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.
It'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 to choose the best smartwatch
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 2023
1. Best overall smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 8
2. Best smartwatch for Android: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
3. Best affordable smartwatch for iPhone: Apple Watch SE
4. Best Garmin smartwatch: Garmin Venu 2 Plus
5. Best outdoor smartwatch: Apple Watch Ultra
6. Best fitness tracker watch: Google Pixel Watch
7. Best Fitbit smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 4
8. Best smartwatch under $200: Amazfit GTS 4
9. Best smartwatch under $100: Amazfit Bip 3 Pro
Apple Watch Series 8
OS: watchOS 9 | 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 health-tracking capabilities
- Unmatched app store
- Only works with iPhone
- Some won't require advanced health and safety features
- Not a huge leap forward from Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 8 is the best smartwatch to own right now – but only if you use an iPhone.
It may not represent a huge upgrade over the Series 7, with the inclusion of a body temperature sensor and Crash Detection being the only real notable differences, but the expert blend of design, features, and tracking features see it take its rightful place atop our smartwatch rankings.
The OLED display is bright and beautiful, as it was in the last generation, and the new features available through watchOS 9 continue to refine the experience. One notable new software addition, Low Power Mode, can double the battery life to around 36 hours - though there are natural compromises here.
Generally, though, unless you need a smartwatch with great battery life or one that works with Android, this is an experience with very few compromises. It's our go-to workout partner, an excellent health monitor (even though juicy data is hidden in the complex Health app), and a superb companion to your smartphone.
But it's the bustling Apple 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.
Not everybody needs all this functionality, but there's no better option than the Series 8 for those who do.
- Read our full Apple Watch Series 8 review
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
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 may not be perfect, but it is the best watch for those with an Android phone.
It offers up a fairly nondescript design, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Like with the Apple Watch, Samsung is sticking with a relatively similar formula in both design and features for its 2022 flagship model.
The headline feature of this smartwatch is the improved battery life. It's comfortably better than a lot of options on this list, giving you a good few days of use before needing to return to the charger.
It's not all plain sailing, though. While sports tracking and health monitoring are genuinely impressive for the most part, there are still the odd niggles - and not much has really been improved on since the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup.
This is still a great smartwatch for Android users, though. The only other thing to be aware of is the price - this is expensive, and we think plenty with Android phones would also be better served with the less expensive standard model, the Galaxy Watch 5.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review
Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
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 8 or Ultra.
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 8. It's boxier and has more bezel than the Series 7/8.
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 the Series 8.
But key omissions are the always-on display and ECG, which are saved for more expensive models.
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.
- Read our full Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) review
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
OS: Garmin OS | Phone compatibility: iOS and Android | Case size: 43mm | Battery life: 9 days | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC | Display: AMOLED | Weight: 51g
- Rich sports and fitness tracking
- Great battery life
- Comfortable to wear
- Fewer case sizes than Venu 2
- Relatively pricey
- Some sleep-tracking accuracy issues
The real improvements to Garmin's Venu line were made with the second-gen model, and, with the Plus offering improvements such as voice control to that device, it retains its spot as the best Garmin smartwatch.
Of course, Garmin has tons of pricier and more feature-packed devices in its stable, but these models are more of what we would consider sports watches. The Venu 2 Plus, meanwhile, is a true smartwatch - and one that's just as suitable in the office as it is on a hike.
It certainly has its downsides - value being one, and relatively clunky software being another. While it's rich with sports modes, each is far less advanced than you'd find on the company's sports watches, with basic metrics and analysis only.
But there's no getting away from the fact that this is a rounded fitness and health tracking experience, and one that unlocks the door to the very rich world of Garmin Connect.
For those who don't feel like Garmin's more premium watches are the right fit, and also don't like the look of the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch lineup, this is a long-lasting and compelling option.
- Read our full Garmin Venu 2 Plus review
Apple Watch Ultra
OS: watchOS 9 | Phone compatibility: iOS | Case size: 49mm | Battery life: 36 hours | Water rating: 10ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: OLED | Weight: 51g
- Improved sports tracking over standard models
- The display is a thing of beauty
- Still a slick smartwatch experience
- Needs some native software tweaks
- Battery life still isn't amazing
- Not the prettiest case design
The Apple Watch Ultra is a curious device. A first-gen model that immediately catapults itself into a niche in the smartwatch market, we think this is a perfect fit for those who want a more outdoorsy look and feel from the Apple Watch.
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.
