Best Smartwatches Buyers Guide – December 2017
With Christmas now out of the way if you didn’t get the smartwatch you wanted under the tree for a gift, there’s still plenty of time to pick one up while some of the holiday deals may still be available. There are lots of different smartwatches out there, so if you’re unsure of what to get or what you may want feature-wise, check the list below for some really good options as the ones listed are some of the top smartwatches you can buy at the moment.
Starting things off is the Nokia Steel, the smart activity tracker watch from Nokia and is really just the re-branded Withings Steel. This is a smartwatch but not like most others as it doesn’t have a touchscreen display, and it doesn’t allow the use of apps on it. In fact, it’s really more of a hybrid watch as it will track your steps, calories burned, monitor sleep, and a few other activities, but that’s essentially it. It’s more basic, but if you don’t want a whole lot in terms of features, this is a great watch to go for as it’s also fairly inexpensive compared to the rest.
If you’d like a little more luxury with your smartwatch, then you’ll want to go for a more luxury brand and that’s totally possible now that a number of the luxury brands are making watches. Movado is one of those with the Connect, and it not only looks like a Movado with its classic style, but it also looks a lot sleeker than most other Android Wear watches. You’ll definitely pay for the upgrade, but if you’re used to nicer watches then this might be your best bet as it’s kind of a middle-ground between other more expensive options and those which only cost a few hundred bucks.
Fossil’s Q Explorist is one of the new smartwatches that were launched by the brand this year and while it doesn’t look too much different from the older watches, it does have some minor adjustments to the design and it certainly has a polished feel. It comes in multiple options for straps and watch case colors, and it’s running Android Wear 2.0 out of the box so you get all the latest features and app access, including Play Store access on the watch itself, and Google Assistant.
Nokia Steel HR
Next up is the Nokia Steel HR, which is essentially the exact same watch as the Nokia Steel that was at the beginning of this list, but it comes with a heart rate sensor to beef up its features. It has all the same capabilities as the original watch but is also capable of tracking your continuous heart rate. If you want the heart rate sensor, but not much else, forego the actual smartwatches and give the Nokia Steel HR a try.
Samsung Gear Sport
Samsung’s Gear Sport is the latest smartwatch from Samsung, offering things like dust and water resistance, a more active look compared to the Gear S3, and most of the same features, though it does miss the Samsung Pay support with MST technology. It can still however be used where NFC tap and pay terminals are located. It has a heart rate sensor to track your heart rate, and Samsung kept the rotating bezel to make navigation of the UI very easy. If you don’t mind giving up the MST support when it comes to Samsung Pay payments, this is a great smartwatch to consider.
ASUS ZenWatch 3
The ZenWatch 3 may be older now but it’s still a great watch, and it comes with Android Wear 2.0 as well as a stylish design that looks more like a standard watch than a smartwatch, and to some that might be the biggest part of the appeal. If you want a smart piece of tech on your wrist without screaming, “I’m wearing a piece of tech on my wrist,” you can’t go wrong here as you might have to double take to notice this is a smartwatch. It’s also fairly affordable, so if budget is a factor, then this is a strong option.
Huawei Watch 2
Huawei’s Watch 2 smartwatch had mixed reviews for some, but it’s definitely one of the better watches out there as it features not only Android Wear 2.0, a high water resistance rating, and a stylish design, but it also comes in an LTE model so it can be used without a connection to a smartphone, and it has NFC, so it can actually use Android Pay which almost no other Android Wear smartwatches can do at this point.
The Misfit Vapor is likely to be one of this year’s top smartwatches, as it runs on Android Wear 2.0, has a sleek design, and is built to be the perfect watch for those wanting something to go along with their active lifestyle. It’ll come in more than one color option and technically it’s not available to buy on Amazon yet. That said, the listing is available on Amazon as it’s supposed to be landing on the website this month, so while you can’t hit the buy button as of right now, you’ll be able to soon enough. The Misfit Vapor is packed full of great features, like water resistance up to 50 meters deep and a heart rate sensor to monitor your heart rate while you exercise.
The Fitbit Ionic is one of the newer smartwatches to release in 2017, and while it doesn’t run on Android Wear it does have access to apps, it supports mobile payments, and it has loads of fitness features like tracking steps, calories burned, distance, heart rate, and it can monitor your sleep. Naturally, it’s also dust and water resistant so you can wear it in the rain without worry. It’s also easy to use thanks to the big square-shaped touchscreen display.
LG Watch Style
Staying in the same spot for some time now is the LG Watch Style – a minimalist but capable Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch that is full-featured without lacking in too many areas. It doesn’t support Android Pay, unfortunately, but it does have Google Assistant and the Play Store and you can customize it by swapping out the straps.
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung’s Gear S3 is still one of the best watches out there and for the purposes of this list it’s the top smartwatch out there for a few reasons. It’s one of the most stylish, it comes with swappable bands, it has a sleek rotating bezel that makes it easy to interact with the watch without having to touch the display, and it supports Samsung Pay through MST technology unlike the more recently released Gear Sport, which does support Samsung Pay but only through NFC-based tap and pay technology, which limits where you can use it. The Gear S3 also comes in both Wi-Fi only and LTE models, so if you prefer you can use its connected features without having your phone on you. Now that it’s aging it’s also going to start getting cheaper in price, and that makes it even better.