Best smartwatch 2019: Stylish options for iPhone and Android compared

The ultimate buyers guide to the top smartwatches on sale now
Best smartwatch 2019
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Looking for the best smartwatch to buy right now? Well, you've come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for a top watch to work with your iPhone, Android smartphone; or you’re looking for a standalone 4G smartwatch, there's plenty of options we'd comfortably recommend.

When it comes to the standout smartwatch in 2019, it’s undoubtedly the, just launched, Apple Watch Series 5. But Apple’s top watch comes at a cost, and there are so many great looking, stylish smartwatches, for both men and women, at cheaper prices and with equally good features.

Whether you’re looking for a great smartwatch for fitness tracking, running or even just taking calls and receiving notifications, there are plenty of great options for every budget. What’s more, smartwatches are thankfully getting more stylish too thanks to fashion brands coming in and offering alternatives to the usual tech players.

With all that in mind, here’s our rundown of the best smartwatch models of 2019.

Be sure to also check out our guide to Black Friday smartwatch deals if you're looking to pick up one of the below in this year's sale.

Any questions about the smartwatches included in the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Apple Watch Series 5

Buy now: Amazon | £399.99 (GPS model)

Best smartwatch 2019: Stylish options for iPhone and Android round-up

Apple Watch Series 5 key features

  • Works with iPhones only
  • Always-on display
  • 18 hours battery life
  • LTE/4G options available
  • Fitness tracker
  • Suitable for swimming
  • Heart rate monitor and ECG
  • Apple Pay
  • Notifications, make/take calls

The Apple Watch Series 5 is as close to smartwatch perfection as we’ve seen to date; it’s a powerful and versatile wearable that can offer a huge range of features.

While not hugely different to the Apple Watch Series 4, the newest version has an always-on display that finally overcomes the biggest bugbear of Apple smartwatch's design.

The Apple Watch is able to morph between fitness tracker, sports watch and serious health device – and does so better than any other smartwatch on the market.

The Series 5 Apple's comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes (in comparison to 38mm and 42mm on the Series 3, which remains at a cut price). That means more space to show off all the latest software features that have been introduced in watchOS 6.

It has all the same core fitness and sports tracking as the Series 3, including built-in GPS for tracking of outdoor workouts and a swim-proof design.

Fitness tracking analysis may lag Fitbit, but Apple’s unique goals – signified by the closing of Move, Stand and Calorie rings – are still a powerful motivator. There’s still no native sleep tracking here, but this can be done via a third-party app.

The headline feature is the ECG monitor, unlocking the ability for medical-grade heart health monitoring. It's been FDA cleared, so can be used to detect heart rhythm irregularities. It's available outside of the US, too, with Apple adding 19 more countries that can check in on their heart health from the new Watch.

You also don’t have to do that manually, and the Apple Watch continuously monitors for low and elevated heart rates, as well as atrial fibrillation. There's also a Fall Detection mode that can let users access Siri to contact emergency services or an emergency contact.

The Series 5 comes packing LTE once again - if you buy that option, so you can take it out sans iPhone and still make and receive calls, get texts and all other notifications you would on your phone. A new speaker also makes Siri chats and phone calls sound louder and clearer.

Battery life is the main gripe still, and, for all the improvements, Apple can still only offer 24 - 48 hours, which for many simply isn’t good enough.

Read our Apple Watch Series 5 review

Fitbit Versa 2

Buy now: Amazon | £179.99

Best smartwatch 2019: September update on the top tech watches

Fitbit Versa 2 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Up to 6 days battery life
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Automatic sleep monitoring
  • Swim tracking
  • Amazon Alexa smart assistant
  • Apps and customizable watch faces
  • Fitbit Pay

The Fitbit Versa 2 is the company's fourth smartwatch and, along with a slight tweak in design direction from the two older Versa models, it's now available at a more affordable rate than the Apple Watch. You should be able to pick up one of these bad boys for around £199.99.

The Fitbit Versa 2 also comes in a host of different finishes and with a big collection of bands to mix up the look. And, handily, old straps will still work with the new model.

