Best smartwatch

Watches

You can purchase a cellular network monthly subscription for some smartwatches, giving them connectivity everywhere.

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Which smartwatch is best?

With a smartwatch, you’re able to have the functionality of a smartphone easily accessible on your wrist. A quality smartwatch will let you check notifications that normally would come through on your smartphone or run apps without ever having to take the phone out of your pocket. Usually, smartwatches deliver excellent fitness-tracking features, too, making this little device a powerhouse for keeping you connected, entertained, and healthy.

Our top choice is the Apple Watch Series 4, which delivers an impressive number of features and looks great.

What to know before you buy a smartwatch

When shopping for smartwatches, the first thing you need to decide is whether you’re looking for a true smartwatch with full connectivity capabilities or more of a fitness-tracking smartwatch.

Fitness-tracking

Nearly all smartwatches are able to deliver some type of fitness-tracking functionality.

For lower-priced units, it’s probable that the smartwatch primarily has fitness-tracking features with minimal connectivity features. This type of smartwatch will not run apps or allow you to take and make phone calls from the watch.

The fitness tracker likely will track your steps, help you measure distance traveled while exercising, track heart rate, and measure calories burned.

Notification smartwatch

This type of smartwatch does a little more than the fitness-tracking smartwatch, as it gives you a few more connectivity features. It may let you see text messages or phone calls coming in on your smartphone, as long as the two devices are close enough for Bluetooth connectivity. To respond, though, you’d have to pull out your smartphone.

Full-connectivity smartwatch

A full-connectivity smartwatch behaves more like a smartphone that you wear on your wrist. You can do many of the same things with this type of smartwatch that you do with your smartphone, including handling phone calls and texting or using apps.

The full-feature smartwatch should give you plenty of fitness-tracking features, too, although these will not be the primary focus of this type of smartwatch.

The majority of full-feature smartwatches can make a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone to share messages and other notifications. Some smartwatches work through a separate cellular connection.

What to look for in a quality smartwatch

Some of the features you may want to have in a smartwatch include the following:

  • Operating system connectivity: Some smartwatches are only able to connect to an Android smartphone, some only will connect to an Apple iOS smartphone, and some can connect to either one.
  • Types of notifications: Your smartwatch may give you notifications of incoming text messages or phone calls, calendar reminders, and reminders to stand up and move around.
  • Battery life: The majority of smartwatches will give you at least 16 to 18 hours of functionality per charge. Some may last a few days between charges. You certainly don’t want a smartwatch that you’d have to charge in the middle of the day.
  • App sharing: If you have a full-connectivity smartwatch, you will want it to be able to use the same apps you already use on your smartphone, especially if you’ve purchased those apps.

How much you can expect to spend on a smartwatch

Basic smartwatches are little more than fitness trackers, usually running $100-$200. For a smartwatch that has multiple connectivity functions along with fitness tracking, expect to pay $200-$600.

Best smartwatch FAQ

Do you have to stick with the same watch face that ships with the smartwatch?

A. No. You should be able to change the design on the face (or display screen), allowing you to personalize how it looks.

How do you charge a smartwatch?

A. Some smartwatches make use of a charging cable, while others can charge on a charging pad with no cable required.

What’s the best smartwatch to buy?

Top smartwatch

Best smartwatches

Apple Watch Series 4

What you need to know: The most powerful smartwatch on the market, it delivers excellent fitness and connectivity features.

What you’ll love: The watch face includes haptic feedback. It has a sharp display and curved edges to make the screen appear bigger than it is.

What you should consider: It’s expensive. Some people may not want to use Apple iOS.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top smartwatch for the money

FitBit Versa

FitBit Versa

What you need to know: It delivers a significant upgrade versus earlier versions of the FitBit, giving you more features and processing power.

What you’ll love: It doesn’t feel bulky on the wrist. It has waterproof functionality, which is important for a smartwatch with a fitness emphasis.

What you should consider: The price is a bit higher than other FitBits. There have been reported occasional problems synching it with a smartphone.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch

What you need to know: With a traditional watch design with a round face, you can pick among multiple designs for the screen.

What you’ll love: Battery life is better than average. It has both Android and Apple smartphone compatibility.

What you should consider: It’s not going to meet the fitness-tracking needs of everyone.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Kyle Schurman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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