The Best Smartwatches in 2020

  • Last Update: December 5, 2020
5/5

Apple Watch Series 5

  • Has an always-on screen!
  • Fast performance
  • Feels very comfortable to wear
5/5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

  • Bright OLED display
  • Rotating bezel
  • Customizable watch faces
5/5

Huawei Watch GT2

  • Classic design
  • Sharp & bright display
  • Amazing battery life

Smartwatches have become much faster and much more useful in the past few years and now there are some genuinely exciting ones.

Some devices, however, do stand out in the crowd, and each one has its own pros and cons. From the popular Apple Watch with its fast performance and great compatibility with the iOS ecosystem, to the Samsung line of smartwatches with their smooth-running Tizen platform and attractive circular form factor, to all the rest. Let’s explore all the worthy options that are on the table.

1

Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch out there and the Series 5 (S5) is all about one key improvement: an always-on display. This is made possible to a brand new type of a screen used on the S5, one with a variable refresh rate, so when you are not using it the screen will refresh only once a second compared to 60 times a second when you actively use the watch. This has allowed Apple to maintain the same 18-hour battery life on the S5.
 
The rest is pretty much unchanged: you have the S5 in either a smaller, 40mm size, or a larger, 44mm version. WatchOS feels incredibly fast, swapping watchfaces is a breeze and happens with a simple swipe, and the watchfaces themselves are beautiful.
 
The Apple Watch excels in the fundamentals: it’s comfortable to wear, it’s fast and base apps like the weather that are so crucial to the experience deliver a very accurate and precise info. We also love the health and fitness features: the heart rate monitor is extremely accurate, it gives a detailed breakdown of workouts and the new EKG feature is useful. And of course, the rings system is great for fitness and helps you stay motivated to hit those fitness goals every single day.
 

PROS:

  • Has an always-on screen!
  • Fast performance
  • Feels very comfortable to wear
  • Very accurate heart rate measurements for a smartwatch

CONS:

  • Does not work with Android phones

Key Features:

  • Size: 44mm / 40mm
  • Display: 977 sq mm / 759 sq mm
  • Thickness: 10.7mm
  • Processor: 64-bit dual-core S5 processor
  • Display: LTPO OLED Always-On Retina display with Force Touch, 1000 nits brightness

Specification:

  • Brand: Apple Computer
  • Model MWWN2LL/A
  • Weight :1.1 pounds

2

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The design of Samsung’s smartwatches didn’t evolve much up until 2019 when the Galaxy Watch Active hit the scene. That smartwatch ditched most of the design ideas of the Gear S series and the original Galaxy Watch, including the signature rotating bezel. Samsung brought that idea back a year later with a touch-sensitive ring on the Galaxy Watch Active 2, but with the Galaxy Watch 3, Samsung is bringing back the rotating bezel in its proper form. It makes flying through menus completely effortless and intuitive, and Samsung’s Tizen software is built around that interaction.

Of course, that feature feels as good as ever despite being thinner than it has in the past. It still makes a satisfying click as it spins around the display and doesn’t wiggle when pressed either. The build quality on this watch is simply top-notch, from the rotating bezel to the buttons along the side. The stainless steel chassis, too, feels and looks the part of a premium watch.

Everything you’d expect is here, too. The Galaxy Watch 3 is rated for 5ATM water resistance, offers a traditional heart rate sensor, and there’s even optional LTE. Samsung also built in the needed sensors and software for tracking blood oxygen levels, stress, and even taking an ECG. Unfortunately, though, ECG isn’t enabled yet, meaning one of Watch 3’s most impressive features just doesn’t function.

It also uses an OLED display that offers vivid colors and a bright enough panel for outdoor visibility. Honestly, you’d have a tough time finding another display that would suit this smartwatch better.

PROS:

  • Bright OLED display
  • Rotating bezel
  • Customizable watch faces
  • Lightweight and attractive design

CONS:

  • Single-day battery life

Key Features:

  • 41mm/45mm
  • LTE versions available
  • 360 x 360 Super AMOLED
  • 247mAh/340mAh
  • Exynos 9110 Dual core 1.15 GHz
  • Blood pressure,ECG
  • Sleep tracking,Heart/rate VO2 max

Specification:

  • Brand: Samsung
  • Model:SM-R845UZSAXAR
  • Weight:7.2 ounces

3

Huawei Watch GT2

The Huawei Watch GT2 is a smartwatch that beats all the others in one key aspect: battery life. Huawei says it will last you two weeks on average, and in our experience, this number is not far from the truth.
 
