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The Insider Pick:
We tested dozens of smartwatches to find the best ones. After much testing, we found that the Apple Watch Series 2 offers the best smartwatch experience.
Smartwatches aren’t yet mandatory tech purchases, but they may be one day. For those of you who like to live on the cutting-edge side of the tech world, there’s no better status symbol than the smartwatch.
Thankfully, smartwatches are a lot more attractive than they used to be, so you don’t have to worry about strapping a clunky, futuristic gadget on your wrist anymore.
We’ve tested dozens of smartwatches over the years, and these are the very best ones we’ve used.
There’s a smartwatch for everyone on this list, whether you’re an iPhone user who needs the latest and greatest Apple Watch, a Samsung fan who wants to pay for your latte with your wrist, a fashionista, or an Android Wear aficionado, we’ve got you covered.
Updated by Malarie Gokey on 05/04/2017 to include the Huawei Watch 2 as the best Android Wear smartwatch.
The Apple Watch Series 2 may be our top pick, but for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the Samsung Gear S3, Huawei Watch 2, LG Watch Sport, Fossil Q Wander, and Fossil Q Marshal. Read on to find out more.
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Why you'll love it: The Apple Watch Series 2 is the most stylish, modern smartwatch you can buy, and it boasts every cutting-edge tech feature you could want.
It doesn't get better than the Apple Watch Series 2. It's sleek and stylish with a modern design that works for both men and women. Apple offers two different sizes to suit big and small wrists, several finishes to match your style, and a number of watch bands to make the Watch your own.
No other smartwatch offers this much variety and customisation, especially when it comes to female-friendly options. It's the only smartwatch I've ever worn regularly each day for months on end.
Of course, the Apple Watch is a tech product first and foremost, so it boasts cutting-edge smartwatch tech including mobile payments with Apple Pay, stand-alone GPS, full waterproofing, and thousands of apps. The Series 2 lasts about a day on a charge, but you can get more out of it if you don't get notifications from every app on your iPhone.
Tech reviewers across the board agree that the Apple Watch does it best, and it's my personal favourite. While other companies struggle to pack tons of tech into bulky smartwatches, Apple effortlessly offers all the tech you need in the most compact and attractive smartwatch you can buy.
Pros: Waterproof and ready to swim, sleek design in two sizes for all wrists, works with Apple Pay, and easy to use and fully compatible with iPhone
Cons: Pricey and only compatible with iPhone
Why you'll love it: Samsung's Gear S3 looks like a sporty Swiss watch, but it's a full-blown smartwatch with Samsung Pay, GPS, and more.
If you're the proud owner of a Samsung smartphone, you'll probably want the Gear S3 smartwatch. It comes in two versions, which are nearly identical in terms of functionality: a sporty LTE-enabled version called the Frontier and the more traditional-looking Classic.
The Gear S3 Classic boasts a slick leather strap and a classy polished finish, while the Frontier has a dark finish and a tough silicon strap. This is definitely a man's watch, but women who like chunky and sporty smartwatches might also be interested.
Many of my guy friends are in love with the design, and the Classic looks very slick when you're wearing a suit. The Frontier is best for hikers and guys who like a more rugged look.
The Gear S3 is water-resistant, has GPS for tracking your workouts, and offers Samsung Pay so you can buy coffee with a tap of your wrist. Samsung's Gear app store boasts thousands of apps for downloading. Its rotating bezel and circular interface make it a real winner. If you buy the Gear S3 Frontier from your carrier with a data plan, you can even run off with your watch and leave your phone behind.
Samsung fans will love the Gear S3. We personally love the look of the Classic, but the Frontier model is ideal for anyone who wants a stand-alone smartwatch with LTE for making calls and leaving their phone behind.
Pros: A classic masculine look, Samsung Pay, and it works great with Samsung phones
Cons: No lady-friendly version, and it's bulky
Why you'll love it: The Huawei Watch 2's sporty good looks, built-in GPS, and high-tech features make it the best Android Wear watch you can buy.
The first Huawei Watch won much acclaim from tech reviewers for its classic good looks and high-tech features. The Huawei Watch 2 is less sophisticated, and a lot more sporty, but it's also much more powerful.
Built-in GPS and a great workout coach make the Huawei Watch 2 a great companion on long runs and intense workouts. You can leave your phone behind, too, thanks to onboard music storage and the ability to connect Bluetooth headphones to the watch. Like the LG Watch Sport, the Huawei Watch 2 has an LTE version, but unfortunately, Huawei isn't selling that model in the US yet.