It offers much of the same fitness and sports tracking features you’d expect from the Fitbit ecosystem, though there's still a lack of GPS. If you want to track runs and rides, you'll need to take your smartphone with you, and the watch can piggyback your phone’s data. For many this won’t be a massive issue, but serious exercisers will likely want like to avoid for this reason.

With the Versa 2, the big improvements are mostly software based, despite the improved outer casing. The headline upgrade is the inclusion of Amazon Alexa, which we found to be a hit-and-miss experience in our initial review, though something we expect to improve as updates continue to roll out, while the smartwatch is one of many to now offer improved sleep metrics, including Fitbit Sleep Score.

You can still download apps and plenty of watch faces, pay from your wrist using Fitbit Pay (no matter what model you own, unlike with older Versa devices) and tap into Fitbit Coach. Women's Health Tracking, too, is available through this model.

All that would likely be enough to sway you, but, despite the ramp up in features, which also includes an always-on display option, battery life is still a huge selling point here. You can five days on a single charge, which means less hassle on weekends away, and around three days with the screen turned on full-time, in our experience. Again, that's all better than what the Apple Watch can currently provide.

Read our Fitbit Versa 2 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Buy now: Amazon | £269

Best smartwatch 2019: Stylish options for iPhone and Android compared

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Available in Bluetooth and LTE models
  • Up to 2 days battery life
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Automatic sleep monitoring
  • Swim tracking
  • Spotify offline playlist support
  • Apps and customizable watch faces
  • Samsung Pay

Launching just months after the first Galaxy Watch Active, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 makes some marginal upgrades, but it's what will hit the smartwatch in 2020 that may convince you to make the upgrade.

Unlike the original, it's now available in two sizes. There's 40mm and 44mm size options and both come in Bluetooth or LTE flavors. Both have typical top notch Samsung displays and now have a touch sensitive bezel to help navigate's Samsung's Tizen OS operating system that runs the software show.

It's more of the same on the sports tracking and fitness tracking front with a solid performing heart rate monitor on board, built-in GPS and a new run coach to help you get moving faster and clocking up quicker times. But it's the Active's fitness tracking skills that still really impress us with its ability to keep us moving in small, but purposeful ways.

Smartwatch features are solid too with notification support, music features (offline Spotify playlists FTW) impressing. App support still isn't fantastic, but if you're happy with the core experience, you might not need too many of those anyway.

Samsung also includes mindfulness features like stress tracking and guided breathing. There's no blood pressure monitoring features this time, but we have been promised ECG and fall detection features, which should be turned on in 2020.

While we were hoping for improved battery life, it's around the same again, maxing out at about two days depending on what features you make use of. There are power saving modes that can retain features like notification support to offer a stripped back smartwatch experience.

If you can live with some of its shortcomings and you're looking for a fitness-focused smartwatch that's smaller than most of the competition, this could be the one for you. It's our pick of the Samsung smartwatches to buy and a great shout for owners of Android smartphones.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

Apple Watch Series 3

Buy now: Amazon | £199.99 (GPS)

Best smartwatch 2019: Stylish options for iPhone and Android compared

Apple Watch Series 3 key features

  • Works with iPhones only
  • Available with GPS and GPS/LTE
  • 38mm and 42mm case options
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • Built-in GPS
  • Speaker and microphone
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • Apple Pay

As the newest Series 5 was announced, Apple announced that its Series 3 would remain on sale – and at a ridiculously low price of £199.99 (for the 38mm version).

Read this: Apple Watch Series 5 v Series 3

It's astounding value for a smartwatch – offering premium design, build and features for the price of a Chinese-knock off equivalent. Apple tech at Amazfit prices – it's a steal.

So why is it such great value? Well, the Series 3 comes with GPS, gets the watchOS 6 update - so it's packed with the latest features. Waterproofing, swim tracking, heart rate and low/high HR detection. It's all in this incredibly low-priced device.

But you don't get everything. ECG is off the menu as is fall detection as those two require hardware that was subsequently introduced in Series 4. You're also lumped with the slightly boxier design – although it's fairly subtle to the untrained eye.

