Technology is ever changing it seems. And similar to the explosion of cell phones, smartwatches have become the new must-have in technological devices. Now, they have several unique functions that make everyday life easier while also enhancing the fitness and overall health tracking of users.
It seems that every year comes with new and improved features and 2021 is no different. The Best Smartwatches 2021 have something for everyone whether it be a heart rate monitor, swim ability, sleep tracking, or calorie counting. The advancements just keep coming. And they are getting more attractive to both the average consumer and the fitness enthusiast alike.
Here, we are going to cover the best smartwatches currently available for purchase and review their design and features so you can find the best smartwatch for your particular needs.
Bear in mind that the best smartwatch for you will heavily depend on the kind of features you need and want. Many smartwatches just make everyday tasks easier, which is in and of itself helpful, while others really up the stakes when it comes to tracking your fitness and overall health. The smartwatches we’ll be reviewing are:
And swim-ready is a very unique feature, which half of the smartwatches reviewed offers. This feature is different than being water-resistant, and you’ll read in the reviews why the feature can be so helpful to those who enjoy swimming as part of their workouts.
Within each review, we will go into detail around each of these features and many others.
Best Smartwatches 2021
|Samsung Galaxy Watch||Sporty and Stylish||Check On Amazon|
|Apple Watch 4||Fully Loaded||Check On Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy Watch Active||Sporty Design||Check On Amazon|
|Huawei Watch 2||Hybrid of Fitness & Convenience||Check On Amazon|
|Motorola Moto 360 Sport||Ideal for Sports||Check On Amazon|
|Apple Watch 3||Perfect for Fitness||Check On Amazon|
|ASUS ZenWatch 3||Luxurious Design||Check On Amazon|
|TicWatch E2||Great for Swimmers||Check On Amazon|
|TicWatch Pro||Award Winning Design||Check On Amazon|
|Fitbit Ionic||Designed for Fitness||Check On Amazon|
Smartwatches are used for a variety of functions now. They can be used for primarily phone functions such as sending and receiving text messages and making and receiving calls without having to actually get your phone out. The more advanced models will allow you to make purchases through the watch without ever having to take your wallet out.
In addition to performing basic communication functions, smartwatches can also be used as a fitness watch. In fact, the average person probably associates smartwatches with fitness. This is likely because pedometers made way for the very first smartwatch. And once people started enjoying counting their steps, manufacturers and developers knew they had hit on a consumer interest. And they started adding other fitness features that enthused buyers.
The fitness features on smartwatches vary greatly by model. Some offer a GPS, either in the form of an independent module or one that is linked to your phone. Some will track several different workout types and track your calorie burn. And still others are even able to be used in water to track swimming laps and swim strokes. Most are able to do some basic fitness tracking such as counting daily steps or tracking split times when running.
Durability can be a prime concern with smartwatches. Like most other things worn every day, they are subject to wear and tear, particularly given that they are worn on the wrist which can knock in to things quite easily throughout the day. Many smartwatches are made of the most durable materials, including steel construction and scratch-resistant glass. Depending on how hard you are on your belongings, the materials used in construction may be a primary concern of yours. You’ll want to keep weight in mind when determining which materials you’d like most. Some of the more durable materials mean that the watch may be heavier on your wrist.
Depending on the features you are looking for, you will likely find a great fit within the following reviews. There are some smartwatches within this list that are best for those just looking for features that simply make life more convenient while others offer the best and most innovate feature for the fitness enthusiast.
Samsung Galaxy Watch – Both Sporty and Stylish
This watch isn’t short on sport or style. You can even choose the color and size that will suit you best. There are two sizes available and three different colors. And you can swap out the band if you’d like some variety. So, you aren’t stuck with one color or one style. Match your outfit or your mood by swapping out the band.
