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What to Look for in a Smartwatch in 2022

Smartwatches have come a long way in the last few years. They are no longer just a novelty item and can help you reduce your reliance on a smartphone. However, while buying a new smartwatch, you have to keep a few things in mind.

The first thing you want to consider is compatibility. You want a smartwatch that works with your phone. For example, the Apple Watch only works with iPhones. So if you’re an Android user, Apple Watch doesn’t make sense for you.

Secondly, if you are into fitness and sports, ensure that your smartwatch can track the activities and exercise you participate in. While most smartwatches offer basic fitness tracking, the number of exercises or workouts they can track varies. The presence of GPS in a smartwatch is also helpful for mapping runs or bike rides if you don’t want to take your smartphone with you.

Another feature to pay close attention to is battery life, which is one of the biggest complaints about smartwatches. Many popular smartwatches can only last about a day or two on a single charge. If you don’t want another device to charge daily, pick a smartwatch that can last for at least a few days, if not a week.

Lastly, the design and build of your smartwatch are also important. You want something that you still want to wear after the newness goes away, and also something that fits on your wrist comfortably.

With all this out of the way, now it’s time to jump into our recommendations.

Best Smartwatch Overall: Apple Watch Series 7

Red Apple Watch 7 on pink background
Apple

Pros

  • Refined operating system
  • Tons of health and fitness features
  • Unrivaled selection of apps

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Expensive than most smartwatches

Over the years, Apple Watch has successfully established itself as the best smartwatch on the market. The Series 7 is its latest iteration, and it improves upon an already excellent product. You now get an even bigger and brighter screen in the same overall footprint as the Series 6, dust resistance, and faster charging.

The health and wellness features are largely the same as the previous iteration, but that isn’t necessarily bad. For example, the Apple Watch Series 6 can measure your blood oxygen level, take ECG, check your heart rate, and track your sleep. So, the Series 7 can do all that flawlessly, as well. This Apple Watch also gives you access to a massive selection of apps.

watchOS 8 further refines the operating system and effectively uses the extra screen real estate. The Series 7 can fit more text when reading a message and includes a full QWERTY keyboard. In addition, the smartwatch can auto-detect outdoor bike workouts, which expands an already impressive list of activities and exercises it can track.

Although the Series 7 looks almost identical to its predecessor, Apple has added new color options. So, in addition to the 41mm and 45mm watch sizes, you can choose from ten different case finishes, three case materials, and three strap types.

Unfortunately, like every other Apple Watch, the Series 7 is only compatible with iPhones. So if you use an Android smartphone, you are better off with our best Android smartwatch pick or another recommendation below.

Best Smartwatch Overall

Apple Watch Series 7

The Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch you can buy. It is in a class entirely on its own. If you have an iPhone, there is no reason to look further.

Best Budget Smartwatch: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Amazfit smartwatch on table
Amazfit

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • SpO2 and heart-rate sensors
  • Attractive design and bright display

Cons

  • No third-party app support
  • Trouble locking in GPS signal

If you aren’t looking to spend a lot on your smartwatch, the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is a great value-for-money pick. It features an attractive design that looks elegant and will go well with everything from business attire to workout clothes. The smartwatch also packs a bright OLED screen.

The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is also full of health and fitness tracking features and can monitor your heart rate, stress levels, and sleep. In addition, the watch has over 70 sports modes to track your workouts and includes a SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels.

Battery life is another highlight of the GTS 2 Mini, and it will last over five days with an always-on display and heavy usage. If you are a light user and turn off the always-on display, you can increase the backup to over a week.

Among other features, there is support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, so you can ask the smartwatch to check the weather, set alarms, create lists, and a lot more. GPS is also present for mapping your runs and bike rides, but the smartwatch takes a lot of time to lock on the GPS signal.

In addition, the GTS 2 Mini lacks support for third-party apps, so you are stuck with whatever you get pre-installed on the smartwatch. But that’s the sacrifice you’ll have to make for a budget smartwatch.

Best Budget Smartwatch

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini hits the sweet spot between cheap fitness trackers and feature-rich smartwatches. It has a bright screen, long battery life, and an attractive design.