Of course, the main problem is that the Series 3 will still only pair with iPhone.

If you want an Apple Watch, but can't stomach paying top dollar for the newest model, the Series 3 still cuts it against most of the smartwatch competition.

Skagen Falster 2

Buy now: Amazon | £245

Best looking smartwatch

Skagen Falster 2 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Runs on Google Wear OS
  • 40mm case
  • 20mm interchangeable watch straps
  • Google Pay
  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Waterproof design
  • Up to 24 hours battery life

Designer smartwatches are catching on, but the majority of options out there likely come from Fossil Group’s ranks – and one of the finest among them is the excellent Skagen Falster 2. The Gen 4 smartwatch is a unisex timepiece that comes in a unisex size, although it’s undoubtedly one of the more masculine finishes in the Fossil Group line-up.

Slim and light, the Skagen challenges those who complain that smartwatches are too chunky, packing a full 1.19-inch OLED touchscreen. In terms of size, the case has been shrunk to 40mm, which is small as any smartwatch out there – and it’s extremely light too. At 0.8mm thick it’s no Daniel Wellington, but it’s as comfortable as any full-screen Wear OS watch out there.

It takes a standard 20mm strap, so you can pretty much choose anything from the analogue watch world to pimp out your smartwatch.

There are downsides for a tech perspective. It uses older Qualcomm technology so battery life is mired around a single day’s use and we did notice some performance issues.

But if you’re looking for style first and tech second – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that – the Skagen Falster 2 is well worth your time.

Now we should say that Fossil's Gen 5 smartwatches have arrived bringing new processing power and a built-in speaker so you can hear Google Assistant and make calls. If you don't care about those features, we still think you'll be well served by this Gen 4 Skagen beaut.

Read our Skagen Falster 2 review

Huawei Watch GT 2

Buy now: Amazon | £179

Best smartwatch 2019: Stylish options for iPhone and Android compared

Huawei Watch GT 2 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Runs on Huawei's Lite OS, not Wear OS
  • 42mm and 46mm models
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in music player
  • Speaker and microphone
  • 15 sports tracking modes
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Two weeks battery life (normal use)

We should start by saying that the Huawei Watch GT 2 is definitely more sports watch than smartwatch. You can't download apps to it or make payments. But it offers those basic smarts in a really attractive design at an affordable price that we think will give it appeal.

Like its predecessor, the GT 2 runs on Huawei's Lite OS in a bid to deliver impressive two-week battery life. It now comes in a smaller, more elegant size option and brings a speaker and full phone call functionality to improve its smartwatch skills.

You're still getting a gorgeous OLED display to view your data on, built-in GPS, a swimproof design and built-in music player support to take your tunes with you when you're away from your phone.

Sports tracking on the whole is good, but there is one gripe we do have: data cannot be shared with third-party apps. All of your data can only live inside of Huawei's companion Health app. We also found the heart rate data to lag way behind accomplished sports tracking rivals.

As mentioned, Huawei makes big promises in the battery department: up to two weeks with normal use, a complete day of GPS tracking and up to a month with features like always-on display and GPS turned off. And it delivers.

If battery life and sports tracking wrapped up in a good-looking design are priorities for you, there's a lot to like here about Huawei's second generation Watch GT. It's another good option for Android phone users too if you're not fond of Google or Samsung's watches.

Read our Huawei Watch GT 2 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Buy now: Amazon | From £249.95

The best smart watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 42mm and 46mm size options
  • Runs on Samsung's Tizen OS
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • Activity tracking/sleep monitoring
  • Samsung Pay
  • Spotify offline playlist support
  • 4-5 days battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is the successor to the Gear S3 and is still one of the best watches around, despite the arrival of the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Compatible with Android and iOS, it comes in both 42mm and 46mm model options.

Samsung walks the line between smartwatch and fitness tracker, also packing in a heart rate sensor alongside the GPS and its much-improved Samsung Health software. There's also the option of LTE, if you wish for an untethered connection, with a standalone speaker for taking calls on the watch. It's now waterproof too, adding swim tracking skills that are on a par with the Watch Series 5.