In terms of features, this smartwatch will remind you when it is time to get moving if you’ve been sitting still for too long and it will even monitor and track your sleep cycles. It will help you manage your stress with its breathing exercises and guided meditation. This is quite unique, as most smartwatches don’t offer this feature. And for the dieter, it will keep track of your calories for you as well.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch will track your workouts and will even detect when you’ve switched from one workout to another. This watch auto tracks six different workouts after ten active minutes. And in addition to those ten workouts, you can manually track up to 40 workouts. And it will keep track of your step count throughout the day.
In addition, it monitors your heart rate, so you’ll have up-to-date readings on when you hit your target zone. You’ll be able to see your heart rate in real time so you can stay in your target zone for your desired length of time without having to guess.
And it has GPS capabilities for when you are out for a run. The GPS module is part of the watch itself so it does not rely on linking to your phone for the GPS features. This is an incredible feature for any runner. You don’t have to carry your phone with you on long runs because the GPS will work without your phone.
You won’t need to take many breaks with this watch either. The battery life is quite impressive. Use it for up to 4 days without having to re-charge. And when you do need to charge this smartwatch, you can do so with the wireless charger.
The Galaxy watch is very durable, so it isn’t just attractive and stylish, but also stands up to any activity. Its Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ helps prevent any scratches on the display and the watch itself is both swim ready up to 50m submerged and water resistant if you want to take a dip in the pool or ocean. If you’ve been in sea water or chlorinated water, just rinse the watch in fresh water and then dry it and you’ll be on your way again.
This swim feature, like the GPS built-in, is quite a unique feature. And it can be really useful for anyone who swims on a regular basis. You don’t have to remember to take your watch off before jumping in the pool.
This watch connects through Bluetooth to both Android and iOS smartphones. And it can be used with Samsung Pay. There are built-in speakers and microphone as well. So, as long as you are connected to your phone through Bluetooth you can even make and receive calls using this watch.
While this watch has really incredible features for a smartwatch, as well as some great fitness features like the GPS and swim capabilities, it can fall short in other areas. The heart rate monitor is not always the most reliable according to many users. And other users have argued that the actual tracking of a run or swimming can be off. So, while nice to have those features, you’ll have to see how they work for you individually.
With the purchase of the Samsung Galaxy watch, you also receive an additional strap, a travel adaptor, wireless charging dock, user manual and a quick start guide. This option is one of the best smartwatches 2021 has to offer.
Apple Watch 4 – Fully Loaded
The Apple Watch 3 was loved by many and yet there are even greater improvements with the Apple Watch 4. This version has been almost completely re-designed and engineered to offer even greater features than the previous model. From the larger display to the re-engineered Digital Crown, almost everything on this watch has been improved.
In terms of improvements over the Apple Watch 3, this updated version has a larger display area with a thinner case. The processor with this watch is a 64-bit dual-core processor versus the dual core S3 processor found in the Apple Watch 3. This upgrade means the new model of watch is up to twice as fast. And perhaps the biggest upgrade in this version is the electrical heart sensor (ECG) which was not a feature of the Apple Watch 3.
The Apple Watch 4 is a true hybrid of communication features and fitness tracking. In terms of fitness features and tracking, the Apple Watch 4 will automatically detect your workout. And there are even some really unique features for runners like tracking cadence and keeping track of pace. Not every smartwatch, even those equipped with features for runners, will track your cadence or split pace. You can display up to 5 metrics at once on the watch’s display so you don’t have to switch around much to get the information you want.
The new ECG provides notifications for both low and high heart rate and will even alert you if it detects an irregular heart rhythm. This isn’t the only proactive health feature available either. There are also fall detection and emergency SOS features, which are very unique and within our list, this is the only watch that provides them.
There are also an additional number of fitness features that will give you a boost of motivation. There’s an option to take part in head-to-head competitions and you can share activities with your friends. So, if you are fueled by competition, this watch might be a good option for you. You can even get personalized coaching, sign up for monthly challenges and win achievement awards.
