The best smartwatch 2024: Wearables you should buy today

The best smartwatches are excellent fitness gadgets. They’re built to track your activity levels, record your workouts, and show you health and recovery insights. But they also do much more. The top smartwatches around today connect to your smartphone in order to deliver notifications to your wrist, as well as give you quick and easy access to a range of apps, like meditation apps, timers, weather insights, and so much more.

Whether you need a workout companion or simply want a stylish-looking watch with some extra features, a smartwatch is a great piece of tech to invest in, the good news is that these days there’s a lot of choice – even a sold selection of cheap smartwatches if you’re on a budget.

We’ve tested and reviewed many smartwatches, including the most popular and high-end entries, like the latest Apple Watch models, including the Series 9 and Ultra 2, and Samsung smartwatches. We wear the battery down, test GPS accuracy, examine workout metrics against market leaders, and report on the general flow and usability of each watch. We’ve also spent time with Fitbit’s offerings and Wear OS watches from brands like OnePlus, Ticwatch and Mobvoi, too, ensuring that there’s something for everyone in our best smartwatches guide below. 

Curated by
Curated by

Matt Evans

Matt is TechRadar’s Fitness and Wearables Editor, which means he’s an expert on workouts, smartwatches, and all things fitness tech. Matt’s spent years covering the health and fitness beat: a former staffer at Men’s Health magazine, he’s also written for publications like Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well.

The quick list

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The best smartwatches: Specifications compared
Component Apple Watch Ultra 2 Apple Watch SE 2 (40mm) Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (40mm) Google Pixel Watch 2 OnePlus Watch 2 CMF Watch Pro by Nothing
Price $799 / £799 / AU$1,399 $249 / £259 / AU$399 £299 / £289 / AU$549 $349 / £349 / AU$549 $299.99 / £299 / AU$459 $69 / £69 / AU$131
Dimensions 49 x 41 x 14 (mm) 40 x 34 x 10.7 (mm) 38.8 x 40.4 x 9.0 (mm) 41 x 41 x 12.3 (mm) 47 x 46.6 x 12.1 (mm) 46.9 x 39.87 x 12.89 (mm)
Weight 61g 27.8 grams (cellular) 28.7g 31g 80g (including strap) 47g
Case/bezel Titanium Aluminum / nylon Aluminum armor, graphite Aluminum Stainless Steel Aluminium alloy
Display 502 x 410 px poly-silicon always-on OLED Retina Display 324 x 394 retina OLED display 1.3-inch, 432 x 432 px super AMOLED 384 x 384 px always-on AMOLED 320 ppi 466 x 466px, AMOLED 410 x 502 px, AMOLED
GPS Yes (unspecified) Yes (unspecified) GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU, Galileo GPS GPS, Beidou, Glonass, Galileo, QZSS GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/QZSS/Beidou
Battery life 36 hours 18 hours Up to 40 hours 24 hours 100 hours Up to 13 days
Connection Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, LTE Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, LTE Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, LTE Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, 4G LTE Bluetooth 5.0, BLE Bluetooth 5.3
Water resistant WR100 (diveproof) WR50 5ATM+IP68 5ATM 5ATM IP68

The best watch overall

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)

The best smartwatch overall

Specifications

OS: watchOS 10

Compatibility: iOS

Display: 1.9″ OLED

Processor: Apple S9

Onboard storage: 32GB

Battery: 36 hours

Charging method: Wireless

IP rating: Water-resistant to 100m

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE, Ultra Wideband

Reasons to buy

+

Large, bright display

+

Action button is very useful

Reasons to avoid

Battery life, while improved, could still be better

Ultra Wideband only works with iPhone 15

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the ultimate smartwatch with one of the best screens we’ve ever seen on a wearable, with its sumptuous Retina Display OLED commanding up to 3,000 nits of brightness. It’s bigger and bulkier, than the standard Apple Watch, and has a faster S9 processor, enabling that excellent Double Tap gesture available on the Series 9 below. In all other respects, it’s identical to its predecessor, the original Apple Watch Ultra. 

It could still offer better battery life (despite surpassing the regular Apple Watch) but a powerful and accurate GPS is great for exploring, especially with watchOS 10’s improved hiking waypoints feature, plus it’s a working dive computer with the Oceanic Plus app. 

During testing, we easily found this to be the most capable wearable that the brand has ever made. Unfortunately, it is limited by its reliance on Apple phones, and its high price. However, when looking at the smartwatches on this list in a vacuum, it is the best smartwatch from a technical standpoint. As you can see in the specs table below, it’s got the biggest, brightest screen, it can dive the deepest underwater, and its case is comprised of ultra-hard titanium. 

