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The best smartwatches you can buy (May 2021)

Smartwatches are still a very new thing to a lot of people. You don’t absolutely need one to get through the day, and some of the best smartwatches are much too expensive for many folks out there. With that said, they are good for a lot of things. They can provide you with an easy way to get information, allow you to dismiss or reply to new messages without having to pull out your phone, and much more. These are the best smartwatches you can buy in 2021.

How to choose the right smartwatch for your needs

Many different factors go into making a great smartwatch. It needs to look good, feel comfortable, have a variety of apps to choose from, and it needs to receive regular software updates. Fitness tracking is also welcome, but many devices that prioritize smart features don’t excel in the fitness realm and vice versa. For this list of the best smartwatches, we focus mainly on devices that deliver a good software experience.

The best smartwatches

  • The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch you can buy. It’s customizable, receives regular updates, and it’s a fantastic fitness smartwatch.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the best smartwatch for Android. The hardware is fantastic, and there are plenty of ways to customize this watch.
  • The Fitbit Versa 3 is the best Fitbit smartwatch. The Versa 3 is nearly the same thing as the pricier Fitbit Sense, only without a few extra sensors that you may not use anyway.
  • The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is the best Wear OS smartwatch, thanks to its newer hardware and regular software updates.
  • The Garmin Venu 2 is the best Garmin smartwatch. Garmin’s second smartwatch with an OLED display is a great smartwatch and an even better fitness watch.
  • The Withings ScanWatch is the best hybrid smartwatch you can buy in 2021, thanks to its clinically validated AFib detection and all-around great health tracking suite.

Apple Watch Series 6: The best smartwatch you can buy

apple watch series 6 review artist watch face display 4

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch you can buy. It has unmatched first- and third-party app support, receives regular major software updates, and has tight integration with Apple’s messaging apps. It’s really the gold standard for what a smartwatch should be.

It’s also one heck of a fitness tracker. Heart rate monitoring is more accurate than other wrist-based heart rate sensors, and GPS performance is solid. We do think Apple’s new sleep tracking metrics are too basic, but you can always download a third-party sleep tracking app if you need it.

If you’re interested in the Apple Watch but don’t want to pay for the Series 6, check out the Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch Series 6 The best Apple Watch, at a price

The Apple Watch Series 6 adds a pulse oximeter, a brighter always-on display, and two new colors. While it’s the best Apple Watch you can buy, most people might want to opt for the more affordable Apple Watch SE.

Pros

  • Premium design and accessories
  • Big, bright screen with always-on display
  • Stellar heart rate monitoring
  • Accurate, reliable GPS
  • Unmatched app support

Cons

  • Sleep tracking is too basic
  • Battery life could be better
  • No third-party watch faces

Check out our full review to learn more about the Apple Watch Series 6.


Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: The best smartwatch for Android

samsung galaxy watch 3 review display watch face 2

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is one of the best smartwatches you can buy if you don’t use an iPhone. The hardware is top-notch, the rotating bezel is useful and intuitive, battery life is good, and has plenty of fitness- and health-tracking features.

Samsung’s GPS and heart rate sensors can be quite off at times, though, and those coming from a Wear OS or Apple Watch will likely find the lack of third-party apps to be a letdown.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 The latest and greatest smartwatch from Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is one of the more versatile smartwatches you can buy. It’s stylish, sporty, comes with plenty of smartwatch features, and has new health sensors that will make the watch better over time.

Pros

  • Fantastic display and rotating bezel
  • Thinner, lighter design
  • Two-day battery life
  • Advanced running metrics can be helpful
  • Useful sleep tracking and insights

Cons

  • GPS and HR sensors can be inaccurate
  • No MST payments with Samsung Pay
  • Big price increase over original Galaxy Watch
  • The setup process for non-Samsung phones is a pain
  • Third-party app support is lacking

Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.


Fitbit Versa 3: The best Fitbit smartwatch for most people

Fitbit Versa 3 Review Watch with Glasses

Credit: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Fitbit Versa 3 is our pick for the best Fitbit smartwatch you can buy right now. It’s not the most technically advanced, but it’s the one most people should purchase when seeking out a new wearable.

We found that the Versa 3 strikes the right balance between smartwatch, fitness tracker, and advanced workout wearable. It has both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in, Fitbit Pay support, and onboard music storage. It’s also an all-around fantastic fitness tracker and even boasts onboard GPS for runners and cyclists.

The Versa 3 is also cheaper than the Fitbit Sense, Fitbit’s other flagship smartwatch. We found that the extra sensors in the Sense likely aren’t useful enough to most people to warrant a big price increase, making the Versa 3 our top pick overall.