The Galaxy Watch runs on Samsung's Tizen OS 4.0 and still feels like a better alternative to Google's Wear OS right now. You get that proper rotating bezel and one of the best displays you can find on a smartwatch. However, the app selection still lags way behind the Apple Watch and Wear OS devices – that said, the Spotify app is great and offers offline playback.

Battery life, we should say, is also solid, getting you 2-3 days on the 42mm model and more on the 46mm version. That's a bit more than what you can expect on Samsung's smaller Galaxy Watch Active.

If you're not a fan of Wear OS and don't want an Apple Watch, and like a more eye-catching Samsung smartwatch, this is the one for you.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch review

Ticwatch E2

Buy now: Amazon | £145.99

The best smart watch

Ticwatch E2 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Runs on Google's Wear OS
  • 46mm watch case
  • 1.39-inch, 400 x 400 AMOLED display
  • Built-in GPS
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • Dedicated swim tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 1-2 days battery life

Another top budget option, the Ticwatch E2 offers access to the benefits of Wear OS in a stylish and wallet-friendly package.

The 46mm watch measures in at around 13mm thick and is only available in black. You do get a choice of interchangeable bands to make it less sporty though.

The fitness tracking as been “inspired” by the Apple Watch, and offers a neat and well-designed tracking experience. And when it comes to real sport, you can tap into Wear OS’s range of apps from the likes of Strava, Runkeeper and more.

There’s GPS built in and a heart rate monitor too, although we found the latter lacking in our stress tests. The headline feature is that it's now swimproof and does offer decent swim tracking skills in the pool too.

It’s by no means a complete fitness experience, but we like the Ticwatch’s funky design and bargain price. For casual users, this is an interesting smartwatch option.

Read our Ticwatch E2 review

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

Buy now: Amazon | £279

Best smartwatch 2019: Stylish options for iPhone and Android compared

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 44mm case
  • Silicone, stainless steel & leather straps
  • 3 ATM (Swim-proof) water resistance
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • 8GB storage/1GB RAM
  • Built-in speaker to make calls
  • NFC for Google Pay
  • 24 hours battery life

Fossil Group may be holding the umbrella over a bunch of fashion houses producing smartwatches, but that doesn't mean it's not competing in the arena itself. And with its fifth-generation smartwatches, it's setting the standard for what all of the watches it launches are capable of.

The Carlyle HR and Julianna HR are the successors to the Explorist HR and the Venture HR watches that still come in a host of bold, 44mm sized case options.

Everything we got on the Fossil's Gen 4 watches is here again including built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, a swim-proof design and Google Pay to make contactless payments. A speaker has now been added into the mix letting you play music sans headphones, hear Google Assistant responses and make calls from your wrist.

Adding in a speaker isn't a groundbreaking addition by any stretch of the imagination. But it does swell the already decent smart capabilities of Fossil's watches.

The Julianna and Carlyle HR are some of the best looking Wear OS watches you can get, and the Gen 5 builds on all the good stuff that Fossil has already achieved with a platform that still needs some refining.

Read our Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch review

Montblanc Summit 2

Buy now: montblanc.com | £845

best smartwatch 2019

Montblanc Summit 2 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Stainless steel case
  • Runs on Google's Wear OS
  • 1.5 days of battery life
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • 1.2-inch 390 x 390 AMOLED display
  • GPS
  • NFC for Google Pay
  • 14.3mm thick
  • 62g
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • 42mm case

Luxury smartwatches are a thing and some of them are actually very good. It started with Tag Heuer's smartwatches, then the likes of Louis Vuitton joined the connected party too. Now Montblanc wants in.

Its first smartwatch was underwhelming but, in its second coming, the Summit 2 is a watch that delivers on design and on features.

Montblanc has modelled its second generation watch on its 1858 collection, offering sleek original watch faces, a high grade construction and a top notch 1.2-inch, 390 x 390 resolution touchscreen display.