Unlike other long-lasting smartwatches that use a monochrome display, this one uses full color and it also looks extremely well-made and stylish, especially if you opt in for the steel model with a leather band. It comes in two sizes, the bigger 46mm one is the more common, but there is also a small variation.
 
The good news is that it works with both Android and iOS, it delivers notifications promptly to your wrist, runs fairly well and it even has a loudspeaker.

PROS:

  • Classic design
  • Sharp & bright display
  • Amazing battery life
  • 5ATM water resistance

CONS:

  • No wireless charging

Key Features:

  • 1.39-inch AMOLED
  • Bluetooth - BT5.1
  • Magnetic charging thimble

Specification:

  • Brand HUAWEI
  • Model: LTN-B19-BK
  • Weight: 1.45 ounces

4

Garmin Vivoactive 4

If you want a watch that will exceed your expectations for battery life and reliability, the Garmin Vivoactive 4 is probably the watch for you. It doesn’t have the full-color screen you see on other smartwatches and instead goes with a sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel type of screen that lacks the flare, but is the key ingredient for the multi-day battery life on the Vivoactive 4. Garmin says this watch will last up to 8 full days in smartwatch mode, compared to just a day or two on traditional smartwatches.
 
Plus, you’d appreciate having physical buttons here and not having to rely only on touchscreen gestures.
 
The most notable update to the Vivoactive lineup is not a single feature, but just having two different sizes, a smaller and a larger one, making it easier to pick the right one for different sized wrists. Of course, there are also a few new features that come in handy and music is now included in all models.

PROS:

  • Animated, on screen workouts
  • Built-in music player
  • Multisport tracking modes

CONS:

  • Limited accessory options

Key Features:

  • Available in 40mm/45mm sizes
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • Pulse Ox sensor
  • Respiration tracking

Specification:

  • Brand: Garmin
  • Model: Garmin
  • Weight:1.28 ounces

5

Fossil Gen 5

If you want a different smartwatch, the Fossil Gen 5 is the best one running Google’s Android Wear OS platform. And yes, you are forgiven to think that platform was dead, but it’s not and in fact, Google will be investing new effort in it in 2020.
 
You do get the Google Assistant on board here, which is still the fastest and most knowledgeable voice assistant, you get a very stylish smartwatch, and you get the full set of heart rate monitoring, fitness and health tracking features that you expect on a smartwatch. It’s priced reasonably lower than the Apple Watch and it’s a generally very likable smartwatch.

PROS:

  • Built-in speakers
  • Performance upgrade
  • Well-built
  • Stylish

CONS:

  • Difficult to see under direct sunlight.

Key Features:

  • Screen: 1.28in AMOLED (328ppi)
  • Case thickness: 12mm
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • Sensors: altimeter, ambient light, gyroscope, heart rate, microphone, speaker NFC, GPS
  • Water resistance: 30 metres (3ATM)

Specification:

  • Brand: Olfi
  • Model: one.five Black Edition(2nd gen)
  • Weight: 2 pounds

6

TicWatch Pro

The TicWatch Pro (2020) sports a highly power-efficient LCD display on top of a standard AMOLED display. Thanks to this, it can last up to 30 days on a single charge, although without utilizing the LCD display too much, it has a fairly standard battery life of 2 days.
 
Since it’s a WearOS smartwatch, it comes with a built-in Google Assistant and supports all the apps the platform offers. In addition, it has NFC, heartrate, workout and sleep tracking, and is built to be durable and waterproof.

PROS:

  • Competitively priced
  • Good build quality
  • Google Assistant

CONS:

  • Sluggish performance

Key Features:

  • 1GB of RAM
  • Waterproof Rating IP68
  • Battery Capacity 415mAh, Smart Mode: 2-5 days

Specification:

  • Brand: Mobvoi
  • Model: B082TY7VKW
  • Weight: 10.4 ounces

7

CPR Guardian II Smartwatch

This CPR Guardian 2 smartwatch for seniors can be used by :

  • Active Adults
  • Vulnerable Adults
  • Dementia Sufferers

PPP Taking Care, providers of the life-saving 24/7 personal alarm service, have teamed up with CPR to add the award winning, GPS enabled Guardian Watch II to their monitored product offering.

Many of us value spending time outdoors, enjoying nature, visiting friends or getting out and about. The independence and freedom to go out when we want to is something we may take for granted. However, for some older people or those with serious medical conditions, leaving home without help could become dangerous and even life threatening.

Recent events have highlighted how important it is for older and vulnerable people to have a strong network of care. A personal alarm such as the Guardian Watch is a wonderful option for providing people with extra support and reassurance that help is always available when it’s needed most.

