The 6 Best Smartwatches to Buy in 2017

A great Android wear device, the Apple Watch Sport and more

When it comes to smartwatches, one size most definitely does not fit all. The best option for you depends on a number of factors, including the smartphone you use; whether you want strong activity-tracking features; your budget; and your aesthetic tastes. For example, many people prefer a smartwatch with a round display because it looks more like a standard wristwatch than a piece of tech. You'll want to take all these factors into consideration when you begin the search for the best smartwatch for you.

Finally, it's important to note that, like most other types of tech gadgets, there's no guarantee that a newer version of any of the below-mentioned products won't pop up in the months to come. This site always covers the latest wearables so be sure to check back to get the latest news and keep in mind that ultimately most smartwatches offer comparable functionality — with the biggest differences being look and feel. 

With all that out of the way, let's jump into the list of the best smartwatches to buy now.

While there are plenty of people who might say the wearable fad has already come and gone, Apple’s launch of the Watch Series 2 is hoping to change that. For starters, the addition of built-in GPS, waterproofing, and overall better performance makes for a superb wearable device that's a cut above the rest.

The aluminum face watch version starts at under $400, and now runners can leave their phones at home and swimmers can feel free to actually go for a swim (or shower). The Series 2 watch is slightly larger than the last generation, though it doesn’t increase the battery life (which, although disappointing, is not a deal breaker). Apple has also added a ceramic case version of the watch that is claimed to be 4x tougher than the stainless steel option. And there's yet another version where Apple teamed up with Nike to offer sportier color combinations, as well as a strong elastomer silicone strap that offers better ventilation for runners.

The rest of the design remains the same. The digital crown is on the right next to the appropriately named “Side” button. But, the OLED retina touch display is twice as bright as the original watch, which makes it easily viewable in direct sunlight. Overall, the upgrades are far superior to the original launch software, so it feels like a completely new (yet familiar) product.

Sony isn't the first name you think of when talking about smartwatches, but it happens to offer one of the best Android Wear devices around. Android Wear, by the way, is the Google-developed wearable platform that you'll find running on most non-Apple Watch smartwatches, though you will find some wearables (including #3 on this list) that are exceptions. The biggest benefit to choosing an Android Wear watch is the wide selection of apps and watch faces you'll get, plus well-integrated notifications that use Google Now to push you relevant updates.

You can currently find the Sony Smartwatch 3 on Amazon for as little as $150, and it offers some great features for that price. For one, it includes built-in GPS, which is great for leaving your smartphone at home when you go for a walk or run and want to track your workout. The device is also waterproof, so you shouldn't need to worry too much if it gets splashed occasionally. 

Clearly, this product is made for an active user, but for those who want something a bit dressier, there's also a silver metal version. You'll find this option for less than $300.

Samsung's released quite a portfolio of wearables over the last few years, and not all of them have been winners. The more recent Samsung Gear S2, however, is definitely a highlight, thanks in large part to a nice design with a round display.

Perhaps the coolest feature of this watch is that you can navigate the display by rotating its bezel. This is an easy, intuitive way to move through the interface, and it's more elegant than the hardware buttons you have to press on some other products. The design is also attractive, with several color palette and material options ranging from sporty to more formal, with prices starting at about $299.

One potential drawback is that the Samsung Gear S2 doesn't run on the Android Wear platform, so it doesn't offer access to as many apps and watch faces as competitors do. Especially considering the upcoming revamp of Android Wear, this could definitely be a disadvantage, but ultimately it depends on how much you care about things like Google Now-based notifications and a rich selection of apps.

You may be wondering why the Apple Watch gets a top spot on this list when its successor is now available. While it's true that the next-generation Apple Watch is waterproof and features a new dual-core processor, the original product still has plenty going for it — and it's now available for a relatively low price: $299 and up.

That price drop definitely reflects the fact that this is no longer the more recent version of the product, but you shouldn't necessarily overlook the original Apple Watch, especially the original entry-level Apple Watch Sport. This device offers notifications, daily activity tracking including prompts to get you moving when you've been sitting too long and personalization in the form of different watch straps and software watch faces. As for what distinguishes the Apple Watch Sport from the Apple Watch, it's mainly about the straps and the casing materials. The Sport features anodized aluminum rather than stainless steel, and while you can swap out bands by default the Apple Watch Sport comes with a rubberized strap, which is probably the best option if you plan on wearing this device during some sweaty workouts.  

The bottom line is that the Apple Watch Sport is probably the best option for iPhone users, both because Android smartphones aren't compatible and the user experience on this product is seamless for iOS users. If you have the budget to splurge on an Apple Watch Series 2 (starting at $369) it could be worth it — but if you're not set on specific features the Apple Watch Sport is a very solid choice.

If you don't mind going without Android Wear or the Apple Watch's platform, the Pebble Time Round is a great, relatively affordable smartwatch that offers very strong battery life. It's available for less than $200 on Amazon, and due to some software updates, this wearable is looking better than ever.

In 2016, Pebble announced new fitness features for its lineup of Pebble Time devices. The Pebble Health fitness-tracking platform will now display more in-depth information about your daily activity and workouts, and there's a new Smart Alarms feature that chooses the optimal wake-up time based on your sleep cycles.

As for what makes the Pebble Time Round, in particular, a good option, it has a circular display that lends to an overall attractive design (available in a variety of colors, from all-black to white with rose-gold accents to a brown leather strap option). This watch's battery lasts for up to two days, but that's because the screen is e-paper and doesn't offer touch functionality. If you can live with these trade-offs, though, this is a great pick due to its modern looks and various convenient features.

The Moto 360 was one of the first watches to set off the round display craze, and it's still holding strong in its second generation. This is an Android Wear product, so you get all the software benefits of being a part of Google's platform, plus a very customizable design that starts as low as $299 (or less if you find a deal like the link above on Amazon) but can go up based on the materials and the configuration you choose.

In fact, customization is probably the biggest draw for the Moto 360 2, since you can choose from three sizes and then select from a variety of colors, finishes, bezels and more. So if you own an Android smartphone and are simply looking for an attractive Android Wear smartwatch without needing any specific features, this could be your best bet.

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