Fitbit Versa 3 Probably the best smartwatch for most Android users

If you’re looking for the best all-around smartwatch at a pretty good price, you’re likely looking for the Fitbit Versa 3. While it lacks the bells and whistles of the Fitbit Sense and won’t track your health better than a Garmin, you’re going to pay hundreds less for this and still be pretty happy.

Pros

  • Decent battery life
  • Pretty accurate health tracking
  • Built-in GPS
  • Google Assistant and Alexa support
  • Speaker with phone call support
  • Good price

Cons

  • Very small app library
  • Onboard music limited to two services
  • The capacitive button isn’t ideal
  • Proprietary charging cable

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Versa 3.


Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3: The best Wear OS smartwatch

ticwatch pro 3 gps review google assistant

Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Mobvoi’s new TicWatch Pro 3 is the first smartwatch with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset. This, coupled with 1GB of RAM, makes for overall good performance and stellar battery life.

While some of the materials seem a little cheap, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is still our pick for the best Wear OS watch you can buy. It’s still a little lower on our best smartwatch list, though, because Wear OS isn’t our favorite smartwatch OS. Read more in our Wear OS buyer’s guide.

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS

The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is the first Wear OS smartwatch powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset. It features enhanced battery life compared to previous models and includes blood oxygen tracking. The smartwatch has also been redesigned to be thinner and lighter than previous models.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Zippy performance
  • Dual display is ace
  • Improved design
  • Accurate heart rate sensor

Cons

  • Dire companion app
  • Wear OS needs a refresh
  • Inaccurate sleep and fitness tracking
  • Cheap strap
  • Less durable than previous models

Check out our full review to learn more about the TicWatch Pro 3.


Garmin Venu 2: The best Garmin smartwatch

garmin venu 2 review glances body battery pulse ox stress

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Garmin Venu 2 is the company’s best smartwatch. It upgrades the original Garmin Venu in many ways, especially in terms of software and health-tracking features.

Garmin completely revamped the software experience for the Venu 2. It now showcases the watch’s crisp OLED display with its vibrant colors on nearly every data page. The Venu 2 also carries over many of the original Venu’s great smartwatch features, including message replies (Android only), Garmin Pay support, and even more onboard music storage than before.

It’s not cheap — no Garmin watch is — but we feel the Garmin Venu 2 is a big step in the right direction for Garmin’s smartwatch ambitions.

Garmin Venu 2 Garmin’s new mid-range multisport watch

If you liked the original Garmin Venu, you’re in for a treat with the Venu 2. It comes in two sizes, has lots of new features, and refines many of Garmin’s existing health tracking modes to make an all-around more comprehensive wearable.

Pros

  • Now comes in two sizes
  • Crisp AMOLED display
  • Accurate fitness, sleep, and health tracking
  • Excellent GPS accuracy
  • Health Snapshot is useful
  • More music storage

Cons

  • Battery life can be finicky
  • Uneven heart rate sensor data
  • High price tag

Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Venu 2.


Withings ScanWatch: The best hybrid smartwatch

withings scanwatch review clock face design 4

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Withings ScanWatch is our pick for the best hybrid smartwatch you can buy. Its been clinically validated to notify users of signs of AFib and overnight breathing disturbances. It has an ECG, pulse oximeter for SpO2 readings, connected GPS, and a fairly accurate heart rate sensor, too.

On-device navigation isn’t the greatest (let’s be honest, what hybrid smartwatch gets this part right?), but the small OLED display is good enough for basic functions. Add to that month-long battery life, fantastic build quality, and all-around great sleep tracking, and you have yourself a winner.

Just one problem: the Withings ScanWatch still isn’t FDA-approved in the US, so be sure to check Withings’ website to see if it’s available in your region.

Withings ScanWatch

The new Withings ScanWatch is taking health tracking to the next level. It has built-in ECG and SpO2 sensors to help detect early signs of AFib and sleep apnea. Plus, it acts as a hybrid smartwatch, giving you notifications, HR data, and more on your wrist.

Pros

  • Premium, classy design
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Health Mate app is well-designed and easy to use
  • Potentially lifesaving and easy-to-use ECG monitor
  • Clinically validated AFib and breathing disturbance notifications
  • Fantastic sleep tracking

Cons

  • Small display limits smart features
  • Few advanced fitness features or insights

Check out our full review to learn more about the Withings ScanWatch.


Why you should trust the editor

Not only does Jimmy Westenberg love wearables, but he also loves helping people find the right devices to suit their needs. He’s been our resident fitness reviewer at Android Authority since 2016, and in that time, has reviewed dozens of fitness products and other wearables.

Through his rigorous testing of fitness products and deep knowledge of health devices and services, you can rest assured knowing Jimmy will give you honest recommendations. Looking for more brand-specific recommendations? Check out the following guides:


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