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Buying a smart watch could be one of the best decisions you ever make.
When most of the world these days uses a smartphone to keep track of the time, a conventional wrist watch may seem like an outmoded and redundant piece of kit.
But there is a revolution going on the the world of watches that is rapidly changing all that.
Say hello to the smart watch…
Before we get into the best smart watches of 2018, here’s a sneak peek at our top 3 favorites:
|Battery Life||2-3 days||18 Hours||24 Hours|
|Stand-Out Feature||Can pay with it using Samsung Pay||- Can Run Siri|
- Dual Core Processor
- 1 What are Smart Watches?
- 2 What Makes the Best Smart Watch?
- 3 Smart Watch Brands
- 4 Best Smart Watches of 2018
- 4.1 Apple Watch Series 3
- 4.2 Fossil Q Gen 3 Smartwatch – Smoke Explorist
- 4.3 Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smartwatch
- 4.4 Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch
- 4.5 Fossil Q Marshal Gen 2 Smoke Stainless Steel Touchscreen Smartwatch
- 4.6 Apple Watch Series 1
- 4.7 Ticwatch E Smartwatch-Shadow
- 4.8 NO.1 G6 Smartwatch
- 4.9 Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch
What are Smart Watches?
The biggest benefit of a smart watch is connectivity in a petite, portable packet that you can simply glance down at instead of having to fish your phone out of your pocket or bag — saving you time and giving you the luxury of added convenience.
Thanks to being connected, the best smart watches are capable of doing all kinds of clever things — from playing your favorite tunes to managing your diary and receiving notifications or alerts, doing some online shopping, texting your friends, or navigating your route using GPS… and that’s just for starters.
Designed to be worn on the wrist, just like a regular wristwatch, certain models of smart watch are popular with fitness fans who love the fact that they can monitor your heart rate, keep track of how many calories you are burning over a certain distance, as well as keeping statistics and letting you know when you achieve a new personal best.
Oh, and of course they tell the time too.
Take a look at this video if you’re wondering whether a smart watch is a good fit for you:
How Do They Work?
Powered by batteries, the majority of smart watches use Android or iOS technology and are designed to serve as companions to your smartphone as they are not able to connect directly to the internet — instead they use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to connect to compatible phones and tablets.
Certain brands of smart watch such as Samsung have developed their own operating systems as an alternative to Android’s Google and Apple iOS, but some of these smart watches are only compatible with other products from the same brand.
To connect the smart watch and smartphone or tablet it’s necessary to install a smart watch app on the device.
Once connected to your smartphone or tablet, the smart watch can be synchronized with it to have access to all your favorite apps and information stored on it, as well as having the possibility to download new apps if required.
Pairing the smart watch to another device in this way also means that if, for example, you receive a message or notification on your smartphone, you will also receive it on your smart watch too, although it’s worth noting that a smart watch can only be paired with one tablet or smartphone at a time.
Even if your smart watch isn’t connected to your smartphone or tablet, it will still function as a stand alone device but without all the bells and whistles.
Depending on the make and model of smart watch it will have a range of basic features in addition to the clock which may include things such as a thermometer, alarm, stopwatch or calendar.
Smart watches feature colorful LCD touchscreens which make them super easy to use, and some can even be voice operated, allowing for totally hands free operation.
Other models feature more traditional side buttons to enable you to select apps from your smart watch menu.
Style wise, smart watches are often a little bigger and bulkier than most conventional watches as they need to be a certain size in order to house the micro computer they require to function.
That said, there are some pretty stylish models available, many of which are available in a choice of colors and can be customized with different style straps.
What Makes the Best Smart Watch?
Smart watches are incredibly varied, and the make and model you choose will depend on the main things you want to use it for.
Personal preference aside, we’ve put together a list of important features you should be looking out for to get the best smart watch to suit your needs…
Without doubt the most important factor to consider when buying a smart watch is compatibility.
If your smart watch is not compatible with your smartphone (or tablet) you won’t be able to take advantage of most of the features unless you invest in a new smartphone which it is compatible with.
Checking your devices are compatible is a must if you don’t want to be wasting time and money.
A clear, easily readable screen is essential when it comes to ease of use of your smart watch.
Some smart watches feature full color displays which, though prettier and clearer, tend to use up battery more quickly, whilst others opt for a simple monochrome scheme.
It’s also important to consider how you prefer to navigate around the screen — buttons, touchscreen or a combination of the two?
Buttons are more basic and navigation can be a little more long winded, but for some people small touchscreens can be fiddly to use and it can sometimes be difficult to target items.
A swipeable touchscreen interface can be a bonus.
Notifications and Alerts
Whether your smart watch uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi it needs to be in range of your smartphone in order to receive notifications and alerts.
Notifications can include emails, text messages, weather updates, upcoming calendar events, social media messages and updates, alarms and more, but not all smart watches will alert you to all of these things, so it’s important to choose the smart watch that will keep you up to date with everything you need to know about and not bug you with things you don’t want to know.
You’ll be able to adjust notification settings within the smartphone app so don’t worry about this too much.
