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What's the best smartwatch? We tested dozens, here are our top 6

There are plenty of smartwatches on the market, but choosing the right one doesn't have to be daunting.
By
September 5, 2022
The Best
Apple Watch Series 7
By Apple
8
Check price
Positives
Bigger Retina display
Durable, premium design
Accurate GPS tracking
Great software and app support
Negatives
Battery life isn’t great
Slightly below average sleep tracking
Finicky heart rate tracking
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
By Samsung
9
Check price
Positives
Long-lasting battery
New adventures features
Reliable heart rate monitoring
Negatives
No skin temperature monitoring at launch
GPX file sharing not applicable to runs
No more rotating bezel
Fitbit Versa 3
By Fitbit
9
Check price
Positives
Decent battery life
Pretty accurate health tracking
Built-in GPS
Negatives
Tiny app library
Onboard music limited to two services
Proprietary charging cable
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
By Garmin-Asus
9
Check price
Positives
Excellent design and build quality
Features rapid charging technology
Accurate fitness and health tracking
Excellent phone call support
Negatives
High price tag
Battery life is a bit below average
Inconsistent heart rate sensor
Mobvoi TicWatch E3
By Mobvoi
8
Check price
Positives
Well-built hardware
Good display
Decent battery life
Negatives
Iffy automatic activity tracking
Inconsistent sleep tracking
Wear OS is aging
Withings ScanWatch
By Withings
9
Check price
Positives
Long-lasting battery
Easy to use ECG
Fantastic Sleep tracking
Negatives
Small display limits smart features
Few advanced fitness features or insights

Choosing the smartwatch really comes down to answering four questions:

  • Do you care what brand makes it or the platform it runs on?
  • What smart features are you interested in using?
  • What activities do you plan to use the device for?
  • Are there any special features you need?

Once you know what features matter the most to you, picking the right smartwatch is easy. If you want to dig deeper into what to consider when shopping, we can help. If you feel confident about what you are looking for, skip right to our top picks. We’ve reviewed the most popular wearables on the market to narrow down users’ choices. Keep reading to see our finds for the best smartwatch you can buy in 2022.

See also: The best fitness trackers you can buy right now


The Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch available

Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7
Bigger Retina display • Durable, premium design • Accurate GPS tracking • Great software and app support
The new Retina display is the Apple Watch Series 7's biggest strength.
The Apple Watch Series 7 boasts a larger edge-to-edge display, tougher durability, faster charging, and more color options than before. If you want the best of what Apple has to offer, the Series 7 is it.

Apple offers the best smartwatch experience full stop. Unfortunately, you have to be an iOS user to enjoy it. If you fit into that camp, the Apple Watch Series 7 lands neatly into Apple’s pattern of launching very successful devices, and we found a lot to like about it. From its user-friendly software experience to its nearly limitless app library, the Apple Watch is a tough device to match.

To start, we wouldn’t change anything about the Series 7’s design, even though early rumors suggested a very different look. The upgraded display is bigger, brighter, rounder, and more durable. According to Apple, the top crystal is 50% thicker than that of the Series 6 for more crack resistance (though we didn’t push the device to prove it during testing). We found no issues taking ours everywhere from long hikes to dips in the pool. After months of usage, we still haven’t made a scratch. In short, it can stand up to whatever your day holds and when connectivity is the goal for a smartwatch, isn’t that the point?

Further reading: The complete Apple Watch buyer’s guide

As always, the touchscreen is highly responsive so swiping through the device’s extra display space is hassle-free. Apple didn’t just beef up the build size for posterity. Added room for text and other elements makes for a much airier UI and an overall better software experience. We love the brand new Qwerty keyboard as it’s easier than ever to send texts and complete tasks from your wrist. We have also tested a number of Apple watch faces and the data-filled modular face looks fantastic on the roomier display. Likewise, the extra real estate improves usability for apps like Maps.

Apps are where Apple leaves other wearables in the dust. Within the App Store, you’ll find everything from popular fitness tools like Stava to meditation apps, music services, and much more. Plus, where Apple falls short in native software, a quick search in the App store brings the device right back up to speed. We found this to be the case for Apple’s markedly-basic sleep tracking. At the time of testing, Apple’s sleep tracking was limited to bare-bones data. No sleep stages, no real insights. Luckily, the company has already announced upgrades to the line’s sleep tracking coming this fall with watchOS 9.

