Smartwatches are now extremely versatile and powerful tools, with the very best options able to track exercise, monitor advanced health metrics, and provide a handy second screen to a smartphone.
That's why we're best placed to guide you through the top options available.
In our entries below, we'll provide a summary of the best smartwatches we've reviewed, which also includes some pros and cons and a full list of specs.
How we ranked these smartwatches
Trying to rank the top smartwatches is a bit of a complex task; no two devices are ever the same, nor are the people using them. With this in mind, we use our expertise to provide our opinion on the watches that fit the categories listed in the quick summary below.
Ultimately, this buyer's guide is an extension of our full, in-depth reviews, which see us test a device over several weeks - and, often, longer. During this time, we rigorously analyze the design, features, health monitoring, activity tracking, and, of course, the claims made by the manufacturer.
Quick look: Top smartwatches
1. Best overall smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 9
2. Best smartwatch for Android: Google Pixel Watch 2
3. Best affordable smartwatch: Amazfit Active
4. Best wellness smartwatch: Garmin Venu 3
5. Best sporty smartwatch: Apple Watch Ultra 2
6. Best health smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 4
7. Best smartwatch under $100: Amazfit Bip 5
Apple Watch Series 9
Best overall smartwatch
OS: watchOS 10 | Phone compatibility: iOS | Case size: 41mm / 45mm | Battery life: 18 hours | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: OLED | Weight: 42g / 51g
- Superb, unisex design
- Incredible sports watch
- The gesture feature is very cool
- Unmatched app store
- Only works with iPhone
- Some wellness features feel a little stale
- Not a huge leap forward from the Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 9 is the best smartwatch to own right now – but it only works with iPhone.
It's certainly one of the smallest upgrades in terms of new features in the nine generations of Apple Watch – but it's still a leader in the market as a whole.
The OLED display has doubled in brightness, and the new features available through watchOS 10 continue to refine the experience. Low Power Mode, can double the battery life to around 36 hours - though there are substantial compromises here.
The Series 9 adds a new S9 chip, which enables a very slick new gesture, that enables you to double-tap your fingers to control apps on the Watch without using the touchscreen. It's a minimal integration right now, but we love using it – and one of the more genuinely exciting additions we've seen in recent years.
Siri is also faster and less deaf on the Series 9, thanks to more processing being done on the watch itself, thanks to the S9 chip.
The Series 9 offers experience with very few compromises. It's our go-to workout partner, an excellent health monitor (thanks to ECG, Fall Detection, and high/low heart rate monitoring), and a superb companion to your smartphone.
The bustling App Store that supercharges the Apple Watch. If it doesn't do something for you out of the box, we'd wager you'll find an app that does. And that's rare in the smartwatch world.
However, single-day battery life is its major Achilles heel, and it is problematic if you want to use it for sleep tracking. And it's perhaps for this reason that the Apple Watch feels like it lags behind the likes of Garmin and Whoop in terms of generating really personalized health and wellness insights.
- Read our Apple Watch Series 9 review
Google Pixel Watch 2
Best smartwatch for Android
OS: Wear OS 4 | Phone compatibility: Android | Case size: 41mm | Battery life: 24 hours | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: AMOLED | Weight: 31g (without band)
- Battery life is improved
- Excellent HR tracking accuracy
- The design is very sleek and comfortable
- Doesn't work with iPhone
- Fitbit Premium required for some insights
- Only available in one case size
The Pixel Watch 2 rights many of the wrongs present in the debut device released in 2022, and, as such, just about edges out TicWatch and Samsung's offerings to become our top recommendation for Android users.
The battery life improvements are the big story here, with Google's smartwatch now able to actually make it through a full 24-hour period without needing to be recharged. And while it's still not exactly a long-lasting or consistent battery, it is now enough to get by with.
And then there's the other features Google has overhauled for the Pixel Watch 2 - the processor and the heart rate monitor.
The former sees Google ditch the dated Exynos chip from the original Pixel Watch in favor of Qualcomm's impressive Snapdragon W5+ chip, and this move not only allows for that improved battery efficiency, but also powers the new features available through Wear OS 4.
