There’s an interesting theory that smartwatches are to the smartphone what wristwatches were to the pocket watch. Picture the way the average gentleman used to have to rummage through his pocket for his watch prior to the 20th century. Now skip forward 100+ years and the average smartphone user still has to dive into their pocket to check their phone.
The kicker now is that your smartphone holds far more information than a pocket watch ever did, all of which is still locked into your pocket.
Smartwatches aren’t for making phone calls – although some can – instead, they (among other things) provide a quick and easy way to check your phone’s notifications, so you can decide whether it’s worth delving into your pocket or searching around your bag to fetch your smartphone and properly action anything.
2.What makes a good smartwatch?
When testing for the best smartwatch, the important factors to consider are ‘how many of your smartphone’s functions can it perform?’, and ‘how well does it handle each task?’, the final attribute is obviously style – it’s still bling after all.
You’ll also want to make sure it’s compatible with your smartphone – some are only for iPhone or Android while others support most phones.
If you’re an Android user then a Wear OS smartwatch is the obvious choice, while iPhone users should probably start by looking at an Apple Watch – but there are alternatives.
Fitbit watches still run their own operating system (despite being owned by Google) and so will work well with iPhones too – and even some Wear OS watches are compatible with iOS too. Meanwhile other manufacturers like Amazfit and Huawei also run their own software, and often work well with both types of phone.
Fitness fans will want to look for a device with a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS, even though they often can’t compare to a chest-worn monitor in terms of accuracy. Many also come with NFC which can be used for contactless payments, via services like Google Pay.
We consider the important factors of a smartwatch to be level of notification detail, battery life, style, water resistance, device compatibility and additional features, such as microphones and WiFi support. Find out how we test wearables for more information.
3.What’s the difference between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker?
The difference between smartwatches and fitness trackers is a bit of a grey area – after all, most fitness trackers also double as watches, and many include smart features.
To draw the line we factor in how a manufacturer positions its product, but for the most part the main question is how smart the device is. If all it can do is record exercise then it’s a fitness tracker, but if it also allows you to install apps, take phone calls, and check notifications, then we’re more likely to consider it a smartwatch.
This is really why this ranking doesn’t currently feature any Fitbit smartwatches. We reviewed both the Sense 2 and Versa 4, but found that both have had their smart features stripped back so much that they’re difficult to recommend as smartwatches in their own right.
The lines are always blurry though, so make sure to check out our fitness tracker round-up to see more options.
4.What about hybrid watches?
There are two types of smartwatches around at the moment: those with a colourful touchscreen – similarly to what you’d find on your phone – and those which combine a regular analogue watch with smart features.
These are known as ‘hybrid’ smartwatches; some have the smart bits almost completely hidden, while some give you information via a small integrated display (the Withings ScanWatch is a good example of a hybrid watch).
While a fully-fledged smartwatch can do a lot more, that juice-guzzling screen results in shorter battery life. Hybrid watches benefit from longer battery life with some even having separate cells for the watch and smart features. Since they’re not true smartwatches, you’ll find hybrid watches from Withings and others in our separate fitness tracker chart.
Smartwatches are a great way to receive notifications from your phone and track your health, right from your wrist. We’ve used and reviewed all of the latest smartwatches for Android and iPhone, and here we’ve ranked ten of the best.
The latest Apple Watch may seem like the obvious choice – and in fact there are now three Apple Watch options to pick from – but there are also loads of great rivals to choose from whether you use Android or an iPhone, with excellent hardware from Samsung, Huawei, Amazfit, and others.
In this ranking we’re focussed on fully featured smartwatches, with some level of app and notification support, but check out our guide to the best fitness trackers if you want something simpler – and probably cheaper.
1. Apple Watch SE – Best for iPhone
Solid feature set
Great integration with iPhone
No always-on display
So-so battery life
The Apple Watch SE is the best Apple Watch option for most people with an iPhone. It is very reasonably priced – not something we can often genuinely say about Apple hardware products.
