Top five smartwatches for 2019
By Hannah Walsh
From battery life to notifications and even fitness-tracking accuracy, we test it all so you can pick the best smartwatch for you.
Whether you’re looking for a stylish smartwatch to keep up with notifications such as calls, texts and emails, or a device that can help you track your activity, we’ve got a top-scoring model for you. We’ve tested the latest smartwatches from brands such as Apple, Garmin and Samsung.
We test every smartwatch in a range of different scenarios, both inside and outside our test lab, to find out how they perform when it comes to notifications and smart features, as well as how accurately they track your fitness. We test how long it takes to fully charge your device and how much battery life you can expect to get.
The very best models have brilliantly clear and reactive screens, myriad functions and lots of apps to choose from. They will have plenty of juice in the battery from one charge and be able to accurately track your activity, too. Poor performers in our tests lack the features needed to make them useful, and you’ll still need to dig out your phone to properly view and respond to notifications.
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It’s available in two screen sizes, 38mm and 42mm, so you can pick the one to fit the size of your wrist. It’s available with an aluminium bezel and range of colours. In terms of smart features and notifications, there isn't much this watch can't do, and there’s a heart-rate tracker and GPS.
This smartwatch packs in a tremendous range of smart, fitness and health features, yet it’s slimmer than its predecessors. The only thing we didn’t like about this watch was the short battery life, which effectively ties you in to charging it each day.
A GPS smartwatch with plenty of fitness features. It’s accurate at tracking and its battery life is decent. Its smart functionality isn’t especially advanced, but it will help you stay connected without you needing to keep on reaching for your smartphone.
This smartwatch has a great range of fitness functions, including on-board GPS, a range of sports profiles and water-resistance to 50 metres. Its sensors include a heart-rate monitor, accelerometer, altimeter, barometer and speedometer. If you tell your watch that you’re about to start a particular exercise, it will suggest warm ups and cool downs for you to do.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our smartwatch reviews.
Three tips for picking the best smartwatch
We run every smartwatch through a barrage of tests, checking how well they deal with notifications, to how accurately they track your fitness and how long a fully charged battery will last. We spend weeks with each device, to assess it for comfort, too. But, performance aside, how do you pick the perfect smartwatch for you?
- Operating system - there are three main operating systems for smartwatches: Wear OS, Tizen and watchOS. The type of smartphone you own will dictate the operating system you can go for. Wear OS, formerly called Android Wear, will work with both Android and iOS devices, although the features and functions will differ for iPhone users. Tizen will pair with both Android and iOS smartphones. watchOS is Apple's operating system, and is designed to work exclusively with iOS devices.
- Decide on your budget - smartwatches cost from around £100 to more than £650 and, while you would have once had to spend a lot to get a smartwatch worth buying, have found some good smartwatches for less than £200. Price is by no means an indicator of performance, as more expensive models often have a swankier design but don't offer more features.
- Features - deciding which features you need is important. Some devices offer the whole gamut of smart functions, including being able to answer calls and respond to texts or emails without using your smartphone. Others will be more suited to fitness fanatics, with advanced activity-tracking features such as built-in GPS or a heart-rate monitor. Find out more about which features to look for using our how to buy the best smartwatch guide.