If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, a smartwatch can help: reminding you to get up and move regularly, tracking your progress and offering a wealth of interesting insights into your general fitness.
Huawei and Mobvoi are old hands in the smartwatch space, and along with new kid on the block, Oppo, have been through our test labs with their latest creations.
Find out what they have to offer in terms of features, and what paying more for an expensive smartwatch really gets you.
Just want to know which smartwatches we recommend? Check out our reviews of the best smartwatches.
Huawei GT2 Pro – £250
At 84g, the Huawei GT2 Pro is a hefty smartwatch, but it’s fashionably oversized rather than boxy and ugly, and we found it comfortable enough to keep on our wrists all day.
It’s well-built, with a metal case, decent strap, and a screen that’s easy to read in both bright and low light and that won’t get scratched easily. It has built-in GPS, which is great if you want to track your running route without the faff of taking your phone out with you, and a long list of exercise modes, from running and swimming to more niche activities like climbing and triathlon.
On the downside, it doesn’t support third-party apps such as Strava or Runkeeper. So, if you already use an exercise app such as this, and were hoping to carry on doing so, this watch won’t send over any data it captures.
Read our full Huawei GT2 Pro review to find out whether it tracks accurately and whether its battery life impressed us.
Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS – £290
The Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS is an updated version of the Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro (£215), now with a more advanced battery and display, and extra fitness features such as blood oxygen monitoring (aka pulse oximetry or SpO2 monitoring) and stress monitoring.
And, like its predecessor, it has an interesting dual screen setup. One is a high-resolution screen, and the other is a low-power secondary screen showing just the time, date and some basic workout stats when the watch goes into low power battery-saving mode. You’ll only see one at any point in time, though.
Like the Huawei GT2 Pro, it’s a nice-looking watch, with a stainless steel case and a strap that’s silicone but looks very much like leather.
It’s less heavy than the Huawei GT 2 Pro (61g) but still large, and therefore better suited to bigger, stronger wrists than more slender ones.
Being a Wear OS watch, you’ll have access to all the classic Wear OS apps as well as Ticwatch’s own apps.
Read our full Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS review to find out more about what this watch can do.
Oppo Watch – £229 (41mm version)
If you’re more drawn to the ‘squircle’ shape of the Apple Watch than to the more traditionally round-faced watched we’ve featured above, take a look at the Oppo Watch.
We’ve been reviewing Oppo phones for some time, but this is the first smartwatch from the Chinese brand. It’s available in two sizes: 41mm and 46mm. We tested the smaller size, but wouldn’t expect the larger version to differ wildly in terms of performance.
It’s the most lightweight of the watches we’ve featured here at 53g, and is more compact too, so will fit under a shirt sleeve whereas the others can’t. We didn’t especially like the strap, as the holes were too widely spaced to get the ideal fit, but luckily it’s easy to swap the strap for another one.
There’s a built-in GPS and range of exercise modes that can be tracked through Oppo’s HeyTap app if you’re an Android user, but this isn’t currently available to iPhone users. If you’re on iOS, Oppo recommends using Google Fit instead.
Our review of the Oppo Watch tells you everything you need to know before buying.
If the high price for these smartwatches is too much of a stretch, check out our pick of the best cheap smartwatches under £100 and under £200.
Cheap vs expensive smartwatches
Smartwatches can cost less than £20 and go up to more than £600. Paying more will often get you:
- a more fashionable design – for example, from a designer brand
- more premium materials: perhaps a leather strap rather than a silicone one, or a metal case rather than a plastic one
- more advanced activity tracking, such as in-depth analysis of particular sports
- more freedom from your wallet – NFC for contactless payments – or from your phone – more options to reply to smart notifications, built-in GPS, wi-fi connectivity, or even LTE connectivity (expect to pay a monthly carrier fee for LTE watches)
You won’t necessarily get more of all of the above features the more you pay, though. Some expensive smartwatches are more like pieces of jewellery with some exercise tracking and smart notifications as a bonus. And some expensive smartwatches are hardcore fitness watches, with plenty of sensors but practical rather than pretty exteriors.
Don’t assume an expensive smartwatch will necessarily always be better, either. We see many expensive smartwatches in our tests that have significant flaws – think inaccurate tracking, embarrassingly short battery life and screens that are easily scratched.
Accuracy is often overlooked in a wearable purchase. Read our guide to fitness tracker and smartwatch accuracy to see the best we’ve tested on measures like step count and heart rate.
Huawei Band 4 Pro – £48
Here’s an example of a tracker that might tick the boxes if you don’t want to spend too much but still want to monitor progress.
The Huawei Band 4 Pro, currently available for less than £50, offers built-in GPS, SpO2 monitoring and an optical heart-rate sensor that measures your heart rate 24/7 and vibrates to alert you if your heart rate gets too high.
It’s also waterproof to 5 ATM, meaning you can keep it on in the pool. Admittedly it’s fairly basic when it comes to smart features, and, like the Huawei GT2 Pro, there’s no third-party app support.
Read our full Huawei Band 4 Pro review to discover everything we liked and disliked about it.