It has many of the features of the more expensive Apple Watch Series 8, including the new car crash detection, while maintaining a modern design with the same chipset and solid battery life – for an Apple Watch, that is.
If you equally value smart features like third-party app integration, music storage, contactless payments, and full fitness tracking, the Apple Watch is still the best smartwatch if you have an iPhone. The SE does everything surprisingly well considering it’s the cheapest one.
2. Google Pixel Watch – Best for Android (& Fitbit Fans)
Easy to use
Inconsistent battery life
Lacks proper automatic workout detection
No Qi wireless charging
One of the biggest draws of the first official Pixel Watch is its beautiful design. Not only does it look and feel great, with its own personality, but it’s also compact, light, and comfortable too.
More than that though, it’s packed with loads of great tech and works brilliantly thanks to the combination of the intuitive Wear OS 3 software, a digital crown, and a dazzling screen.
Fitness tracking is handled by Fitbit, which also makes this the best smartwatch right now for anyone who wants to keep their data in the Fitbit family, as it’s comfortably better than Fitbit’s own Sense 2 and Versa 4, which weren’t good enough to feature in this chart.
Sadly, Google hasn’t nailed it in every department, with unpredictable battery life, restrictions when it comes to charging and, most odd of all, lacking proper automatic workout detection despite featuring Fitbit-powered tracking. Still, this sets the bar for the new default smartwatch experience on Android, and gives rivals something to aim for.
3. Apple Watch Series 8 – Full-featured Apple Watch
Premium design & build
Fantastic iPhone integration
Few updates from older models
Requires daily charging
While the Series 8 is only an incremental upgrade over 2021’s Series 7, it’s still a great buy for iPhone owners, and packs a couple key features that the cheaper SE (above) doesn’t.
The big difference compared to the SE is the support for an always-on display, letting you check the time and other alerts at a glance – with a hit to battery life. Some of the health tracking features are also more advanced, with ECG and blood oxygen measurement plus a temperature sensor for cycle tracking, which is new to the Series 8.
Battery life remains the biggest weak spot – unlike most rivals this still needs a daily charge, and you’ll need to plan that well if you want to make the most of the sleep-tracking features. If you don’t need the top health features then you may want to consider the cheaper SE, while those with more demanding needs should look at the souped-up Apple Watch Ultra, which you’ll find below.
4. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 – Best for Samsung phone owners
Best Wear OS experience yet
40mm model has bad battery
Full functionality for Samsung Galaxy users only
After the Pixel Watch, the Galaxy Watch 5 has a good claim to being the ‘default’ smartwatch for many Android phone owners, though that does come with a big caveat: if your handset isn’t made by Samsung then not every feature will work, including health tracking extras like the ECG.
Even if you don’t use a Samsung phone you shouldn’t write this off though. The Watch 5 comes in two casing sizes, along with a range of colours for personalisation. The whole design is contemporary, complete with a digital bezel that uses haptic feedback, too.
The Watch 5 is a premium feature-packed smartwatch with the Google Play Store and support for a wealth of third-party apps. It’s also surprisingly affordable, so there’s no need to break the bank.
One final word of caution: we found the battery life on the smaller 40mm model erratic and unreliably, but the larger cell in the 44mm variant should make that a safer bet.
5. Apple Watch Ultra – Best for outdoor sports
Bright display is easy to use outdoors
Great outdoor-focused features
Provides the core watchOS experience
New straps need some more work
The Apple Watch Ultra might just look like a bigger, more rugged Apple Watch, but there’s more to it than that. It’s not only more durable but boasts a number of improvements that benefit outdoor sports enthusiasts, from extreme temperature protection to improved water resistance capabilities.
The new Action button is a welcome addition that I hope makes its way to the standard Apple Watch, providing a handy way to access key functionality without the touchscreen, and the dual-GPS is a real game-changer for those that like to wander off the beaten track.
