Smartwatches are a great way to receive notifications from your phone and track your health, right from your wrist. We’ve used and reviewed all of the latest smartwatches for Android and iPhone, and here we’ve ranked ten of the best.
The Apple Watch Series 7 may seem like the obvious choice, but there are loads of great rivals to choose from whether you use Android or an iPhone, with excellent hardware from Samsung, Huawei, Amazfit, and others.
In this ranking we’re focussed on fully featured smart watches, with some level of app and notification support, but check out our guide to the best fitness trackers if you want something simpler – and probably cheaper.
Best smartwatch 2022
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1. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic – Best overall
- Best Wear OS experience yet
- Tactile design
- Great performance
- Full functionality for Samsung Galaxy users only
- Classic styling costs extra
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch line was already the best smartwatch foil to the Apple Watch, but 2021’s Galaxy Watch 4 series also represents a huge shift in the wider wearable landscape.
The Watch 4 Classic may look like the previous year’s Galaxy Watch 3 – complete with that signature rotating bezel – but Samsung’s long-standing use of Tizen OS has ended, and through a partnership with Google, a new incarnation of Wear OS (with some signature Samsung tweaks) is what you’ll find on the Watch 4 series.
Beyond the premium user experience, the Watch grants Samsung Galaxy users access to new health data – like body composition analysis – as well as an ECG feature and AFib (irregular heart rhythm) detection.
Running on Wear OS, the Watch 4 also has access to a wealth of watch faces and third-party apps that previous iterations simply lost out on.
The Watch 4 Classic is best experienced if you’re a Samsung Galaxy user, and you pay a premium for that Classic styling but it’s still a great fit for the wider Android user base after a premium wearable experience.
2. Apple Watch Series 7 – Best for iPhone users
- Fast charging
- Minimal bezels
- No new sensors
- No battery improvements
While the Series 7 is only an incremental upgrade over 2020’s Series 6, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best smartwatches you can buy; if you have an iPhone, that is.
Along with all of the additions and improvements from the previous year’s Apple Watch – namely an always-on altimeter and blood oxygen monitoring – the Series 7 also incorporates fast charging (that’s 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 8 out of the box also means newfound support for workout activities like pilates and helpful new safety features, like fall detection whilst cycling.
The Apple Watch SE is also still a viable alternative for those that aren’t too fussed about features like ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, and want to save a bit of money on an Apple Watch.
3. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 – Best value
- Best Wear OS experience yet
- Customisable design
- Great performance
- Full functionality for Samsung Galaxy users only
If you’re not a fan of the Watch 4 Classic’s physical rotating bezel (or the added price premium that comes with its distinct design), 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 wider range of colours for greater personalisation. The whole design is more contemporary, complete with a digital bezel that uses haptic feedback, too.
Functionality (and that new Wear OS 3-based user experience) otherwise remain unchanged in comparison to the Classic; meaning 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.
It also comes with a significantly lower starting price, versus the Watch 4 Classic.
4. Fitbit Sense – Best for fitness & well-being
- Nice design
- Good display
- Some featured gated behind Premium subscription
Replacing the Ionic as the most well-rounded Fitbit, the Fitbit Sense adds a lot of new health features at the top-end of the company’s range.
You could call it the hypochondriac’s smartwatch, it’s so full of warning signs, but there’s a lot here that will help indicate serious health problems that you will have the chance to improve upon.
Mindfulness might seem a little kooky to some and a concern 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.
For all-round physical and mental health tracking, the Sense is the Fitbit with it all; provided you can swing the high price.
5. Amazfit GTR 3 Pro – Great for affordability
- Slim design
- Superb display
- Temporarily hampered third-party app support
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 (some of which are animated) 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 a basic offline alternative when it doesn’t.
6. Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra – Strong battery life
- Durable design
- Unique display technology
- First-party app needs work
- Some synching issues
Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is one of the most rugged timepieces we’ve seen from the company; integrating the Pro line’s signature dual-display technology into a hardy form factor, running Wear OS 2 and offering respectable battery longevity.
It can’t quite match the battery life of dedicated premium outdoor watches like Polar’s Grit X Pro, or those with more modest hardware, like Amazfit’s recent offerings, but there’s little else that’s this hardy and this capable in the smartwatch space right now.
As well as the promise of an update to Wear OS 3, the Pro 3 Ultra sports a full-colour AMOLED display and a monochromatic FSTN display that, in Essential Mode, can help extend longevity from 3 to 45 days per charge.
7. Huawei Watch 3 – Great Apple Watch alternative
- Stylish, hardy design
- Rich user experience
- Buggy OS
- Poor microphone performance
While Huawei’s Watch GT series held the torch as its flagship smartwatch line for the longest time, 2021’s Huawei Watch 3 elevated the company’s established smartwatch experience with the debut of its own HarmonyOS, along with more powerful performance.
