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Best smartwatch 2021: the top wearables you can buy today

The best smartwatch needs to be able to monitor your health, track your location when exercising, offer a variety of other apps that you wouldn’t normally see on your smartphone, sport good battery life and, perhaps most importantly, have an affordable price.

We’ve reviewed and ranked all of the best smartwatches on the market right now, and we’ve come up with our definitive list of the top 10 devices you can buy today that you’ll find below.

Those top-end wearables span from the Apple Watch to Fitbits, Garmin watches to Tizen-sporting Samsung watches. There’s also Wear OS which is Google’s own wearable operating system in the vein of Apple’s watchOS – you’ll see it show up in a lot of these devices.

These will likely work best when paired to one of the best smartphones on the market, but some of the models even work without a phone in tow. You should note that certain smartwatches are limited in what phones they’ll work with. For example, you won’t be able to use an Apple Watch with one of the best Android phones. 

Throughout our review process, we look at the design, features, battery life, spec, price and more for each smartwatch, rank it against the competition and enter it into the list you’ll find below.

1. Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE is the best smartwatch money can buy right now, but it’s only the right choice for you if you own an iPhone. Scroll down for our second choice in this list if you’ve got an Android phone.

If you do have an iPhone, you may wonder why the Apple Watch 6 doesn’t take our title of the very best smartwatch? That’s because the Apple Watch SE does almost everything that smartwatch can, but for a much lower price.

The Apple Watch SE comes with some top-end specs, a high-end design and a great range of features that you can’t get on every other smartwatch right now.

The battery life isn’t the best on the market, and there isn’t an always-on display, but if you’re after a great value for money choice for your next wrist companion you should opt for the Apple Watch SE.

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The best smartwatch money can buy right now if you own an Android phone is the Galaxy Watch 3 from Samsung. It also works with an iPhone though, and this is the company’s most accomplished wrist wear yet. It’s a sequel to the Galaxy Watch from 2018, and it keeps a lot of that device’s design elements but refines them.

The Galaxy Watch 3 features a unique rotating bezel that makes navigating around the smartwatch a joy. We find that a lot easier than trying to use the display, which is something you have to do on a lot of other smartwatches in this list.

Apps available on the watch are more limited than Wear OS or watchOS – two rival smartwatch operating systems – but it still offers the core basics and Samsung has provided a watch that’s good at fitness as well as sporting a great design and lots more functionality too.

Features are more limited if you’re using this with an iPhone, but it’s still compatible with those devices. We’d recommend considering the Apple Watch below though if that’s your phone of choice. Overall, the Galaxy Watch 3 is the full package if you’re looking for a smartwatch to track your fitness, look good on your wrist and a whole lot more.

3. Apple Watch 6

The Apple Watch 6 hasn’t taken the top spot in our best smartwatch list, but this is absolute best device you can get if you own an iPhone. Why isn’t it ranked above the Apple Watch SE? Because it’s a lot more expensive than that option.

The Apple Watch 6 works seamlessly with Apple’s phones, and it’s well worth considering if you plan to stick with the iPhone range for at least a few years. 

It isn’t a huge upgrade over the Apple Watch 5 though. There are new features like blood oxygen monitoring and an upgraded chipset, but largely it’s a similar device with the exact same screen and design.

All of that said, if you’re after an Apple Watch this is the best from the company ever and it may be made specifically for you to strap around your wrist and pair with your iPhone.

4. Fitbit Versa 3

Don’t want something from either Samsung or Apple? The Fitbit Versa 3 may be best for your wrist, and this latest smartwatch from the company is one of the best wrist companions for those who want to focus on fitness features.

There’s built-in GPS, the design is comfortable to wear and the display is easy to view with a crisp image. Like previous Fitbit smartwatches, this is mostly focused on fitness and won’t be for everyone.

But for general wearable fans, the Fitbit Versa 3 is a good option, and it’s more affordable than some of the other options on this list too.

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Samsung shrank the best parts of the the Galaxy Watch into this sportier smartwatch that’s slimmer, lighter and, arguably, more comfortable – then released a second version months after the first that included a few coveted features, including a rotating digital bezel and LTE version.

Overall, not much has changed – which isn’t a bad thing, as it’s still a quality smartwatch at a decent price. Galaxy Watch Active 2 features a 1.2-inch 360 x 360 display that is bright and beautiful yet small enough to be strapped around your wrist than a lot of the other devices in this list.

It still comes sporting all of the top-end fitness features you’d expect from Samsung’s Tizen watch range, with 39 workout modes, a heart rate and ECG sensor, and health app with stress and sleep monitoring. There’s even a way to monitor your blood pressure, but that won’t be activated for some time. 

While it’s still more affordable than the leading Apple Watch, the price was bumped up from the original Watch Active, shrinking its value compared to the competition. It’s certainly not a cheap smartwatch, but when compared to the price of the Galaxy Watch 3 you may prefer to opt for this version that’s remarkably similar.

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