In terms of communication, the Apple Watch 4 allows you to take and receive phone calls and messages while also providing a walkie-talkie feature as well. It can stream both Apple Podcasts as well as Apple Music and you can make use of Siri in much the same way you can on your iPhone. You don’t even have to be right next to your phone to enjoy these features. You simply need to have a wireless service plan and your phone needs to be turned on and signed in to iMessage.
In terms of drawbacks, the battery on the Apple Watch 4 seems to drain rather quickly, especially when using several apps throughout the day. For many, the battery may die within a day and a half. The other drawback is that some of the web features available on the phone will not be available on the watch, most specifically parental controls. So, not everything set up in your phone will transfer over to the watch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Sporty Design
This sporty version of the Samsung Galaxy watch has a sleek design for the ultimate athlete. The battery life is quite impressive so you can get in a significant number of workouts before needing another charge. Get up to 90 hours of usage time before needing to charge up. This battery life is one of the longest on our review list.
The display on this smartphone is touchscreen and offers resistance to both water and dust. It is not waterproof so cannot be used to track swim workouts.
The heart monitor on this watch is quite unique in that it will alert you if it detects an irregular beat. This feature is helpful both outside of workout time and during fitness activities.
You can pair this smartwatch with a Samsung smartphone, non-Samsung Android smartphone, and iOS 9.0 and above. The purchase of the smartwatch comes with a wireless charging pad, quick start guide, and an additional strap.
Huawei Watch 2 – Hybrid of Fitness & Convenience
The Huawei Watch is a mix of fitness and convenience. This watch has some of the standard fitness features you would look for in a smartwatch such as continuous heart rate tracking so you can see when you hit your target zone and a built-in GPS.
The GPS means you can track your routes even when you don’t have your phone with you. This is a great feature to have on long runs when you don’t want to carry your phone with you.
There is also a sleep tracking feature which won’t just tell you how long you slept but will also track your different sleep stages such as REM, light and deep sleep. This is useful for viewing sleep patterns and can help you determine why you might still feel unrested when you wake in the morning.
Another fitness feature is the workout coach which provides workout data from workouts past such as vO2 Max and recovery time. And the workout coach will also offer guidance during workouts in real time, pushing you toward any fitness goals you might have. These features can help you get better overall results from your workouts and can even help you figure out why you have issues with certain exercises.
The construction on this watch is built for durability, starting with the two-layer strap design. There is a leather outer layer and an inner rubber layer. The strap is 22mm and can be changed out which means if you have any issues or want a different look, you can simply change out the strap as opposed to having to purchase an entirely new watch. There are also some stainless steel elements on the watch which enhance durability and also make the watch a bit more stylish. It doesn’t look like a bulky fitness watch but instead has a more classic feel.
In terms of phone features, you are able to receive notifications for calls, texts and some other important apps and you can make payments using Android Pay. There are a number of apps that can be paired with the Huawei Watch 2, the most of which will be available if paired with an Android smartphone. It can also be paired with iOS or independently, but you would lack some of the features given the limited compatibility.
The battery on this smartwatch is somewhat customizable based on your usage. You can expect 3 weeks of battery life if just using it on Watch-mode. If using it on Smart Power Saving Mode, you’ll likely get 2 days of use out of it and if you are running the GPS, you’ll get 7 hours of GPS usage.
The biggest user complaint with this watch is the software, which runs a bit slow. If you are trying to respond to messages or get a reaction from the screen, you may need to be patient. This isn’t ideal for anyone who wants to respond to messages in real-time or who wants to move through apps quickly.
Motorola Moto 360 Sport – Ideal for Sports
An ideal smartwatch for sports enthusiasts, the Motorola Moto 360 Sport has a no-fuss, minimalist design, built for the most active of athletes.
The display on this smartwatch is simple and clean and it shows you everything you’d want to know while working out, without having to flip through multiple screens. The screen is also customizable so you can choose which features you’d like to view most often. Take a quick glance at your wrist and move on to finishing up your workout. No fiddling around.