Best Fitness Tracker: Garmin Venu 2

Garmin Venu 2 watches
Garmin

Pros

  • Bright AMOLED display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Plenty of tracking options

Cons

  • Limited smart features
  • No mic
  • Expensive

The Garmin Venu 2 is a serious fitness watch with a pleasing design. It has an understated look that many people will appreciate. You also get a gorgeous AMOLED screen that gets bright enough to remain visible in sunlight.

Being a fitness-centric watch, it has tons of nifty features that fitness enthusiasts will like. For example, the Garmin Venu 2 can track indoor climbing, bouldering, snowboarding, and more, apart from your standard running, walking, and cycling. There are also advanced training modes that let you target muscle areas or record your weight training data. Additionally, the watch packs high-intensity activity timers to work up a sweat. Overall, there are over 25 activity modes.

In other features, the Garmin Venu 2 is swim-proof, includes a heart-rate monitor, and has a SpO2 sensor to record blood oxygen levels.

The app selection is limited, but you get most smartwatch basics, like notifications from your phone, the ability to play music, and NFC payments support via Garmin Pay. The smartwatch supports both Android and iPhone, but you can’t respond to notifications on the iPhone. If you want that functionality, you’ll want another smartwatch.

It’s worth noting the Venu 2 lacks some smartwatch features that are available on other popular smartwatches, like onboard maps or a voice assistant. But the Venu 2 makes up for its relative lack of smart features with battery life. It can go up to three days with an always-on display and heavy usage. If you turn off the always-on display feature, the battery goes up to six days.

The Garmin Venu 2 comes in a single 45mm size and has two color options. You can also buy the Garmin Venu 2S, which has the same features as the Venu 2 but is available in 40mm size and four colors.

Best Fitness Tracker

Garmin Venu 2

The Garmin Venu 2 is a slick smartwatch that focuses on fitness features while keeping many of the smartwatch basics.

Best Smartwatch for Battery Life: Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3s on grey background
Fitbit

Pros

  • Can last upto six days
  • Bright and crisp display
  • Plenty of fitness and health features

Cons

  • Limited selection of apps

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a terrific option if you want a smartwatch that doesn’t skimp on the fitness and smart features and can still offer an excellent battery life. It lasts about six days without an always-on display and moderate usage. Even with the always-on display enabled, you’ll be able to get three days of battery life. The watch also supports fast charging, which gets you 24 hours of juice in just 12 minutes of charge.

The Versa 3 looks elegant and packs a bright and crisp AMOLED screen that is easy to see in sunlight. Moreover, thanks to Fitbit App Gallery, you get access to over 10,000 watch faces, so you can customize your smartwatch just the way you want.

It also boasts plenty of health and fitness features. You get the basic all-day tracking of steps, heart rate, hourly activity, calories burned, floors climbed, and more. In addition, the watch also pushes you to be really active with Active Zone Minutes.

You earn Active Zone Minutes by spending your workout time in Fat Burn, Cardio, or Peak heart-rate zones. Moreover, there is a built-in GPS, a SpO2 sensor, and sleep monitoring support.

While there aren’t as many apps for the Fitbit smartwatch as Apple Watch Series 7 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, you get the most useful smart features like notifications, the ability to take calls, voice assistants, music playback, and more.

The Fitbit Versa 3 is available in a single size and five color options.

Best Smartwatch for Battery Life

Fitbit Versa 3

Those looking for a good smartwatch that excels on the battery front will be happy with the Fitbit Versa 3.

Best Smartwatch for Kids: TickTalk 4

TickTock watches on pink background
TickTock

Pros

  • GPS for location tracking
  • Secure calling and messaging
  • Cameras for video calls

Cons

  • Big and bulky
  • No geofencing

The TickTalk 4 is a feature-rich smartwatch for kids. This smartwatch comes with GPS location tracking, two-way talk, text support, and parental controls. Thanks to the included selfie cameras, your child can also make video calls to family members or send video/photo messages.

In terms of the safety features, an SOS button is present, and you can set it to call 911 or parents. In addition, the smartwatch doesn’t allow internet access and can limit calls to and from a maximum of 53 parent-approved contacts.

A pre-installed iHeart Radio Family app allows kids to stream music, podcasts, and stories for free to keep them engaged. There is also built-in support for activity tracking, and you can set daily step goals for your child.

