Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

There are quite a few options if you are considering upgrading from a traditional watch to a smartwatch. But which is the right choice for you? No matter your preferences or what type of phone you use, there’s an option for you.

UPDATE: 09/22/2023

We’ve updated our guide with many of the latest and greatest smartwatches. Take a look!

What to Look for in a Smartwatch in 2023

Smartwatches have come a long way in the last few years. They are no longer just a novelty item and can help you reduce your reliance on a smartphone. However, while buying a new smartwatch, you have to keep a few things in mind.

The first thing you want to consider is compatibility. You want a smartwatch that works with your phone. For example, the Apple Watch only works with iPhones. So if you’re an Android user, Apple Watch doesn’t make sense for you.

Secondly, if you are into fitness and sports, ensure that your smartwatch can track the activities and exercise you participate in. While most smartwatches offer basic fitness tracking, the number of exercises or workouts they can track varies. The presence of GPS in a smartwatch is also helpful for mapping runs or bike rides if you don’t want to take your smartphone with you.

Another feature to pay close attention to is battery life, which is one of the biggest complaints about smartwatches. Many popular smartwatches can only last about a day or two on a single charge. If you don’t want another device to charge daily, pick a smartwatch that can last for at least a few days, if not a week.

Lastly, the design and build of your smartwatch are also important. You want something that you still want to wear after the newness goes away, and also something that fits on your wrist comfortably.

With all this out of the way, now it’s time to jump into our recommendations.

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How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read More »

the apple watch series 9
Image credit: Apple



✓ Clear and very bright 2000-nit display

✗ Battery life isn’t amazing

✓ Excellent fitness and health-tracking apps

✗ Expensive compared to most other smartwatches

✓ New Double Tap gesture control

✓ Dustproof and can be used in rain or when swimming

The Apple Watch has been at the top of the smartwatch tree since the launch of the first version in 2015. With an estimated 100 million sold since then, few, if any, other wearables come close to matching its success. With the launch of the Apple Watch 9, a device that features significant improvements over those that have come before, Apple is all set to extend that lead.

As has been the case for several years now, the design, materials, and overall function of the Apple Watch 9 haven’t changed much from the previous version. It is available in either 41mm or 45mm sizes, in both the aluminum or more expensive stainless steel and sapphire crystal glass versions, and there are eight different case finishes to choose from.

The watch 9 uses Apple’s new S9 SiP chip, which, aside from being significantly faster and more powerful than the S8 chip, introduces some useful new features. The first is on-board processing of Siri requests, meaning that using the voice assistant isn’t tied to a linked iPhone. There is also a new second-generation Ultra Wideband chip improves precision when trying to find your iPhone or connect to a nearby HomePod.

Both are great additions, but neither will probably get as much attention nor use as the new Double Tap gesture. Double Tap, which involves pinching your thumb and forefinger together twice, can be used to answer a call, open a notification, or control music, to name just a few options. Although it won’t be available at launch, this clever gesture control should hit the Series 9 in October.

Apple’s health-tracking apps and watch features are as good as ever, and WatchOS 10 even introduces a few new ones, such as Power Zones. Almost every app has been redesigned or tweaked in the latest OS, and new additions such as the Smart Stack make using the Watch 9 even more intuitive.

The display has also had a significant upgrade and now boasts a brightness of up to 2000 nits, double the series 8. That makes it much easier to read in bright sunshine but can be reduced to as low as one nit if you don’t want your watch screen to light up the whole room. Sadly, the battery hasn’t received an upgrade alongside the brighter screen, so the trade-off of that improved display could be a shorter time between charges.

The Series 9 isn’t a massive overhaul of the Apple Watch, although that’s hardly surprising. Incremental updates are the way it goes with most modern technology. But overall, there is enough new and improved stuff in the Apple Watch 9 to ensure it retains the top spot among wearables.


Apple Watch Series 9

Best Smartwatch Overall

The Apple Watch Series 9 offers a significant upgrade over previous generations, with a faster S9 chip, brighter display, and several new apps and features. It is let down a bit by unexciting battery life but is otherwise a brilliant modern smartwatch.

