The best smartwatches 2023on September 13, 2023 at 16:45 Tech Advisor


In recent years, the humble watch has been transformed into a comprehensive health companion.

These days, it can be used track workouts, analyse sleep, receive notifications and plenty more, all directly from your wrist. But with almost every smartphone maker now releasing watches, alongside plenty of other companies specialising in wearables, how do you pick one?

That decision will be easier if you own an iPhone, although there are now three Apple Watches and some other compatible wearables to choose from. But on the Android side, you’ll find dozens of different devices. This article aims to simplify your decision, with 10 of the very best smartwatches you can buy and detailed buying advice.

Apple, Samsung, Google, Mobvoi, Garmin and Amazfit are all represented here, so there really is something for everyone.

In this ranking we’re focused 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.

Best smartwatch 2023

1. Apple Watch SE – Best for iPhone


Good value

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.

Read our full

Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) review

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic – Best for Android


Excellent durable design

Superb display

Great fitness tracking

Two-day battery life


Non-Samsung phones lose features

Big, bulky design

Always-on display destroys battery life

Best Prices Today:

$399.99 at Amazon

Samsung ditched the Classic version of its Galaxy Watch in 2022, but it’s returned in style in 2023. While it doesn’t come cheap, this is the best Android smartwatch you can buy.

Its defining feature is a physical rotating bezel, the main difference compared to the regular Galaxy Watch 6. Not only does it make using the watch easier, it adds some useful protection to the screen.

That display is another highlight, whether you go for the 43mm (1.3in) or 47mm (1.5in) option. It’s a crisp OLED, combining vibrant colours with excellent detail.

As you might expect, health and fitness tracking is extensive, with support for over 100 workouts and detailed sleep analysis. Battery life is also good, but only if you keep the always-on display turned off.

You’ll also have to make do without the ECG, blood pressure monitoring and irregular heart notifications if you don’t have a Samsung phone. But overall, this is still a fantastic smartwatch.

3. Google Pixel Watch – Best Software


Attractive design 

Easy to use 

Smooth performance


Inconsistent battery life 

Old chipset

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.

Read our full

Google Pixel Watch review

4. 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.

Read our full

Apple Watch Series 8 review

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 – Best for Samsung phone owners


Great design and display

Extensive health and fitness tracking

Intuitive software and companion apps

Good value for money


Poor battery life

Missing features on non-Samsung phones

Best Prices Today:

$293.39 at Amazon

Unlike the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, the regular Watch 6 is a small upgrade compared to its predecessor – the Watch 5. This more affordable option ditches the Classic’s physical rotating bezel for an underwhelming virtual version, but it’s still excellent in many areas.

That includes a slick design, complete with 1.3in (40mm) or 1.5in (44mm) OLED displays that perform superbly in all situations. Combine that with Samsung’s intuitive take on the WearOS software, and you’re onto a winner.

Performance is solid, but the Watch 6 really excels when it comes to health tracking. Tons of workouts are supported, alongside sleep tracking and a variety of ways to monitor your health.

However, three of these – ECGs, blood pressure monitoring and irregular heart rate detection – are only available if you have a Samsung phone. And even if you turn off the always-on display, a full day of battery life is only just within reach.

Nonetheless, the Watch 6 is still compelling enough to be one of the best smartwatches around, making it undeniably good value for money.

Read our full

Samsung Galaxy Watch6 review

6. Garmin Forerunner 265 – Best for runners


Great OLED touchscreen

Impressive GPS

Lightweight yet sturdy

Excellent tracking features



No mapping software

Best Prices Today:

$439.99 at Amazon

If running is your workout of choice, the Garmin Forerunner 265 is the best option available. The real reason to buy it over competitors is that OLED display, which looks great – even in bright sunlight.

Battery life is compromised slightly to included it, but you’ll still get up to 20 hours of constantly using the impressively accurate GPS. That’ll be plenty for even marathons, with extensive running data combining with genuinely useful coaching for a great user experience.

It also works well for cycling and swimming, making the 265 an excellent choice for triathlons. But various other activities are supported, and it’s lightweight design makes sleep tracking very comfortable.

Regular smartwatch features are more limited, though you can still get phone notifications (from iPhone or Android) and download songs for offline listening. But Garmin Pay is limited to only a few banks in the UK, and there’s no map app.

If you can live with those and the premium price, there’s no better watch out there for runners.

But if an OLED display, touchscreen and the training readiness feature aren’t important, go for the more affordable Forerunner 255S instead.

Read our full

Garmin Forerunner 265 review

7. Apple Watch Ultra – Best for outdoor sports


Impressive durability

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.

Read our full

Apple Watch Ultra review

8. Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 – Solid all-rounder


Great durability

Excellent OLED display

Multi-day battery life

Slick Wear OS software


Poor companion app

No virtual assistant

No LTE option

Best Prices Today:

$297.49 at Amazon

Mobvoi isn’t one of the first smartwatch companies you might think of, but the TicWatch Pro 5 shouldn’t be ignored.

It’s certainly a premium wearable, but it has plenty of high-end features to match. That includes a durable design, complete with intuitive rotating bezel, without feeling bulky.

While a sizeable 50mm case makes it unsuitable for people with smaller wrists, the 1.43in OLED display within it is a joy to use. And opting for Wear OS makes it easy to access the wide range of health and fitness features, including over 100 types of workout and detailed sleep tracking.

Sadly, accessing this data relies on the underwhelming Mobvoi Health app, and there’s no option to use a virtual assistant or add LTE connectivity.

But with such great battery life (a big improvement compared to the earlier TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra), the TicWatch Pro 5 is definitely worth considering.

Read our full

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 review

9. Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra – Strong battery life



Durable design

Unique display technology


First-party app needs work

Some synching issues

Best Prices Today:

$299.99 at Amazon

Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra is one of the most rugged timepieces we’ve seen from the company; integrating the Pro line’s signature dual-display technology into a hardy form factor, running Wear OS 2 and offering respectable battery longevity.

It can’t quite match the battery life of dedicated premium outdoor watches like Polar’s Grit X Pro, or those with more modest hardware, like Amazfit’s recent offerings, but there’s little else that’s this hardy and this capable in the smartwatch space right now.

Alongside Google’s Wear OS, software the Pro 3 Ultra sports a full-colour AMOLED display and a monochromatic FSTN display that, in Essential Mode, can help extend longevity from 3 to 45 days per charge.

Read our full

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra review

10. Amazfit GTS 4 Mini – Best on a budget


Lovely design

Great range of health features

Strong battery life



Few third-party apps


Not the most accurate tracker

Best Prices Today:

$99.99 at Amazfit

There’s no denying that the Amazfit GTS 4 Mini is a great looking compact smartwatch, with a sleek, slim, and comfortable design that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Apple Watch.

It also benefits from brilliant two-week battery life, among the longest of any smartwatches, despite the fact that it’s also among the cheapest and smallest.

The downsides are that third-party app support is limited, so really this sits halfway between a full smartwatch and a simple tracker. That tracking can also be slightly less reliable than the competition, so to some extent you get what you pay for.

Still, it’s sufficient for basic tracking, as is the larger Amazfit GTS 4 and the similar (but circular) Amazfit GTR 4.

Read our full

Amazfit GTS 4 Mini review

Buying guide to smartwatches


Why do you need a smartwatch?

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.

But more than ever, the primary purpose of a smartwatch is as a health companion. Most can track your fitness, sleep and many other metrics of physical health, though this varies considerably depending on the smartwatch you choose.


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 such as Apple Pay and 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.


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.


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, Wearables

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