If we had tried to compile a collection of the best smartwatches for women 18 months ago, it might have consisted of a string of angry emojis and not much else. Times have changed, the industry is starting to catch up and we are in single digits for the number of smartwatches our female editors and writers wouldn't hastily cover up with sleeves in public.
Men's watches have a pretty set style, but most of the smartwatches and non-screen hybrids here come in a range of styles, sizes and finishes or even the option to go bespoke with your own concoction. Head over to individual reviews for more detailed views on features, performance, pros and cons - it is still true that tech companies haven't been able to (or cared about) getting all the flagship sports features into smaller sizes.
Read on for smartwatches for both iPhone and Android smartphone owners. This list will be updated with relevant smartwatch reviews and new entries as - we hope - there will be a lot more to choose from as 2018 progresses.
Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch is our current top pick of smartwatches and still probably the best full-blooded smartwatch for iPhone-owning women.
Now you have to choose between a few official options: the new Series 3, the Series 3 with LTE or a Series 1. (Outside Apple, you could also give the very similar Series 2 a look in). We'd give the latest Series 3 our vote, though whether you want to fork out for LTE for calls and music streaming is up to you.
It's not exactly groundbreaking in design considering it looks near identical to the original, but it's chock full of great features like waterproofing and GPS. Note: you probably will notice that it's slightly thicker than the original/Series 1, so try a couple of models on in the store to get a better feel for them.
As before, the Series 3 comes in 38mm and 42mm sizes - though you do sacrifice some battery for the smaller size - as well as a range of finishes and band options from the Milanese loop to nylon and Nike + and Hermès accessories. Though it looks nothing like a traditional wristwatch, the Apple Watch is still the most flawlessly finished smartwatch we've seen and can look quite chic nestled on a wrist stacked with bracelets.
It boasts native apps, which run even when your iPhone isn't nearby, and core features like notification support and messaging are more refined. It's a lot quicker and slicker to zip around. It's not perfect - battery life is only 18 hours of balanced use - but it's definitely an improvement on the first iterations and still a looker.
Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 3 review
Fossil Q Accomplice
Fossil's latest slim hybrid smartwatch, the $155 Q Accomplice, keeps things simple and stylish. It's seriously light, fairly slim at 11mm and comfortable to wear on the wrist. Plus it looks almost identical to a non-connected smartwatch.
As well as activity and sleep tracking, which you can monitor in the Fossil Q app, you can also set up vibration alerts which you can allocate to a number on the watch face too. So if you get a WhatsApp, the watch hands on the 40mm watch face could move to the 1 o'clock position, for instance - though this does take a few days to get to grips with but then.
Also nice (and more straightforward) are the features you can set up for the three buttons on the right hand edge - remote selfie, remote music controls etc. Just be careful with the leather straps as they get dirty quickly - we'd suggest splashing out on the metal band.
Wareable verdict: Fossil Q Accomplice review
Nokia Steel HR
If you like the look of this monochrome styling, Nokia's Steel HR hybrid (previously Withings) is back and well worth checking out. Its tiny circular display and activity dial sit stylishly on the analogue watch face, blending in particularly well on the all-black model.
The Steel HR is a nice choice for anyone who is health conscious, but worried about wearing a gadget on their wrist. It looks like a regular watch, with silicone, woven and leather strap options in various colours. At 12.5mm thick, it does sit up slightly on the wrist but not so much that we wouldn't wear it.
So what does it do? Well, it counts steps, tracks sleep and heart rate and shows you who is calling or if a calendar event is coming up. The revamped Health Mate app is great and battery life is 20 - 25 days, which is very impressive if, like us, you hate charging wearables.
Two sizes are available - 36mm and a 40mm version - so both are pretty compact and the watch is water resistant to 50m thanks to the addition of sapphire glass. Our only real complaints are the lack of GPS for runners and the poorly designed charger.
The device went on sale late last year, and you can check out our full review of the Nokia Steel HR here.
Michael Kors Access Sofie
The first big fashion name with real star power to get involved with Google's Android Wear platform was Michael Kors - scroll down for last year's Bradshaw.
