Our selection of the best Smartwatches to buy by the end of 2023

Best sports smartwatches 2023 -
image source: Getty Images; Collage by Gabe Conte

Looking to embrace the allure of a smartwatch? Whether you’re an Android smartphone enthusiast or an iPhone user, the top contenders in 2023 include the Galaxy Watch, Apple Watch, Garmin, and Withings.

A smartwatch, also known as a connected watch, offers a multitude of services. Beyond its basic functions of telling time and serving as a fashion statement, it provides the convenience of checking notifications without constantly retrieving your smartphone from your pocket. To maximize its utility, selecting the most suitable connected watch based on your needs is crucial.

However, smartwatches transcend mere notifications; they emerge as the ultimate accessory for fitness enthusiasts, whether they engage in weekend workouts or pursue more rigorous training regimens. This is where their capabilities truly shine, harnessing an expanding array of sensors to enhance efficiency in your fitness routines.

Top smartwatches to buy in 2023

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic emerges as the premier smartwatch of 2023, heralding the comeback of the revered “Classic” series. Notable for its distinctive rotating bezel, this smartwatch boasts an elegant design, offering two case sizes at 43 and 47 mm. The inclusion of sapphire crystal glass and stainless steel provides long-term durability, complemented by impressive IP68 and 5 ATM ratings.

A standout feature of the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is its AMOLED display, available in 1.31 or 1.47-inch sizes, depending on the chosen case. This technology delivers vibrant colors, excellent brightness, and striking contrast. The WearOS platform provides a plethora of customizable watch faces, and the Galaxy Wearables app facilitates seamless integration with Android smartphones (unfortunately not available for iPhone users).

While excelling as a city-centric smartwatch, its prowess in sports tracking is also notable. Our assessments, particularly focused on GPS tracking and heart sensor accuracy, revealed satisfactory overall performance. Despite occasional lapses in precision compared to specialized watches, the array of sensors ensures accurate health tracking for those seeking a moderate level of self-care.

However, a notable drawback lies in the battery life, a genuine weak point for this connected watch. The Galaxy Watch 6 Classic manages to last a day and a half with typical use, which may fall short of expectations for a device of its caliber. Available in various versions, including Wi-Fi + Bluetooth + 4G or just Wi-Fi + Bluetooth, the pricing ranges from ‚ā¨419 to ‚ā¨499. Undeniably, it stands as the paramount Android smartwatch currently on the market.

The Asian manufacturer, Samsung, maintains continuity in its product lineup with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, retaining the design and features of the previous generation. Remarkably similar to its predecessor, this model continues to grapple with the perennial issue of a disappointingly low battery life.

Apple Watch Series 9

Apple Watch Series 9 will get siginificant performance boost in years

As anticipated, Apple introduces the latest addition to its smartwatch lineup with the Apple Watch Series 9, taking the reins from its predecessor with subtle refinements. Notably, the design remains largely unchanged, featuring an Ion-X glass for the aluminum model and a sapphire crystal for the steel variant to shield the display. Ergonomically, the Series 9 closely mirrors its predecessors.

The focal point of the smartwatch is undeniably its OLED screen, offered in 1.69 or 1.9 inches depending on the chosen version. Boasting a deep black display, variable refresh rate, and an impressive peak brightness measured at 2000 cd/m2, the Series 9 provides a visually striking experience. Apple provides a diverse array of customizable watch faces to cater to individual preferences.

Enhanced by WatchOS 10, the smartwatch expands its feature set. The innovative Double Tap system, though clever for specific uses, may benefit from additional functionalities. The interface remains closely aligned with the latest version, emphasizing compatibility exclusively with iPhones. Notably, the Series 9 excels in sports and health monitoring, leveraging the precision of GPS and the heart sensor.

In terms of battery life, Apple maintains its tradition of not disclosing capacity. During testing, the Apple Watch Series 9 demonstrated a resilience of 28 hours of use before reaching 10% battery life, with a one-hour charging time. It’s important to note that if you already own a Series 7 or 8, upgrading to this model may not be essential.

Concurrently, Apple introduces the new generation Apple Watch SE alongside the iPhone 14. The evaluations of the 2022 version reveals an excellent user experience. This sophisticated smartwatch supports multiple apps, message responses, and sports activities.

