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The best Samsung smartwatches you can buy (March 2023)
Smartwatches continue to grow in popularity as more firms join the wearables race. While Apple, Garmin, and Fitbit used to lead in the fitness tracking field, players like Samsung have joined the fray. Here’s a look at the best Samsung smartwatches you can buy right now.
Buying the right Samsung smartwatch for your needs
Samsung smartwatches cover all corners of the market, from style and practicality to health and fitness tools. We rounded up the five Samsung devices that offer users the best bang for their buck.
The best Samsung smartwatches
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: The Galaxy Watch 5 series is the latest flagship lineup from Samsung. The base model Galaxy Watch 5 offers all the best from the previous generation but with more refinement and extra battery life.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the suped-up model and technically the best Samsung smartwatch you can buy. It features the same health and fitness tracking tech as the base model, plus a more durable build, better battery life, and a few tools for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. However, these come at a hefty price.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series: The Galaxy Watch 4 series is still a great pick if you appreciate a bargain and don’t mind slightly older tech. It also runs on the latest version Wear OS.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: The best Tizen-based Samsung smartwatch is the Galaxy Watch 3. It’s a stylish smartwatch that also packs a healthy dose of fitness-tracking features.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the best cheap Samsung smartwatch. It does an excellent job balancing smartwatch and fitness features and won’t cost a fortune.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: The best Samsung smartwatch for most shoppers
The Galaxy Watch 5 series includes the absolute best smartwatches Samsung has to offer. Both models outshine the previous generation with small but significant improvements including improved battery life and build. At a much more approachable price point, the base model is the best pick for most people.
For starters, during our Galaxy Watch 5 review we found this to be one of the most comfortable smartwatches we’ve worn. The refined design is sleek and classy and added durability kept the device safe despite bumps against furniture. It was also plenty comfortable for working out and for sleep tracking. Samsung greatly expanded its overnight offerings with more data and analysis for monitoring your sleep and the improved experience is now much more similar to that of Fitbit.
Meanwhile, by day, the Galaxy Watch 5 is a solid smartphone companion and fitness tracker. Users will find all the typical tools including access to Google and third-party apps like Strava and MyFitnessPal, plus support for digital payments and music. The GPS and heart rate sensors also performed adequately during our review period.
- Tougher build
- Comfortable on the wrist
- Better battery life on 44mm model
- Faster charging
- Reliable fitness tracking
- Good value for money
- Very similar to its predecessor
- Skin temperature sensor not ready at launch
- Small models still have short battery life
- Awkward touch bezel
- Some features exclusive to Samsung ecosystem
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: The best Samsung smartwatch
Both Galaxy Watch 5 series devices are great smartwatches from Samsung. However, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro specifically offers a massive battery, even more durability, and a few exclusive features. Its upgraded user experience earned the device the top spot in our list of the best wearables of 2022.
To start, both series 5 models feature Sapphire glass displays. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro further upgrades with a titanium case and thicker Sapphire glass than that of the base model. Six months after purchase, our device still looked prestine during our Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review revisited. Unfortunately, you won’t find a rotating bezel, but the aesthetics of the device are still elegant. What you will find are all the same great health and fitness tracking we loved on the Galaxy Watch 4 series. In testing, we found the 5 Pro offers slightly upgraded heart rate data which Samsung credits to sensor improvements and a better fit. We especially liked the feel of Samsung’s D-buckle band with its elevated metal clasp. This watch band only comes with the Pro model out of the box, not the base model.
The 5 Pro also packs a much larger battery, offering up to 20 hours of use in GPS mode (though we never quite reached those numbers during our Pro review period). It also ships with a charging cable that can charge your device from zero to 45% in just 30 minutes. Finally, only the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro adds navigational upgrades for hikers, cyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts. These include Track Back for exploring new areas and GPX file compatibility for sharing favorite routes.
- Durable, premium build, and D-buckle clasp
- Improved battery life and faster charging
- New hiking and navigation features
- Reliable heart rate monitoring
- Solid GPS accuracy
- Rich software and app support
- No skin temperature monitoring at launch
- No more rotating bezel
- GPX file sharing not applicable to runs
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: A cheaper Wear OS option that still delivers
At their launch, the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic were arguably the best Wear OS smartwatches, running One UI Watch atop Google’s then-new Wear OS 3. The devices have since been outdone by the newest series of watches, the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro, above. However, this older generation is still a very solid lineup worth considering if you want to save some cash. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is also the best Samsung smartwatch available if you have your heart set on a rotating bezel.