Third-party app support for iOS users is unparalleled and the user experience leaves little to be desired.

Not that we’re complaining about watchOS 8. From apps to notifications, integration with the iPhone is seamless. Navigation is the most intuitive we’ve found on a smartwatch and the list of useful smartwatch features is quite long. In addition to on-wrist phone calls and Siri, we constantly tapped into offline music playback and audiobooks and relied on iPhone controls for times when pulling out a phone was too much effort. Apple Pay is also a great perk for checking out with just your wearable during a workout.

On the topic of fitness, the Apple Watch Series 7 tracks all of the basics: steps, calories, distance, floors climbed, resting and active heart rate, sleep, VO2 max, blood oxygen saturation, sinus rhythm, and menstrual cycles. All of these Apple does well and the Health and Fitness companion apps are both thorough and easy to use. We’re suckers for the at-a-glance feedback of Apple’s famous rings. The Series 7 also brought autodetection to outdoor cycling workouts which we found it to do successfully on multiple rides. GPS was also reliable on bike rides as well as outdoor runs throughout our review period.

Out of the box, we did run into some issues with the Series 7 active heart rate accuracy. After a number of sweaty workouts (and fiddling with settings), we eventually resorted to a full factory data reset. We’re hopeful future software updates will address the issue but if heart rate accuracy matters to you, the Series 7 might be a gamble.

Another pain point worth noting is this device’s battery life. It will last just about up to its 18-hour claims, but certainly no further. By the end of the day, we typically had to throw it on the charger for a bit to juice up for overnight tracking. Luckily, fast charging on the Apple Watch Series 7 is well, fast. This generation charges about 33% faster than its predecessor, thanks to a new (included) cable and internal charging architecture. In less than an hour it can charge from 0 to 80%.

A quick charge is convenient because there is so much to get out of this device, you’ll rarely want it off your wrist. It’s the most well-rounded, user-friendly smartwatch you can buy, period. There are cheaper alternatives, and there are cheaper Apple Watches, but the Series 7 is currently the best of the best. All that being said, the Apple Watch Series 7 isn’t for everyone. First, quite literally, it’s only for iPhone users. If you’re packing an Android phone but want a similar experience we recommend the Galaxy Watch 5. Secondly, while Apple’s a very capable fitness tracker, it’s not the top of the line. The Garmin Venu 2 Plus will provide deeper analysis and more advanced training tools, plus much better battery life. If none of that applies to you, this is the best pick.

What makes it stand out

  • Unmatched app support: Users can find an app for virtually every need in the App Store.
  • Seamless user experience: Apple earns its reputation for device integration with the Apple Watch line. The user experience is nearly foolproof.
  • Flawless design: Form and function collide in this good-looking device fit for any occasion.
  • Reliable GPS: Apple’s GPS accuracy is among the best we’ve tested, and we’ve tested a lot.
  • Accurate health tracking: If wellness is a priority, the Apple Watch delivers more than just the basics. You’ll find advanced health tracking that’s accurate and helpful.

Best of the rest: 5 other smartwatches worthy of your consideration

If you own an iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 7 is absolutely what we recommend. It’s well supported with updates and new apps, it looks good, it runs good, and it has industry-leading features. Of course, many of us use Android phones, and some of us just prefer a different look. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of great smartwatches out there besides Apple’s flagship watch.

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro: Samsung’s latest flagship devices are the best Wear OS smartwatches available. Their hardware is fantastic, as are the overall looks of both available models.
  • Fitbit Versa 3: For users interested in the Fitbit ecosystem, the Versa 3 is the best choice. It’s nearly identical to the pricier Fitbit Sense, only without a few extra sensors.
  • Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is the best smartwatch option from Garmin. Building on the success of the Venu 2, it’s a great smartwatch and an even better fitness watch.
  • Mobvoi TicWatch E3: The best cheap Wear OS smartwatch, Mobvoi’s Ticwatch E3 offers a crisp display, a rugged design (with an IP68 rating), and NFC for mobile payments.
  • Withings ScanWatch: The best hybrid smartwatch you can buy in 2022 is the Withings ScanWatch. It stands out with clinically validated AFib detection and all-around great health tracking.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro are the best smartwatches for Android users

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Up to 2 days battery life • Advanced sleep tracker • Fast Charging
Samsung is building on the past, with small but significant steps in the right direction.
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the best premium Wear OS to date, featuring multiple health and fitness tracking tools. Samsung upgraded its smartwatch with a bigger battery and a better navigation system.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Supports last Wear OS version to date • Improved battery life • Solid GPS accuracy
Rugged, refined, and ready for adventure.
The Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatch offers a bigger battery, and this increase, Samsung claims, leads to ten extra hours of battery life. It supports Google Assistance and Google Maps navigation, and the health-tracking updates are outstanding.

