The first part of this series dealt with the most important criteria to consider when buying a smartwatch. In this article, I’ll introduce five top smartwatches that you should definitely consider before buying.
Apple Watch Series 3
- Compatibility: The Apple Watch uses the watchOS operating system. One disadvantage of this smartwatch is that you can only use it with an iPhone. That puts the Apple Watch out of the running for Android phone owners.
- Features: The new Apple Watch definitely impresses with its range of features. The only thing missing is WhatsApp. It already has a built-in heart-rate monitor and pedometer. It also has GPS and NFC, which allows you to use Apple Pay. This watch is suitable for swimmers, being waterproof to a depth of up to 50 meters. In addition, it’s equipped with an eSim so that you don’t even need your smartphone to accept phone calls.
- Operation: As with previous models, you operate the watch through the combination of a touch screen and two function buttons.
- Display: The Apple Watch Series 3 has an OLED Retina display. Depending on which model you choose, the watch has a resolution of either 272 x 340 pixels (38 mm) or 312 x 390 pixels (42 mm).
- Design: As with all Apple models, the design has been kept relatively simple. Wristbands are exchangeable, although you will need special Apple wristbands. Unlike its predecessors, the new model with LTE feature has a red dot on the operating button.
- Battery: Apple’s official word on the battery life for this watch is 18 hours. But in my own experience, with my daily usage habits, the battery has lasted much longer.
- Price: You can get the Apple Watch through Apple for either 369$ or 469$ (with LTE).
The Apple Watch Series 3 offers a wide range of features. Most of all, if you place a high value on capturing health data, then the Apple Watch is a good fit for you. If you’re prepared to spend CHF 369 or more and you own an iPhone, you’ll be getting a good smartwatch for that price. You can already access a comprehensive Apple Watch Series 3 test report here on this blog.
Fossil Q Explorist
- Compatibility: This watch is outfitted with Android Wear, and it’s compatible with both the Android smartphone (4.3+) and the iPhone (from iPhone 5 / iOS 9+ up).
- Features: The watch has a built-in microphone so that you can take calls, but you can’t insert a SIM card. That’s why you can only accept phone calls if you have a connection to a smartphone. Users also have to do without GPS and NFC. The watch can withstand spraying or splashing water (as with hand washing or light rain), but it’s not suitable for swimming.
- Operation: Operation is via touch screen and a button that can be used for menu settings or Google’s speech-recognition assistant, for instance.
- Display: The watch has an LCD display with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels.
- Design: You can use any 22-mm-wide wristband with this watch.
- Battery: Fossil is said to have an average battery life of up to 24 hours.
- Price: This model is available for around 250$, depending on the version.
The Fossil Q Marshal is significantly cheaper than the Apple Watch, the downside being that users have to sacrifice the larger range of features. If you can do without GPS, NFC, and a SIM card, you can still get a good smartwatch for the price. An obvious advantage is the ability to use a standard wristband.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
- Compatibility: The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier comes with Tizen, Samsung’s own operating system, which explains why the full range of this smartwatch’s features only works with Samsung devices. Some features have limited usability with Android devices or an iPhone.
- Features: The watch is waterproof and dustproof, and it’s suitable for uninterrupted submergence for 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5 meters (IP68 rating). The watch has GPS and NFC technology, making it possible to use Samsung Pay. The LTE variant is equipped with an eSim.
- Operation: Operation is via touch screen, bezels, and two function buttons.
- Display: The display uses AMOLED technology and has a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels.
- Design: This watch can be used with any 22-mm wristband.
- Battery: According to Samsung, the battery lasts for up to four days.
- Price: The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is available for 440$
The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is above all a good choice for Samsung smartphone users. It features important technology like GPS and NFC. But compared to the models by Asus and Fossil, the watch is a bit pricier even though the model and, consequently, the technology are still from 2016. Samsung did not introduce a new model at IFA 2017.
TAG Heuer Connect
- Compatibility: The TAG Heuer Connected comes with the Android Wear operating system.
- Features: This watch has the most important technologies, such as GPS and NFC. It’s waterproof at depths of up to 50 meters, making it suitable for swimmers. You’ll have to do without a SIM card, though.
- Operation: Operation is via touch screen with a function button.
- Display: The watch has an AMOLED screen with a resolution of 400 x 400 pixels.
- Design: The watch’s design is customizable. Not just the wristband but also the holder and watch module are exchangeable, although you will need to get special wristbands and holders from TAG Heuer.
- Battery: According to the manufacturer’s specifications, the battery lasts for up to 25 hours.
- Price: The price for the TAG Heuer Connected varies depending on the model and starts at 1490$.
The TAG Heuer Connected is by far the most expensive smartwatch on the market. At the same time, the technology is only minimally distinguishable from that of other Android smartwatches. One advantage is that you can even exchange the watch module, which allows you to convert the watch to an analogue model. In addition, TAG Heuer gives you the option of replacing the watch with an analogue model once the warranty has expired. If you’re prepared to pay a high price for premium workmanship and manufacture by an established Swiss watchmaker, this model will be a good choice for you.
Sony SmartWatch 3 SWR50
- Compatibility: The SmartWatch 3 SWR50 is equipped with Android Wear.
- Features: It includes such basic features as GPS and NFC, but you’ll have to do without a SIM card. The watch is waterproof, with a rating of IP68. The built-in microphone lets you take incoming calls as long as you have a connection to a smartphone.
- Operation: Operation of this model is via touch screen and a function button.
- Display: The watch is equipped with an LCD display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels.
- Design: Wristbands can be replaced with special watchbands by Sony.
- Battery: According to the manufacturer’s specifications, this smartwatch will last four days in standby mode and two with standard usage.
- Price: At a price of roughly 120$, the SmartWatch 3 SWR50 is inexpensive compared to the other models.
If you’re in the market for a cheap smartwatch, this is a good model for you. The SmartWatch 3 SWR50 is by far the most affordable model and includes the basic features that are important in a smartwatch.
Currently, the market has a range of top smartwatches that you should definitely consider before buying. Which one is the best smartwatch is hard to say. In general, the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear S3 Classic have the largest number of features. These are a good choice for iPhone or Samsung smartphone users who are prepared to spend 400$ or more. The Fossil models presented above offer a cheaper alternative, though with a limited range of features.