Some smartwatches work best paired with a phone and some work well all their own. They no longer are a new or unusual product, so there are many varieties of smartwatches designed with different purposes and budgets in mind.
The top choice is the Apple Watch Series 6 for those who want a premium-quality smartwatch with many features. The latest generation of Apple watch technology is stylish and customizable.
To connect a smartwatch to your existing smartphone or other devices, it should be compatible. For example, the Apple watch integrates well with iPhones and other Apple products. Before buying a smartwatch, check that it will function well with smart devices you already own.
Many smartwatches have useful health and fitness tracking features. However, you do not necessarily need a smartwatch to access such tech. You can connect dedicated fitness tracker devices to your smartphone, which costs much less. The battery life of dedicated fitness trackers also tends to be more than what users can expect from a smartwatch. If your main goal is fitness, consider fitness trackers instead of a smartwatch.
Different smartwatch makers operate on different product life cycles. Depending on when you are looking for a smartwatch, a new model may be nearing release. Before investing in a smartwatch, check the different options available that interest you and determine if the company will be releasing an improved model soon. It might be worth a wait for a higher-quality piece of wearable tech. For more smartwatch options and similar items, take a look at the BestReviews buying guide.
The best smartwatches have application support for the apps you use. Depending on the smartphone you use, different smartwatches help you get the most out of the app software. Apple watches are best for iPhone users, and smartwatches with Android Wear are best for Android users.
Smartwatches have varying degrees of fitness tracking. Some serve as simple step counters or monitor vitals, but some can use GPS functionality to track exercise routes on foot or on a bike. If you need more fitness tracking options, there are smartwatches optimized with useful features, but not all smartwatches are specifically designed for fitness buffs.
Although not a feature of a quality watch itself, the insurance plan for a smartwatch is an important part of the purchase. Unlike smartphones that spend most of the time in a user’s pocket, a smartwatch is exposed to wear and tear on the user’s arm. A performance plan is not necessary with many electronic devices but with a smartwatch, it is necessary to get a plan that covers accidental damages to the vulnerable glass screen and small components.
A smartwatch with basic, entry-level functionality costs $100-$200. Smartwatches with app support and integration can go up to $400, while models featuring independent LTE functionality can cost more than $400.
A. Depending on the model, a smartwatch may be able to act as the microphone and speaker for a call using a separate smartphone. In other cases, the smartwatch can make calls and connect to the internet by itself rather than depending on a secondary device. Models that operate as independent mobile devices are more costly.
A. Some models use proprietary charging cables instead of generic chargers that you may already own or easily can find. If standard micro-USB cables are incompatible with your smartwatch, get a duplicate of the special charger that you need. If that is a concern, it might be better to find a smartwatch able to charge with common cables.
What you need to know: These versatile and high-quality watches include a wide range of features and the quality customers expect from Apple.
What you’ll love: It can monitor and measure health information while worn and track sleep. It has fitness tracking features and statistics for the user. The design is customizable for the individual and is a simple, stylish piece of wearable tech.
What you should consider: The price is high, but if that does not turn you away, there is not much to complain about with this one.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
What you need to know: This is an affordable smartwatch with a solid array of features that provides great value for the price.
What you’ll love: It has health tracking features for detecting heart rate, sleep and movements such as steps or falls. The leather strap is stylish and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It is very durable and pairs well with a high-quality smartphone companion app.
What you should consider: Some variations of the model are more pricey than others, depending on the size and materials.
Where to buy: Sold by Samsung.
Fossil Gen 5 Julianna Smartwatch
What you need to know: It is a stylish smartwatch using Google’s best wearable tech available.
What you’ll love: It has access to hundreds of supported apps, including Google Assistant for voice controls. The built-in speaker is high quality. The watch comes in multiple styles and is waterproof. It has a battery-saving mode that helps it last for multiple days.
What you should consider: This is not designed with features for fitness and activity tracking.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.
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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.