If the Apple Watch isn’t in the cards for you, you’re probably looking for something from the Wear OS family. Enter the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series. This two-pronged product line features the best of Wear OS, as it’s comprised of some of the very few devices currently running the latest Wear OS 3 (aside from the highly expensive Mont Blanc Summit 3 and the Galaxy Watch 4 series). It isn’t a big departure from its predecessor, but considering the Watch 4 lineup had already won us over, the upgrades are just the icing on the cake.

For starters, both devices have bright Super AMOLED displays, coming in multiple sizes to fit every wrist. We found both variants to be comfortable for all-day wear and suited for everything from the gym to the office. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a lot heftier, and we did find it to look quite chunky on petite wrists in our review due to the angle at which the watch band and metal band lugs connect. Even so, it was comfortable and didn’t budge once we’d properly adjusted the new D-buckle strap.

Read more: The Samsung Galaxy Watch buyer’s guide

Both devices also got welcome upgrades in the battery department, which was one of our (and 70% of our readers’) few critiques of the Watch 4 lineup. Samsung claims the base model should get 50 hours of battery life (10 hours more than the Watch 4), and the Pro model should get 80 hours of battery life. In our testing the Watch 5 Pro didn’t manage to match those numbers, but it did last more than two full days and nights of heavy use on a single charge. GPS seems to be the major drain here, consistently running the battery down roughly 10% for each hour-long run in our review period. Charging speeds are also improved, topping off the Pro model in roughly 90 minutes and providing nearly 50% charge in just over 30 minutes. We’ll update this post as soon as we finish testing the base model, but our early impressions aren’t quite as favorable as the Pro model.

As far as smartwatch features go, Wear OS 3 still impresses us a year after it launched. Combined with excellent customization options in Samsung’s One UI Watch 4.5 skin, there are a plethora of options to make the Watch 5 series look and run exactly like you want. We found it very easy to navigate, and the inclusion of the Google Play Store means new-and-improved Google Maps, Google Pay, and even Google Assistant. As expected, all of Samsung’s apps like Samsung Pay and Bixby are supported too, although we would have liked to have been able to reprogram the hardware button from Samsung Pay to other services.

Apart from excellent smartwatch features, the new Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro also serve as great fitness trackers. All versions feature upgraded Sapphire Crystal displays and should stand up to quite a beating. They also have all of the basic health stats you’d expect from blood oxygen levels to resting and active heart rates in an upgraded sensor package. However, we were not very happy to see that some features, most notably the electrocardiogram (ECG), are still exclusive to Samsung smartphones due to requiring the Galaxy-only Health Monitor app. That makes it slightly less appealing for non-Galaxy owners and may open a path for future devices like the long-awaited Pixel Watch to fill the gap. It’s also worth noting that these smartwatches won’t work at all with iPhones, so look elsewhere if you’re in the Apple camp.

While we think both models are among the best you can buy, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is undoubtedly the best smartwatch you can buy for Android users. It’s an extremely well-rounded device with a premium build and upgrades in all the right places. However, it’s very pricey so the non-Pro model may be a better pick for budget-conscious buyers. Last year’s Galaxy Watch 4 ($249) or Classic ($349) can also be picked up for even cheaper, but keep in mind that although they largely offer the same great software experience and build quality, you will sacrifice heavily on battery life.

What makes it stand out

  • One of few guests at the Wear OS 3 party: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series joins the very limited ranks of Wear OS 3 devices, with great smartwatch software perks that you won’t find elsewhere.
  • Plenty of metrics to keep you busy: These devices are packed with useful health sensors for monitoring all your important metrics. However, not all are available at launch, and some are limited to Samsung Galaxy phones.
  • Fit to size (and style): These watches don’t just come in a handful of sizes, they’re also highly customizable. Plus, with plenty of watch faces to choose from, your perfect look is a tap away.