This watch is compatible with both Android and iOS so you can display your notifications and enjoy the button free voice-control. You need to have a phone that runs Android 4.3+ or iOS 9+.
You can receive your email and messages while using this watch and you can enjoy Google Play applications as well. Keep in mind that some features will differ depending on whether your phone runs on an iOS platform or an Android one.
The Motorola Moto 360 boasts a couple of features that make the logistics of running a whole lot easier. The GPS is built-in so you don’t need your phone to give you directions. And you’ll be able to track your exact distance. The turn-by-turn navigation allows you to plug in your destination and simply listen to the directions. No looking down at your watch to find where to turn next. Just plug in your destination and enjoy your run.
And the AnyLight display means that you don’t have to only run during broad daylight hours. You can run in the evening, given the world’s first hybrid display. And you can easily read the display both inside and outside.
The heart rate monitor is very accurate so you’ll know when you are in your target zone and you’ll also know when you are pushing a bit too hard or need to increase the intensity.
This smartwatch allows for wireless charging and includes a dock with purchase. It is both dust and water resistant. However, it is not waterproof so this is not a watch that can be used for swimming activities.
Despite the many positives of this watch, there are also a couple of drawbacks. The first drawback of this smartwatch is the band. It doesn’t really hold up to the kind of activity that the watch promotes and you cannot replace it without purchasing a new watch. Unlike some other smartwatches reviewed here, the band alone cannot be replaced. This can be a major issue if you ever cause damage the band.
Secondly, several users have complained about poor battery life. Given that this watch is marketed and built for the ultimate athlete, it likely needs to last for extra-long runs or workouts. And the battery doesn’t really hold up for that kind of activity.
Apple Watch 3 – Perfect for Fitness
The Apple Watch 3 is the best smartwatch from previous years for a reason. This watch has similar features to the Apple Watch 4 reviewed earlier but is a bit more budget-friendly.
There are both phone features as well as fitness ones with this smartwatch, similar to many other smartwatches, but there are also a number of unique offerings as well.
One of these unique features is that the Apple Watch 3 is swim proof. While many other smartwatches are water-resistant, this watch can actually be used for swimming laps.
It also offers an optical heart sensor for reliable heart rate monitoring. Get and stay in your target heart zone for your most intense workouts. And you can use the GPS to track your runs.
You can get up to 18 hours of battery life out of a single charge with this smartphone. While this isn’t the worst battery life, it isn’t the best either. You will likely need to charge it every day if using it frequently.
There are two size options available, the 38mm and the 42mm, so you can find the size that will looks best on your wrist. Those measurements refer to the actual face of the watch. And the bands are interchangeable. So, you can both wear bands that match what you are wearing and if you ever have an issue with a band, you can simply replace that one part instead of having to replace the entire smartwatch.
In terms of phone features, you can receive and make calls with this smartwatch as well as receive text messages. You can use a number of apps as well including social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Other apps that can be paired with the Apple Watch 3 are your alarms and notes. And you can even use Siri if you’d like. The fitness options available with the Apple Watch 3 make it one of the best smartwatches 2021 has to offer.
ASUS ZenWatch 3– Luxurious Design
While being a less recognizable brand, the ASUS ZenWatch 3 provides a good quality watch at a reasonable price. And the watch itself is stunning, with a timeless look made of durable construction.
The look of this smartwatch is unique, yet timeless. And while the design is classic, it is also very comfortable to wear, ideal for anyone who plans on wearing their watch every day and for athletic activities. In fact, the display, along with the overall construction are two of the most redeeming features of this watch.
In terms of overall construction, the ASUS ZenWatch 3 is made of 316L stainless steel which is 82% stronger than normal steel. It also has a watch strap made of genuine Italian leather and a diamond-cut bezel.
For the display, this ASUS smartwatch uses Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diodes, or AMOLED, which is a specific style of display used almost exclusively in smartphones.
