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Which? Best Buy smartwatches

by Hannah Walsh
The leading smartwatches link easy-to-use notifications from your smartphone, such as texts and emails, with comfort and style. Discover how we find the best smartwatches.

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Buying the best smartwatch

It isn’t easy for a smartwatch to become a Best Buy. We first started assessing smartwatches in early 2015. Unusually, we didn’t find any Best Buy devices during our first year of testing.

In summer 2016, we revamped our test programme to mirror how people use their devices and reflect changes in the market. This tough new assessment revealed our first Best Buy smartwatch as well as models that aren’t up to the task - some scoring as little as 55%.

  • Convenience is key; which is why our smartwatch testing involves checking how easily a smartwatch will connect to a mobile phone, how quickly notifications are delivered from smartphone to watch and if sending responses to text messages or taking calls is any easier than just using your mobile.
  • Our testers also rate how easy it is to customise the set-up and display of the watch – whether you want to see Twitter updates, text messages or switch your watch to silent all at the push of a button.
  • We test the battery life of every smartwatch we review. We measure how long each watch lasts on a full charge and how long it will take you to recharge it – to save you from waiting around for hours.

Unimpressive battery life, uncomfortable bands and lacking in useful features - avoid these smartwatches by signing up today for a £1 Which? trial to access all our expert reviews of the latest smartwatches. Already a member? Log in now to see our extensive smartwatch reviews.

How we uncover the best smartwatches

Our experts run all kinds of tests designed to find out whether a smartwatch lives up to all the claims made by manufacturers. You can be sure that the highest scoring smartwatches really do deliver with great features, easy-to-access notifications that display in a sensible, customisable way and have a battery that won’t let you down

  • Notifications: We check whether notifications from popular services, such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, display clearly on the watch and how easy it is to scroll through text messages. We also check the reliability with which a smartwatch receives notifications, so you can be sure you don’t miss a thing.
  • Fitness tracking: Many smartwatches have fitness-tracking features built in, such as step counters and heart rate monitors. We test how accurate these features are and how easy it is to check your fitness data on your watch, mobile or a PC.
  • Apps: Most smartwatches come with pre-installed apps, from Google Maps and Evernote to fitness-tracking software such as the activity app on Apple Watch. We check how simple it is to open apps and whether it’s easy to customise your smartwatch by deleting new apps and adding new ones.

Smartwatch reviews you can trust

Models from the biggest fitness tracker brands on the market are tested in our test lab - including Apple, Huawei, LG, Pebble and Samsung. And we’ve found that the most well-known brands aren’t always the best.

Which? is independent - we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our product recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We don't take advertising and we buy all the products that we test ourselves, so our advice helps you to make the right choice first time and avoid costly mistakes.

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