In addition to this different smart watches display notifications and alerts differently.
For example, some models may just inform you that you have received a text message on your phone and tell you the sender, whereas other models will allow you to read the text message in full on the watch face.
Generally the less expensive the smart watch, the fewer apps you will be able to install.
More basic models come with a bunch of apps already installed that cannot always be changed or removed, and may not have the possibility to add new ones.
Be sure to check what apps are included with a smart watch and whether it is possible (and if there is enough memory) to install the ones you really want.
Style and Comfort
Your new smart watch is something you are most likely going to be wearing every day, so it needs to be comfortable to wear on the wrist, as well as visually appealing to your sense of style.
If possible, try out a few different models to see if you like the size and weight of them — is the clasp easy to do up and undo?
Does it sit nicely on your wrist?
Does it rub or irritate your skin?
How easy is it to customize to your taste or change the strap in case of damage?
Check the rated battery life of the smart watch you are considering buying to see if it is long lasting, as it can be inconvenient to have to charge your watch up every day — or even worse to have it die on you when you’re only half way through the day.
Simpler styles of smart watch without touchscreens or with black and white screens or fewer features almost always make batteries drain less quickly.
Smart Watch Brands
Apple have a reputation as the best brand for smart watches, and Apple’s current top smart watch — the Apple Watch 3 — is widely regarded as the best smart watch available right now.
Samsung is another strong contender with the Samsung Gear S3 being top of their range of smart watch products.
FitBit are renowned for their excellent wearable fitness trackers, and the recent release of the FitBit Versa smart watch combines the best of FitBit fitness tracking with other features including notifications and apps.
Other brands such as Huawei, Fossil, Asus and LG also produce some great smart watch models.
Best Smart Watches of 2018
Want to know which smart watch is the one for you?
Here are our favorite ten best smart watches to help you decide…
Top of our list is the Apple Watch Series 3.
A favorite with sports enthusiasts, this minimalist and modern design is water resistant and includes an altimeter and GPS, so whether you’re running, hiking or surfing it will still intelligently track your fitness levels and stats and keep you on the right track.
This smart watch is powered by a dual-core processor which keeps everything running smoothly and it is possible to connect with either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Powerful enough to run Siri, with the Apple Watch Series 3 it’s possible to be hands free.
The bright and vivid 1.3 inch LED touchscreen has a practical flashlight function and the rechargeable battery lasts up to 18 hours.
- Robust and water resistant
- Wide range of finishes
- Ideal sports smart watch
- Fast processing speed
- Can be voice operated
- Includes GPS
- Includes altimeter, gyroscope, accelerometer and heart rate sensor
- Water resistant up to 50m
- Battery life of up to 18 hours
- Only compatible with iPhones
One of the best smart watches for men, the Fossil Q Gen 3 Smartwatch is designed to impress with its classic, chunky design in stylish brushed stainless steel and round LED 46 mm watch face.
The touchscreen can be customized, allowing you to select between a choice of different interfaces, adjust screen colors and prioritize your apps, and there is a good range of wrist straps to personalize the Fossil Q Gen 3 to suit your own unique style.
This Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connected smart watch is compatible with Android and iOS 9.3 and up.
It features an integral activity tracker which synchronizes with Google Fit, 4gb of internal storage and a battery life of up to 24 hours.
- Beautiful, solid design
- Customizable interface
- Responsive touchscreen
- Runs smoothly and quickly
- Excellent features for a good price
- Good battery life
- Built-in activity tracking
- Might be a little bulky on the wrist, especially for athletes
Want to look uber cool at the checkout?
With the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Smart watch, a simple swipe of the wrist allows you to pay for your purchases with Samsung Pay.
Built to last with military grade components which resist shock and extreme weather conditions, this Bluetooth connected smart watch is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones, and uses Samsung’s own Tizen operating system.
Rather than being just touchscreen, the 1.8 inch diameter hi-res screen can controlled by a rotating bezel and side buttons to navigate through your apps.
Integral GPS is another great feature of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier, and it also has built-in sensors including a heart rate monitor, altimeter, and barometer.
Certain functions of this smart watch can be operated by voice commands with S Voice, and the battery can last anything up to 2 to 3 days.
- Long battery life
- Built in GPS
- Intuitive interface
- Resists water, dust, and shock
- Fast performance
- Very durable with military grade performance
- Makes payments with Samsung Pay
- Built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, altimeter and barometer
- Some voice command functionality
- Available apps are a little limited compared to Apple
- A little bulky on the wrist for athletes
Fitness tracking isn’t the only thing that this smart watch by FitBit is capable of, but it is the standout feature.
The FitBit Blaze features a 1.2 inch color, square LCD touchscreen from which you can access FitBit apps and set workout goals, watch workouts, count calories, track your heart rate, get all your fitness stats, monitor your sleep quality, and more.
It’s also possible to track your route using GPS by connecting the FitBit Blaze to your smartphone.
In addition to this, the FitBit Blaze offers a reasonable range of smart watch features including notifications and alerts, alarms, music control for your phone, and timers.