In terms of design, there are only three primary buttons used for simple navigation. The first is the top button which is customizable. It can get you to your favorite app or feature. The second button can be used for several functions including the different watch modes and the last button switches you to the battery save mode to help the battery last longer.
You’ll find that this watch can get you the information you need quickly and conveniently. For example, you can access your messages or check the weather right on your wrist. The watch is powered by Android Wear and is manufactured in partnership with Google. And you can talk through your watch for making and receiving calls.
The battery life on this watch leaves a bit to be desired, particularly if you are very active and plan on using the watch for several activities, all potentially draining the battery. You are lucky to get 1.5 to 2 days out of a single charge which means you need to be prepared to charge the battery nearly every day.
You can customize this watch by using the variety of watch faces available as well as the three widgets. So, change your look really as frequently as you like without even duplicating.
In addition to the durable construction and sleek look, this watch also offers several fitness features. It automatically counts your steps and will tell you when you need to stand or move if you’ve been immobile for too long. It works with its matching smartphone app to showcase all of your daily activity. It will track several different workout activities including running, walking, sit-ups and push-ups.
This isn’t a great option for swimmers who want to track laps or their pace as it can only be submerged in up to one meter of water for a total of 30 minutes. You can wear it while showering but should refrain from wearing it while swimming.
TicWatch E2—Great for Swimmers
This pretty affordable smartwatch isn’t short on features despite its smaller price tag. Its customizable, lightweight, and comfortable. And it has particularly great features for swimmers.
The TicWatch E2 is waterproof up to 50m deep which means that you can wear this watch even while swimming laps. And you’ll enjoy other features if you plan on using this watch for swimming. The pre-loaded swim monitoring mode means that the watch will automatically pick up on your swim style. It will also track all of your swim activities. You’ll get to track your swim style, stroke count, swim duration, pace, and lap count. This can only serve to help you improve not only your time but several other aspects of your swimming as well.
While this is a great smartwatch for a swimmer, it isn’t short on features for other fitness activities. The TicWatch E2 uses TicMotion, a set of proprietary AI algorithms that both track your workouts and detect your motion to give you the most accurate readings. The watch will proactively track your runs as well as your swims and once updated in future software updates, it will also be able to track your sleep.
The battery life on this smartwatch is a bit better than average. Depending on usage, it is possible to get up to 2 days of battery life out of a single charge. To charge, you must use a computer USB port of a 5V 1A USB power adapter. If you try to use a 2.1A for faster charging, you will ruin the battery.
The TicWatch E2 is compatible with both iPhone and Android and comes with Google Assistance. The Google Play means that you can access many of the most popular apps right from your watch and without having to pull out your phone.
This smartwatch is also customizable unlike some others reviewed on this list. And instead of just being able to swap out the straps, you can also change the watch face. There are hundreds of watch faces to choose from so you can always change up your style.
There are a few drawbacks with this watch. To start, there is no microphone. So, that means no making or receiving phone calls without attaching a Bluetooth headset. And it also means no listening to music while working out. The display is also a bit unresponsive. You may find that you have to select something several times before it registers.
TicWatch Pro– Award Winning Design
The best battery life by far can be found in the TicWatch Pro. And its design is award-winning, having won the 2018 iF Design Award winner.
This watch has two primary modes that you can use. The Smart Mode includes the use of Google Assistant, has an AMOLED display and you can use thousands of apps and watch faces through the Google Play store. You can also access health and fitness tracking features while in Smart Mode but these are limited if you pair the TicWatch Pro with an iPhone.
In Essential Mode, you will be saving battery and will therefore access fewer features. Basically you only get the most essential features when using this mode. You will have the power saving LCD dispaly along with high sunlight visibility so the display will be a lot dimmer. And in terms of apps, you’ll be able to see time, date, your step counter, and your heart rate. While this mode is more limited in application viewing, it saves a great deal in battery life.
In fact, it is battery life that is perhaps the greatest feature of this smartwatch, and the one that truly makes it unique. You’ll get anywhere from 2-30 days of battery life on a single charge, depending on the mode you are using.