Google's Wear OS runs the show, but Montblanc manages to leave its mark with additional apps and those watch faces we mentioned to help things feel more unique. It's now packed with more hardware features including built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and a fully waterproof design to add an extra layer of durability.

This is also one of the first Wear OS smartwatches to run on Qualcomm's new smartwatch tech, which offers performance improvements across the board including battery life. You're not going to get a week out of it, but it should make it through the day and maybe a little extra.

The new fitness features might not be perfect, but it's nice for the casual gym goer. When you're not sweating it out, it'll sit there looking beautiful.

Read our Montblanc Summit 2 review

Withings Steel HR Sport

Buy now: Amazon | £140.95

13. Montblanc Summit 2 - Money no object

Withings Steel HR Sport key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 40mm size
  • Features OLED sub-display
  • Connected GPS
  • Heart rate monitor
  • VO2 Max estimates
  • Phone notification support
  • Up to 25 days battery life

The majority of smartwatches in our list have been full-screen devices, but the Withings Steel HR Sport approaches things a little differently – yet is still a powerful connected watch in a package that weighs just 49g.

The analogue display shows the time on the main dial (with a month of battery life) and progress towards your step goal on the second dial – but there’s so much more going on than this.

The Withings Steel HR Sport has a 24/7 heart rate monitor that will keep tabs on VO2 Max and it will pair up with a smartphone to track outdoor workouts via GPS, although the tech isn’t built into the watch itself. It’s also swimproof to 50m and can track basic swim stats.

What’s more, Withings Health Mate app is one of the best out there for keeping tabs on all your assorted health data.

It’s no slouch as a connected watch either, and will alert you to notifications on your smartphone using vibrations and the tiny OLED screen build into the bezel. This is capable of offering quick and fairly crude alerts, but can show you when a message/call/calendar alerts are coming through using quick icons.

It’s a stripped back smartwatch experience but one that’s packed into a stylish, small and comfortable hybrid that doesn’t make as many compromises as you’d think.

Read our Withings Steel HR review

Garmin Forerunner 645 Music

Buy now: Amazon | £369

The best smart watch

Garmin Forerunner 645 key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 42mm size
  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • Garmin Pay
  • Phone notification support
  • Up to 7 days battery life in smartwatch mode

Garmin has been putting out go-to smartwatches for sports lovers for a while now. Running, cycling, swimming, golf – Garmin has had us well and truly covered. Despite the Forerunner name, the 645 Music is the only Forerunner with a big shiny bezel.

Like a lot of Garmin watches now, you're a built-in music player giving you enough storage for 500 songs. bYou're also getting offline playlist support for Spotify, Deezer and iHeartRadio. For transferring your own tracks, boot up Garmin Express on your computer, select the Music tab and choose from your own music to port over.

That same attractive stainless steel design is here. The 240 x 240 pixel display at the heart of the body is by no means the brightest or most vibrant you'll find, but crucially delivers strong visibility in most workout conditions, whether you're sweating it out indoors or outside. However, there is no touchscreen or touchpad here, so you'll have to resort to pressing some buttons.

As far as the number of sports available to track is concerned, while it's more of the same, there are some notable exclusions – like golf tracking and open water swimming (pool swimming is there though). Heart rate monitoring is decent if not class-leading, and it won't keep you waiting around for a GPS signal. There's also all the stress tracking goodies from Garmin's fitness trackers. As multi-sport smartwatches go, this is the best in our eyes, and builds on all the good work Garmin did with its previous iterations.

Of course, we’re listing the Forerunner here as a smartwatch, and Garmin has added decent smarts. Fitness tracking is fantastic and Garmin Connect is a decent ecosystem for wellness data from steps and sleep to workouts and stress. You can get everything happening on your smartwatch mirrored to your Forerunner, including calls and alerts, and it will suck in information on weather and the like. And battery life is seriously impressive, with a couple of weeks even for power users.

Read our Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review

Upcoming smartwatches 2019

It's been a busy time for smartwatches as we approach the holiday season. IFA 2019 saw a load of brand new smartwatches drop. Here's the ones we are putting to the test and waiting to get our hands on over the coming months.

Here's a run-down of some new hardware:


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