Best Smartwatch in 2022 & Everything you need to know

Smartwatch buying guide breaks down all the factors you should consider when deciding what is right for you. The best smartwatches are all excellent in their own right, but they’re not one size fits all.

From big brands such as Apple, Samsung and Fitbit to traditional like Tag Heuer and Fossil, have smartwatches to deliver notifications, apps for your wrist.

Although features and designs vary a lot, smartwatches can help save you time and keep better tabs on your health. Every other watch has built-in fitness metrics, like a heart rate sensor and GPS. Some can act as an extension of phone, while others as health-focused devices. Some smartwatches even work independently of a phone and are one of the best fitness trackers for you.

Here is a buying guide to get affordable options to select the best cheap smartwatches are worthwhile but just at the options available online.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

The Watch 4 Classic may glimpse like the earlier year’s Galaxy Watch 3 – complete with that signature rotating bezel –, but Samsung’s long-standing service of Tizen OS has ended. Instead, through a partnership with Google, a recent incarnation of Wear OS (with some signature Samsung tweaks) is what you’ll see on the Watch 4 series. Beyond the premium user experience, the Watch presents Samsung Galaxy users access to new health data, like body composition analysis and an ECG feature and AFib (irregular heart rhythm) detection.

Amazfit GTR 3 Pro

Zepp’s most ambitious smartwatch yet, the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro, boasts a sharper display than its similarly-named sibling (the GTR 3) and supports a higher refresh rate, making for smoother user interaction. The new Zepp OS will soon gain access to third-party app support but, for the time being, comes with 150 watch faces and support for 150 trackable activities, as well as an improved BioSensor that even works when swimming. Voice assistant support is also part of the equation, with Alexa when the watch has an internet connection or an essential offline alternative when it doesn’t.

Apple Watch Series 7

The Apple Watch SE is a viable alternative for those that aren’t too fussed about features like ECG and blood oxygen monitoring. If you wish to save a bit of money on an Apple Watch – namely an always-on altimeter and blood oxygen monitoring – the Series 7 also incorporates fast charging. It is 33% quicker than before and a new display that’s 20% larger, while bezels are around 40% thinner, giving the Watch a more cutting-edge look while retaining compatibility with existing Apple Watch straps. Running watchOS eight out the box also means newfound support for workout activities like pilates and helpful new safety features, like fall detection while cycling.

Fossil Gen 5

Fossil’s Gen 5 is a great all-round smartwatch, powered by a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor with tweaks to Wear OS’s power management, granting it greater control over what gets to sap power from the Gen 5’s 310mAh fast-charging battery. While the improved Fossil Gen 6 is currently in for review, that doesn’t detract from the fact that the Gen 5 offers a genuinely smooth user experience; something that can’t be said for any of its predecessors.The Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch may still trump the Gen 5 in terms of performance but it unquestionably narrows the gap and better yet, it offers some of the most adaptable and flexible styling and aesthetics of any smartwatch out there.

Huawei Watch GT 3 (46mm)

If its luxurious design, not to mention the promise of up to 14 days battery longevity, isn’t enough to convince you, the Huawei Watch GT 3 also brings some of the most robust fitness tracking to the series yet. It includes support for over 100 workout types; tracking everything from heart rate and VO2Max, to altitude and pace. The AI-powered running coach and Healthy Living Shamrock are also on-hand to help improve both fitness and well-being too. Available in a range of designs and two casing sizes (46mm and 42mm), the GT 3 series presents itself as an impressively flexible smartwatch offering, right now.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

If you’re not a fan of the Watch 4 Classic’s physical rotating bezel , then the standard Watch 4 is the perfect remedy. Like the Classic, it’s also available in two casing sizes but comes in a far more comprehensive range of colors for greater personalization. In addition, the whole design is more contemporary, complete with a digital bezel that employs haptic feedback too. Functionality and that new Wear OS 3-based user experience otherwise remain unchanged compared to the Classic. It means the Watch 4 is another premium feature-packed smartwatch with the Google Play Store, ECG functionality (again, for Samsung Galaxy users only), and support for a wealth of third-party apps.

Suunto 7

This capable outdoor-centric smartwatch may cost a pretty penny but that’s not without reason. The Suunto 7 is well suited to all-weathers, it’s surprisingly thin and lightweight, boasts superior GPS accuracy for route tracking and Suunto’s own fitness apps offer a far more robust experience than the base Google Fit app that comes with Wear OS. We just wish battery life surpassed its two-day maximum.

Fitbit Sense

Mindfulness might seem a little kooky to some and respect for those with too much time on their hands, but there is no denying that stress can affect us all, and managing it will quickly bring not just mental but long-term physical health benefits. You could call it the hypochondriac’s smartwatch; it’s so full of warning signs, but there’s a lot here that will help demonstrate serious health problems that you will have the opportunity to improve.