With the Smart Mode, you’ll get 2 days of battery life on one charge. With the Essential Mode, you’ll get 30 days of battery life. And finally, you can set the watch to Auto Switch to Essential Mode, which will get you 5 days of battery life on a single charge.
In terms of fitness features, the TicWatch Pro offers a heart-rate monitor, step counter, GPS tracker, counter for calories burned, and a speed and cadence monitor. The GPS is built-in for added convenience and you can access fitness apps such as Runkeeper, Google Fit and Strava. So, you don’t have to rely on your phone with this GPS.
For convenience, this watch allows you to use Google Pay to make purchases right from your watch so you don’t have to take out your wallet for anything. And you can stream music, both while working out and otherwise. You can also make and receive text message and make calls while using this watch but those features only work for Android users.
There is a 30-day money back guarantee with this watch and you can use that warranty for absolutely any reason. In addition, there is a 12-month warranty for any issues related to the quality of the watch.
Fitbit Ionic– Designed for Fitness
Fitbit smartwatches are synonymous with fitness. And the Fitbit Ionic is no different.
You’ll enjoy personalized workouts with this watch, including step-by-step coaching to keep you motivated. The Fitbit Ionic also offers built-in GPS/GLONASS to keep track of your pace while running, as well as your distance and routes.
This smartwatch will let you know the elevation you’ve climbed, your split times and show you a map of your route. All of these features make running that much easier. And the GPS is built-in so you don’t need to be carrying your phone. Go out on a run and you don’t have to rely on your phone’s GPS for your tracking and navigation needs.
You’ll enjoy the continuous heart rate tracking as you’ll get to see when you are in your target heart rate zone. In addition to the many aspects of your runs that this watch will track, it also tracks swims, general workouts, and your sleep. You can use the run, bike, and other multi-sport modes to help keep track of several different workouts. And you can track the length of your workouts and the calories you’ve burned while running, swimming and biking.
In terms of convenience, the Fitbit Ionic allows you to store and play up to 300 songs and you can download playlists from Pandora so you should never get bored during your workouts. And you don’t have to be working out to enjoy a good song. You can play your music anytime.
For construction, the Fitbit Ionic has a very durable screen constructed of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 so it is damage resistant. The battery can last up to 4+ days on a single charge, depending on the amount of use and the number of features used. With the purchase, you receive both a large and small band so you can find the one that fits you most comfortably.
There are several smartwatch accessories that can enhance your experience using your watch. While you don’t need these accessories to make use of your watch, some of them can serve to protect your investment while others can make using your smartwatch easier. The top 3 accessories are:
- Screen Protector
- Charging Cable
- Replacement Band
Screen protectors aren’t available for use with every smartwatch but can be used with the Apple Watch series, for example. These protectors lay directly on the face of the watch and protect it from superficial scratches. It is self-healing which means it will apply precisely. Most screen protectors also come with a cleaning cloth that will remove any dust or lint from the face of the watch before application.
Many of the watches reviewed here have particularly strong screens with built-in scratch-resistant materials, meaning you may not even need a screen protector with those models. With the others, a screen protector may be a good idea to keep your screen intact and scratch-free.
Charging cables are different for each manufacturer but are a must-have for any smartwatch. And it can make sense to have a couple on hand in case you realize your smartwatch battery is dying. For many of the smartwatches reviewed here, you can charge on the go, say in your car when you don’t need the smartwatch as much, as you aren’t in motion.
Many of the watches reviewed here allow for swapping out the band on the watch. This can be done simply to change color or style. Some even offer different fabrics. You might find one more comfortable than the others.