The Fitbit Versa 3 is the best cheap fitness tracker

Fitbit Versa 3
Fitbit Versa 3
Decent battery life • Pretty accurate health tracking • Built-in GPS
The Fitbit Versa 3 is a watered-down version of the Fitbit Sense.
If you're looking for the best all-around smartwatch at a pretty good price, you're likely looking for the Fitbit Versa 3. Fitbit's cheaper flagship smartwatch sports standalone GPS, an accurate heart rate sensor, and plenty of nice smartwatch features.

We’d be hard-pressed to leave Fitbit out of most any wearables conversation, and a list of best smartwatches is no exception. In this arena, the company has two devices worth consideration; the Versa 3 and the Fitbit Sense. While the Sense is the technically more advanced device, we assert that the Versa 3 is actually the better value buy. It offers all the basics you’d hope to find on a smartwatch, at a much better price.

Versa 3 highlights include accurate health tracking, built-in GPS, and voice assistant support. You can actually choose which assistant you prefer between Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. When tested with basic commands, we found the replies quick and accurate. The built-in microphone and speaker are even more useful as you can also send text messages with just your voice as well as take phone calls right on your wrist over Bluetooth.

These features make this device more than just a traditional tracker from a household name. With notifications, onboard music storage, and the tools listed above, the Versa 3 is a well-rounded smartwatch. But, that’s not to say it sacrifices tracking stats either. Both fitness and health tracking on the Versa 3 performed well in testing. The useful addition of built-in GPS makes a big difference for runners and cyclists who don’t want to pocket a phone on the road. It took a few moments to lock on before our first few runs but after that, it was quick and easy, and fairly accurate. The device also boasts a new heart rate sensor for improved reading over the Versa 2.

Where tracking really shines though, is overnight. As with other Fitbits, the Versa 3 will track your light, deep, and REM sleep, and provide a sleep score from 1-100 based on your heart rate, sleep stages, and time awake. We found these scores compared well to our perceived quality of sleep and subsequent wakefulness/tiredness each day. The Versa 3 will also track your SpO2 readings overnight and Fitbit added snore and noise detection to the device in a post-launch 2021 update.

See also: The complete Fitbit buyer’s guide

Fitbit’s updated software fixed many of the hiccups we originally faced when testing the Sense that would have otherwise carried over the Versa 3. Namely, we appreciate how it makes the capacitive button less necessary as that was our least favorite part of the device’s design. Compared to other ecosystems, Fitbit’s app library is, however, quite limited. We found all the basics, an alarm app, maps app, and a few more, but that’s it. That being said, the company’s native Fitbit app is a stellar companion app. It’s an organized platform for anyone new to tracking and a user-friendly experience for anyone who wants things kept simple.

The major features missing on the Versa 3 compared to the Fitbit Sense are electrodermal activity (EDA) monitoring (essentially your stress levels), electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring, and skin temperature tracking. Beyond those advanced health tools, the two devices are essentially the same. Our guess is that those metrics aren’t worth $70 extra bucks to the average user. Instead, we pose that the Versa 3 provides everything you need, and saves you some cash.

What makes it stand out

  • Best value in the Fitbit lineup: The Fitbit ecosystem is full of options, including one with more advanced health sensors than the Versa 3. But this is the device with the best bang for your buck. It’s a powerful smartwatch and a terrific value purchase.
  • A capable companion app: In addition to great devices, Fitbit boasts an arguably even better companion app. Unlike apps overwhelmingly pack with data it’s approachable and easy to navigate.
  • Accuracy where it matters: For tracking health and fitness basics, the Fitbit Versa 3 is an easy choice. Its proven reliability is especially apparent in sleep tracking.

The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is the best smartwatch from Garmin

Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
Excellent design and build quality • Features rapid charging technology • Accurate fitness and health tracking • Excellent phone call support
Garmin is trudging into true smartwatch territory with the Venu 2 Plus.
The Garmin Venu 2 was nearly crowned our favorite wearable of 2021. Its accurate fitness- and health-tracking features, as well as the company’s revamped software, made for an overall compelling package. But Garmin watches tend to fall far behind the competition when it comes to “smart” features. You can install third-party apps and watch faces, but there’s traditionally been no support for voice assistants, phone calls, or other smartwatch staples.

Garmin’s Venu 2 was already a meritorious effort from the company in the smartwatch field. We nearly named it the best device of 2021. With a bit more refinement and some added features, the Venu 2 Plus blows its predecessor away. Beyond sibling comparisons, our reviewer dubbed it “one of the most well-rounded wearables we’ve ever used.”