Read our full Apple Watch Ultra 2 review

The best cheap Apple Watch

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The best Apple Watch for iPhone users on a budget

Specifications

OS: watchOS 10

Compatibility: iOS

Display: 1.78″ OLED

Processor: Apple S8

Onboard storage: 32GB

Battery: 18 hours

Charging method: Wireless

IP rating: Water-resistant to 50m

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE

Reasons to buy

+

Light and comfortable

+

Good battery life for price

+

Packs updated features compared to older cheap Apple Watches

Reasons to avoid

No always-on screen or ECG compared to higher-priced watches

Nylon back

The Apple Watch SE 2 is arguably the best Apple Watch for most people, as it’s a lot more affordable than the Apple Watch Series 9, yet has most of the core features for those models, and even the same chipset as the Series 8.

The main things it lacks are an always-on display, an ECG, and blood oxygen tracking from the 8 (although the current Apple Watch Series 9 is now being sold without blood oxygen tracking), and the Double Tap feature from the 9, but the Apple Watch SE 2 still has a wide range of health and fitness features, plus potentially life-saving additions like Car Crash Detection.

It’s also powerful, has impressive battery life for a proper smartwatch, and is very light and comfortable to wear. So it strikes a superb balance between price and performance, and is a great relatively affordable pick.

Read our full Apple Watch SE 2 review

The best Samsung watch

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)

The best Samsung smartwatch overall

Specifications

OS: Wear OS (One UI Watch 5)

Compatibility: Android

Display: 1.4-inch 480 x 480 px Super AMOLED

Processor: Exynos W930

Onboard storage: 16GB

Battery duration: One day

Charging method: Qi wireless charging

IP rating: IP68

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS

Reasons to buy

+

Powerful fitness features

+

Durable and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

One-day battery life

Optimized for Samsung phones

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is a smart-looking watch in every sense of the word. It looks great on your wrist while offering powerful features. A larger Super AMOLED display is sharp and clear, as well as able to handle very bright outdoor scenes. 

Performance-wise, it’s fast although you’ll reap the most benefits when paired with a Samsung smartphone. There’s no iPhone support here either. 

Besides SmartThings integration, the highlights here is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6’s updated chipset, the Exynos W930, and the ability to monitor your body’s muscle and fat composition. It’s bordering on the ultimate fitness tool with extensive sleep tracking also helping you get the most from yourself every day. Shame about that one-day battery life, though.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review

The best Google watch

(Image credit: Future)

The best Google smartwatch for Pixel users

Specifications

OS: Wear OS 4

Compatibility: Android 8.0 or higher

Display: 1.2″ OLED

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon W5

Onboard storage: 32GB

Battery: 24 hours

Charging method: Wireless

IP rating: Water-resistant to 5 ATM

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE

Reasons to buy

+

Elegant, classic watch-like looks

+

Brilliant screen

+

New multi-path HR sensor

Reasons to avoid

One (small) size fits all

Band switch system takes practice

No blood oxygen sensing – yet

The Google Pixel Watch 2, like its predecessor, is an uncommonly beautiful smartwatch. It has a natural rather than a manufactured look, with a glossy face that curves to meet an equally curvaceous body. The construction is close to seamless.

Because of that curve, there’s more glass facing you than on the Apple Watch Series 9, which both adds to the elegance and cunningly hides a larger-ish black bezel surrounding the screen. The battery life is slightly improved compared to the original, getting fast charge, while a new multi-path HR sensor improves workout tracking. 

This is a bright, colorful, and responsive AMOLED display, considerably smaller than the Apple Watch Series 9’s rectangular face, but Google does a lot with the reduced screen real estate. We never found ourselves wishing for more, except for the battery life. Although it’s an improvement over the original Pixel and most Apple offerings, it’s still a continual frustration at 24 hours: less than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, and a bugbear we have with many watches on this list compared to, say, a Garmin.

Read our full Google Pixel Watch 2 review

The best Android smartwatch

(Image credit: Luke Baker)

The best Wear OS smartwatch not made by Google

Specifications

Compatibility: Android, iOS

Display: 466 x 466px, AMOLED

Processor: Snapdragon W5+, BES2700BP

Onboard storage: 32GB

Battery duration: Up to 100 hours

Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin

IP rating: 5ATM

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 and BLE

Reasons to buy

+

Big battery life with dual OS

+

Accurate fitness metrics

+

Looks great

Reasons to avoid

Single size

Rotating crown not used

The OnePlus Watch 2 is an excellent all-rounder smartwatch, knocking the TicWatch Pro 5 from this place in the list, and an outstanding Pixel Watch alternative.

