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Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Fit at Amazon
"A testament to how the best fitness trackers know that simplicity is key."
Best for Samsung Owners: Samsung Galaxy Watch at Amazon
"Optimized for Samsung’s own controls, a perfect sidekick to your Galaxy or Note phone."
Best Fitness Tracking: Fitbit Versa 2 at Amazon
"If you're serious about tracking your health and fitness goals, the Fitbit Versa 2 is designed with you in mind."
Runner-Up Best Fitness Tracking: Fitbit Versa at Amazon
"Iconical, serious fitness-tracking credibility at an affordable price."
Best Health Features: Apple Watch Series 5 at Amazon
"Finally introduces an always-on display without sacrificing battery life."
Best Battery: TicWatch Pro 4G LTE at Amazon
"From your wrist, you’ll be able to make calls, text, check flight notifications, download apps, and stream music."
Runner-Up Best for Minimalists: Misfit Command at Amazon
"Track all your health and fitness goals and daily stats as well as tag specific workouts."
Best Value: Huawei Watch 2 at Amazon
"A compelling option, with its recent price drops."
Best for Music: Garmin vívoactive 3 Music at Amazon
"This one is a step closer to full-featured smartwatches, but at its core, Garmin’s still about fitness tracking."
Best for Minimalists: Skagen Falster at Amazon
"For those who’d prefer their smartwatch to look more like a piece of jewelry than a small computer on their wrist."
Whether you're looking for a fitness tracker that can keep running tabs on your vitals or just a slick new accessory to take up space on your wrist, we've got the perfect wearable for the job. Smartwatches take all the functionality of fitness trackers and layer on additional features like controlling media playback, checking emails and even responding to messages.
If you're looking for more information on how to best use your smartwatch or you're just curious about what they can do for you, make sure to check out our guide for a quick crash course.
Tracks sleep/steps/water consumption
Reports of phone pairing issues
Hard to read in bright environments
The Samsung Galaxy Fit is a testament to how the best fitness trackers know that simplicity is key. With a clean, elegant design, the Galaxy Fit keeps tabs on all of your activities – from steps to sleep to water consumption — to help you optimize your health while staying connected to the rest of your life. You can receive notifications about texts and calls and keep an eye on your calendar while hitting the gym or trail and will be alerted if your heart rate gets too high or low. The always-on, full-color AMOLED display makes it easy to check on your progress and any updates.
Affordable and efficient, the Galaxy Fit can last up to seven days on a single charge. Our testing revealed that the Galaxy Fit can last up to 8 days on a single charge. Don’t let its slim, unobtrusive design fool you, this wearable is rugged and durable, apt for taking into the pool, shower, and extreme temperature conditions.
"While the fit can be tight, its generally undetectable for most of the day—including while sleeping." — Yoona Wagener, Product Tester
Optimized for Samsung apps and controls
Reports of Bluetooth connectivity issues
Poor health stat tracking
While you can purchase smartwatches with cellular service, the most practical market-tested use is a companion for your phone. And when you’re choosing which watch to buy, seamless connection via apps and your phone OS is a key consideration. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch is a great option if your phone is a Galaxy or a Note.
Besides compatibility, the form factor of the Galaxy Watch proved to be a standout point in our testing. The build is fantastic with IP68 waterproof and Corning Gorilla Glass DX+, and the display looks great with a resolution up to 360 x 360 and Circular Super AMOLED tech. On the larger model, the battery sports a capacity of 472 mAh, which powers the snappy Exynos 9110 Dual core processor. You can choose between Silver, Midnight Black, or Rose Gold color options, and the bands are interchangeable to match your style. But most importantly, with the Tizen-Based Wearable OS 4.0 that Samsung has optimized to work with their proprietary controls and apps, this will be the perfect sidekick to your Samsung phone.
"Given the bulkier design and heft, however, this doesn't feel like a watch we'd actually want to take into a pool or on a longer run." — Andrew Hayward, Product Tester
No internet connectivity
Built-in games and activities
Screens prone to cracking
If you're serious about tracking your health and fitness goals, the Fitbit Versa 2 is designed with you in mind. This updated model offers 24/7 tracking of things like heart rate, steps, calories burned, and even how many flights of stairs you've climbed. With an improved Sleep Score tracking program, you can see how long you've spent in both light and deep sleep to work towards a better night's rest. The watch body is water resistant and swim-proof, so you can take it into the pool to do laps or other swimming exercises.
When you connect your Versa 2 to the Fitbit app, you can customize over 15 different workout and exercise tracking programs to better help you reach your goals. If you like to jog, hike, or run marathons, you can connect the Versa 2 to your phone's GPS to track mileage and real-time positioning. You can also store and play over 300 songs to keep you motivated on long runs or workouts in the gym. With a battery life of up to six days, the Versa 2 is ready when you are to tackle daily exercise routines. Fitbit built Amazon Alexa into the Versa 2 model for hands-free voice controls over apps and information display so you can spend more time being active and less time fumbling with menus and buttons.
