or two from the way the Garmin Foreunner 630 delivers notifications and offers genuinely useful widgets. It's the fitness fan's smartwatch.

Then there's the Connect IQ app store. It's still in its early stages and there's not an abundance of stuff there yet. But there's great potential if developers embrace it. The best thing overall is that all of those smartwatch features have been added without having a dramatic impact on battery life and there's not many smartwatches that can rival the 630 for stamina.

Full round up: The best running watches

Sophie Charara: Samsung Gear S2

Wareable picks: Smartwatch of the year

The first half of 2015 was all about the Apple Watch but Samsung is dominating the second half already. As ever with a Samsung device, the Gear S2 is everywhere - TV adverts, billboards - but the difference this time is this is a smartwatch you'll want to wear.

The rotating bezel is genius and, coupled with a truly easy to use reworking of Tizen OS, the result is that this is quicker and simpler than watchOS 2 or Android Wear. Now Samsung just needs to support this smartwatch and make sure Tizen's app store grows. Don't mess this up, Samsung.

If the Gear S2 is still just too geeky for you, and you don't care about a sharp, bright screen, then the slim, light and comfortable Pebble Time Round is my honourable mention for 2015. It's reliable, it's useful and you can wear it 24/7.

Check it out: Samsung Gear S2 review

Winner: Tag Heuer Connected

It doesn't top our best smartwatches list because it costs $1,600, but the Tag certainly stands out when considered as a standalone device. Aside from the great craftsmanship and gorgeous design, there's something much more powerful afoot that makes it worthy of our award.

The Tag Heuer Connected is confident enough to put the time front and centre, it relegates notifications to a simple complication on the watch face until you require them and balances the demands of technology and style.


How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

Related stories