So what’s different? Well first, if you’re familiar with the Venu 2 and 2S you may be surprised to find the Venu 2 Plus only comes in one size variant. Instead of a 45mm and a 40mm option, the Venu 2 Plus slides in the middle with just a singular 43mm case. It keeps the same 1.3-inch display but the bezels are slightly more diminutive. We found this sizing hits the sweet spot of looking good on wrists of all sizes. Additionally, the Venu 2 Plus adds a stainless steel backplate to its design for a higher-end feel.

Beneath the hood, the Venu 2 Plus also made some strides. Thanks to a built-in speaker and microphone, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus can make and receive phone calls directly on the watch when connected to your paired phone by Bluetooth. We put this to the test and found the feature highly usable with voice quality unaffected by the hardware. Through the same microphone and speaker, users can also access their connected phone’s voice assistant. That means your choice of Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby, or Apple’s Siri. We experienced a slight delay when prompting our assistant but overall the optional access is a big plus.

Don’t miss: The best Garmin watches you can buy

Beyond those big changes, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus carries over much of what impressed us on the Venu 2. These include Garmin’s reputably accurate activity-tracking metrics, Body Battery, sleep tracking, and Health Snapshot. We especially appreciate Health Snapshot as it’s an incredibly useful feature in the Garmin toolbox. Essentially, the device records your heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen levels, respiration rate, and stress for two minutes, then provides a snapshot of all the data, for you to share via PDF with your doctor.

The device doesn’t offer an ECG, so you’ll want to look elsewhere if that’s on your must-have list. We also hope that Garmin will continue to tweak its heart rate algorithms over time as the sensor didn’t quite keep up with the competition during testing. Compared to the Apple Watch Series 6 for example, the Venu 2 Plus struggled to lock on and occasionally “freaked out” with completely haywire data points. If accurate heart rate tracking is a priority we suggest sticking with Apple.

On the other hand, throughout our review period, GPS data was even better than expected, outperforming Apple on a number of runs. In some instances, it even kept up with the Coros Vertix 2, a particularly strong GPS wearable. Other smartwatch features that round out this device for runners include support for Garmin Pay and storage for roughly 650 songs. These tools completely negate any need to bring a phone with you during workouts as you can pay for snacks or blast pump-up jams right from your wrist.

What makes it stand out

  • It’s a Garmin for the rest of us: This is Garmin’s most approachable device and the company’s watch best suited for the masses. It’s a detailed, precise fitness tracker as well as a well-rounded smartwatch.
  • On-wrist calls round out a great device: We loved the original Venu 2. The Venu 2 Plus keeps everything that made its predecessor a great wearable and adds phone calls from the wrist plus access to your voice assistant.
  • Accurate GPS: GPS tracking on the Venu 2 Plus is incredibly accurate, especially for a smartwatch rather than a dedicated GPS wearable. If you’re a runner or cyclist this is a huge highlight.

The Mobvoi Ticwatch E3 is the best cheap Wear OS smartwatch

Mobvoi TicWatch E3
Mobvoi TicWatch E3
Well-built hardware • Good display • Decent battery life
The Mobvoi TicWatch E3 is a better Wear OS smartwatch than it is a fitness companion.
The Mobvoi TicWatch E3 is perhaps a better smartwatch than it is a fitness companion thanks to less-than-perfect tracking abilities. The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform and solid battery life together, however, make the E3 a decent wearable that covers the essentials with ease.

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E3 is the budget watch for buyers who want a smart device without breaking the bank. A well-tailored combination of design and features keeps this watch in the same conversation as much more expensive wearables. Plus, with eligibility for a Wear OS 3 update sometime this year, it’s an affordable device with a promising future.

Within the Mobvoi stable, the $200 E3 replaced the E2 with a more modern look. The device’s display is smaller with fewer pixels than the outgoing model, however, the screen is still plenty easy to view and interact with, even on a sunny day. The E3 also added a second button to the line giving users more control. We found the buttons a good size for ease of use without bulking up the design. Each also emits a clear click so you’re never left wondering if you pressed it all the way.

As of now, users will find themselves navigating Wear OS 2 on this device which we found it utilizes pretty well. The platform offers plenty of onboard Google and Mobvoi-made apps, including smartwatch basics such as contacts, reminders, Find My Phone, Google Play Store, and much more. All of the smart features on this watch work perfectly. We synced everything from email to Slack messages and ran into no problems with any of the tools or their notifications.

