Smartwatches used to be gadgets only James Bond would have access to, but that's no longer the case. These wrist-worn phone companions that can receive calls, texts, emails and social network notifications have been whipping the wearables sector into a storm over the past couple of years, with more and more companies after a slice of the pie.
Many attempts have been made, some more successful than others, some much better looking than others and some smarter than others. But for those looking to take the smartwatch plunge, you've come to the right place. We have rounded up the best out there that we have had the pleasure of reviewing in full.
Options remain limited for Windows Phone users, while things have improved significantly for iOS users since smartwatches first appeared. Apple offers its own closed-platform Apple Watch, now available in two editions, and Google's Android Wear platform is also compatible with iOS devices, though the experience isn't as seamless as it is for Android users.
If you want to know how well Android Wear works with iPhone before picking the smartwatch right for you, you can read our separate feature and if you are only interested in Android Wear smartwatches, we have a separate feature for that too.
As usual, we will continue to update this feature as we get our hands and wrists on more but for now, here are the best smartwatches available to buy today.
Our top recommendation
Here's our recommendation for the best all round smartwatch on the market.
1. Apple Watch Series 2
Apple's shift from pure fashion accessory with some smarts to a device that supports a range of different sports and activities in the Apple Watch Series 2 is a welcome advance.
With built-in GPS, a better battery (although it's still very much one day per charge), water-resistance and a much greater focus on fitness, the Apple Watch finally works at workouts. That's a massive gain over the first-generation device and one that is likely to appeal to those wanting more than a Fitbit, but who are scared by an all-powerful, athlete-focused watch from Garmin or Polar.
Over the last two years the Apple Watch improved to offer plenty - and the Series 2 is the current pinnacle of that. From notifications and Apple Pay, to heart-rate monitoring and fitness tracking; it can also act as a remote to control your HomeKit smarthome devices, or even quickly unlock your Mac. The Apple Watch Series 2 is so much more than just a pretty smartwatch. It's now a smartwatch with a purpose.
Read the full review: Apple Watch Series 2 review
Best of the rest...
The Apple Watch Series 2 isn't for everyone though especially if you're on Android, and there are plenty of other great smartwatches to consider whatever budget you are on. Here are the ones that you should also consider:
2. Tag Heuer Connected
There will be those who see the Tag Heuer Connected as a waste of time, pardon the pun. It offers the same, or fewer, features as watches that cost a fifth of the price. If this is the main criterion to smartwatch ownership, then this certainly isn't the device for you. If the price bothers you, you'll never see past that high figure.
But what Tag Heuer has done is take a category of devices and apply direction and purpose. This is designed to look and wear like a Tag and it does.
It's a connected watch, it's packed with confidence and it works. That makes this the best Android Wear device we've seen so far and currently the best smartwatch overall in our opinion. The Tag Heuer Connected is an expensive luxury gadget but it's also one we want to and enjoy wearing.
Read the full review: Tag Heuer Connected review
3. Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
As far as smartwatches go, the Michael Kors Access is up there with the best in terms of design and wearability. It has a beautifully solid build quality that is not only comfortable, but it looks great too.
The dedicated MK faces make the Access feel that little bit more special than some other Android Wear devices, while the customisation options and the way "Looks" are organised is excellent, especially for those who like a different look everyday.
The Michael Kors Access does what a smartwatch should do: look like a watch you'd want to wear, while adding Android Wear smart functionality for when you want a little more. For the MK fans who love the signature chunky watches but want it connected, the Bradshaw won't disappoint.
Read the full review: Michael Kors Access Bradshaw review
4. Polar M600
The Polar M600 is a fusion of smartwatch and sports device. It takes Android's platform and laces in sports and fitness tracking functions, but maintains a balance that some devices don't manage. It succeeds in being both where others have failed. It feels like a proper Polar sports watch, boosted by the best of Android Wear.
For an Android smartphone user, this is a device that's worth serious consideration. If you've been put off by Android Wear so far, this is how to do Android Wear right. It's not about bland presentation, it's about underpinning something more exciting. In this case, it's a fully-featured activity watch, especially good for running, that barely feels like Android Wear at all.
The Polar M600 is currently rather unique. It's not only an effective sports partner, it's a great smartwatch too.
Read the full review: Polar M600 review
5. Apple Watch Series 1
The Apple Watch Series 1 has now been succeeded with the better and more feature-rich Series 2, but it is still a powerful smartwatch with plenty of features on offer and thanks to the new model, a reduced price.
Like its successor, the Apple Watch Series 1 will allow you to make and receive calls and notifications, as well as access thousands of apps all on your wrist, offering a wonderfully integrated experience.