Amazfit smartwatch on table



✓ Long battery life

✗ No third-party app support

✓ SpO2 and heart-rate sensors

✗ Trouble locking in GPS signal

✓ Attractive design and bright display

If you aren’t looking to spend a lot on your smartwatch, the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is a great value-for-money pick. It features an attractive design that looks elegant and will go well with everything from business attire to workout clothes. The smartwatch also packs a bright OLED screen.

The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is also full of health and fitness tracking features and can monitor your heart rate, stress levels, and sleep. In addition, the watch has over 70 sports modes to track your workouts and includes a SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels.

Battery life is another highlight of the GTS 2 Mini, and it will last over five days with an always-on display and heavy usage. If you are a light user and turn off the always-on display, you can increase the backup to over a week.

Among other features, there is support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, so you can ask the smartwatch to check the weather, set alarms, create lists, and a lot more. GPS is also present for mapping your runs and bike rides, but the smartwatch takes a lot of time to lock on the GPS signal.

In addition, the GTS 2 Mini lacks support for third-party apps, so you are stuck with whatever you get pre-installed on the smartwatch. But that’s the sacrifice you’ll have to make for a budget smartwatch.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Amazfit GTS 2 mini

Best Budget Smartwatch

$80 $100 Save $20

The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini hits the sweet spot between cheap fitness trackers and feature-rich smartwatches. It has a bright screen, long battery life, and an attractive design.

The Garmin Venu 2S on a person's wrist
Cameron Summerson / How-To Geek



✓ Bright AMOLED display

✗ Limited smart features

✓ Excellent battery life

✗ No mic

✓ Plenty of tracking options

✗ Expensive

The Garmin Venu 2 is a serious fitness watch with a pleasing design. It has an understated look that many people will appreciate. You also get a gorgeous AMOLED screen that gets bright enough to remain visible in sunlight.

Being a fitness-centric watch, it has many nifty features that fitness enthusiasts will like. For example, the Garmin Venu 2 can track indoor climbing, bouldering, snowboarding, and more, apart from your standard running, walking, and cycling. Advanced training modes also let you target muscle areas or record your weight training data. Additionally, the watch packs high-intensity activity timers to work up a sweat. Overall, there are over 25 activity modes.

In other features, the Garmin Venu 2 is swim-proof, includes a heart-rate monitor, and has a SpO2 sensor to record blood oxygen levels.

The app selection is limited, but you get most smartwatch basics, like notifications from your phone, the ability to play music, and NFC payments support via Garmin Pay. The smartwatch supports both Android and iPhone, but you can’t respond to notifications on the iPhone. If you want that functionality, you’ll want another smartwatch.

It’s worth noting the Venu 2 lacks some smartwatch features that are available on other popular smartwatches, like onboard maps or a voice assistant. But the Venu 2 makes up for its relative lack of smart features with battery life. It can go up to three days with an always-on display and heavy usage. If you turn off the always-on display feature, the battery goes up to six days.

The Garmin Venu 2 comes in a single 45mm size and has two color options. You can also buy the Garmin Venu 2S, which has the same features as the Venu 2 but is available in 40mm size and four colors.

garmin venu 2

Garmin Venu 2

Best Fitness Tracker

$322 $400 Save $78

The Garmin Venu 2 is a slick smartwatch that focuses on fitness features while keeping many of the smartwatch basics.

Best Smartwatch for Battery Life: Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit smart watches.



✓ Can last upto six days

✗ Limited selection of apps

✓ Bright and crisp display

✓ Plenty of fitness and health features

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a terrific option if you want a smartwatch that doesn’t skimp on the fitness and smart features and can still offer an excellent battery life. It lasts about six days without an always-on display and moderate usage. Even with the always-on display enabled, you’ll be able to get three days of battery life. The watch also supports fast charging, which gets you 24 hours of juice in just 12 minutes of charge.

The Versa 3 looks elegant and packs a bright and crisp AMOLED screen that is easy to see in sunlight. Moreover, thanks to Fitbit App Gallery, you get access to over 10,000 watch faces, so you can customize your smartwatch just the way you want.