Sure, it’s bigger, bulkier and weightier than the standard Apple Watch, but if you’re looking for something that’ll take a knock or two and last days on a single charge, the Apple Watch Ultra is a solid premium option. However, if you’re only looking for an Apple Watch for day-to-day use, the cheaper, slimmer Apple Watch SE and Series 8 are better bets.
With Ceramic Shield, tougher than any smartphone glass. Water resistance. Surgical-grade stainless steel. 15.54 cm (6.1 inch) and 17.00 cm (6.7 inch) display sizes. All in four Pro colours.
Meet The New Face of iPhone
Introducing Dynamic Island, a truly Apple innovation that’s hardware and software — and something in between. It bubbles up music, FaceTime and so much more — all without taking you away from what you’re doing.
Dynamic Island blends fun and function like never before, consolidating your notifications, alerts and activities into one interactive place. It’s integrated throughout iOS 16 — and can work with all kinds of apps — to seamlessly surface what you need, right when you need it.
It expands fluidly to get your attention — Hey, you have a call coming in — then tucks away again. You can touch and hold to control your music, keep an eye on a timer and more.3 Easy. Intuitive. Delightful.
Built breakthrough by breakthrough.
Innovation thrives when you bring hardware, software and silicon teams together like only Apple can.
This is the biggest change to the face of iPhone since we went all screen.
Always-On display. Always ready.
Now your Lock Screen is always glanceable, so you don’t even have to tap it to stay in the know.
When iPhone is turned face down or in your pocket, it goes dark to save battery life.
All-day battery life
even with so many new capabilities
Your photo. Your font. Your widgets. Your iPhone.
iOS 16 lets you customise your Lock Screen in fun new ways. Layer a photo to make it pop. Track your Activity rings. And see live updates from your favourite apps.
See why the New Super Retina XDR Display is like nothing else
For those bright, sunny days, the Super Retina XDR display now reaches a peak of 2,000 nits outdoors — that’s twice as bright as before and the highest peak brightness of any smartphone. So text jumps right off the screen.
Photos and HDR videos get a big boost too — up to 1,600 nits peak brightness, bringing iPhone to the same level as the Pro Display XDR. Movies, shows and even the films you’ve shot on iPhone look more true to life than ever.
ProMotion technology allows for variable refresh rates from 10 to 120 times per second. It smoothly and intelligently ramps up when you need exceptional graphics performance, and ramps down to save power when you don’t. Game on, gamers.
Crash Detection calls for help when you can’t.
iPhone 14 Pro can detect a severe car crash, then call emergency services and notify your emergency contacts.
1 million hours of real‑world driving and crash data helps iPhone recognise accidents
The Pro camera system gets massively more Pro.
Introducing the all-new 48MP Main camera with an advanced quad-pixel sensor.
Up to 4x the resolution. For jaw-dropping cropping.
iPhone 14 Pro raises the bar for what 48 megapixels can do — delivering 4x the resolution in ProRAW for mind-blowing detail in every crop.
65% larger sensor
than iPhone 13 Pro
See how iPhone does more with every megapixel
The quad-pixel sensor on the Main camera makes the most of 48 megapixels by adapting to what you’re shooting.
For most photos, you want to optimise for light capture. So the new sensor groups four pixels together into one large quad pixel, gathering 4x more light and producing spectacularly better photos at the practical 12MP size.
Other times, it’s better to optimise for detail. In those cases, the sensor leverages each individual pixel, providing more creative options for shooting and editing in pro workflows.
For the ultimate combination of detail and flexibility, shoot in ProRAW at 48MP resolution. A new machine learning model delivers sharper images and less noise for unprecedented detail. So you can reframe your photos while still retaining amazing resolution.
Welcome to total creative control.
The new Pro camera system adds a 2x optical-quality Telephoto to its zoom range, putting tons of framing flexibility in your pocket. Up your frame game
See how we created the 2x Telephoto and how to get the most out of it
The quad-pixel sensor allows us to go beyond the three fixed lens of the Pro camera system to create an additional 2x Telephoto. Which expands your zoom options to 0.5x, 1x, 2x and 3x.