And the 2-3 days of battery life is a welcome boost.
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.
Still, it achieves the aim of becoming an Apple Watch on steroids – especially with that added battery life. We'd love more, but it's a welcome upgrade on the Series 8.
- Read our full Apple Watch Ultra review
Google Pixel Watch
OS: Wear OS 3 | Phone compatibility: Android | Case size: 41mm | Battery life: 24 hours | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE | Display: AMOLED | Weight: 36g
- Superb design and look
- Fitbit integration is a hit
- Excellent basic tracking accuracy
- Battery life is very limited
- Only one case size is available
- Mild HR accuracy issues during high-intensity workouts
Google's smartwatch debut is a real mix of highs and lows, but we think it has value. Even if it isn't necessarily the best device for most Android users.
It's arguably the best-looking, too, providing a unisex design that's ideal for small and medium wrists.
Disappointingly, only a singular 41mm case option is available here, however, which means it may be a tad small for those with larger wrists. But, for a change, women are better served here than dudes.
But no one will be satisfied by the weak battery life that, unless you turn off features such as the always-on display, will need topping up before 24 hours is up.
Still, for its frailties, the Fitbit integration here is superb, and a great fit for those who want some of the most intuitive tracking on the market.
With Fitbit, you get easy-to-understand breakdowns of exercise sessions, helpful information regarding heart rate zones and health metrics, and, the best feature, Fitbit sleep tracking. It's some of the most accurate we've tested, and it's all presented cleanly within the Fitbit app.
During testing, we found some mild issues with the Pixel Watch's heart tracking accuracy - with it being a little shy of creeping into the peak heart rate zone - but, the rest of the time, it's a great sensor that powers the experience.
If you approach the Pixel Watch with the battery life caveat in mind, there's certainly a way to make it work for you.
- Read our full Google Pixel Watch 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 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
Amazfit GTS 4
OS: Zepp OS | Phone compatibility: iOS and Android | Case size: 42mm | Battery life: 8 days | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth | Display: AMOLED | Weight: 27g
- Very good battery life
- Attractive and comfortable design
- Solid sports tracking
- Mixed heart rate accuracy
- Not a huge upgrade on GTS 3
- No third-party apps
The Amazfit GTS 4 is a recent addition here, and one we think just edges out the Huawei Watch GT 3 from 2021 as the best watch at this price point.
It represents a great step up from true budget devices like the Bip 3 Pro (below) while still not requiring you to meet the lofty asking prices of devices detailed above. And Amazfit gives you plenty for your money here, particularly in the fitness tracking department.
There are advanced metrics for workouts like running, as well as premium features like dual-band GPS that managed to match our premium Garmin sports watch during testing.
The battery life is a real triumph, too, giving you around 4-5 days with that bright, beautiful AMOLED display set to always-on. If you want to go longer, the GTS 4 can join you - turning always-on sees it live away from the charger for roughly 3-4 weeks.
As you would expect, it's not all good, though. We found some fairly inconsistent heart rate tracking in the higher zones, and the third-party app experience is non-existent.
There are plenty of other standard smartwatch features missing, as well, like music streaming and contactless payments.
Still, you can't have it all at this price, and we think the GTS 4 does a good a job as any smartwatch at finding the middle point.
- Read our full Amazfit GTS 4 review
Amazfit Bip 3 Pro
OS: Zepp OS | Phone compatibility: iOS and Android | Case size: 44mm | Battery life: 7 days | Water rating: 5ATM | Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth | Display: LCD | Weight: 33g
- A full week of battery life
- Solid GPS accuracy
- Slim and light to wear
- Some tracking inaccuracies
- Not as pretty as other smartwatches
- Not a huge upgrade on other budget smartwatches
Amazfit is still the leader at the entry-level price point, and, based on our testing, we believe the Bip 3 Pro represents the best balance between affordability and features.
Indeed, there's now incredible competition in this area, but this is a smartwatch that covers the basics about as well as any of them, and also doesn't look too bad when doing so.
Sure, the design isn't anything to get too worked up over, but it's also comfortable to wear no matter how big your wrists are.
The Big 3 Pro, like all cheaper smartwatches, does require a bit of forgiveness, as the tracking accuracy just simply isn't that accurate or useful.
However, we still think this is a useful option for those who want to get started with a smartwatch and track the odd bit of exercise.
- Read our full Amazfit Bip 3 Pro review
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 that 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 3.0 watches, such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 lineup and the incoming Pixel Watch, 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. 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