The new multi-path heart rate monitor is a triumph, too, with our testing showing that the Pixel Watch 2 is able to hold its own against even Garmin's latest sensor.
We still wish that Google would offer a bigger case size - and is something we think surely lands in next year's watch - and Fitbit Premium is still required to get the most out of this one, but it's hard to argue that the Pixel Watch 2 is the most polished experience available for Android users in 2023.
- Read our Google Pixel Watch 2 review
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Best Samsung smartwatch
OS: Wear OS | Phone compatibility: Android | Case size: 45mm | Battery life: 50 hours | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: Super AMOLED | Weight: 46.5g
- Super battery life
- Great smartwatch features
- Solid health monitoring
- Only works with Android
- Some sports tracking inaccuracies
- Health features require a Samsung phone
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is packed with health features, and crucially, excellent battery life. While the Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic have been released, the Watch 5 Pro remains, and offers better battery life than the newer Samsung pair.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro itself offers a fairly nondescript design. It's inoffensive, with a comfy rubber strap and an optional protective case.
The headline feature of this smartwatch is the improved battery life. It's comfortably better than the Pixel Watch and Apple Watch, giving you 2-3 days of use before needing to return to the charger.
It's designed for those who want more comprehensive outdoor tracking with mapping and GPX routing features built in.
While the likes of Amazfit and Huawei will go longer, remember Wear OS offers full-fat features, such as the Google Play store, and payments via Google Pay.
And sports tracking and health monitoring metrics are genuinely impressive for the most part, with the odd niggle with GPS accuracy.
This is still a great smartwatch for Android users, especially with its upgrade to Wear OS 4.
The only other thing to be aware of is the price - this is expensive. Many people with Android phones would also be better served with the less expensive standard model, the Galaxy Watch 6.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Most stylish Android smartwatch
OS: Wear OS 4 | Phone compatibility: Android | Case size: 43/47mm | Battery life: 30 hours with AOD | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: Super AMOLED | Weight: 56g
- Love the tactile bezel
- Accurate heart rate and sleep
- Solid health monitoring
- Only works with Android
- Underwhelming battery life
Of the new Watch 6 pair, the Classic gets our nod. It's everything that the Galaxy Watch should be – with a top screen, great health features, and, of course, the rotating bezel.
The tactile control of the bezel really got under our skin, and it works perfectly with Wear OS. Scrolling through Tiles or notifications is a breeze, and it's nice to not have to swipe the AMOLED display to move through menus.
There are two sizes 43mm with a 1.3-inch AMOLED and 47mm with a 1.5-inch display.
The bezel makes for a more refined look in our minds and emulates a proper watch. There's a faux leather strap which is good for getting sweaty and does a good job of looking like the real deal.
Fitness and heart rate data were pretty flawless for steady workouts, as was sleep tracking data, which has been revamped for Wear OS 4.
ECG, blood pressure, and body index tracking were also excellent, making for a good all-rounder.
The only thing that doesn't make the Watch 6 Classic an automatic recommendation is battery life. We got around 30 hours with the always-on display turned on, and an hour workout will deplete around 20%. So you could experience significant battery anxiety if you plan to use the new sleep-tracking features.
Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
Best affordable Apple Watch
OS: watchOS 9 | Phone compatibility: iOS | Case size: 40mm / 44mm | Battery life: 18 hours | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: OLED Weight: 26g / 33g
- Same S8 chip as Apple Watch Series 8
- Superb value - and now an even lower price
- Comprehensive features and tracking
- Only works with iPhone
- No Always-On display
- Not a huge leap forward from the original Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is quite comfortably the top pick for iPhone users in need of an affordable option - or perhaps something that isn't as expensive as the Series 9 or Ultra 2.
The package is fairly comprehensive here for the asking price, with Apple distilling the core elements of its smartwatch experience into a device that still looks modern – even if it's been superseded by the Series 9.
The design is now dated, and it's boxier and has more bezel than the Series 7/8/9. There's also no always-on display or ECG.
But the core fitness and wellness monitoring, excellent workout tracking, GPS experience, bustling App Store, Apple Pay, and even fall detection are all identical. So it's a superb choice for a wide mix of people.