"Unless you're absolutely married to the Apple ecosystem, the Versa 2 is an excellent aesthetic analog to Apple's Smartwatch." — Alice Newcome-Beill, Associate Commerce Editor
Waterproof to 165 feet
Up to four days battery life
Customizable health tracking
Phone syncing issues with Samsung models
May count accidental bumps/vibrations as steps
Fitbit pioneered the fitness tracker but had stayed out of the smartwatch space until recently. That changed with the Ionic, and shortly after, the cheaper and more-compelling Versa.
Running its own Fitbit OS, there’s no mistaking the company’s origins. A wide range of exercise types are available in the dedicated app, from running and cycling to weights, gym sessions and more. Important stats are shown during your workout, with others available with a quick swipe, and a summary pops up at the end. Our testing found the entire setup process to be relatively simple, requiring us to follow just a handful of prompts on the intuitive app.
Waterproof to 165 feet, the Versa handles swimming as well as any other exercise, with the screen surprisingly visible underwater. As is standard with many other non-smartwatch Fitbit models, heart rate tracking is built in, which allows for detailed sleep tracking. There’s no GPS, though — if you want to track your running route, you’ll need to carry your phone or pay the extra for the Ionic model.
Battery life is particularly good, at up to four days, and the square design isn’t unattractive. Most standard smartwatch notifications features are built-in, with the ability for Android device owners to reply to text messages coming soon.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch with serious fitness-tracking credibility at an affordable price, check out the Fitbit Versa.
"It's slimmer than Samsung's Galaxy Watch and even Apple's refined Apple Watch Series 4, plus it's incredibly lightweight. In other words, it's a fitness band that you might put on and even forget that it's there." — Andrew Hayward, Product Tester
Built-in AFib and fall detection alerts
SOS emergency messaging
Short battery life
Weak screens prone to cracking
Thanks to new display technology, the Apple Watch Series 5 finally introduces an always-on display without sacrificing battery life. This means that Apple’s wearable finally works like just about every other watch on the planet, letting you check the time without having to raise your wrist or touch the screen first. Our tests called this the biggest change in this latest iteration of Apple's smartwatch.
Of course, it also packs in all of the same health and fitness features as the Series 4, including an ECG sensor for monitoring heart health and alerting users who may suffer from atrial fibrillation (AFib), along with fall detection that can try to rouse you after a hard fall and even send an SOS to emergency contacts and notify emergency services if you don’t respond. The S5 64-bit dual-core processor also offers the same fast performance, with improved efficiency and 32GB of flash storage so you can pack in more data to take with you when you’re leaving your iPhone behind.
It also ups the bar as one of the most fashionable smartwatches on the market, with the classic aluminum and stainless steel models now joined by sleek titanium and ceramic editions. Per usual, a massive collection of easily-swappable watch bands are available as well.
"It’s a testament to the utility of the Apple Watch that, despite having drawers full of classic, functioning analog watches, I wear the Apple Watch every single day." — Lance Ulanoff, Product Tester
Up to 30 hours battery life
Verizon cellular support
Only supports Gmail for email notifications
Bad charging ports
TicWatch has been working to upgrade its collection of smartwatches, and the TicWatch Pro is the latest to receive the treatment, now with cellular support through Verizon. From your wrist, you’ll be able to make calls, text, check flight notifications, download apps, and stream music, along with using Google Pay to make purchases and accessing Google Assistant.
The stylish, 1.4-inch round AMOLED display has a stainless-steel bezel, a silicone strap, and solid readability, even in bright sunlight. The watch can last up to 30 hours on a single charge and can help you keep an eye on your health, whether you’re just trying to monitor your daily activity or working toward a fitness goal. It keeps track of your heart rate all day and all night and automatically notices and records exercise. Its military-grade durability protects it against sessions in the pool, extreme temperatures, and dust.
One year battery life
Multi-function smart button
The Misfit Command is a smartwatch designed for anyone who wants to track health goals and stay connected but also wants their wearable tech to be as stylish with a suit as it does with casual wear. The traditional watch face is 45mm wide and features a discrete sub-dial to track activity goal progress as well as ping call, text, and app notifications without being distracting.
When you connect the Command to the Misfit Link app, you can track all your health and fitness goals and daily stats as well as tag specific workouts like yoga, jogging, and cycling. The Command is also water-resistant up to 50 meters so you can take it into the pool to track swim laps and other swimming exercises. The integrated smart button can be programmed to automatically take a selfie, access your music, and even locate your smartphone. If you travel a lot for work or pleasure, the Misfit Command smartwatch can track two different time zones for automatic time and date updates to keep you on schedule. The built-in battery gives you up to one year of life.
