Whether you are looking for your first smartwatch or replacing an old one, there are many factors to consider when trying to figure out the best smartwatch for your needs, especially since it will likely be strapped to your wrist 24/7. You’ll need to decide on your preferred watch face shape if you want a more fitness model than other smart features and which operating system you want (iOS versus Android ).
But this is only the beginning of a series of considerations. One smartwatch should offer everything from heart rate monitoring and ‘ physical activity to GPS tracking and intelligent notifications. Some smartwatches can also be used for contactless payments. They should all work perfectly with smartphone notifications – both Android and iPhone users should make the most of their devices.
We’ve rounded up the best smartwatches of 2021 based on function, price, and compatibility to help you decide which one is right for you.
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 may be the most expensive on our list, but it’s the top-of-the-line standard when it comes to smartwatches. It has all the smartwatch features we loved about its predecessors, plus some new perks like an ever-brighter display and a new sensor that measures blood oxygen levels. It is now also the only Apple smartwatch with an electrocardiogram app (also called ECG or EKG).
The Apple Watch’s biggest drawbacks: It is only compatible with iPhones and has shorter battery life than most of its competitors.
Apple Watch SE
If you’ve never owned an Apple Watch, this is the one to buy. The Apple Watch SE is a cheaper alternative to Series 6 with many of the same great features plus a slightly longer battery life. Aside from the extra health sensors (ECG and SpO2), the most notable difference is that the SE doesn’t have an always-on display. But you probably won’t miss it if you’ve never had this feature.
Fitbit Versa 3
The Versa 3 is compatible with iOS and Android phones and lets you choose between Alexa or Google Assistant as your preferred voice assistant. It doesn’t offer all the smart apps and features like some of its competitors, but it’s a well-rounded smartwatch with plenty of health and fitness features to keep you in shape at all times, like built-in GPS and real-time notifications about frequency zones. Cardiac. It has the best sleep tracker on this list and gives you an overview of the data on SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) and body temperature at night (Fitbit Premium users). Battery life is better than most, too: about four full days (and nights) of use with the screen always on.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Active 2 offers nearly all of the same features as the new Galaxy Watch 3, including an ECG app and drop detection, for around half the price. It’s not as flashy as the Watch 3 with its rotating bezel and thicker frame, but it’s less bulky and more comfortable to wear at night and during workouts. Active 2 handles calls, text messages, and app notifications and offers Spotify support and all the basic fitness features you’ll need. You can also get an LTE edition of this smartwatch, which can receive calls on the go without your Android phone nearby.
Garmin Venu Sq
If you’re looking for a distraction-free fitness-focused watch that works with both Android and iOS, Garmin Venu Sq is the watch for you. It has a built-in GPS, lots of training options to choose from, and lots of data about your training, like heart rate zones and running dynamics in the mobile app.
Plus, it doubles as a health tracker with high and low heart rate alerts, a comprehensive sleep analysis, and SpO2 monitoring. It measures blood oxygen levels on-demand or automatically during the day and night, just like the latest Apple Watch Series 6, but at a much lower price. But compromise on design. The watch has a plastic bezel, and the screen isn’t as large or vibrant as some of the other watches on the list.
Amazfit Bip S
If you are looking to get more value for money, you will be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Amazfit Bip S. This smartwatch is compatible with Android and iOS devices and checks most of the boxes when it comes to the features: rate sensor, heart rate, always-on display, built-in GPS tracking, and the best battery life of any device on this list. You can get up to 40 days of use on one charge or around two weeks of heavy use with GPS on and brightness (a time that’s still above and beyond the rest).
However, you may have to make some sacrifices for aesthetics, as it has a plastic casing, and the screen isn’t as bright or responsive as the ones on the Galaxy and Apple Watch.