The 10 Best Smart Watches
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in February of 2015. Today's smartwatches bridge the gap between connectivity and wellness. They can take calls and texts, track your runs and workouts, and even monitor your stress and blood oxygen levels. Many have sleek cases that don't compromise on fashion, either. We've included Apple options as well as iWatch alternatives, fitness-focused models, and our favorite budget-friendly picks. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 25, 2020:
The smartwatch industry is still relatively young, but it's evolving rapidly. As a result, every model on our previous list became outdated in a hurry. We've replaced them all with the best options currently available.
Just like shopping for a smartphone, shoppers face a choice of operating systems. Apple remains an industry leader, and the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are both attractive and highly capable. Options for Android users continue to grow more diverse and sophisticated, including WearOS models like the Skagen Falster 3 as well as proprietary systems like the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2.
If you use your smartwatch primarily for fitness tracking, it may be worth looking into activity-focused models like the Fitbit Versa 3 or Garmin Forerunner 645. These watches aren't as adept at running third-party apps, but they're versatile tools for runners and wellness enthusiasts.
Finally, consider your battery life needs. Most flagship models will only last a day or two on a charge, thanks to high-resolution screens and powerful processors. If you're willing to sacrifice those perks, models like the Amazfit Bip S or Huawei GT 2 offer impressive runtimes at affordable prices.
Most of our picks come with silicone bands, but some include premium options like mesh or leather. If you don't like the included band, you can always upgrade with an aftermarket strap.
June 12, 2019:
While many familiar brands have thrown their hats into the smart watch ring over the years, you might be surprised to learn of certain makes and models that are not seeing an update any time soon. It appears as though the Asus Zenwatch will not see a new iteration, and the Martian Notifier is over and done with, as the company has folded.
Among those still left in the game, nearly everyone has seen an upgrade. Apple's series 4 easily made the top of our list, and coming in at number three is a new Forerunner from Garmin. We've also included some new models, like the Alpina Horological, which frankly blows the old Martian model out of the water in terms of a smart model that actually has working hands.
Tag Heuer Connected For luxury combined with connectivity, look no further than this pricey Swiss collection. It combines Google's WearOS with classic design, including a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a case made of sleek stainless steel or PVD-coated titanium. tagheuer.com
Withings ScanWatch If you want advanced health metrics but don't need a digital screen, consider a hybrid like this model from Withings. It has a medical-grade ECG, tracks breathing disturbances while you sleep, and offers a more traditional look than most smartwatches. withings.com
Smart Functions On Smart Watches
Many smart watches also include vibration functions to support a phone's silent mode.
Smart watches offer the end user a variety of features that were previously unattainable in wrist wear. Manufacturers consider which features are most important to potential consumers, and aim to add as many of these features as possible while keeping the watch a reasonable size.
Most modern smart watches respond to both gesture and touch, making the user experience as simple as possible. The act of lifting the wrist, as one would when looking at a normal watch, activates the screen. From there, the touch screen offers a variety of functions. Most face screens are also dynamic, and can be changed to suit the wearer's preferences. Many smart watch models boast camera functions, giving the user the ability to take a picture without the need of a camera or smartphone.
When attached to a smartphone, smart watches allow pairing via a bluetooth connection. This mobile pairing allows for users to view notifications from calls, emails, text messages, and push notifications from various apps. Many smart watches also include vibration functions to support a phone's silent mode. Some models even include their own mobile capabilities and monthly service plans through the use of a SIM card.
As the watches are worn on the wrists, many manufacturers install biosensors to track things such as sleep patterns and the user's heart rate. These functions make the watches integral pieces of daily life, as more data filed into the watch's memory creates a better understanding of your health or heart patterns. These bold technologies are the effect of a long history of exponential growth in computer science and artificial intelligence.
History Of Smart Technology
When discussing smart technology, the actual subject of the matter is Artificial intelligence, which dates back thousands of years. The Greek myth of Talos, the bronze man, is the earliest record of non-human intelligence. By 1206 CE, the first human made robot was created by an Arab inventor, Al-Jazari. It was A hydro-powered boat with four musicians on it. While it did not have the thinking capabilities of modern virtual assistants, this was the first moving robot in recorded history.
The technological advances AI helps to create actually create more advanced AI in the process.
The computer as we know it dates back to a 1941 invention by Konrad Zuse. His computer, known as the Z3, broke the mold as the first programmable computer. It was a large step in the world of technology, and was the predecessor for nearly every piece of digital technology used today. The Z3 was a breakthrough, but was far from the smart technology of the modern era.
From there came the addition of artificial intelligence in computers in 1956. Computers could now perform the most basic mathematical functions, which had been previously reserved for the power of the human mind. This is the point in history where true artificial intelligence originates. In the decades which followed, huge advancements were made to artificial intelligence. As computers were able to handle more processes and do so more rapidly than a human mind, they worked alongside programmers to create better technologies. The technological advances AI helps to create actually create more advanced AI in the process. This means artificial intelligence is actually improving itself. The rate has been so rapid in the last century, some people, including Stephen Hawking, even warn of a dystopian future for humanity in which AI has taken over.
While some worry over the future of artificial intelligence, most simply enjoy its benefits. AI has given the world smart technologies such as cars which drive themselves, alarm clocks which tell the consumer how well they are sleeping, and the smart watch, which helps keeps them connected.
How Science Fiction Predicts Reality
While modern smart watches may not deflect the path of a bullet or include a life-saving buzz saw, ideas in science fiction can often spark trends in reality. In the 1974 James Bond movie titled 'The Spy Who Loved Me', agent 007 is equipped with a digital watch which receives and prints messages obtained from a satellite. This is not a far cry from the ability of mobile pairing watches to access user data from a cell phone or email account.
1983's 'Octopussy' also features the use of a watch equipped with a liquid crystal T.V. screen.
1983's 'Octopussy' also features the use of a watch equipped with a liquid crystal T.V. screen. Many smart watch models of the modern era still use LCD technology. While these coincidences do not prove causality, there are notable similarities between the loved spy series and the technology created decades later.
Star Trek is a television series which also shows close ties to modern technology. The fictional communicator device in the original series was worn on the wrist; and was used to not only communicate with other people, but with a ship's on-board artificial intelligence. This bears a remarkable similarity to the ability to speak with the intelligent personal assistants that are built in to many modern digital devices.
These are only two instances in which the imagination of science fiction writers actually predicted future trends in reality. It stands to reason that that the science fiction of today may even help create the world of tomorrow.