This new Telephoto uses the middle 12 megapixels of the quad-pixel sensor to deliver full-resolution photos and 4K videos with no digital zoom.
With its popular focal length and great resolution, 2x is the perfect framing choice for Portrait mode.Much more detail. In much less light.
Up to 3x better low-light photos on the Ultra Wide camera
Then we added the all-new Photonic Engine, our game-changing image pipeline. It allows Deep Fusion — which merges the best pixels from multiple exposures into one phenomenal photo — to happen earlier in the process on uncompressed images.
This preserves much more data to deliver brighter, more lifelike colours and beautifully detailed textures in less light than ever.
The latest Apple silicon performs up to 4 trillion operations per photo
The new Adaptive True Tone flash adjusts the pattern and intensity of nine LEDs depending on the focal length of the photo, so your subject always appears in the best light.Up to 2x brighter flash on Telephoto shotsUp to 3x better uniformity on Ultra Wide shots with flash
Breathtaking. Frames. Per. Second.
Cinematic mode now shoots in 4K HDR at 24 fps — the film industry standard. Have your people call our people.
Now you can seamlessly edit with other pro footage in 4K at 24 or 30 fps. You can even edit the depth effect after capture.
Highest-quality video in a smartphone
Shaky action shot? Fix it in pre.
Whether you’re filming from an off-road SUV or running alongside your subject, try Action mode for smooth handheld videos – no gimbal required.
The only smartphone in the world that lets you shoot, view, edit and share in ProRes or Dolby Vision HDR
48MP for up to 4x the resolution24 mm48 mm (2x Telephoto)Quad-pixel sensor2.44 µm quad pixel1.22 µm single pixelƒ/1.78 aperture100 Percent Focus Pixels7-element lensSensor-shift OIS (2nd gen)
Up to 2x better low‑light photos77 mm3x optical zoomƒ/2.8 aperture3 Percent Focus Pixels6-element lensOIS
Sharper, brighter macro shots13 mm120 degree field of viewƒ/2.2 aperture100 Percent Focus Pixels6-element lensLens correction
A camera in a class by itselfie.
Snap your sharpest, most colourful close-ups and group shots, thanks to a new TrueDepth front camera with autofocus and a larger aperture.
Up to 2x better low-light photos
See how spectacular your selfies can look
On the count of three, say “we”. Now that the TrueDepth camera can automatically focus on multiple subjects at once, all your selfies — from stunning close-ups to group shots — look their sharpest.
There is a lot going on in the information security space. 2006 looks to be an interesting year in these regards. Below are some things to watch for in 2006, some of them are good and, unfortunately, some aren’t.
First the good news:
– We are getting a lot more serious about our security. This has a lot of reasons behind it. For example, new privacy laws are mandating organizations to tighten their security. Look to see more consumer privacy laws passed in the coming year and more tightening of security systems.
– Authentication requirements are increasing. This is closing in large security holes. Corporations are requiring a great deal more of authentication to get into secure systems (this also is on the bad news side)
– There is a plethora of sophisticated programs to help us be more secure and they will continue to get better. Competition right now is strong in the security industry sparking a lot of innovation.
– ISPs are now taking on the responsibility to help us with our security. Take AOL’s recent commercials as a good sign that others will follow the trend.
Now the bad news:
– Securing our networks is costing us. Most companies are globalizing their organizations and making them secure costs a lot of money. It will get worse before it gets better.
– Authentication requirements are increasing. This is getting claustrophobic. Corporations are requiring a great deal more authentication to get into secure systems (This is also on the good news side) Unfortunately, for the end user, it is one more thing to be unhappy about, not unlike airport security lines.
– Hackers are getting more sophisticated. For example, Botnets are becoming more complex and harder and harder to catch and stop. Do a search on botnets on the Internet. They really are causing a whole lot of problems, but it does not stop there. The number of viruses and malware out there is staggering.
– Spammers keep finding more creative ways to fill our email boxes. Don’t look for this trend to stop anytime soon.