Steve Gates, Managing Director of PPP Taking Care, said:

“We recognise that many people who could benefit from a personal alarm still want to be active and independent outside of the home. We have worked closely with CPR to come up with a fully monitored, GPS enabled alarm solution that gives people freedom to do what they love with the reassurance that they can still get help if they need it.”

The CPR Guardian Watch II is a stylish smart watch which features SOS calling straight through to PPP Taking Care’s highly trained Emergency Response Team at one of the three UK based Emergency Resolution Centres.

When the SOS button on the watch is pressed, a member of the team will speak to the wearer via the watch and arrange help, by alerting emergency contacts or if necessary, the emergency services. GPS tracking allows the response staff to see exactly  where the wearer is located and get help to them quickly, even if they are not sure where they are.

As well as SOS functionality, the watch can make and receive phone calls and voice messages just like a mobile phone. Contacts can be added to the watch via the free app and the wearer will then be able to call or send voice messages to these people from the device any time they are out and about.

Friends and family can also access the easy to use app in order to view GPS location, monitor the wearer’s heart rate or set up geo ring-fencing to receive an alert whenever the wearer leaves or enters a certain location, making it ideal for those suffering with conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Being able to keep an eye on a loved one’s heart rate and have reassurance that they can access help easily gives great peace of mind to both the wearer and their family.

PROS:

  • Emergency SOS Button
  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • Voice Messaging
  • Smart GPS Tracking

CONS:

Key Features:

  • Stay connected when you’re away from your loved ones.
  • Speedtalk Prepaid SIM included
  • IP67 Waterproof - Can use in the shower or bath.
  • 4+ days battery life in manual mode
  • Carers can monitor the watch from the Guardian APP

Specification:

  • Brand: CPR
  • Model: cpr-guardian2
  • Weight: 1.76 ounces

8

Fossil Men's Hybrid Smartwatch

The Fossil Hybrid HR is the company’s first trial at making and creating a hybrid smartwatch from scratch. It is aimed at people who do want a smartwatch but are not convinced to merely wear a watch with a display on their wrists. They still want the smartwatch functionally but are more leaned towards the analogue looking that they have been wearing for quite some time. Fossil seems to have found the formula to keep them happy and it is an attempt to break out from the regular smartwatch tradition.

Wearing a smartwatch does not essentially mean just heartbeat tracking, push notifications from the phone, etc. But sometimes a watch that has several other functions is what people look for.

PROS:

  • 2-week-plus battery life
  • Traditional watch design
  • Heart rate monitor

CONS:

  • Limited functions

Key Features:

  • Control Your Music
  • Interchangeable Watch Band
  • Personalize Your Dial
  • Visualized Workout Routes
  • Bluetooth Smart Enabled / 5.0 Low Energy

Specification:

  • Brand Garmin
  • Model: 010-01363-11
  • Weight: 5.3 ounces

       What to Look for in Smartwatches: 

Operating system compatibility: There’s little sense in investing in a smartwatch that doesn’t work with your smartphone. While most smartwatch operating systems including Wear OS and Tizen are compatible across operating systems, some—like the Apple Watch—require a dedicated device. Others simply function more optimally with a certain OS. Samsung watches, for example, work with iPhones and a variety of Android devices, but are really unlocked when used with a Samsung smartphone.

Fit and style: If you want a wearable that transitions well, smartwatches can flex to fit your schedule. While many models favor a silicone band that’s friendly to sweat, you can purchase alternate styles and fabrics such as leather and swap them out as needed. Smartwatch faces are another design aspect to consider when purchasing a wearable for your lifestyle. Maybe you want a device that plays the part of an analog watch with an always-on display. If you don’t mind the look of a fitness-centric smartwatch, the size of the face and strap width could be keys for finding an ideal middle ground between sporty and versatile.

Battery life: Most smartwatches are built to get you through at least one full day of work and workouts, if not a few. It’s not atypical to recharge a smartwatch battery every few days, though most people will prefer a device that lasts closer to five days on a single charge. But battery longevity really depends on how you use your wearable. If you’re the adventurous type who’s always on the move, you’re better served finding a device that has some big battery chops. Additional services such as cellular connectivity, music streaming, health-tracking features, and an always-on display can put added stress on battery levels. 

Fitness tracking: Smartwatches cover a wide net of “smart” services, from smart notifications alerting you to texts and emails to being able to directly respond and make phone calls, streaming and storing music, and contactless payment convenience. But the other big part of the smartwatch equation is fitness tracking. There are many models that can provide a helpful nudge in the right direction. Otherwise, if you want an all-in-one smartwatch and fitness tracker, you’ll want to look for more specialized models that offer advanced performance tracking, precise GPS, and multisport or dedicated support for your specific sport.

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