It also boasts plenty of health and fitness features. You get the basic all-day tracking of steps, heart rate, hourly activity, calories burned, floors climbed, and more. In addition, the watch also pushes you to be really active with Active Zone Minutes.

You earn Active Zone Minutes by spending your workout time in Fat Burn, Cardio, or Peak heart-rate zones. Moreover, there is a built-in GPS, a SpO2 sensor, and sleep monitoring support.

While there aren’t as many apps for the Fitbit smartwatch as Apple Watch Series 7 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, you get the most useful smart features like notifications, the ability to take calls, voice assistants, music playback, and more.

The Fitbit Versa 3 is available in a single size and five color options.

fitbit versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

Best Smartwatch for Battery Life

Those looking for a good smartwatch that excels on the battery front will be happy with the Fitbit Versa 3.

Best Smartwatch for Kids: TickTalk 4

TickTock watches on pink background



✓ GPS for location tracking

✗ Big and bulky

✓ Secure calling and messaging

✗ No geofencing

✓ Cameras for video calls

The TickTalk 4 is a feature-rich smartwatch for kids. This smartwatch comes with GPS location tracking, two-way talk, text support, and parental controls. Thanks to the included selfie cameras, your child can also make video calls to family members or send video/photo messages.

In terms of the safety features, an SOS button is present, and you can set it to call 911 or parents. In addition, the smartwatch doesn’t allow internet access and can limit calls to and from a maximum of 53 parent-approved contacts.

A pre-installed iHeart Radio Family app allows kids to stream music, podcasts, and stories for free to keep them engaged. There is also built-in support for activity tracking, and you can set daily step goals for your child.

As the watch is enclosed in a thick, water-resistant case to make it more durable, the TickTalk 4 feels big and bulky, and some children may not want to wear it. Also, the smartwatch needs a $10 per month subscription to Red Pocket Mobile in the US for cellular services. You can use AT&T or T-Mobile SIM cards, but their plans will cost more.

TickTalk 4

TickTalk 4

Best Smartwatch for Kids

The TickTalk 4 is a durable, kid-friendly smartwatch. It has tons of features for both kids and parents, including secure texting, video calls, and GPS tracking.

A samsung galaxy Watch 6 on a mans wrist



✓ Made from high-quality materials

✗ Battery life could always be better

✓ The Classic version brings back the rotating bezel

✓ Very good and expanded fitness features

✓ Ships with the improved WearOS 4

Since switching from Tizen to WearOS, Samsung Galaxy watches have made big strides to close the gap behind the market-leading Apple Watch. And while it may still have some way to go before it can prise the top spot away from the Apple smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 6 is still the best choice for anyone invested in the Android and Samsung ecosystems.

The Galaxy Watch 6 is available in two versions, four sizes, and several colors. There’s no Pro model this time around, having been replaced by the Classic. This is where you’ll find the return of the much-loved physical bezel. You’ll be paying extra, as much for the more robust stainless steel body as for the bezel, but the option is there if you want to hear the satisfying “click, click” as you scroll through watch tiles and settings.

The standard 40 and 44mm versions are almost identical in design and function to the Watch 5, with a few notable exceptions. The digital bezel, now used only on the standard versions, has been slimmed down by around 30% to provide a larger screen area. The screen also benefits from a slightly higher ppi density, making it very easy to read the display in even bright sunshine.

The battery is another area that has had an upgrade from the previous generation. It isn’t a massive upgrade but combined with better battery optimization in the OS, a full charge lasts noticeably longer. Even without Power Saving mode enabled, you can get close to two days of use before it needs to be charged.

The newest Samsung watch ships with the latest version of Google’s Wear OS 4. Alongside welcome improvements to battery usage and available apps, version 4 introduces the ability to easily switch between connected phones. That means no more having to completely reset the watch when you change handsets. While Wear OS 4 will also be available on older Samsung smartwatches, it’s clear that the 6 has been designed to take full advantage of the update.