Dig deeper: The best watches cheap smartwatches

As mentioned, the TicWatch E3 is eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3 when Samsung’s exclusive usage times out later this year. That means this budget pick will be running the same Wear OS as its much more expensive sibling, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra. That’s especially noteworthy when some costly devices from companies like Samsung and Fossil won’t be eligible. In the meantime, you’ll already find many of Google’s top features on board including Google Assistant and NFC support for Google Pay.

On the fitness tracking front, Mobvoi offers a little bit of everything. The TicWatch E3 will track 21 different activities, including the obvious as well as the oddballs, such as mountaineering. It will also automatically detect running, walking, and cycling exercises, though our experience wasn’t always spot on. A few times the watch took ten minutes or so to detect our walk. You can also tap into one of the company’s “Tic” apps to measure your heart rate, track your sleep, monitor your blood oxygen level, manage your stress or breathing, and more. We didn’t find sleep tracking particularly accurate so we would recommend the Versa 3 instead if you’re keen on counting Z’s.

Mobvoi then collects all your health and fitness stats in its companion app. You can view your data as a single day, week, or month. We liked that this setup allows you to easily identify trends or red flags. We just would have liked to see data from the device be more easily shareable. Fortunately, Runkeeper, Strava, and Google Fit are three third-party apps with integration available.

If you are looking for a solid smartwatch and only need basic fitness and health tracking, this is a good device at a great price. Wearables are always going to cost a certain amount but the TicWatch E3 keeps its price approachable without sacrificing standards.

What makes it stand out

  • A very small price tag: The TicWatch E3 makes this list because of its very low cost. It stays on because it delivers good hardware and a bevy of smart features.
  • Eligibility: Not many current smartwatches can boast Wear OS 3 eligibility and certainly none at this price point. If Wear OS is your preferred ecosystem this is a great budget pick.
  • Delivers on the basics: This isn’t the most accurate fitness tracker or the most advanced health monitor. It sticks to the basics of what shoppers want in a smartwatch from digital payment support to consistent notifications.

The Withings ScanWatch is best hybrid smartwatch you can buy

Fitbit Versa 3
Fitbit Versa 3
Decent battery life • Pretty accurate health tracking • Built-in GPS
The Fitbit Versa 3 is a watered-down version of the Fitbit Sense.
If you're looking for the best all-around smartwatch at a pretty good price, you're likely looking for the Fitbit Versa 3. Fitbit's cheaper flagship smartwatch sports standalone GPS, an accurate heart rate sensor, and plenty of nice smartwatch features.

For smartwatch smarts buts an analog form factor, a hybrid wearable is the ticket. The Withings ScanWatch is our specialty pick, with a classy design and seriously advanced health tracking. In fact, our reviewer called it “one of the most sensible wearables you can buy to keep track of your health.”

Much more than your average hybrid smartwatch, the Withings ScanWatch offers a medical-grade ECG monitor, pulse oximeter, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. The ScanWatch will also notify you if your heart rate regularly seems too high or too low, both warning signs of bradycardia or tachycardia. You can also take ECG readings on demand. Our favorite part is that you can easily share a PDF of your overall health report or your readings with your doctor. It took about two seconds to generate a report which was pretty convenient.

See also: The best hybrid smartwatches you can buy

The ScanWatch can also automatically track your blood oxygen levels while you sleep in what Withings calls a Respiratory Scan. This scan can detect warning signs of sleep apnea. To do so, it measures your heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation levels to give you an overview of how many breathing disturbances you experienced overnight. We (luckily) didn’t experience any disturbances during testing but this clinically approved monitoring can be invaluable to anyone at risk.

On top of sleep apnea detection, the ScanWatch also records sleep duration, depth, regularity, and interruptions. It then uses those metrics to provide a sleep score on a scale of 1 to 100. Withings’ sleep scores matched up perfectly with the Fitbit Charge 4 during testing, a device we consider a very accurate sleep tracker. In short, this is a very valuable and very reliable health tracking tool.

Sure, we’ve seen hybrids with better displays. The Vivomove Sport equips a clever “hidden” option we adore while Fossil features e-ink on its Hybrid HR. But in most instances, the small display is adequate and will get the job done. There aren’t as many smartwatch features (i.e. contactless payment and on-board music) on this device as on others in this list but that comes with the hybrid territory. We also wish it offered more fitness features. Though again, if you are shopping for a device in this style, you’re probably not looking for a hardcore gym companion anyway.

