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.
This feature covers smartwatches on various platforms, from Android Wear to WatchOS. 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 or only the Apple Watch options to you, we have separate features for those too.
Best smartwatch: our top recommendation
Here's our recommendation for the best all round smartwatch on the market.
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, the Apple Watch Series 3 has stacks of potential.
Over the last three years the Apple Watch has improved to offer plenty - and the Series 3 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, quickly unlock your Mac or make and receive calls without your phone. The Apple Watch Series 3 is so much more than just a pretty smartwatch. It's a smartwatch with a purpose.
Full review: Apple Watch Series 3 review
Best of the rest smartwatches
The Apple Watch Series 3 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:
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
Buy the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 from around £1310 from Amazon.co.uk
The Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 is a lovely smartwatch - one of the best looking you can buy. It drips in quality and its focus is firmly seated in fashion, reflecting the brand's Carrera watches with an added emphasis on personalisation. The Connected Modular 45, as its name suggests, not only offers watch face customisation, but physical customisation too - and there is a huge range of options so you can get exactly what you want... if you can afford it.
Armed with the credentials to be a wear anywhere premium smartwatch, the 45 also brings GPS and NFC to boost its digital skills, although it's not as fully-loaded as some rival devices. What's most important however, is that this premium smartwatch feels like a premium smartwatch. There's really nothing that matches the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45's luxury position - and the modular approach is unique.
Read the review: Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
Samsung Gear S3
The Samsung Gear S3 delivers in both hardware and software, and to us is certainly one of the smartwatches to consider if you're an Android user. There's that solid metal chassis with meticulous fine details, hardy build and water-resistance, great clicky buttons and a smooth rotating bezel that's matched with a smooth-to-use operating system.
On top of all that you get days of battery life, which is a solid figure for a smartwatch these days. The S3 delivers on feeling like a proper watch that happens to be smart. There's no higher praise than that.
Read the review: Samsung Gear S3 review
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 Android Wear crowd, while also offering a decent performance and a good battery life. And this time around it comes with a fully round watch face, which elevates it above and beyond its Bradshaw cousin that you'll find a bit further down this list.
The customisable Michael Kors watch faces once again make this smartwatch feel that little bit more special than its 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 fashionable, functional and not a smartwatch we have any intention of taking off anytime soon.
Read the review: Michael Kors Access Sofie review
Huawei Watch 2 Sport
The Huawei Watch 2 is something of a surprise package: great for on-the-go independent control without a phone thanks to (optional) 4G, well built and full of top-spec hardware and features. Unless you choose the orange finish, in black the Watch 2 Sport is rather muted but the fundamentals of its design are otherwise good, making it nice to wear.
What the Huawei Watch 2 does is have a jolly good go at things. It misses the exuberance of the Casio WSD-F20 and it doesn't quite have the sporting prowess of the Polar M600 behind it, but as a smartwatch that will deal well with sports, it's actually pretty good in many areas.
Read the review: Huawei Watch 2 Sport
Tag Heuer Connected
The Tag Heuer Connected is the original smartwatch from the Swiss company and while the Connected Modular 45 is newer, this older model is still fantastic and well worthy of consideration if you have the money for a Tag-branded smartwatch. There will still 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 still one of the best Android Wear device we've seen so far. The Tag Heuer Connected is an expensive luxury gadget but it's also one we want to and enjoy wearing.
Read the review: Tag Heuer Connected review
There's a lot to like about the Casio WSD-F20. It's fast, fluid, responsive and very feature-rich. In fact, it's easily one of the best performing Android Wear watches we've ever used. From a sports tracking perspective, it's not perfect and the so-so colour screen means the Casio WSD-F20 is slightly off the pulse when it comes to dedicated outdoor activity sportswatches.
That said, the WSD-F20's dual-layer screen technology is innovative and certainly makes a lasting impression. We can comfortably say this Casio is the best Android Wear watch designed for outdoor sports (though there are better for running). The flip side of that is that Android Wear isn't necessarily the best platform designed for outdoor sports.
Read the review: Casio WSD-F20
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 warn 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.
Read the review: Nixon Mission review
Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
The Michael Kors Access is up there with the best in terms of design and wearability, offering a beautifully solid build quality that is not only comfortable, but 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. For those it's just that little bit too chunky for, there is also the new Michael Kors Access Sofie, which is a little more blingy but on a slimmer scale - you can find it a little further up this list.
Read the review: Michael Kors Access Bradshaw review
Apple Watch Series 1
The Apple Watch Series 1 has now been succeeded with the better and more feature-rich Series 3, 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 3 model is probably worth the extra money.
Read the full review: Apple Watch review
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 both an effective sports partner and a great smartwatch too.
Read the full review: Polar M600 review
Fossil Q Marshal
The Fossil Q Marshal is a great looking smartwatch. Its metal body and decent strap options mean it's a device that will look good strapped to your wrist, though if you're after more than basic wrist-based call and message alerts, you'll be left wanting.
With a now sub £200 asking price, the Q Marshal is more affordable than some and the Fossil brand has bags of appeal. It's behind the current curve though so it won't be for everyone unless you're hooked on its looks with "fashion first" thoughts.
Read the full review: Fossil Q Marshal review
LG Watch Style
The LG Watch Style is a simple but effective smartwatch with good overall performance and a great software experience. It doesn't offer the same premium appeal as others in its field and it lacks thrills in terms of features, while not being the most stylish smartwatch out there either.
What the Watch Style does offer however, is simplicity which, for some, will make it a perfect first smartwatch. If you're after a smartwatch that looks like a premium, fashionable watch, then the Watch Style isn't the device for you. But if you want a smartwatch that's comfortable to wear and easy to use, then this LG offering does Android Wear 2.0 justice.
Read the full review: LG Watch Style review
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 Tizen 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 enjoyed wearing when we had it in for review, which can't be said for all smartwatches.
Read the full review: Guess Connect review