Apple has recently unveiled the next generation models of its Watch device: the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE.
It’s a crowded marketplace for wearable technology, with Apple and rival brands such as Samsung, Fossil, Garmin and Fitbit all battling for market share.
There’s plenty of options to choose from, but here we pick out some of the best smartwatches and fitness trackers available right now.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Apple Watch Series 6
Released in the UK on 18 September, the Watch Series 6 is a smartwatch that “every fitness and tech fan will love”, says the London Evening Standard. Running on watchOS 7, the device offers many features including blood oxygen sensors, sleep tracking and automatic handwashing detection.
Men’s Health asks the question: is the Apple Watch Series 6 the best fitness watch you can buy? Wired’s Jeremy White says it’s “still the greatest”, but there is “one big pitfall”. Organising your music and podcasts that are downloaded to the Watch remains an “absolute nightmare and it’s practically impossible”, says White. However, it is most definitely a good buy - especially for £379 - and while there are clones out there “you still can’t beat the real thing”.
From £379; apple.com
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
According to TechRadar the best smartwatch money can buy right now is the Galaxy Watch 3 from Samsung. It’s the company’s “most accomplished wrist wear yet” and overall the Watch 3 is the “full package if you’re looking for a smartwatch to track your fitness, look good on your wrist and a whole lot more”.
The new model has a “slimmer, more lightweight design than its admittedly rather chunky predecessor”, says Expert Reviews. And thanks to its new improved design, the Galaxy Watch 3 “looks and feels great and it also does all the smartwatch basics very well”.
From £399; samsung.com
Fitbit Versa 2
This is Fitbit’s best smartwatch, says TechRadar, and it brings a host of upgrades to the original Fitbit Versa, including an always-on display, Alexa integration, and a slightly smaller body. The health focused smartwatch certainly “impresses” and it “delivers”, Wearable.com reports. It expertly shows how “less can often mean more”, the design tweaks are perfect, Alexa is a great addition and the activity tracking, heart monitoring and sleep analysis are all reliable and consistent.
Fossil Gen 5
The Fossil Gen 5 is a “good-looking watch… that doesn’t immediately scream it’s a piece of technology”, says Samuel Gibbs in The Guardian – but it still “gets the job done and looks the part” too. You can choose from various straps and watch faces, and the performance is good, with no noticeable lag and an impressive battery life – a single charge should see you through the whole day.
The notification handling is where the operational system really “shines” – notifications pop up and can be dismissed, or replied to with previously saved messages, a voice transcription tool, or a “surprisingly good” keyboard. The fitness tracking options are less impressive than with rival offerings, but the watch still has the basics – it can count steps and monitor your heart rate, for example.
From £279; fossil.com
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
“If you have an Android phone and want the best compatible smartwatch going, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is it,” says Henry Burrell in Trusted Reviews. It has a great design, a battery life of two full days from a single charge, “lightning-quick” performance, and solid fitness features, including a heart-rate sensor and GPS, which means it can track outdoor runs and cycle routes without requiring a phone, while providing data-rich feedback on your workouts. You can also choose which of your phone’s apps send through notifications and view and reply to messages from the watch. It is “the best all-round wearable” Samsung has made.
From £269; samsung.com
Garmin Vivoactive 4
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 “puts the tech smarts of the watches used by the ultra-marathon-running elite” into a more accessible piece of kit for everyday users, says Andrew Williams on TechRadar. It’s a “great fitness tracker”, which gives you access to “stacks of stats”, including your heart rate, and comes with a music-streaming tool. It can track more than 20 exercises and acts like a coach as it puts you through a workout.
The battery should last four to five days, longer if you’re not using active tracking tools. This is a great watch for those who exercise regularly and focus on health rather than performance.
From £259.99; garmin.com
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.