(Pocket-lint) - Smartwatches are here to stay. These wrist-worn phone companions can receive calls, texts, emails and social media notifications. Many attempts have been made, some more successful than others, some much better looking than others and some smarter than others.
If you're looking to take the smartwatch plunge, you've come to the right place. We've rounded up the best out there that we have had the pleasure of reviewing in full.
This feature covers smartwatches on various platforms, from Google's Wear OS to Apple's watchOS. If you are only interested in Wear OS smartwatches or Apple Watch options, we have separate features you can read to find the perfect smartwatch for you.
Best smartwatch: our top recommendation
Here's our recommendation for the best all round smartwatch on the market.
Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch Series 5 takes a step beyond the Watch Series 3 with a bigger and more immersive display, along with a thinner build and other design tweaks. There's no battery improvements over the Series 3 but, as with the Series 4 did, the Series 5 adds a few extra features on top of an ECG monitor, including a more advanced processor. All the while, the straps from the previous generations are still compatible despite the new 40mm and 42mm case sizes.
As a smartwatch all-rounder, there is nothing better than the Apple Watch Series 5 for iOS users, especially now it has an Always On Display. It offers a great design and it's a very accomplished smartwatch. If you're not fussed about the Always On display or built-in compass, you might consider the Series 4 - but you'll need to work hard to find it.
Best of the rest smartwatches
The Apple Watch Series 5 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:
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Like Samsung's previous smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch is well-made, easy to use, durable and attractive. It comes in 42mm and 46mm models, both of which offer a solid stainless steel casing for a premium finish. The Tizen OS lacks apps compared to the likes of Google's Wear OS and Apple's Watch OS but it is user friendly.
Like Apple's Series 5 and 3 smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch offers built-in GPS and waterproofing and it has NFC for use with Samsung Pay too, allowing payments from your wrist. The Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the few very strong competitors to the Apple Watch. It is as smart a watch as it is a sports watch and the 46mm model offers an excellent battery life, far exceeding the Apple Watch.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
We won't pretend that it's priced at a point that many people would stomach, but the reality is that the Fenix 6 Pro offers one of the most complete and impressive feature-sets on any smartwatch. Whether you're taking huge hikes in the wilderness or using it as an everyday smartwatch, it'll steer you right and work smoothly.
Garmin's reputation for fitness tracking is richly deserved, and the Fenix 6 Pro will be overkill for many people, but it's still a massively comprehensive watch that's top of its class in most regards, price notwithstanding.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 features a lighter, sportier design to the Galaxy Watch, reducing the case size down to 40mm (or sticking to the middle with 44mm if you prefer). There is waterproofing up to 50-metres, great sports tracking features and great performance, with specific options for loads of different sports.
As it runs on Tizen like the Galaxy Watch, rather than Wear OS, there is still a slight lack of third party apps, and this isn't an amazing choice for iPhone users, either. If you're looking for a smartwatch to go with your Android device that also happens to be a great fitness and activity tracker though, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a very compelling device to consider.
Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch
The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is one of many smartwatches offered under the company's umbrella - most of which offer the same features. The Gen 5 isn't a small smartwatch but it offers a good performance over previous Fossil smartwatches, interchangeable straps, a solid build quality and it comes with a heart rate sensor and built-in GPS.
It will be a little too big for some, but the interchangeable straps are great, the quicker battery charging is good and if you're on Android, the Wear OS software will work as well as it can with your device.
Skagen Falster 3
The Skagen Falster 3 has a fabulous Scandinavian design, offering a simple and minimalist look that's perfect for those after a subtle smartwatch.
It doesn't have the best battery life of those on this list, but with NFC and GPS on board it's a really great option if you like its design. Plus, with good storage for offline music playback and good solid performance, it's still useful if you leave your phone behind.
Michael Kors Access Runway
The Michael Kors Access Runway is the perfect smartwatch for those after stylish wrist-wear with solid performance and plenty of features. Succeeding the Access Sofie and Access Bradshaw, the Access Runway introduces built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring, whilst also offering plenty of apps thanks to Google's Wear OS platform.
Its battery life isn't the best out there and despite a range of fitness features, it's definitely a more fashion-focused device but for the Michael Kors fan, the Access Runway is a fabulous smartwatch and everything you could want.