It's a more luxurious accessory than some of the competition and it offers a great solid design, along with a platform that we still feel is better than Android Wear. The Apple Watch has its downfalls of course like others on this list, but a watch should look good, whether it is smart or not and this device succeeds here. For those where budget isn't the deciding factor though, the Series 2 model is worth the extra money.
Read the full review: Apple Watch review
6. Guess Connect
Fashion company Guess may be better known for handbags and shoes, but it has been making watches for over 30 years. The Guess Connect is the result of its most successful design - the Guess Rigor - joining the wonderful world of smartwatches.
You don't get as much functionality as you would with the likes of Apple Watch, Android Wear or even Pebble devices but where it might lose a few points for some there, it makes up by doing a great job of being a smartwatch without looking like a smartwatch.
Ultimately, the Guess Connect is a well-built, well-designed watch that delivers notifications in a simple yet sophisticated way. Yes it is chunky, it certainly isn't cheap and some people won't be sold on its looks, but it's a smartwatch we miss wearing now that our review sample has gone back and we can't say that about all on this list.
Read the full review: Guess Connect review
7. Asus ZenWatch 2
Buy the Asus ZenWatch 2 for $199 from Amazon US
Asus kept down the cost of the ZenWatch 2 by smartly cutting some corners compared to its predecessor, such as foregoing an all-metal design in favour of a plastic back plate and omitting sensors like GPS and a heart-rate monitor.
The ZenWatch 2 is a steal though. It's priced competitively, looks pretty darn good (ignoring the bezel excess), and comes in two sizes to suit different wrist sizes - that last point something even the Huawei Watch failed to deliver.
With Android Wear being what it is, this Asus performs just as well as the top-tier competitors, because they all feature pretty much the same internals and hardware. The ZenWatch 2 is a great starter smartwatch, though it has now been succeeded by the round ZenWatch 3 so if you're still not sold on it, you might want to hang on for the new model.
Read the full review: Asus ZenWatch 2 review
8. Huawei Watch
The Huawei Watch was announced at Mobile World Congress in February 2015 and it was by far one of the most gorgeous-looking smartwatches on the market when it first launched.
It offers a beautiful stainless steel body, a round display without a flat tyre like the Motorola Moto 360 and it benefits from sapphire crystal protecting the display, like the Apple Watch. It's not small though so it won't suit everyone, there is a lack of ambient light sensor and the heart rate sensor isn't that accurate.
It's definitely got looks down though, appearing attractive and enticing, just like the premium Apple Watch. That can now be said for a few other Android Wear devices now though and at around $400, it's still not a mindless or easy purchase no matter how good it looks.
Read the full review: Huawei Watch review
9. Pebble Time Steel
The Pebble Time Steel launched very soon after the Pebble Time, offering a more solid build and a couple of tech tweaks here and there.
You get an average of seven-days battery life, which is much better than the Android Wear and Apple Watch options, iOS and Android compatibility, along with simplicity of use. There isn't a touchscreen however, the display isn't as vibrant as the competition and there are a lot less apps available.
It's worth spending that extra £50 to buy the Steel over the standard Pebble Time, because it's a nicer, more substantial watch by comparison and, quite simply, operates more smoothly. But just as we said of the standard Pebble Time, the Steel can't do everything the Apple Watch or many Android Wear devices can do far better, so it won't be the solution for all.
Read the full review: Pebble Time Steel review
10. Vector Luna Watch
The Vector Luna Watch isn't your typical smartwatch. It does everything you'd expect a smartwatch to do - deliver notifications, track your activity, wake you up with an alarm and offer customisable watch faces - but it's battery life is far greater than the Android Wear and Apple Watch alternatives.
There are three ranges available comprising Performance, Contemporary and Classic, with a total of 12 models available and it takes a different path to Android Wear, running on Vector's own platform.
The Vector Luna Watch offers a good solid design, a great battery life, a simple interface and discreet notifications. There are minimal apps available in comparison to Apple and Android Wear, and we had a few connection issues when we tried it out, but it's a discreet smartwatch that looks good and delivers snippets of information rather than bucket loads.
Read the full review: Vector Luna Watch review
11. Pebble Time
The Pebble Time is the company's second generation smartwatch, launching alongside the Pebble Time Steel, and like the original, it smashed its Kickstarter goal, bringing high expectations with it.
It offers full colour e-paper screen, up to seven days battery life, a lightweight design and it is simple to navigate. It also offers compatibility with both iOS and Android but it isn't able to filter notifications and it has a very much plasticky finish for the price and compared to its competition.
The Pebble Time is not confused as to the purpose of a smartwatch and presents a simple device that keeps you in touch with your digital life at all times, yet is as comfortable as a watch as it is a smart one. In many respects it's the fun and friendly Casio watch-alternative for the modern age.
Read the full review: Pebble Time review