FitBit have used their own operating system for this smart watch, so the apps available are strictly FitBit apps, but the impressive battery can last for up to 5 days before needing a recharge.
The screen of the FitBit Blaze is actually the tracker, and can be popped out of its frame and used with a number of different strap styles.
- Excellent fitness, activity and sleep tracker
- Measures heart rate, steps, flights of stairs, calories burned and distance travelled
- Integrates well with Fitbit app and dynamic workouts
- Outstanding battery life
- Choice of styles
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to set up and use
- Fitness focused so other smart watch functionality is limited
- Not the most attractive smart watch on the market
The 2nd generation Fossil Q Marshal smart watch is the predecessor to the Fossil Q Explorist previously featured in this review and has less on offer but is still a solid smart watch for a considerably lower price than its newer brother.
It features a 1.5-inch 360 x 360 resolution touchscreen, but with a tire at the bottom of the screen to house the light sensors, but the overall design remains classy and classic with a choice of custom watch faces.
There are fewer features on the Fossil Q Marshal, but it does use the Wear Google operating system which is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones and benefits from both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Expect a simple built-in activity tracker with step counter and sleep tracker, notifications and alerts, and music control.
- Fast processing
- Affordable price
- Well made and durable
- Water and dust resistant
- Attractive, masculine design
- Relatively few features
- Poor battery power
Packed with features for fitness, the Apple Sport smart watch is an older model now available at almost half its original price.
Made from lightweight aluminum, the Apple Sport is super light and comfortable to wear and has a stylish minimalist design with a durable rubber strap.
It features a 1.5 inch OLED 312 x 390 resolution customizable screen and is powered by a battery with a charge of up to 18 hours.
This smart watch benefits from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, is compatible with the iPhone, and allows you to view notifications, receive alerts, and can be voice operated using digital assistant Siri.
As you might expect this is a smart watch designed with sport and fitness in mind, and features a build in heart rate monitor and activity app with stats and targets.
You can also use the Apple Sport just like a credit card to make secure mobile payments with just a swipe of the wrist.
- Quality product
- Elegant design
- Lots of apps available
- Very lightweight and comfortable
- Fantastic display
- Cheaper than the latest Apple Watch
- No GPS
- Not the most intuitive smart watch we’ve ever tried
An excellent all round smart watch with an emphasis on activity tracking, the Ticwatch E pairs with fitness apps such as Google Fit, and has all the fitness essentials including heart rate monitor, calorie burn calculator, workout scheduling, step counter, and integral GPS plus digital compass and gyroscope.
In addition, it features the ability to play music stored in your smartphone, and lets you manage calls, emails, and other alerts and notifications.
This Bluetooth smart watch has a refined look with a round 44 mm touchscreen and practical silicone strap and is extremely water and weather proof.
It runs the Android Wear 2.0 operating system which gives you access to all the Google play apps, as well as supporting third party apps.
The battery lasts up to 2 days before it needs to be recharged.
- Great value for money
- Good range of apps available
- Lots of useful features
- Weather and waterproof
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Build quality isn’t as good as more expensive smart watches
- Rather basic in appearance
Sure to keep you on your toes, the NO.1 G6 – Bluetooth Smart Watch Heart Rate Smartwatch has a ton of health and fitness features such as heart rate monitor, a monitor for sleep quality, a steps recorder and calorie consumption calculator, a sedentary reminder, and more.
In appearance, the NO.1 G6 resembles a traditional wrist watch with a 1.2 inch round OLED touchscreen, all housed in stainless steel with a comfortable silicone wrist strap.
This smart watch uses an Android operating system and is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones and associated apps.
It receives notifications and alerts from your nearby phone, as well as phone calls, and also acts as a music player.
- Incredibly low price
- Intuitive interface
- Good range of basic features
- Reasonable battery life
- Includes heart rate monitor, pedometer and sedentary reminder
- Also offers sleep monitoring technology
- Not weather or water proof
- Design looks a little cheap
The latest smart watch from FitBit — the FitBit Ionic — has a multitude of fantastic features as well as all the fitness features you would expect from FitBit.
These include GPS, pedometer, heart monitor, sleep monitor, interval timer and workouts via the Fitbit Coach trainer, plus much more.
Smart watch features are a step up from the Fitbit Blaze, with the FitBit Ionic displaying notifications and messages can be read in their entirety but not replied to, and there is no way to answer calls.
That said, you also get Fitbit Pay for easy contactless payments, plus the ability to store around 2.5 GB of music with offline playback and download certain apps.
The square 1.42 inch color touchscreen is larger than that of the FitBit Blaze and uses intelligent auto-brightness adjustments to enable you to see the screen even under bright light, and the overall design is lightweight, and is water resistant so can even be worn when swimming.
- Up to 5 days of battery life
- Excellent fitness and activity tracking features
- Contactless payment feature
- Water resistant
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Step-by-step workout coaching available
- Can store and play over 300 songs, as well as download playlists from Pandora
- Fitness focused so not so many smart watch features
- Reasonably expensive
Which do you think is the best smart watch?