Welcome to the world of wearable technology.
Whether you’re a fitness fanatic who wants to track your health and sleep patterns or like the idea of a mini office assistant wrapped around your wrist, a smartwatch can do it all.
You can track your workouts and work meetings and even order milk while you’re out and about – so it is the most convenient investment you can make to keep your life organized and help you achieve your goals.
You’ll see some wearable technology watches referred to as “smartwatches,” while others are “fitness trackers. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, the main difference is that a tracker feeds your workout and health data directly into an app and has no interactive screens. At the same time, a smartwatch will display your stats in real-time on an interactive menu and offer other lifestyle tools that track everything from sleep patterns to your menstrual cycle.
What features should you look out for?
If exercise is a big part of your life, then a smartwatch is the perfect way to monitor your progress, achieve your goals, and even navigate your running and cycling sessions.
Smartwatches have been shown to increase your activity and motivation – who needs a personal trainer when your watch can get you through your paces and motivate you to keep moving?
However, not all wearable technology is created equal – we recommend choosing a watch that considers your favorite sports or fitness classes. Some smartwatches are great for tracking your running performance, while others can guide hikers with built-in GPS and maps. Waterproof watches are ideal for long runs in the pool, and there are even watches with built-in maps of ski resorts and golf courses.
Lifestyle and wellness
Think about your daily habits before you buy a new smartwatch. Health fanatics will want a watch that can track sleep, heart rate, recovery days and maybe even nutrition.
If you want a moveable office that can aid with work and a busy social life, pick a watch designed to be compatible with your phone, and that can ping emails, calls and calendar reminders your way.
If you’re a keen traveller who likes to head into the wild, a longer battery life and good mapping tools will suit your lifestyle best.
How do you find the right fit and style of your smartwatch?
Some smartwatches aren’t the prettiest objects – many wearable technology products are still bulky, heavy, and all-black. Even wearable technology labeled “unisex” can be too big for smaller wrists.
However, the market is changing, and more brands are coming out with lightweight, high-performance watches designed for women. If you have a slimmer wrist, looking for a female-specific watch or a model with a smaller face is worth looking for. Check the weight before you buy, too – in our tests, we found that any watch weighing less than 70 grams would be comfortable for most women.
The good news is that there are a lot of compelling smartwatches out there – so if you want to wear your watch all day, not just when you’re active, pick one that you’ll be happy to wear to work and sweat.
Interchangeable straps are a good idea to accommodate different activities, and the gold finish will give your tech a more classic watch look. We’ve included several gorgeous multitasking watches that you can quickly wear to sightsee, socialize, study, and sweat out.
Polar Ignite 2
Calling all sports enthusiasts, Polar’s smartwatch has long been a favorite of the fitness crowd, and the Ignite is no exception.
The affordable watch includes GPS and Bluetooth for navigation, tracks your heart rate, calorie count, and sleep patterns, offers breathing exercises, and lets you create a daily training schedule ideal if you’re struggling to keep track of your cycling and running mileage. The Ignite 2 is waterproof and Strava-compatible, too, so you can check your stats in the pool.
The Ignite looks excellent, too, especially in the rose gold colorway for women, and it can quickly go from workout to workout.
Honor GS 3
Rather an elegant take on smartwatches, Honor’s GS 3 looks like a classic wristwatch – and on test we found it really comfortable to wear all day long.
We appreciated the different watch faces available to suit all tastes, including a gorgeous night sky screen. The GS is ready for action, too, with over 100 workout modes and route tracking built-in. There’s also an accurate heart rate monitor and even a blood oxygen monitor that vibrates if yours happens to get low.
The menu is intuitively easy to use on-the-go for taking calls, setting reminders and navigating.
Wahoo ELEMNT RIVAL
Wahoo’s ELEMNT RIVAL may be the ultimate fitness companion. It has 12 preloaded workouts that will push you to swim farther and run faster and a built-in training calendar to track progress – ideal if you’re working toward a goal like a marathon or a triathlon. ELEMNT is designed with multi-sport enthusiasts in mind, and it also syncs with Wahoo’s cycling computer.