For autumn/winter we have the new Access Sofie, a dressy, blingy full screen smartwatch, which has a slim pavé bezel and comes in silver, gold, rose gold and sable-tone finishes with a single crown pusher on the right edge. It's still a 42mm stainless steel watch, so you do feel it on the wrist, but it feels nice and expensive and it's smaller and slimmer than the Bradshaw. Overall, it's available in eight different styles with seven strap options.
Otherwise, this is a standard, basic Android Wear watch - no heart rate, no Android Pay - with the addition of My Social which lets you set Facebook and Instagram pics as your watch face. Note: there is a small black bezel around the display so the images won't bleed to the edge where it meets the metal as you might expect.
Wareable verdict: Michael Kors Access Grayson/Sofie review
Samsung Gear Sport
We often get asked what sporty smartwatches are out there for women - well, we've got a whole feature on it, but let's just mention the new Samsung Gear Sport. In size and design, we prefer it to the Gear S3 - particularly in blue with a nice watch face - and while it's not quite as fully featured and slick as the Apple Watch, Android users should check this out.
In return for getting a 42.9mm watch case, a fairly light 67g weight and slimmer 20mm straps, you have to forego LTE and a few smaller features from the flagship S3. For instance, Samsung Pay now only works via NFC and not magnetic strip readers and in testing we found issues with run and swim tracking. Hopefully software tweaks can improve this.
One big advantage that we can't argue with is offline Spotify streaming, which is a bit of a Samsung exclusive right now. Samsung's strap options include silicone, a hybrid leather/silicone and NATO-style fabric.
Wareable verdict: Samsung Gear Sport review
LG Watch Style
The LG Watch Style isn't first on our list, but it keeps things simple, in both design and features. This is essentially alerts and activity tracking wristwear but what it has going for it is that it's considerably smaller than its sibling, the Watch Sport and most other smartwatches.
It's very light, lighter than it looks, and fairly slim and compact too at 10.8mm thick with a fully round 1.2-inch P-OLED screen. Packing Android Wear 2.0 with nifty new watch faces but sadly no NFC for contactless payments - to keep the thickness trim, it's a inoffensive choice if not the most exciting.
Plus that price is mid-range, so if you want lots of features and sensors, you're out of luck with this one. If you want a smartwatch that looks like a watch and adds a bit of connectivity to your wrist, you're all set. Choose from three muted models of rose gold, titanium and silver finishes.
Wareable verdict: LG Watch Style review
Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
At 44.5mm, 14mm thick and weighing more than 110g, the Michael Kors Access Bradshaw is larger than its non-smart MK counterparts and several other women-friendly timepieces. However, it can also be seen as a fashion statement where bigger is bolder and thus better regardless of the fit - we're talking 'boyfriend watch' look. Ultimately, it's up to you.
There's pretty customisable watch faces that you can set up to shift from day to night and Michael Kors has now received the Android Wear 2.0 update with the new circular user interface.
There are plenty of bands to pick from, including four 22mm interchangeable silicone straps (black, white, blue and red) sold separately for $40 and six 22mm leather straps (brown, white, red, black, embossed tan and embossed snakeskin-effect) which are $50 each.
The Access Bradshaw itself is available in a variety of styles as well and includes eight colours: tort gold, pave gold, gold/turquoise, silver, a metallic blue and metallic brown. With this now an older generation, the price has come down for some styles, so make sure to factor that into your decision making.
Wareable verdict: Michael Kors Access Bradshaw review
Hugo Boss Smart Classic
Slightly more classic looking and masculine than the Michael Kors option - the clue's in the name - are these two Hugo Boss Smart Classic hybrid smartwatches. There's a small digital display, fitness tracking and smartphone alert handling onboard. In stainless steel or rose gold finishes, there's croc leather straps and a dedicated companion Hugo Boss Smart Watch app.
Wareable verdict: Hugo Boss Smart Classic review
The Misfit Phase is Misfit's first foray into smartwatches, though it has recently announced its second hybrid, the Misfit Path (more on that below). The design marries an analogue style with notifications and fitness-tracking smarts so no touchscreen here. With an elegant 41mm round face (the Phase comes in just one size), and tracks your steps, sleep and distance, giving you access to all your stats on the accompanying app.