The Watch 3 comes in an array of finishes and can be paired with any 22mm strap, while a rich sensor setup means it’s great for tracking activity and sleep, with impressive levels of insight from the companion Huawei Health app.
Unlike Apple and Samsung, you don’t pay extra for eSIM functionality either and unlike Wear OS, which is reportedly losing iOS support with Wear OS 3, Huawei’s Watch 3 works with both Android and iPhone, making it one of the few high-end smartwatches to do so.
8. Garmin Venu 2 Plus – Best for runners
- In-depth fitness tracking and analysis
- Can take calls and access virtual assistant
- Stylish, understated design
- Up to a week of battery life
- Workout UI isn’t user-friendly
- Need multiple companion apps on your phone
- No LTE model
- Lack of non-fitness apps
The Garmin Venu 2 Plus is a great all-rounder if you’re on the market for a smartwatch that focuses on health and fitness. It’s ideal for runners and cyclists, with custom multi-week workout plans available, accurate HR readings and impressive GPS performance – even in built-up city streets.
It’s not just for runners though, also capable of tracking everything from rowing to golfing and skiing, and the new animated yoga and pilates exercises are a nice touch.
With a microphone and speaker it offers on-demand virtual assistant requests and the ability to take calls mid-run without reaching for your phone. The only downside is that, without LTE, you’ll need a Bluetooth-connected smartphone nearby.
However, if you’re not much of a fitness fanatic and you’re after something that’ll run your favourite apps, provide smart home shortcuts, and more, you’d be better off looking elsewhere, as the vast majority of apps are fitness-focused
9. Oppo Watch – The Apple Watch for Android users
- Great performance
- Attractive design
- Superb screen
- Proprietary straps
- Average fitness functionality
- Unoriginal design
Considering Oppo’s never released a smartwatch before, the global version of the Oppo Watch – in both its 41mm and 46mm incarnations – is a pretty brilliant first attempt.
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.
We just wished the heart rate sensor was a little more accurate during workouts.
10. Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro – Most elegant
- Extensive activity tracking
- Premium material & stylish design
- Great battery life
- Poor third-party app support
- Inconsistent notifications
If the luxurious titanium and ceramic designs aren’t enough to convince you, the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro also brings some of the most robust fitness tracking in any watch.
It includes support for over 100 workout types, even including new free-diving support, and tracks 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, and with up to 14 days’ battery life it’s built to last.
Available in a range of designs and two casing sizes (46mm and 42mm), the GT 3 Pro series presents itself as an impressively flexible smartwatch offering.
Your buying guide to the best smartwatches in 2022
Why do you need a smartwatch?
There’s an interesting theory that smartwatches are to the smartphone what wristwatches were to the pocket watch. Picture the way the average gentleman used to have to rummage through his pocket for his watch prior to the 20th century. Now skip forward 100+ years and the average smartphone user still has to dive into their pocket to check their phone.
The kicker now is that your smartphone holds far more information than a pocket watch ever did, all of which is still locked into your pocket.
Smartwatches aren’t for making phone calls – although some can – instead, they (among other things) provide a quick and easy way to check your phone’s notifications, so you can decide whether it’s worth delving into your pocket or searching around your bag to fetch your smartphone and properly action anything.
What makes a good smartwatch?
When testing for the best smartwatch, the important factors to consider are ‘how many of your smartphone’s functions can it perform?’, and ‘how well does it handle each task?’, the final attribute is obviously style – it’s still bling after all.
You’ll also want to make sure it’s compatible with your smartphone – some are only for iPhone or Android while others support most phones.
If you’re an Android user then a Wear OS smartwatch is the obvious choice but it’s not necessarily the best for everyone. Google’s OS tweaked for wearables also plays nicely with iOS (up until Wear OS 3, at least) but with cut-down functionality, so iPhone owners will get more from an Apple Watch. Read more on how to use Android Wear with iPhone.
Fitness fans will want to look for a device with a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS, even though they often can’t compare to a chest-worn monitor in terms of accuracy. Many also come with NFC which can be used for contactless payments, via services like Google Pay.
We consider the important factors of a smartwatch to be level of notification detail, battery life, style, water resistance, device compatibility and additional features, such as microphones and WiFi support. Find out how we test wearables for more information.
What about hybrid watches?
There are two types of smartwatches around at the moment: those with a colourful touchscreen – similarly to what you’d find on your phone – and those which combine a regular analogue watch with smart features.
These are known as ‘hybrid’ smartwatches; some have the smart bits almost completely hidden, while some give you information via a small integrated display (the Withings ScanWatch is a good example of a hybrid watch).
While a fully-fledged smartwatch can do a lot more, that juice-guzzling screen results in shorter battery life. Hybrid watches benefit from longer battery life with some even having separate cells for the watch and smart features. Since they’re not true smartwatches, you’ll find hybrid watches from Withings and others in our separate fitness tracker chart.