Apple has included the S8 chip in this second-gen version of the SE, too, and it ensures the experience is just as zippy (and will likely continue to be) as some of the newer Series devices.
Nevertheless, if you're in the Apple ecosystem already and want to get started with a solid smartwatch, you simply can't go wrong with the SE.
TicWatch Pro 5
Best Android smartwatch for battery life
OS: Wear OS 3 | Phone compatibility: Android | Case size: 50mm | Battery life: 80 hours/3 days | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: OLED + Low power display | Weight: 44g
- Ingenious and effective screen tech
- Multi-day battery life
- Good fitness accuracy
- No smaller case option
- Too many pre-installed apps
- No voice assistant
The TicWatch Pro 5, with its innovative dual screen, impressive battery life of around four days, and reliable precision in all aspects, is arguably one of the top smartwatches of 2023.
The pioneering Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1, combined with the dual-layer energy-efficient display, contributes to standout battery life in the Wear OS universe, offering a preview into the platform's future advancements.
However, the hefty 628mAh battery that powers it is housed within a substantial 50.15 x 48 x 12.2mm case, which might not be the best fit for smaller wrists.
The battery duration surpasses even that of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and it continues to comfortably surpass the capabilities of the Pixel Watch 2 and Galaxy Watch 6 in this area.
The device's fitness capabilities also stood up to scrutiny, proving it to be a worthy choice for runners and fitness enthusiasts. During our test phase, the VO2 Max, blood oxygen, and HR data were all on target.
Minor drawbacks include an overload of pre-installed apps and the current absence of Google Assistant (though this is subject to change).
Potential buyers should also keep in mind the imminent release of the Wear OS 4 update. The delayed upgrade to Wear OS 3 for previous-generation TicWatch users sends a cautionary signal.
Nevertheless, this stands as one of the most impressive Wear OS smartwatches available right now, making it an easy recommendation.
- Read our full TicWatch Pro 5 review
Garmin Venu 3
Best for wellness
OS: Garmin OS | Phone compatibility: iOS and Android | Case size: 45/41mm | Battery life: 14 days | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC | Display: AMOLED | Weight: 46g
- Lots of sports modes
- Great battery life
- Great screen
- Wellness features now feel useful
- Lightweight fitness metrics
- Relatively pricey
- Some sleep-tracking accuracy issues
The Garmin Venu 3 is a big improvement over the Venu 2, with a slicker design and improved UI – as well as a more intuitive set of health features.
It's still a jack-of-all-trades sporty smartwatch – so while there are loads of sports profiles, but none offer the level of data you might expect from a Garmin.
Running, for example, shows basic metrics on pace, distance, and heart rate only.
But the daily suite of wellness metrics, displayed via widgets, is much more complete. Body Battery (tracking energy levels), stress, steps, HRV Status, activity minutes, breathing rate, sleep, sleep coach, and more, are all on display.
These widgets offer real-time feedback, that makes them all feel more intuitive. And Body Battery in particular has been overhauled, and it can now be recharged through the day, and offers more nuanced insight.
We found heart rate and GPS accuracy to be top-notch, so while the Venu 3 isn't a powerhouse of athletic performance analysis, it does produce great data.
As a smartwatch, it does a good job of covering bases, with notifications, Garmin Pay (with patchy bank support), and offline Spotify syncing. However, it's not a patch on the smartwatch experience offered by Apple and Google. But with two weeks of battery life, (7-10 days of heavy use in our testing) it's a fantastic alternative.
The downsides are that the Venu 3 is pretty expensive – and the Vivoactive 5 offers most of its core features, at around half the price.
- Read our full Garmin Venu 3 review
Apple Watch Ultra 2
Best sporty smartwatch
OS: watchOS 10 | Phone compatibility: iOS | Case size: 49mm | Battery life: 36 hours | Water rating: 10ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: OLED | Weight: 51g
- Fun gesture control
- Even brighter display
- Still a slick smartwatch experience
- Needs some native software tweaks
- Battery life still isn't amazing
- Male orientated
We loved the original Apple Watch Ultra – and the second-gen makes gentle refinements to the overall proposition, including a boost in screen brightness, and a carbon-neutral design.