Michael Kors Access MKGO
The Michael Kors Access MKGO is an excellent smartwatch for the active Michael Kors fan. It offers a lightweight and sporty design, a lovely display and a great feature set, including waterproofing, built-in GPS and NFC for Google Pay payments from your wrist.
It's not as premium as the Michael Kors Access Runway (above), it doesn't have the best battery on this list and there are a couple of performance issues here and there, but overall, the MKGO and its customisable Michael Kors faces and heavy MK branding will be perfect for some Kors fans.
Huawei Watch GT 2
The Huawei Watch GT 2 has a fantastic OLED display, coupled with all the hardware you could need to track pretty much any activity. It is an ideal modern fitness partner that offers great all round performance and well-organised information, as well as a great design.
The Watch GT 2 needs some more third party app support to reach its full potential and the refresh rate could do with speeding up a little, but the Always On display is a welcomed addition over the original model and the Watch GT 2 has a brilliant battery life making it well worthy of consideration.
Fitbit Versa 2
The Fitbit Versa 2 is a little different to other smartwatches on this list in that it is primarily a fitness device, with smartwatch functionality coming second. You still receive smartphone notifications on the Versa, but you are limited to read only, unless you're on Android, in which case there are Quick Replies supported.
The Versa 2 has built-in Amazon Alexa though, is a great fitness tracker, offers brilliant sleep monitoring and while the platform lacks third-party apps, it is improving. There's a lovely, solid design too, along with interchangeable straps and an Always On display.
Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch Series 3 takes all the features introduced on the Series 2 model and adds more power and capabilities, including the option of 4G connectivity. With built-in GPS, a more capable processor, water-resistance and a much greater focus on fitness than the Series 1 and 2, the Apple Watch Series 3 has stacks of potential, even if it isn't quite as accomplished as the Series 5.
From notifications and Apple Pay, to heart-rate monitoring and fitness tracking; the Apple Watch Series 3 can also act as a remote to control your HomeKit smarthome devices, quickly unlock your Mac or make and receive calls without your phone. It's also a really great price now, following the launch of the Series 5.
The TicWatch Pro is a very versatile smartwatch. It isn't just an attractive smartwatch that can be worn to work and to work out, but it's also a Wear OS smartwatch with a fantastic battery life. It's quite chunky and there is no LTE connectivity but the TicWatch Pro is comfortable to wear and it is much more affordable than its competitors.
It's hard to think of many smartwatches at this price point that offer anything as complete as the TicWatch Pro offers.
Michael Kors Access Sofie
The Michael Kors Access Sofie is a stunner of a smartwatch, combining beauty with brains, especially when paired with an Android rather than iOS device. It offers a luxurious and waterproof design, enough bling to make it stand out from the rest of the Wear OS crowd, while also offering a decent performance.
It misses out on a couple of the extra features introduced with the newer Micheal Kors watches, but the Access Sofie still offers customisable Michael Kors watch faces that make this smartwatch feel that little bit more special than some competitors, while the customisation options and the way "Looks" are organised is excellent, especially for those who like to match their watch to their outfit. For the MK fans who love the signature, chunky and blingy watches from the company but want them connected, the Sofie is a great option.
There's a lot to like about the Casio WSD-F30, which is Casio's third generation dual-screen outdoors watch. It's fast, fluid, responsive and very feature-rich. It delivers a solid and durable build, always visible time thanks to the dual-screen technology and loads of sensor data for hiking and outdoor sports.
There's a few things missing - a heart rate sensor and a companion app for activity syncing and viewing, but the Casio WSD-30 has a great battery life and like its predecessors, it's one of the best Wear OS watches designed for outdoor sports (though there are better for running). The flip side of that is that Wear OS isn't necessarily the best platform designed for outdoor sports.
The Nixon Mission succeeds where many smartwatches fail in offering a great design that feels nice to wear. The rugged build is also a big sell, meaning you don't have to worry about water, so it's well suited to being worn in rough conditions, like surf or snow.
The Nixon Mission is a good-looking watch for those who are happy with a larger-scale device. It carries a lifestyle charm to it with rugged looks and, in the case of our review sample, eye-catching looks. There are better choices for those wanting an active sports watch, but sometimes, looking good is good enough.