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Given that it dominates the smartwatch category, it's not surprising that Apple has taken out the award for the best smartwatch brand. Scoring top marks for design and high scores for battery life and features and functions, it beat out other brands such as Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung.
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The most obvious function of a smartwatch is to tell the time, but they can do a lot more than that.
Due to their connected nature, they also give you a lot of access to your digital world. Typically, they'll show you your notifications straight from your phone and allow you to dismiss them or reply to them. Some smartwatches will even let you pay for things like you would with a card or with your phone.
Examples of what you can generally do with these wearable devices include:
The device you're using can impact your smartwatch-wearing experience. Samsung's watches do work with both iOS and Android, but the brand notes that there may be restrictions on the smartwatch and its features if you're using an iPhone. Also, the Apple Watch doesn't work with Android devices, and there's no easy workaround to change that.
Some watches also require apps that are only available on certain versions of iOS or Android. If your phone isn't up to date, make sure that it can be updated to the required version before buying a watch.
There are a few things you should consider when looking around for a smartwatch:
Some smartwatches need to be charged up each night to avoid it turning into a shiny-but-non-functional wristband the next day. Others can last for up to a whole fortnight before the potential of suffering the same fate ever becomes a worry.
Water-resistance is now a common selling point for phones and many smartwatches also come with resistance ratings. As smartwatches are frequently subjected to the elements, look for one that's rated for water and sweat resistance.
Smartwatches typically connect to your device through Bluetooth and many also have Wi-Fi connectivity. If you want to be able to leave phone at home and head out for a run without missing an important call or text, look for a smartwatch with LTE capability.
Not all smartwatches look the same. Some have a rectangular design, whereas others feature a more traditional watch shape. Some watches feature just a screen and some buttons while others have rotating bezels to complement the display.
Having a smartwatch with a speaker can be useful. It means that you can answer calls if your phone is out of reach or if you're in a hurry. And, if you're ambitious, it means you can call people from the watch without even picking up your phone. Some smartwatches will even let you store and play music right on the device.
Sleep tracking is less common in smartwatches than fitness devices but some watches offer this feature. Sleep tracking can help make sure that you're getting as many hours as you should be, and show you information about the quality of sleep you're getting.
Many smartwatches have heart rate sensors. Heart rate monitoring can let you measure how much of a sweat you work up during an exercise, or check that your resting heart rate is at a healthy level.
Most smartwatches come equipped with basic fitness tracking functionality, such as step counting. Some watches are filled with even more features, though. You can find things like GPS tracking, automatic workout detection and advanced exercise tracking on some higher-end smartwatches.
When it comes to the operating system of a smartwatch, most brands use a different one to each other. Lots of brands use their own operating system for their watches. For example, Apple uses its own WatchOS and Samsung uses Tizen. Some other brands make use of Google's WearOS (formerly Android Wear).
If you're still not sure where to start, check out our round-up of the best smartwatches on the market.
The design is the biggest differentiating factor between most smartwatches and fitness trackers.
For the most part, smartwatches can do the same things that fitness trackers can. This includes counting steps, checking heart rates and tracking workouts. However, not all smartwatches come with these fitness-tracking features. If you want a smartwatch that does double-duty, make sure the one you buy has all of the features you need.
Smartwatches are typically more expensive than fitness trackers, but they also usually come packed with more features, such as offering app support and mobile payments.
|Total Score||Overall rating||Value for Money||Battery Life||Design||Features & functions|
The Withings ScanWatch does a superb job of fitness tracking, right down to ECG functionality, but despite its looks it's much more a fitness band than a proper smartwatch.
The realme Watch S isn’t the best fitness tracking watch, but it stands out for its affordable price point and exceptional battery life.
The Suunto 7 wants to be a fully featured GPS sports watch and smartwatch in one, but has it bitten off more than it can chew?
The HUAWEI WATCH FIT straddles the line between a fitness tracker and a true smartwatch with good battery life.
Despite its obvious copying of Apple's Watch design, Oppo's Watch delivers the goods if you're keen on an Android Wear watch to cover the smartphone basics in a stylish way.
Apple's slow refinement of the Apple Watch continues, and while it's still a great smartwatch, we'd really like to see something new from Apple.
Samsung brings back its iconic rotating bezel to the smartwatch world, and with it regains the crown of best smartwatch for Android users.
Here are our top retailers where you can get your hands on a wide range of smartwatches.
See a list of great online retailers stocking a range of Apple Watches and accessories.
Huawei's updated smartwatch still has great battery life and new design ideas, but its lack of app flexibility and music playback control are still big drawbacks.
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