Alongside the functions of a regular watch, smartwatches offer you a single screen with the handy ability to show email notifications, give directions, measure your physical activity and a lot more. You need a compatible smartphone nearby for the more advanced functions. It’s from the smartphone that the watch receives notifications, for instance. Without one, it will just tell the time and count your steps. Here’s a list of the best smartwatches you should invest in.
Watch Series 2
This Apple watch is the smartest-looking and easily the best one available out there. The new model is swim-proof and has built-in GPS. With an improved battery, the watch lasts well over a day. The entry-level casing is aluminium, but you can pay extra for a stainless steel case and super-tough sapphire crystal display cover. The display is bright enough to use on the sunniest day. The watch is available in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm.
Aimed specifically at runners, the Apple watch is made of soft rubber that’s especially comfortable to wear. The special edition also has exclusive Nike watch faces which connect to the company’s Nike+ Run Club app, for instance. Otherwise, the watch has all the regular features and, unusually for a special version.
Watch Series 1
With no GPS or water resistance, this Apple watch is a more affordable option. It has a heart rate monitor which is useful during workouts. There’s a big range of straps available, though the Series 1 is available in different colours but only in an aluminium finish.
The Samsung smartwatch connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone. It comes in two styles, Classic and Frontier. Both are water-resistant, though not dive-proof. The rotating bezel can be used to control apps. This watch will also have Samsung Pay, a digital payment system which should work with most card readers, not just chip-and-pin ones. Samsung Pay has yet to launch in the UK, mind – it’s set to be rolled out in 2017.
This Withings’ piece has physical hands to tell the time with a smaller dial that measures your exercise goal. A small digital display shows details like a digital readout of your steps, the distance covered and calories burnt. It also has a heart rate monitor, with detailed analysis on the smartphone app. It can also notify you when you receive a call or text. The battery lasts for around three weeks, and it’s water-resistant up to 50m.
This Withings watch is a brilliant and affordable choice. It has real hands for the time and exercise levels. The touch-sensitive glass provides alarm functions and it’s easy to change the time when you travel. It lacks the extra features such as notifications found on other watches. The watch is good-looking, lightweight, water-resistant and uses a standard watch battery, so it lasts eight months or more.
Smartwatch 3 SWR50
This Sony device has a battery that can last two days and it is waterproof, designed to survive for an hour at a depth of two metres. It uses an Android operating system, with plenty of apps available. Various finishes are available, including a stainless steel case and strap.
Being last year’s model, the Samsung smartwatch has dropped in price and is neat. It has the same rotating bezel as the new S3. The circular screen is as sharp as Apple’s. It uses Samsung’s own Tizen operating system, which is good but the number of apps is limited.
One of the most expensive smartwatches available, Tag Heuer Connected has a scratch-resistant screen and full-day battery life. This is certainly a handsome watch, though it feels a little like a halfway house between smart and not-so-smart.