Oppo Watch

The larger 46mm model leads with its evolved Apple Watch-inspired aesthetics and optional cellular functionality but beyond that, both sport a rich feature set. Expect superb performance (thanks to a smart processor pairing and plenty of RAM), swim proofing and one of the best Wear OS 2 experiences out there; in spite of the operating system’s misgivings.

Polar Grit X Pro

On top of the suite of features carried over from the original Grit X – like running power, sleep tracking, smartphone notifications, turn-by-turn navigation and more – the Pro offers up always-on dashboards, making key information more glanceable when you’re out on the trail, like a compass, sunrise/set times and more. It sports a familiar rugged design, with a toughened sapphire glass front and a MIL-STD-810G-certified housing, promising 40 hours of battery life with both GPS and heart rate tracking enabled.

Whether you have a budget or specific fitness goals or aim for more productivity, here are some best buys for determining which is wearable according to your needs.

Quick Tips for Smartwatch

  • Don’t buy a smartwatch without confirming that it will work with your smartphone
  • Pick a watch with a heart rate sensor and GPS (to track your runs) if you’re a fitness buff.
  • Pay attention to rated battery life when shopping.
  • Check that the watch band’s clasp or buckle is easy to use and easy to swap.
  • Make sure that it’s easy for you to find replacement bands.
  • The selection of apps is a factor with compatibility, design and other features.

Smartwatch Buying Guide

OS and Phone compatibility

  • Because most smartwatches are designed to serve as companions to your smartphone, device compatibility is essential.
  • Although you should note it’s easier to use those watches with an Android device, and specifically a Samsung one.
  • The Fitbit Versa 2 works just as well with Android phones as it does with iPhones. Android phone owners do get one extra feature: quick replies to incoming text messages.
  • The most compatible with Android smartphones, although some will work with the iPhone with limited features.
  • Apple Watch works only with the iPhone. The preinstalled Apple Watch app and for iPhone you’ll find the watchOS App Store. You can install the watch versions of favourite iOS apps.
  • The App store features everything from games to fitness-tracking apps to extensions of most-used productivity apps so that everybody can get notifications.
  • Bottom line, don’t buy a smartwatch unless it will work with your smartphone.

OLED vs LCD Display

  • Most smartwatches use a colourful LCD screen or AMOLED display, which let you view photos, apps and other content in more vibrant colour, and tend to be brighter.
  • The trade-off is shorter battery life, though smartwatch makers are improving the devices’ efficiency.
  • Some can last several days, if not weeks, but you’ll want to opt for a black-and-white display if you wish to the most extended stamina.

Touchscreen vs Touchless

  • Opting for a touchscreen on your smartwatch would seem to be a no-brainer. But it can be difficult to select items on a smaller touch display, and some of the gesture-based interfaces aren’t intuitive.
  • Try something where you can easily dismiss notifications with a swipe, or you can opt for something that can switch between cards with a flick of your wrist.
  • A touch display and both a digital crown and side button on the right side can use the head to zoom in on content quickly or to scroll.
  • Some of them have the facility to rotate to scroll through menus.

Design and Personalization

  • The better smartwatches offer a choice of straps and the ability to swap them out for a third-party option. *This is important if you want to personalize the look of your device.
  • You can pick the band colour and material, as well as face colour, finish and size.
  • Keep in mind that comfort counts for a lot, as does the ease with which you can fasten the watch to your wrist. Avoid cumbersome clamps.
  • Smartwatches are sporting round faces now to look more like traditional timepieces.
  • Newer pieces are getting slimmer and smaller.

App Selections

  • The smartwatch category is maturing to have hundreds of apps.
  • The most well-rounded app roster where you can do everything from control your Philips Hue lights (and all the other best smart home devices) to order out lunch with Seamless.
  • Some do have dedicated apps also.

Fitness features, Heart rate and GPS

  • As fitness trackers continue to attract attention, smartwatch makers are getting in on the action by integrating activity-monitoring functions. Some smartwatches depend on your smartphone for activity tracking, but most at least have a built-in pedometer for tracking steps.
  • If you plan to use a smartwatch primarily for working out, you may want to consider fitness trackers with smartwatch as the ability to log periods and record symptoms, as well as compare your cycle against health stats like sleep and activity.

Calling and Mobile payments

  • Do you want to make calls from your wrist? Some have built-in LTE so you can leave your phone at home — at least in theory. You use the same number on your phone and the watch, and your phone doesn’t need to be nearby or turned on.
  • You will have to pay for a separate data plan for your smartwatch which is something to consider if you want to take advantage of its cellular connectivity.

Battery life and Charging

  • Most smartwatches with colour screens tend to last one to two days between charges (and sometimes less than one day), so you’ll want to consider how often you’re willing to keep plugging in your watch.
  • Watches with voice capabilities won’t last nearly as long when you use them as phones, but that’s to be expected. The Apple Watch lasts about 18 hours of mixed-use on a charge.
  • Most smartwatches use wireless charging, which is convenient. You don’t have to plug the device directly into a charger by just put flat on a charging puck.

Wrap Up

Except for budget devices from no-name brands, most smartwatches will cost depending on features and accessories.