The 49mm Ultra is bold, full of attitude, and aimed at weekend warriors who want a superior Apple Watch to everyone else. It's tough and suitable for diving and watersports, and runners will love the multi-band GPS, which aced our marathon testing.
The 2-3 days of battery life is a welcome boost, which finally means an end to the battery anxiety of the Series 9.
The remarkable thing about the Ultra is how it manages to retain the core smartwatch feel of an Apple Watch, while still expanding the experience to appeal to hikers, divers, and runners.
You'll need to probably hunt down some third-party apps to truly reach the ceiling of this experience, though, given that the native software needs some work, with mapping, navigation, and performance analysis undercooked compared to Garmin.
However, the compass app has been improved and is useful. And mapping is coming, with TOPO maps for US national parks being rolled out.
Still, it achieves the aim of becoming an Apple Watch on steroids – especially with that added battery life.
- Read our full Apple Watch Ultra 2 review
Huawei Watch GT 4
Best for battery life
OS: Harmony OS 3 | Phone compatibility: iOS/Android | Case size: 46mm/41mm | Battery life: 14 days | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: AMOLED | Weight: 51g
- Solid 6 days of heavy use
- Good running and fitness features
- Almost no access to third-party apps
- Payments non-existent
The Huawei Watch GT 4 is a quality all-rounder smartwatch, striking a balance between price, design, and fitness features. But battery life is its real standout feature.
Boasting two size options, the GT 4 not only embraces classic watch aesthetics with its 46mm variant and a redesigned 41mm option.
The display, a 1.43-inch 466 x 466 AMOLED touchscreen, offers vibrant colors and excellent viewing angles, ensuring visual clarity.
The Huawei Watch GT 4 offers generally good health and sports tracking, offering a broad spectrum of metrics and accurate data, from heart rate to GPS distance. Running is well handled, and the company has added Strava integration.
Sleep tracking is also fairly solid, and while we did find its sleep duration estimates a little generous, it's consistent and helpful enough to get value from. And the new snoring and breathing monitoring features add another layer to its health metrics.
However, the lack of a robust ecosystem, especially in areas like apps and payments, is noticeable and stands out as a significant drawback to the Apple Watch SE.
But the tradeoff is much improved battery life. If you want to get 14 days you will need to forego features like the always-on display – but you should get 6 days with all the bells and whistles turned on.
- Read our full Huawei Watch GT 4 review
Fitbit Versa 4
OS: Fitbit OS | Phone compatibility: Android and iPhone | Case size: 40.5mm | Battery life: Six days | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Display: AMOLED | Weight: 37g
- Improved design from Versa 3
- UI is very friendly
- Super sleep tracker
- No third-party apps
- No music features
- Some heart rate accuracy issues
If the Pixel Watch 2 isn't for you - and it won't be, for example, if you have an iPhone - the Versa 4 is the device we currently rate as Fitbit's best smartwatch.
With an excellent six days of battery life, a very reasonable price tag, and a compact design (that now features a side button once again), it's a much better pick, in our view, than the flagship Fitbit Sense 2.
Like the Pixel Watch, a lot of the device's strengths revolve around the Fitbit tracking experience; something that includes brilliant sleep tracking, helpful heart data, and even a Health Metrics dashboard, giving you access to metrics like breathing rate and heart rate variability.
The health insights stop short of what's available on the Sense 2, meaning there's no ECG, but the Versa 4 will still handily scan for irregular heart rate events through the PPG sensor.
It's improving as a smartwatch, too, with things like Google Wallet and Google Maps support now live, but it is also true that all of Fitbit's models now feel second-rate as smartwatches - particularly compared to the might of Wear OS 3 on the Pixel Watch.
Namely, there are no apps or music support, and watch faces can feel a little clunky and slow to use.
Still, it's great at giving you the core Fitbit experience, with brilliant battery life.