The Apple Watch SE 2022 offers a comprehensive user experience, whether used as a daily connected watch or for fitness purposes. The primary caveat is its exclusivity to iPhone users. Priced at $299, it stands out as one of the best watches in terms of value for money.

Garmin Fenix 7

Garmin’s Fenix series sees an expansion with its latest iteration, introduced at CES 2022 and available in three distinct sizes. This diversity in sizing ensures adaptability to wrists of various dimensions, accommodating even the slimmest profiles. Despite not being the most discreet in terms of design, the Garmin Fenix 7 exudes an elegant aesthetic.

While maintaining an unassuming appearance, the Fenix 7 is unequivocally designed with athletes in mind. It boasts certifications enabling it to withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of 100 meters. The transflective MIP interface adjusts brightness according to ambient conditions and is touch-sensitive, offering a choice between physical buttons and gestures.

Powering the smartwatch is a proprietary software that incorporates an NFC module, a heart rate sensor, and an integrated barometer. Seamless integration with the dedicated Garmin Connect app enhances daily use, providing one of the most comprehensive software packages on the market, complete with advanced features for running, cycling, and various sports modes, including skiing. For convenience, Garmin Pay facilitates contactless payments.

Despite room for improvement in its built-in coach functionality, the Fenix 7 excels in accurate data tracking, delivering comprehensive health information. Notably, the smartwatch impresses with a remarkable battery life of 14 days, a standout feature given its extensive set of capabilities.

It’s essential to note that the Fenix 7 is distinctly sport-oriented. If a more traditional smartwatch experience is preferred, this may not be the ideal choice, especially considering its starting price of $699, which may be a significant investment for some.

Huawei Watch 3

Huawei Watch 3 - best smartwatches

Huawei takes a leap into the upscale segment with the Watch 3, representing the brand’s inaugural use of HarmonyOS. Aesthetically, Huawei presents an impressive offering with an elegant, finely crafted design, albeit notably imposing, which may pose challenges for individuals with smaller wrists.

The Watch 3 offers a range of strap options, from elastomer to steel, and features a digital crown reminiscent of the one found on the Apple Watch. The AMOLED panel’s brightness ensures readability in various conditions. The Huawei Health app provides an extensive selection of nearly 300 watch faces, although a considerable portion may require a fee for access.

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In terms of activity monitoring, the Watch 3 excels, covering all standard measurements, although the absence of an electrocardiogram feature is noteworthy. Notably surprising is the watch’s capability to measure skin temperature, providing alerts in case of a fever. The battery life, while average, allows for about 3 days of use on a single charge.

The introduction of HarmonyOS on a smartwatch is met with success, featuring a well-designed interface. However, a drawback is the limited availability of third-party apps, despite efforts to open the system to developers.

In summary, the Watch 3 proves to be a commendable product, positioned to compete with models from industry giants like Apple and Samsung.

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Garmin Forerunner 255

Garmin has carved a niche in crafting sports-centric smartwatches, and the Garmin Forerunner 255 stands out as an exceptional choice for both sports enthusiasts and health tracking.

One of its standout features is the precision of GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring, enabling meticulous tracking of various sports activities. The Forerunner 255 distinguishes itself by offering a plethora of training sessions without the need for additional subscriptions. The sunlight-readable display ensures easy access to essential data.

With intermittent use of GPS mode, the smartwatch boasts an impressive battery life, capable of lasting up to 14 days. However, it’s worth noting that the Forerunner 255 leans heavily towards sports functionality, lacking certain features outside of the athletic realm. While music playback is supported, responding to calls or messages is not within its capabilities. Additionally, the absence of a touch-sensitive screen may impose some limitations on overall usability.

Priced at $350, the Garmin Forerunner 255 presents itself as a compelling option, particularly for those prioritizing accurate sports tracking and health monitoring without venturing into extensive smartwatch functionalities.

In the lineup for 2023, Garmin introduces the Forerunner 265, featuring a striking new OLED screen. However, with a price increase of $150 and a reduction in battery life, the decision to upgrade may warrant consideration, especially given the commendable performance of the existing Forerunner 255.

As a recommendation, unless the enhanced screen quality is an absolute necessity, the Forerunner 255 remains a solid choice, particularly considering its favorable price point. While the allure of the Forerunner 265’s improvements is notable, waiting for a potential price adjustment may be prudent before making a decision.

