Whether you’d looking for a sporty tracker or a wearable calendar, there are many different types of high-tech wristwatches. From humble beginnings through Pebble’s Kickstarter, the market has evolved to cover a growing number of manufacturers. Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola and Microsoft are all fighting for space on our wrist in 2017.
The line between fitness tracker and smartwatch is progressively blurry, with plenty of fitness trackers now doing notifications like an Apple Watch tribute act. For the purposes of this article, we’re keeping things as purely about watches as possible. So although there’s a Garmin and a Fitbit in place, anything that’s too limited doesn’t make the cut.
But which smartwatch is for you? This is our pick of the best to smarten up your wrist.
#1 Apple Watch Series 2
Price: From $478.00
Apple has emphasized the fitness angle with the Apple Watch Series 2, adding GPS and extra waterproofing to its high-end smartwatch. Outside of added hiking and swimming competencies, the Series 2 also a more powerful processor – which makes it much faster to use than its predecessor. It may look the same as the Series 1, but this is an upgrade in almost every area.
#2 Apple Watch Series 1
Price: From $349.00
It may not have the Series 2’s GPS or swim-proof casing, but the Series 1 does have a lower price tag – and remains a beautifully designed device, with a control system that really works, a heart-rate monitor and the Series 2’s updated processor.
#3 Samsung Gear S3
Samsung’s smartwatches have, to date, been largely disappointing affairs. Limited smartphone compatibility and app choice, plus less than standout hardware have hobbled Samsung’s flagship smartwatch; not anymore. The firm’s latest wrist-borne offering is a triumph of both software and hardware engineering and not only the company’s best smartwatch but the best alternative to the Apple Watch Series 2 for Android smartphone owners.
The highlight is excellent battery life – the large 380mAh battery and the lightweight Samsungs Tizen OS means the Gear S3 can go for up to five days on a single charge – but that’s not its only strength. It also has built-in GPS, so it’ll track your running and cycling routes without you having to take your smartphone with you, and there’s now a built-in speaker you can take calls on the watch as well.
#4 Huawei Watch 2
The Huawei Watch 2 is lined up to be one of the best smartwatches of 2017. It runs Android Wear 2.0 out of the box, which means no faffing around with upgrading for the extra features – and its raw specs make it one of the stronger contenders that we’ve seen: a 1.1GHz Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor is backed up with 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a 420mAh battery. That means it has both power and stamina – and you can even get a 4G version meaning you can take calls and texts directly to your wrist.
#5 LG Watch Urbane
Let’s be honest, the LG Watch Urbane won’t be to everyone’s tastes. The styling is big, bold and in your face – there’s not a hint of subtlety to the Urbane’s all-metal design. That said, this Android Wear smartwatch gets a lot right. Battery life is great, and the round OLED screen is bright and clear. The clincher? While it launched at over £200, the price has dropped down to around the £180 mark, which makes it even more appealing.
#6 Motorola Moto 360 2
Motorola granted all our wishes with the Moto 360 2. The old TI OMAP processor from the previous model has been replaced by a far more capable Snapdragon 400, and the result is a far snappier, longer-lasting wearable. The Moto 360 2 also now comes in two sizes – 42mm and 46mm – which makes it more suitable for daintier wrists. The huge range of straps and customizable options make it the prettiest Android Wear device by a long stretch.