Interestingly, the Phase's pretty analogue face does more than tell the time. It can inform you of incoming calls, texts or other updates, alongside a little buzz. Each type of notification also has a corresponding colour on the watch hands that will also display in a small window at the bottom of the face, to so you know exactly what the watch is telling you.
If you want something with a bit more personality, check out Kate Spade's Metro Grand and Fossil's series of hybrid watches. There's also the Android Wear Misfit Vapor, a bigger 44m, more fully featured smartwatch.
Wareable verdict: Misfit Phase review
Style your smartwatch
Asus ZenWatch 3
Asus ditched its square smartwatch design for the ZenWatch 3, and we think it's a solid look. Firstly, it's a pretty decent price considering most on-brand smartwatches go for $300 and up. Despite the low cost, Asus isn't cutting corners on design, either. The circular watch is fashioned from jewellery-grade 316 stainless steel and a diamond cut bezel. The improved looks extend to the bands as well with the watch set to be available with an Italian leather or high quality rubber straps in dark brown or beige shades.
At less than 10mm thick with the display measuring in at 1.39-inches, the Zenwatch 3 comes in rose gold, gunmetal and silver. Taking a cue from its predecessor, the upcoming watch will be IP67 water resistant. In our testing, we found that this isn't exactly the AW watch to beat on features and performance but again, for the price, it's worth a look.
Wareable verdict: Asus ZenWatch 3 review
The first Huawei Watch is another Android Wear smartwatch that has got bulkier in the second gen, making the original still worth a look. Huawei chose a round faced, stainless steel watch and went big on customisation with its first smartwatch. There's a range of styles and finishes available. It is at the higher end but the price has come way, way down since it went on sale.
The 1.4-inch display is a selling point, at 400 x 400, it's one of the highest resolution we've seen on Android Wear watches yet and it's also IP67 water resistant.
At 42mm in diameter and 11.3mm thick, it's essentially the same size as the Moto 360 2 but it is finished carefully with scratch-resistant sapphire glass and really skinny bezels.
Head over to our Huawei Watch review for the full verdict.
Samsung Gear S2 Classic
As rightly pointed out by Wareable readers, the (now pretty old) Gear S2, and particularly the Classic, is a good option for women. It's smaller, lighter and more stylish than the Gear S3 and still has Tizen's beginner-friendly operating system and intuitive rotating bezel. Also available in rose gold and platinum styles (pictured).
It's still not the best choice for apps, though the big names are pretty much all there. But if you're not convinced by Android Wear, you might find you can pick up a bargain with this one especially if you don't need a standalone watch - it has even been treated to some S3 features via updates. More importantly, it's the only Samsung smartwatch the women of Wareable would wear. Let's hope Samsung takes our notes onboard for the upcoming Gear S4.
As we talked through above, Misfit Phase was the company's first dip into the hybrid scene. And now it's preparing the follow-up, the Misfit Path. What's the difference between the pair? Well, while the Path shares the same DNA as the Phase, there are a few notable differences, including the round markers around the face and 36mm size - for comparison, the Phase is 41mm. We don't yet know when this will release in Spring, but we do know it'll cost $150.
Kate Spade New York Scallop
Kate Spade's first Android Wear watch features the brand's iconic scallop design, which was a key part of its fitness tracker, bringing the detail around the bezel.
In terms of tech, the Kate Spade New York Scallop features a round 1.19-inch AMOLED display, with no flat tyre – although it still manages to pack in an ambient light sensor, which regulates brightness to save on battery life. The screen packs a 390 x 390 resolution, which is pretty standard for recent Fossil Group smartwatches. It'll go on sale in February, though users can pre-order now.
Emporio Armani Connected
After concentrating primarily on men's watches initially, Emporio Armani has now unveiled its first women's hybrid, a 34mm watch with a rose gold-tone case, a silver sun-ray dial with rose gold-tone indices which costs $345. It formed part of Fossil Group's Spring 2018 hybrid unveilings at CES 2018, which also included new variants of hybrids we've seen from Tory Burch, Kate Spade, DKNY and Fossil itself.
We imagine more styles will be added further down the line, but the one pictured above will be with us in February.
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