As the watch is enclosed in a thick, water-resistant case to make it more durable, the TickTalk 4 feels big and bulky, and some children may not want to wear it. Also, the smartwatch needs a $10 per month subscription to Red Pocket Mobile in the US for cellular services. You can use AT&T or T-Mobile SIM cards, but their plans will cost more.

Best Smartwatch for Kids

TickTalk 4

The TickTalk 4 is a durable, kid-friendly smartwatch. It has tons of features for both kids and parents, including secure texting, video calls, and GPS tracking.

Best Android Smartwatch: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Galaxy 4 watches on white background
Samsung

Pros

  • Excellent display, fast performance
  • Lots of health and wellness features
  • Decent selection of apps

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • Some features require a Samsung phone

While iPhone users have had the Apple Watch as a solid smartwatch option for years, there hasn’t been a genuinely great smartwatch for Android users. Fortunately, that’s changing with the Galaxy Watch 4. It’s an excellent smartwatch—maybe not as great as the Apple Watch, but the best you can use with Android phones.

The Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic are the first smartwatches to run on Wear OS 3. It’s a new wearables operating system that combines the best parts of Wear OS with Samsung’s Tizen platform. As a result, the Galaxy Watch 4 is snappy and comes with a better app selection than older Wear OS and Tizen watches.

It has most of what you expect in terms of health, wellness, and fitness features. The smartwatch can count steps, track over 90 workouts, take ECG, monitor your blood oxygen level, and track your heart rate. Additionally, the Watch 4 can measure body composition stats like body fat percentage, skeletal muscle, body water, and more.

Unfortunately, the battery life is mediocre, and it only lasts through a day of moderate to heavy use. Also, as it’s a Samsung smartwatch, it uses many of the Samsung apps to connect to your phone or provide different features. This is not a problem if you are already in Samsung’s ecosystem, but you may find it annoying if you use another brand’s ecosystem.

The Galaxy Watch 4 comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes, and you can also choose from Bluetooth and LTE variants.

If you’re looking for something that is a tad more premium and are willing to spend for it, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is another option. It will cost you $100 more, but you get a stainless steel case, leather strap, and a mechanical rotating bezel that is much easier to use than the touch-sensitive bezel of the Watch 4.

Best Android Smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 runs the latest Wear OS 3 and brings a bright OLED screen, snappy performance, and tons of health and fitness features.

Best Apple Smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 7

Green Apple Watch 7 on yellow background
Apple

Pros

  • Faster charging and improved durability
  • Bigger screen than its predecessors
  • Great activity tracking

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • Expensive

Although dozens of smartwatches are compatible with iPhones, there is no better option than the Apple Watch Series 7. Being the latest generation Apple Watch, it has the best the company can offer right now.

The Series 7 sports a larger screen, is more durable than its predecessors and has faster charging support. The company has also added dust resistance, which was missing from Apple Watches until now.

The larger screen allows you to see more text and other details on the smartwatch. WatchOS 8 brings new watch faces, a full QWERTY keyboard, and several other exciting improvements.

If you are into biking, the Series 7 will auto-detect your biking sessions and track them. Support for Pilates and Tai Chi has also been added. All this is in addition to the dozens of already supported workouts.

The heath and wellness features of the Series 7 are pretty expansive, and it can track your heart rate, monitor blood oxygen level, take an ECG, and keep an eye on your sleep.

Unfortunately, the Series 7 offers an average battery life and lasts only around a day. However, you may be able to stretch that to two days if you turn off the always-on display and don’t work out.

The Apple Watch Series is available in 41mm and 45mm sizes, and you can also choose from GPS and GPS+Cellular variants.

If you find the Series 7 expensive and are looking for something a little more affordable, the Apple Watch SE is an excellent budget option. It shares several features with the Series 7 but has an older processor and lacks the always-on display, ECG app, and blood oxygen tracking capabilities.

Best Apple Smartwatch

Apple Watch Series 7

If you have an iPhone and looking for a smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 7 is a no-brainer. It has an excellent selection of apps and can track dozens of workouts.

Profile Photo for Gaurav Shukla Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla is a technology journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting and writing about consumer technology. His work has appeared in XDA Developers and NDTV Gadgets 360.
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