- Read our full Fitbit Versa 4 review
Best affordable smartwatch
OS: Zepp OS | Phone compatibility: Android & iPhone | Case size: 42mm | Battery life: Up to 14 days (typical), 30 days (battery saver) | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Display: 1.75" AMOLED, 341 PPI | Weight: 24g (without strap)
- Great battery life
- Solid GPS and sports features
- Slim and light
- Budget OS
- A little fiddly to use
- Some HR issues
If you're looking for a smartwatch that doesn't cost the earth, but actually delivers on fitness, sleep and activity tracking – the Amazfit Active is the one.
In terms of looks it's basic, platicky, but lightweight, with a 42mm case that works for small wrists. There's an AMOLED display, although the OS is pretty basic.
It packs in GPS and plenty of workout modes, and we found accuracy to be decent across a range of long runs. Heart rate also checked out against a chest strap, as long as you kept the Active tight during your workout.
Sleep tracking durations are too generous, but consistent. And there's loads of health data to look through, including breathing quality.
All this is delivered in the Zepp Health app, which is a mature and detailed place to keep tabs on your fitness and health.
Battery life will go well over a week with heavy use. Of course, there are no apps, payments, and music support is limited to MP3s.
Amazfit Bip 5
Best smartwatch under $100
OS: Zepp OS | Phone compatibility: Android & iPhone | Case size: 45.94mm x 38.09mm x 11.2mm | Battery life: Up to 10 days (typical), 26 days (battery saver) | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Display: 1.91" LCD, 320 x 380px | Weight: 26g (without strap)
- Decent sleep tracking
- Zepp Health app is strong
- GPS on board
- Some dodgy workout data
- Chunky and plasticky
- TFT display
The chunky and plastiky Amazfit Bip 5 is certainly not a looker – but at $89/£89 for a smartwatch, you can forgive a lot.
What we love about the Bip 5 is that it doesn't hold back on features.
It packs in GPS, although we did find slight wayward data, and it tended to come up around 400m short over 10K. However, it was more than good enough to track weekend jogs for casual runners.
Sleep tracking was as strong as more expensive members of the Amazfit range, and all the data feeds into the same Zepp Health app, which is a good place to review your workout and health data.
Downsides, other than the design, are the low-res TFT screen which is noticably inferior to modern AMOLED smartwatches, and some problematic heart rate data.
How to choose the right smartwatch
The fit, comfort, and wearability of a watch are largely down to case size - and a few millimeters can make a huge difference. Those with small wrists should look in the 38-42mm range, while those who like chunky, oversized watches or have big wrists should look at anything above 45mm.
iOS vs Android
It's important to think about what smartphone you use. Apple Watch is iOS only, and Wear OS watches, such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch lineup and Pixel Watch 2, are exclusive to Android.
Older Wear watches work on both, but the iOS experience is diminished and it's not recommended.
Huawei, Fitbit, and Garmin smartwatches work on both, but some advanced calling from the wrist features are usually Android only.
Apps and extra features
Buying into Apple Watch and Wear OS watches means you can access bustling app stores full of options from big-name brands, such as Spotify or Strava, and expand on the core features.
If you opt for smartwatches from Garmin / Fitbit / Huawei, their platforms simply don't have developer support for quality apps, so you're limited to the advertised functionality of the watch.
Heath and fitness features
Smartwatches are increasingly becoming health and fitness tools, so make sure yours has the sensors you want.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a smartwatch without a heart rate sensor these days, and most are adept at keeping tabs on 24/7 HR and resting heart rate.
However, the likes of Apple and Fitbit now include ECG, a powerful health tool – read our ECG explainer if you're curious. Runners will want GPS on board to accurately track outdoor workouts, too.
The Apple Watch and Wear OS smartwatches generally only last a day or two away from the charger, which is one of the biggest turn-offs for people. There's been moves to extend that to 2-3 days, with the Apple Watch Ultra 2, Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and TicWatch Pro 5.
Luckily, a lot of other smartwatches now last more than a week, with Fitbit, Huawei, Amazfit, and Garmin all pushing longer runtimes.
One more key consideration is whether you want your smartwatch to work away from your phone.
Many manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, offer LTE versions, which you'll need to purchase a separate data plan to take advantage of. Most carriers and networks have plans for LTE smartwatches.
Check out our guide to the best LTE smartwatches, if this is important to you.
How we test