Having a few replacement bands on hand can be helpful if you have an issue with one and need to swap it out quickly or if you just want to change up your look. Replacement bands can be purchased nearly anywhere that smartwatches are sold. And they are mostly affordable, depending on the manufacturer and watch.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Smartwatch
There are a number of key features to bear in mind when shopping for a new smartwatch. And as you can see from our review, there are a multitude of uses for the average smartwatch. Some watches are most suited for fitness enthusiasts while others are really for the average person who wants to be able to answer their calls and texts without using their phone. Given the wide span of features available, we’ve highlighted the top 7 features to look for when considering a smartwatch purchase:
- Battery Life
- Fitness Features
- Sleep Tracker
- Price Point
Battery life is an important feature in nearly any electronic purchase. With a smartwatch, the battery life will likely depend on the type and length of usage. If you plan on running extended races for example, or you plan on using a GPS regularly, then you likely want a watch that has great battery life potential, as you will be using features that require a lot of battery to run.
GPS typically eats away at battery life the most. So, if you are planning on purchasing a watch for your runs and you want to use navigation or GPS, you’ll need to choose a smartwatch that has great battery life. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself giving the watch a full charge every single day.
This category is most important if you plan on using your smartwatch for fitness activities. If you are just looking for a watch that will allow you to answer your messages or calls without taking out your phone, the fitness features available aren’t likely going to be the deciding factor for you.
That said, if you plan on using your smartwatch for fitness activities, you need to keep in mind what features are most attractive to you and your intended use. There are a few prime fitness features to look for in a smartwatch:
- Heart Rate Monitor
Heart Rate Monitor
Many watches reviewed here have a heart rate monitor, which has become a relatively standard feature on many smartwatches used for fitness tracking. That said, they are not all built the same. Many are not entirely reliable. If you plan on keeping track of your heart rate, and when you reach your target heart rate zone, you want to choose a smartwatch that has a very reliable heart rate monitor. This is the best way to track calories burned as well.
There are even a few smartwatches reviewed here that have proactive heart rate monitors. This means that the monitor will actually alert you, the user, if and when you have an irregular heartbeat. This feature is quite a technological advancement and really wasn’t offered even just a couple of years ago.
The second big fitness feature is a GPS. If you are a runner, GPS is likely a feature you want. And you’ll need to decide if you want a GPS that functions through your phone or one that works independently on the smartwatch.
If you don’t want to bring your phone with you on runs, you want a smartwatch that has a GPS module in it. And you’ll likely want turn-by-turn navigation as well. This will let you hear commands on where to turn and what route to follow without having to look down at a map, either on your phone or your wrist.
This can really be a great feature for any long-distance runner. You don’t have to carry your phone and you don’t even have to worry about paying close attention to your route. You can simply listen to the commands from your smartwatch and enjoy your run.
On our list, you will find several watches that are water-repellant. This means that they can be worn in the shower for very short periods of time, typically up to 30 minutes. Some can even last in the water for up to 30 minutes. However, neither of these means that the watch can be reliably worn while swimming.
Many athletes looking for a watch that will support their most active endeavors are looking for a watch that will allow them to swim and track various aspects of their swimming. This might include counting distance and laps as well as monitoring stroke and lap counts. Half of the smartwatches on this list will allow you to track your swim workouts. This can be a really important feature to some athletes, particularly if swimming is part of a typical fitness regime.
Having a sleep tracker may be important to some users while completely unimportant to others. And sleep trackers are not all made the same. While some sleep trackers will simply let you know how long you slept the night before, others will actually dive into your sleep patterns.
These more in-depth sleep trackers will let you know how much time you spent in each level of sleep. So, while you may think you are getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night, you may find that you are waking frequently or are restless overall. And you will be able to see how much time you’re spending in light, deep and REM sleep with the more advanced sleep trackers.
This kind of feature can really help anyone who doesn’t feel rested when they wake in the morning but who feels that they are typically getting the right amount of sleep. It can also lead to uncovering a variety of other trends as well. Perhaps you’ll find that you sleep better on days when your workouts are more intense or alternatively, maybe you will find that you don’t sleep well on days you push yourself particularly hard.
Overall, having this feature can be both interesting and useful and can help inform additional choices you make in regards to your overall health.