This is the choice for anyone looking to keep close tabs on their heart health or overnight breathing. And if a long-lasting battery and an elegant design are just the gravy on top, so be it.

What makes it stand out

  • Smarts undercover: Not everyone wants a sporty wearable with high-tech vibes. This hybrid is a classy accessory that packs more than (initially) meets the eye.
  •  Seriously advanced health tracking: Not many devices can boast potentially lifesaving health sensors. The ScanWatch ECG monitor and clinically validated AFib could each be invaluable to the right user.
  • Detailed sleep tracking: When hardly anyone seems to be getting enough proper rest, tracking sleep is more important than ever. This device offers in-depth insights and tons of data.

What to look for in a good smartwatch

If you’re shopping for your first smartwatch, it’s not easy to know where to start. Software experience and compatibility are crucial, but they don’t always narrow down the field enough. You’ll also want to determine what your priorities are in terms of features and specs. Do you just want an extension of your phone or are you interested in tracking intense workouts or advanced health stats? Does daily charging sound cumbersome? The topics below are all points worth considering before committing to any of the devices on the market.

  • Compatibility
  • Software experience
  • Budget
  • First- and third-party app support
  • Battery life
  • Fitness tracking
  • onboard or connected GPS
  • Heart rate tracking
  • SpO2 monitoring
  • Sleep tracking
  • On-wrist phone call support
  • Voice assistance
  • Notifications
  • Digital payment support
  • Companion app

Obviously there is a lot to unpack here. Want more specific advice on the areas above? Check out our guide on how to pick the right watch for your needs.


Why you should trust us & how we test

Android Authority has a long history with wearable devices, spanning back at least as far as the Pebble in 2013. Since then, we’ve reviewed hundreds of wearables and learned a lot along the way. Our team of dedicated health and fitness experts tests dozens of new wearables and fitness trackers every year, but only the very best make it onto recommendation lists like the one you are reading. How do we determine what’s worthy? When testing we have two main focuses in mind: user experience and accuracy. To that end, we start by utilizing the device as a daily driver:

  • We wear the product 24/7, (except for charging time), to evaluate its day-to-day performance, capabilities, and comfort.
  • We note everything from strap materials and display brightness to navigation and battery life.
  • We tap into as many features as possible, leaving no stone set unturned.
  • We set alarms, chat with voice assistants, and fire off texts, follow breathing exercises, sweat through workouts, and much more.
  • We test sleep tracking accuracy and wear the watch to bed and compared its data to other products well-regarded for their sleep analysis.
  • We test SpO2 sensors against other wearables or a pulse oximeter.
  • For heart rate monitoring, we equip chest straps to test the device’s accuracy and push the sensor through interval training workouts.
  • We also test GPS accuracy on outdoor runs and rides wearing the device, along with a notably accurate GPS device, to see how the review unit performs.
  • When possible, we strap on a comparable device from the current market to analyze how the review subject stands up to similarly-priced competition.
  • We dig into the companion app. We look to see how the data is organized and analyzed and evaluate the ease of use.

As you can see, we don’t mess around! There is a ton of variety in smartwatches and trackers, and reviewing each product is quite nuanced. A Garmin Fenix 7 review looks a lot different from a Xiaomi Mi Band review, for example. So, we also determine the wearable’s place in the market in terms of form factor, target audience, and budget. Then, we check to see if the device is missing anything important that users might expect to see and verify that it lives up to its brand’s (measurable) claims.

You can trust that our experts put every device through its paces. Typically, our review period lasts about a week, but we can sometimes extend it to weeks or months for especially feature-packed devices. We also revisit watches and trackers regularly to ensure they still hold up through the test of time.


FAQs

Unfortunately, no. Compatibility is device-specific and not all smartwatches are inclusive. On this list, the Apple Watch Series 7 only works with iPhones. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch 5 is only compatible with Android phones.

Even little wrists have room for some version of a smartwatch. Most kid-friendly devices offer basic activity tracking and task management tools. To learn about what’s available check out our dedicated guide.

As devices grow more advanced, the line between fitness trackers and smartwatches has definitely blurred. Most smartwatches have fitness tracking tools, and many fitness trackers have a range of smartwatch features. Generally speaking, we refer to wearables with big displays, large app libraries, and notification support as smartwatches. If a device has more of a fitness band form factor, we refer to it as a fitness tracker.


Looking for more recommendations?

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