As always with Samsung smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 6 does a great job of tracking your health and fitness activities. A few features, such as the heart rate monitor, are only available if you also use a Samsung phone, but most will work for anyone.

samsung galaxy watch 6

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Best Android Smartwatch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 features a familiar sleek, minimalist design with thinner bezels and bigger displays. But that’s about all that has been upgraded from the previous generation.

A red apple watch series 9
Image Credit: Apple



✓ Excellent fitness and health-tracking apps

✗ Pretty expensive

✓ Clear and very bright 2000-nit display

✗ Battery life isn’t amazing

✓ Dustproof and can be used in rain or when swimming

✓ New Double Tap gesture control

For iPhone users, there is no better choice of smartwatch than the Apple Watch. Nothing has been available that can match how well the Apple wearables work with one of the newer Apple phones, and that hasn’t changed with the Apple Watch Series 9.

Although almost identical in design to the Series 8, and available in the now-familiar 41 or 45mm aluminum or stainless steel options, Apple’s latest smartwatch has received some significant and useful updates. They all happen to be on the inside, with most stemming from the upgrade to the S9 SiP chip.

This new processor enables features like on-device Siri answer processing, a second-generation Ultra Wideband chip for precise location data, and a brand-new gesture in Double Tap. This last feature, which lets you control many features simply by pinching your thumb and forefinger together twice, has the potential to completely change the way you use your Apple Watch when on the move.

One much more obvious external upgrade can be seen in the brighter display. Now capable of producing 2000 nits, the Watch 9 is up to twice as bright as the Series 8, making it far easier to read the display in full sunshine.

The health and wellness features of the Apple Watch are continually being improved. The Series 9 can track your heart rate, monitor blood oxygen level, take an ECG, and monitor your sleep, as with previous models, but also includes apps for tracking mental and ocular health. Further tools for detecting falls or collisions and dialing emergency SOS calls make the watch more useful than ever.

Most existing Apple Watch users would probably have wanted to see a more powerful battery in the latest device. Sadly, that isn’t the case unless you go for the Ultra 2 edition at double the price. It’s one of the few areas where competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 have it beaten.

If you already have a Watch 8, an upgrade to the Series 9 might not be necessary unless some of the new features sound like game-changers to you. But, if you are looking to enter the world of Apple watches, the latest device has enough great features to make it easy to recommend.


Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 offers a significant upgrade over previous generations, with a faster S9 chip, brighter display, and several new apps and features. It is let down a bit by unexciting battery life but is otherwise a brilliant modern smartwatch.


How do I connect a smartwatch to my Android phone?

First things first, make sure to enable Bluetooth on your smartphone. From this point, the exact instructions may vary slightly depending on your smartwatch, but the steps are relatively similar across the board. If you have a Samsung or Google watch, follow the steps outlined on Google’s Wear OS support page.

Fitbit users can refer to the company’s setup support page. Garmin also gives you a step-by-step guide on its pairing support page.

With Bluetooth enabled, you’ll be prompted to download your watch’s app, where you can pair and sync the wearable with your Android phone.

Can you wear a smartwatch with a pacemaker?

The short answer is no, you should not wear a smartwatch with a pacemaker.

Per an FDA recommendation, you should keep smartwatches “six inches away from implanted medical devices.” You must also not “carry consumer electronics in a pocket over the medical device.” Donning a smartwatch also risks your pacemaker entering “magnet mode.”

How do you charge a smartwatch?

Most smartwatches come with their own charging cable, whether USB-C or a proprietary connector. The Apple Watch, for example, comes with a magnetic charger that you can hook up to the watch and connect to any USB-C port. If your smartwatch offers wireless charging, you can use multi-surface chargers to power your wearable, smartphone, and Bluetooth earbuds simultaneously.

Can I use an Apple Watch with an Android phone?

Unfortunately, you cannot use an Apple Watch with an Android phone. Read our full rundown on Apple Watches and Android phones for more info.

How does a smartwatch track sleep?

While different smartwatches utilize different types of sleep-tracking tech, the majority of wearables use one or more of the following three methods: a built-in accelerometer to track movement during rest periods, tech that monitors your heart rate and respiration patterns and extrapolates sleep stages, and an internal microphone to listen for snoring, signs of sleep apnea, and general distress.

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