Software is ultimately what will drive the usage and features of your smartphone. And depending on how much use you hope to get out of your smartwatch, you likely don’t want software that is slow to respond.
With many of the smartwatches reviewed here, there are a number of features that may all be running simultaneously. This means you need software that can hold up to running several applications at the same time. Look for a better processor and you’ll likely have a speedier response time when using your smartwatch.
And when reading our reviews, you will find the few smartwatches that seem to have a lag time. If you plan on using your smartwatch for several activities simultaneously, you’ll want to keep that potential lag time in mind.
Ultimately you want to choose a phone that will have the most compatibility with your phone and service, especially if you plan on using the phone for talking and texting. While many smartwatches reviewed here could be used with multiple platforms, you lose some features when not paired perfectly.
For example, if you have an Apple device, you may want to consider pairing it with an Apple smartwatch. Similarly, if you have an Android device, you might want to purchase a smartwatch that uses an Android platform. By doing so, you can be certain you’ll get all of the functionality you can and won’t lose any potential features. Some of that functionality includes Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
Many smartwatches today now offer several customization options. Of course in most cases, you can switch out the watch band to be a different design, style or color. And with many of the smartwatches reviewed here you also have the option to switch the clock face display. So, you can change the actual look of the watch too. With this many customizable options, you can feel like you are wearing a different watch every day.
This feature will obviously be more important to some users than others. For many, a simple black band will work nearly all of the time and the customization isn’t quite as important. For others, switching the bands to match outfits and changing the clock face are important features. So, you can decide how much you care about the level of customization offered by your smartwatch.
Your smartwatch purchase will ultimately depend on your budget. You’ll find on our list that the least expensive models of smartwatches can be under a couple hundred dollars while the more expensive models can be several hundred dollars.
While price point drives most decision-making, you want to ensure that you get to use all of the features you want. Otherwise, no matter how cheap the investment, the watch will not be as useful to you as it would be if you got all of the features you want.
At this point, you’ve not only read a great deal of information related to the best smartwatches of 2021, but you’ve also had a chance to read in-depth reviews of the top watches on the market. You may have even learned about features you didn’t know exist. And you’ve probably uncovered a feature or two that you can’t live without now.
Part of owning a smartwatch is related to fitness but part of it is also related to simply making everyday life easier. A smartwatch can make every day, mundane tasks easier. For example, you don’t have to look for your wallet, debit card, or PIN if you have a pay feature on your smartwatch. And you don’t have to find your phone to answer a call or text if you can do so on your phone.
And fitness can be made easier as well. You don’t have to carry your phone to use GPS if your smartwatch has GPS, or even better turn-by-turn navigation, built right into it. And you don’t have to keep count of your laps in the pool or your stroke count if your smartwatch does it for you.
There are several factors that will determine the best smartwatch for you. And it primarily depends on your particular usage for the watch. If you are looking for a watch used mostly for phone calls and text messages, then you likely don’t need a watch that has full swim tracking and capability.
Similarly, if you are a fitness enthusiast who likes to track every calorie and ensure your daily step count is hit each and every day, then you likely want a watch that has more fitness features. And you are likely less concerned with every day conveniences such as calls and texts.
If ever stuck on deciding which is the right choice, refer back to the Buying Guide above which highlights the main considerations to make and the primary features to look out for when purchasing a smartwatch. Determine which of these features is most important to you and then find the watch or watches in the review list that best align with your needs.
And remember that while most of the watches reviewed here are around the same price, there is a range of cost within the list. You’ll need to keep your budget in mind when deciding on your final purchase. And keep in mind that purchasing a $500 dollar watch over the $175 one won’t make you any better at your fitness endeavors, though it may help draw more attention to your deficits and patterns. The key aspect of finding the right watch is making sure it has the features you most want and need.
We hope that after reading the general information given here, along with the in-depth reviews of the best smartwatches 2021 has to offer, will help you make the best and most informed decision around your smartwatch purchase.