Every year brings another set of smartwatch upgrades. A popular piece of wearable tech, what used to just be a way to tell the time has quickly progressed to become a full-on wrist computer.
Just about every major brand has improved on its smartwatch formula. Adding to the overall convenience of taking calls and checking notifications without needing to take your phone everywhere, this year’s watches boast plenty of upgrades. More powerful sensors, longer battery life, and better smarts make these devices stand out.
The best smartwatch depends heavily on your brand preferences. While the Apple Watch is a great wearable, Android users won’t get the most out of it. Fortunately, there are some great devices regardless of your chosen tech ecosystem. These are our picks for the best smartwatch for every type of user.
Although not a huge upgrade from the previous model, the Apple Watch Series 9 is undoubtedly the best smartwatch for anyone with an iPhone. This year’s model comes with a faster chip, a brighter display, and support for a nifty double-tap gesture. This latter feature lets you pinch your finger and thumb on the watch-wearing hand to respond to notifications, answer calls, pause music, and turn off alarms all without touching the screen.
It’s arguably the software upgrade that makes the biggest difference, however. WatchOS 10 added a bunch of new features, especially for cycling enthusiasts. It’s now easier to see workout data at a glance, and you can connect more third-party bike accessories to gain even more insights. These additions make the Apple Watch synonymous with cycling, and an excellent smartwatch for exercise in general.
Best suited for anyone with an older model, like the Series 5 or older, the Apple Watch Series 9 is a great upgrade. If you don’t already have a smartwatch, it’s an easy recommendation for iPhone owners.
For anyone whose sport preference borders on the extreme, consider the Apple Watch Ultra 2. It’s super durable in high altitudes and can be used as deep as 100 metres underwater. Plus, its brighter 3000-nit display makes reading at a glance easier, no matter whether you’re in direct sunlight or deep underwater.
Best Android smartwatch: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
Packed with excellent fitness tracking features in addition to a fun and practical rotating bezel, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the best smartwatch for Android users. Some of its features are exclusive to Samsung Galaxy phone users, like sleep coaching and emergency SOS, but it’s an excellent Android workout companion.
Not only is the rotating bezel last seen on the Watch 4 Classic a fun way to interact with the device, but it’s also a highly intuitive control method. Add that to the quick automatic workout detection technology, and you have a recipe for a good smartwatch.
Like any new smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is an incremental upgrade over its predecessor, so those with several-year-old models will get the most benefit.
Addressing many of the complaints of the original, the Google Pixel Watch 2 is a substantial improvement. Its battery now lasts a full day, and the more powerful processor results in better app performance.
As far as features, it includes improved stress tracking, skin temperature sensors, upwards of 40 different workout types, and irregular heart rhythm detection. The Google Pixel Watch 2 is a good option if you’re coming from Fitbit, as it ties in more closely with the wellness ecosystem.
A little light on smarts, the Coros Apex 2 Pro is nonetheless a strong smartwatch for enthusiast runners and outdoor athletes. Its long-lasting battery is a big benefit, with up to 30 days of normal use and up to 75 hours of GPS use.
Importantly, the Coros Apex 2 Pro functions superbly as a runner’s companion. Its GPS and heart rate tracking are precise, and it’s very comfortable to wear. You can also draw your running route ahead of time via the Coros app and debrief post-run with plenty of in-depth data.
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