Withings ScanWatch

Withings stands out as one of the few brands offering a hybrid connected watch with a screen, and the ScanWatch exemplifies this unique approach. Sporting a classic design with traditional hands, it incorporates a small PMOLED display facilitating navigation through its menus.

The ScanWatch truly shines in health analyses, equipped with an array of sensors for measuring heart rate, SpO2, and ECG. It goes beyond mere fitness tracking, allowing users to monitor and analyze the quality of their sleep. While limited to smartphone-based GPS tracking, the watch supports a selection of sports sessions.

Configuration and monitoring are managed through the Health Mate app, available on both Android and iOS. While the watch doesn’t facilitate message or call responses, it allows users to check notifications and customize their preferences.

In terms of performance, the ScanWatch impresses with its robust battery life, capable of lasting up to 30 days. However, the inconvenience lies in the USB-A-connected charging base, requiring 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach full charge. Priced at $300, the Withings ScanWatch emerges as a top-tier smartwatch for health monitoring.

Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro

best smartwatches

Xiaomi ventures into the smartwatch market with the Watch 2 Pro, featuring a rather conventional design in comparison to its counterparts. Available in a single case size, it carries a substantial weight, measuring 54 grams without the strap. However, this weight does not pose any issues for everyday wear.

The standout feature of the connected watch is its impressive touch screen‚ÄĒa 1.43-inch AMOLED panel with a peak brightness of 600 cd/m2, ensuring excellent visibility even in direct sunlight. The always-on display further enhances convenience. During testing, the screen demonstrated near-flawless performance.

Health and sports tracking emerge as the key strengths of the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro. Equipped with the expected features of a 2023 smartwatch, it underwent rigorous testing of its GPS tracking system and heart rate accuracy. Compatibility with Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou, and QZSS systems adds versatility. The Watch 2 Pro is particularly commendable for those seeking detailed performance tracking.

Running on WearOS, the smartwatch offers a plethora of features and applications for daily use. However, the operating system does impact battery life, lasting approximately thirty hours with daily use based on testing. Priced starting at $269, the Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro stands out as one of the most compelling options in terms of value for money in the smartwatch market.

Tips and tricks and things to consider when buying a new smartwatch

Smartwatches are a popular accessory these days, and for good reason. They can be a great way to stay connected, track your fitness, and even make payments. But with so many different models on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make the best decision:

1. Consider your needs.

What do you want to use your smartwatch for? If you’re mainly interested in tracking your fitness, you’ll need a watch with a heart rate monitor and GPS. If you want to be able to make calls and send texts, you’ll need a watch with a cellular connection. And if you just want a basic smartwatch that can tell you the time and check notifications, you can get away with a more affordable model.

2. Set a budget.

Smartwatches can range in price from around $50 to $500 or more. So it’s important to set a budget before you start shopping. Once you know how much you’re willing to spend, you can narrow down your options.

3. Choose a compatible smartwatch.

If you have an iPhone, you’ll need an Apple Watch. If you have an Android phone, you can choose from a variety of Wear OS smartwatches. There are also a few smartwatches that are compatible with both iPhones and Android phones, such as the Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense.

4. Read reviews.

Before you buy any smartwatch, it’s a good idea to read reviews from other users. This can help you get a sense of the watch’s strengths and weaknesses.

5. Try on the smartwatch before you buy it.

You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first, and the same goes for smartwatches. Make sure the watch is comfortable to wear and that you like the look of it.

6. Consider the battery life.

Some smartwatches only last a day on a single charge, while others can last for several days. If you’re someone who is always on the go, you’ll want to choose a watch with long battery life.

7. Think about the features.

Smartwatches come with a variety of features, such as heart rate monitoring, GPS, built-in speakers, and NFC payments. Decide which features are important to you and choose a watch that has them.

In addition to the tips above, here are a few other things to consider when buying a new smartwatch:

  • The operating system:¬†Apple Watch uses watchOS,¬†while most other smartwatches use Wear OS.¬†Think about which operating system you prefer.
  • The design:¬†Smartwatches come in a variety of styles,¬†so choose one that you like the look of.
  • The app store:¬†Make sure the smartwatch has an app store that has the apps you want to use.
  • The warranty:¬†Consider the warranty before you buy a smartwatch.

With a little planning, you can find the perfect smartwatch for your needs.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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