If you like to whittle down your fitness, this smartwatch will record all the minutiae – and even plan out next week’s workout. From the looks of it, it’s a nice sporty watch – we’d choose it for cardio over city walks.
Fitbit Luxe Special Edition
We love the delicate chain strap of Fitbit’s Luxe, which lives up to its name. The style combines all the sporty know-how of a Fitbit with jewellery-level looks that is smart enough to wear to work, the gym and your packed social schedule.
This Fitbit really shines when it is time to get sweaty, though, monitoring heart rate, pace and distance and even giving a ‘daily readiness score’ that shows when you should give your all and when you should focus on recovery. The sleep stages and slumber mode will keep an eye on your kip, too.
Garmin Instinct Solar 2
As the name implies, the Garmin Instinct Solar can be charged directly in the sun, extending battery life whenever you wear it.
The hard rubber around the watch is also ideal for keeping it safe when you’re out in the sun or for those of us who are clumsy.
The black and white screen faithfully tracks activity and is lifestyle-friendly, showing notifications, allowing you to pay on the go, and syncing with your calendar. 2S versions are also available for smaller wrists.
Skagen Jorn Gen 6 Hybrid
The Danish-designed Skagen Jorn is a hybrid watch, so it’s a simpler but sleeker option than a full-blown smartwatch. That said, it’s still packed with cute stuff – a heart rate sensor, a good sleep tracking sensor, and Amazon Alexa, ready to answer your questions or make your life easier.
You’ll notice the “health dashboard” on the linked mobile app, which is also a great way to check in on (and improve) your daily habits. Our favorite feature in the test was the long battery life – with regular use, the Jorn only needs to be charged once a week, saving a lot of settings.
An adventurer’s dream companion – meet SUUNTO’s most outdoor-minded product to date. 7 is a great, no-frills smartwatch that’s not too heavy, though it’s only 70 grams. The considerable size means you get an easy-to-read screen, which can come in handy when hiking and biking.
SUUNTO 7 has some of the best mapping capabilities we’ve tested, works offline, and makes it easy to follow directions while walking or running. If you’re looking for routes, you can even see the “heat map” paths that other users in the area take regularly. 70+ built-in sports modes include trail running, open water swimming, and hiking.
Garmin Fenix 6S Pro
Do you love to roam far from the madding crowds? Take the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro with you.
This GPS sport watch is perfect for explorers, with a big, easy-to-follow, full-colour mapping screen as well as a safety beacon feature, fitness tracking and other useful features including hydration tracking and music.
The battery life lasts up to an impressive nine days, which is a life-saver if you’re out on multi-day treks, and the watch also comes preloaded with ski maps for 2,000 resorts – perfect for snow sports lovers. The 6S is a smaller version of the Fenix 6 watch, so it’s a good choice for female wrists.
There’s a reason it’s a classic – the Apple Watch is a great lifestyle all-rounder. The flagship watch from this all-American brand is unisex, but there are plenty of cute bands to choose from, making it easy to customize your style.
In our testing, it had the most intuitive and simple menu to follow at a glance. Fitness-focused? From pedaling in spin class to yoga at the studio, or a HIIT workout, this watch will effortlessly keep up with you – and it can also do clever extras like track your period or even connect with compatible fitness equipment. We love the “three-ring” display, which motivates you to reach your daily goals of exercise, workout, and standing.
There are models at all price points, from the more wallet-friendly SE model to the latest Apple Watch 7.
Fossil Gen 6 Smart Watch
Hey, good-looking: Fossil packages up both style and substance into its Gen 6, which manages to look gorgeous in gold, while being intuitive and effective to use.
A wide touchscreen makes navigating the menu less fiddly, while a heart rate monitor tracks activity faithfully. Google Assistant also lets you check up on emails, calls and reminders on the fly, or pay for shopping straight from your watch. A good choice for Android fans who want to stay connected on the go.