Sport and Classic designs
Weak band connection points
Samsung pairing issues
When Huawei introduced the second version of its smartwatch, it was generally viewed as being a step backward in terms of value. With subsequent price drops, however, it’s now a much more compelling option as a smartwatch that won't break your bank.
The Huawei Watch 2 comes in two varieties, Sports and Classic. The former is a little cheaper, looking unsurprisingly much like a standard sports watch. The Classic is noticeably more attractive, with a premium-looking shell and included leather band. If you’re after something that’s appropriate at a nice restaurant as well as the gym, you may want to pay the extra money, but all features are otherwise the same.
There are two buttons to control the Wear OS 2.0 operating system, plus an on-screen keyboard for tapping out quick replies. GPS, water-resistance, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking is included, so the Watch 2 does a fine job as a fitness tracker.
There’s Bluetooth support, along with NFC for using Android Pay and 4GB of storage for downloading music. You’ll get up to two days out of the battery if you don’t use GPS, but expect to charge it every day otherwise.
Store up to 500 songs
15 different fitness apps
Durable glass watch face
iPhone syncing issues
Garmin, known primarily for its GPS and fitness devices, has taken one step closer to full-featured smartwatches with their vívoactive 3 Music. This model doesn't run on Wear OS (Google's increasingly-popular OS for wearables), but it does offer thousands of free apps, watch faces, and more via Garmin’s ConnectIQ store. The vívoactive 3 Music also comes preloaded with 15 sports apps to monitor your progress whether you're running, swimming, lifting, or doing yoga — because, at its core, Garmin is still all about fitness tracking
The watch's face is made from chemically-strengthened glass, with a 240x240 resolution display that's visible even in bright sunlight. The battery is pretty impressive, too, lasting up to seven days with light use, and up to five hours of continuous use with full GPS functionality and music playing.
Speaking of music, that's what really sets this smartwatch apart (especially compared to Garmin's other wearables). The vívoactive 3 Music has enough internal storage for 500 songs — and they're easy to download to your device using the Garmin Express software. Once your songs are downloaded, you can listen to music without a smartphone. Just connect some Bluetooth headphones to the watch and you're good to go. If streaming is more your game, then you can also download some popular media apps as well.
Leather or stainless steel straps
Discreet watch face design
Google Assistant built-in
No heart rate monitor
If you’d prefer your smartwatch looked more like a piece of jewelry than a small computer on your wrist, you’ll like Skagen’s Falster range. The straps of these slimline watches come in a few different leather or stainless steel options but coupled with the included minimalist watch face designs, they all look sleek and stylish in a way few other smartwatches manage.
All of the usual Wear OS features are included such as calls, texts, e-mail and calendar, with a simple button on the side to handle power, apps and activating the Google Assistant. Battery life is typical, at up to 24 hours between charges.
Note there’s no GPS or heart rate monitor built into the watch. You can still use it for basic exercise and workout tracking, but if you’re after a serious activity tracker, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
If you’re after a stylish, dressier alternative to most smartwatches, though, be sure to check out the Skagen Falster.
A top-notch smartwatch should be an excellent combination of form and function. For those searching for a slick accessory that brings a litany of high-tech features to the table, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Fit.
Always looking for ways that tech can simplify her life, Yoona Wagener is an avid fan of technology and has been writing for Lifewire since April of 2019 and loves the seamless nature of the Samsung Galaxy Fit.
The Editor-in-Chief for Lifewire, Lance Ulanoff is rarely seen without the latest iteration of Apple's Smartwatch. A long-standing veteran of the industry, Lance has also served as EIC for Mashable and PCMag.com.
Alice Newcome-Beill was always a skeptic when it came to the utility of smartwatches, but she found the sleek aesthetics and customizability of the Fitbit Versa 2 hard to resist. She regularly uses it every day as a simple watch, or for tracking her bike rides around Prospect Park.
Andrew Hayward has been covering the worlds of tech and video games for over a decade from his home in the windy city. He received a journalism degree from Lewis University and has had his work published on TechRadar, Polygon and numerous other sites.
Compatibility - What smartphone do you plan on using with your smartwatch? Note that not all smartwatches will work with your smartphone of choice. Be sure that the watch you are purchasing is compatible with your mobile operating system whether that is iOS, Android, or something a bit rarer.
Software - When looking at watches for Android devices, it is essential to know that they don’t all run Google’s official Wear OS software. If you are looking to get the most out of your Android smartphone, look for a watch that runs the official Google operating system. Similarly, for iOS users, the only watches fully compatible with iOS features are Apple’s watches.
Battery - Smartwatches are known to go through batteries quite quickly, typically requiring a charge at the end of each day just like your smartphone. Check the manufacturer's information to see how long your new smartwatch is rated to last on a single charge.