Both the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic come in small and large sizes and have optional LTE-connected variants. The wearables feature refreshed designs with an improved strap mounting system, display sizes ranging from 1.19 inches to 1.36 inches, and bright AMOLED screens. Both models look fantastic on the wrist and their displays are bright, colorful, and engaging. They also include several advanced fitness tracking features including body composition monitoring which we found quite useful. During our Galaxy Watch 4 review, we were pleasantly surprised by the line’s much-improved heart rate monitoring. Additionally, users will find ECG and SpO2 sensors, though some features can only be used with a paired Samsung smartphone.
While Wear OS 3 does add considerable polish to users’ experience, including Google Assistant, the Galaxy Watch 4 has some limitations and falls short in crucial areas. While reviewing we found GPS accuracy to be less than stellar. Additionally, battery life isn’t great on the smaller models, and charging is laboriously slow. Still, the line is fantastic overall. More importantly, they can now often be found on sale.
- Classy, durable designs
- Multiple size options
- Wear OS 3 is all-around good
- Large models have decent battery life
- Improved heart rate sensor
- Useful body composition metrics
- No solid software update commitments from Google
- Slow, slow charging
- Poor GPS performance
- Sleep tracking needs tweaking
- Small models have short battery life
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: The best Tizen Samsung smartwatch
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is still a great smartwatch in 2023, even if it’s not running the latest, greatest software. The predecessor to the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, this device includes a crisp display as well as a handy rotating bezel (did we mention how much we like those?). It’s also the best option for Tizen fans who don’t want to jump ship to Wear OS.
For starters, the Galaxy Watch 3 delivers a solid smartwatch experience. It’s a good-looking device on the wrist and we love the opportunity to personalize it during our Galaxy Watch 3 review with tons of first and third-party watch faces available. The two-day battery also isn’t bad compared to the Apple Watch, for example. We also found a few advanced tools for running worth tapping into and were pleased with what the device offers in terms of sleep tracking, especially sleep score.
That said, this range-topper isn’t without its flaws. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 isn’t built with sensor accuracy in mind. In other words, if fitness tracking is a key feature for you, your money is best spent elsewhere. You also won’t find an abundance of apps on Tizen as you would on Wear OS, either.
- Fantastic display and rotating bezel
- Thinner, lighter design
- Two-day battery life
- Advanced running metrics can be super helpful
- Useful sleep tracking and insights
- GPS and HR sensors can be inaccurate
- No MST payments with Samsung Pay
- The setup process for non-Samsung phones is a pain
- Third-party app support is lacking
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: The best cheap Samsung smartwatch
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is an attractive Samsung smartwatch and can be found for just a couple hundred dollars nowadays. Unlike the Galaxy Watch 3, it sports a slimmer touch-sensitive bezel with a slightly curved glass face and a host of strap options. The Galaxy Watch 4 is the direct follow-up to this device (you probably notice in its sporty aesthetic).
Prior to the release of the Galaxy Watch 4, the Active 2 was the best Samsung smartwatch for fitness and sleep tracking. That’s not to say it’s fantastic, but it was the best available and it is pretty solid. We just wouldn’t suggest this device if you’re a dedicated athlete looking for absolute precision. Instead, the Active 2 is for shoppers looking to save a little cash without sacrificing too many features. It packs LTE support, too, making it a good option for streaming music at the gym or during runs.
Of course, cutting costs has its consequences. For one, during our Galaxy Watch Active 2 review, we found key health tracking metrics, like heart rate monitoring, could be unreliable. The device’s blood pressure monitor is a definite low point. If you don’t need hardcore monitoring though, this smartwatch is plenty good. Most significantly, this is the best cheap Samsung smartwatch available.
- Sleek, premium design
- Sharp AMOLED display
- Touch-enabled bezel for quick navigation
- Bluetooth + LTE variants for more flexibility
- ~2 day battery life
- Fantastic sleep tracking
- No MST payments with Samsung Pay
- Tizen app ecosystem is lacking compared to Wear OS
- Heart rate, GPS, and altimeter sensors can be wonky
- The setup process still needs work
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are the latest watches from Samsung.
Devices from both the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series can utilize Google Pay. Meanwhile, watches powered by Tizen can only use Samsung Pay.
Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active, Active 2, Galaxy Watch 3, Galaxy Watch 4 series, and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series can all charge wirelessly with their included chargers. However, the watches may not charge properly with wireless chargers typically used for smartphones, so your best bet is to use a charger designed specifically for Galaxy Watch devices.
The Galaxy Watch 5 is a very impressive device with a lot to offer. However, whether it is worth buying depends on your budget and what devices you already own. For example, if you currently own a Galaxy Watch 4, read our Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch 5 comparison guide for deciding whether or not to upgrade.
Looking for even more recommendations? Be sure to check out even more coverage below:
- The best Garmin watches: Fenix, Venu, and more
- Fitbit’s best trackers and smartwatches you can buy
- The best Wear OS watches available: Samsung, Mobvoi, and more