Like the LG Watch Sport, the Huawei Watch 2 has an LTE version, but unfortunately, Huawei isn't selling that model in the US yet. However, it does have Android Wear 2.0, Google Assistant, and mobile payments with Android Pay, so the Watch 2 is very high-tech.
The design is slimmer than the LG Watch Sport, so it will look good on slimmer wrists. It's important to note that this is still a very masculine watch with a sporty design, and it's certainly chunkier than the Apple Watch 2.
Regardless, the Huawei Watch 2 is a great choice for sporty Android Wear fans who don't need LTE or simply prefer Huawei's design.
Pros: Android Wear 2.0, sporty design, built-in GPS, two-day battery life, Google Assistant, and mobile payments
Cons: Masculine style isn't very female friendly, no LTE support in the US
Why you'll love it: LG's Watch Sport is a tech geek's dream smartwatch with GPS, LTE, payments, and Android Wear 2.0.
Not an iPhone or Samsung user? No worries, Android Wear has got you covered. There are dozens of Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches coming out this spring, but the best one you can currently buy with LTE connectivity is the LG Watch Sport.
This chunky, sporty smartwatch offers LTE for phone calls and stand-alone functions, built-in GPS for tracking your workouts, Android Pay for buying things on the go, and thousands of apps. You can send texts or make calls, and the Google Assistant can answer any query you have. The LG Watch Sport should last you through a full day before you need to charge it up.
Make no mistake, this is a big, thick watch with a strong silicon strap. It looks absolutely gigantic on small wrists. So if you're looking for something more subtle, you'll want to opt for the LG Watch Style instead.
LG's Watch Sport is the ultimate tech geek's smartwatch -- it's not particularly fashionable, but it does pack all the cutting-edge features you'd expect from a tech company.
Pros: High-tech features, LTE enables calls and stand-alone features, built-in GPS, and the latest version of Android Wear
Cons: Bulky and chunky, pricey if you want LTE
Why you'll love it: Fossil knows how to make gorgeous watches for women, and its smartwatch is just perfect for the ladies -- especially if you love rose gold.
Men are spoiled for choice when it comes to smartwatches, but women have far fewer options -- especially if they're Android users who can't buy an Apple Watch. Luckily, fashion brands and watchmakers are finally getting into the smartwatch craze. Fossil's smartwatch line continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and the Q Wander is its first female-friendly Android Wear watch.
Since Fossil gets fashion, it offers several different finishes for the Q Wander's watch casing, as well as a number of 22mm watch bands that you can buy for your new smartwatch.
I love the rose gold and tan leather strap option, which is currently sold out, but you can get the same rose gold finish with a white silicone band for the same price. Another fancy colour option is the new wine-coloured casing paired with a gorgeous leather strap. Women who are less into trendy colours can obviously go for the more traditional silver or black finishes.
If you don't like any of the included straps, Fossil and other brands sell dozens of 22mm watch straps you can choose instead to really make the Q Wander your own.
As for the tech inside, the Q Wander won't let you down. It's upgradeable to Android Wear 2.0 and works with thousands of apps on the Google Play Store. You can answer texts, interact with notifications, and choose your own watch face -- just like you would on any other smartwatch.
Pros: It's made specifically for women's wrists, you can upgrade to Android Wear 2.0, and it's got all the techy features you want
Cons: No mobile payments or GPS
Why you'll love it: Fashion-forward men who aren't into the high-tech futuristic look will love Fossil's Q Marshal with its classic design and smartwatch powers.
Fossil shows up twice on this list for a reason -- it's one of the few fashion brands and watchmakers that's making gorgeous smartwatches. The Q Marshal is the ultimate Android Wear watch for men who want their smartwatch to look like a high-end wristwatch.
It's a hefty smartwatch that feels luxurious, but it doesn't cost a couple thousand dollars a la the Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch. Our guy friends just love the stainless steel casing with the chunky metal watch band, but you can choose a number of different finishes, including a daring blue casing with a brown leather strap. The straps are interchangeable with any 22mm watch band you can buy from Fossil and others.
When it comes to tech, the Q Marshal isn't the most high-end one on this list, but it is upgradeable to Android Wear 2.0 and it's compatible with thousands of apps. You can send texts, view your notifications, and track your activity -- just like you would on any smartwatch.
Pros: Classic watch look, upgradeable to Android Wear 2.0, use any 2mm watch band you like
Cons: No GPS, LTE, or mobile payments
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