It has a lot going for it. For one thing, it uses the mighty Snapdragon W5+ Gen1 processor, so performance is good, and it also runs a second operating system, which it switches to when needed, in order to prevent unnecessary battery drain. That’s how it gets to its impressive 100-hour battery life: clever use of its dual chipset. 

It also offers very accurate fitness tracking metrics, which we tested during forest walks in Finland against the Garmin Epix Pro. It looks great on-wrist, too, with leather strap options, a design based on analogue chronographs, and a few cool color choices such as Nordic Blue. 

Read the full OnePlus Watch 2 review

The best cheap smartwatch

(Image credit: Luke Baker)

The best cheap system-agnostic smartwatch

Specifications

OS: Nothing

Compatibility: iOS 13 and above, Android 8.0 and above

Display: 1.96-inch 410 x 502 AMOLED

Processor: Snapdragon Wear 4100

Onboard storage: 8GB

Battery duration: 13 days

Charging method: Qi wireless charging

IP rating: IP68

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3, GPS

Reasons to buy

+

Large display

+

Great battery life

+

Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

Some small connectivity issues

Overly simplistic

The CMF Watch Pro by Nothing is a very cheap, very attractive smartwatch that offers a lot for the money. It’s got in-built GPS, up to 13 days of battery life, and in our review we mentioned the design was great, both in software and hardware. If you want a simplified smartwatch with a few health metrics, this is the one to get.

The downsides? With that low price point, of course, comes some missing features. It’s never going to be as stacked with third-party apps or as versatile as an Apple or Samsung Galaxy watch, and you have to go through the rigmarole of manually adding contacts before calling them on the watch. The OS is pretty minimal, as one might expect from Nothing.

However, if you’re looking for a cheap do-it-all watch that still looks attractive, you could certainly do a lot worse. The CMF Watch Pro is well-built, attractive and simple to use, and will certainly pick up a cult following. 

Read our full CMF Watch Pro by Nothing review

How to choose the best smartwatch for you

Unfortunately, your choice of smartwatch often depends on your choice of phone, as not all wearables are compatible with competitor devices. Apple Watch only works with Apple iPhones. Samsung and Google watches, and other Wear OS devices, only work with Android devices, but you can use a Samsung watch with a Google phone and vice versa.

Fitness tracking wearables from Fitbit will work with any device and synchronize with the Fitbit app, but those devices tend to focus more sharply on fitness features, and don’t offer all of the robust apps and services you’ll find on other smartwatches. 

Most wearables will get about a day of battery life, which will be disappointing if you’re converting from a Garmin watch that lasts weeks. You can find a few watches that last longer on this list. 

Finally, smartwatches can be expensive, and frankly they don’t offer much value for what you pay. Before you spring for an Apple Watch Ultra, you might ask if you are really going Scuba diving this year, or if you’re just going to check your text messages without disturbing your dinner mates. 

Can you use Apple Watch with an Android phone?

The first thing to check is whether your phone is compatible with the smartwatch you want. You can’t use an Apple Watch with an Android phone, as all the functions of watchOS require iOS to interface with. 

You can use a Fitbit or Google Pixel Watch with an iPhone, but without Android or Google accounts, your experience will be sorely diminished. Samsung and Huawei also require handset-watch synergy to operate at their best. 

However, many devices like Garmin watches and the CMF Watch Pro by Nothing require nothing more than their own apps to work, meaning you can use them with either handset just fine. 

Which is the best smartwatch?

The best smartwatch changes all the time, but typically you’ll find an Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy smartwatch topping the list, as these tend to be packed full of high-end features and polish.

How we test smartwatches

Every smartwatch on this list has been fully and extensively reviewed by the expert team at TechRadar, so we know exactly what makes them tick.

Our review process involves using the devices as if they were our own personal wearables, ensuring every smartwatch gets fully tested in the real world. A comprehensive sweep of features takes place, and usage is varied over a week to give us a clear idea of how battery life performs.

When testing in-house, we generally look at how accurate the GPS is on each smartwatch by testing it against an industry leader such as the Garmin Epix Pro. Likewise for workout metrics. We also rank how usable the watch’s operating system is, whether it supports third-party apps, and where it sits in the market. For example, a cheap watch with fewer features is more likely to get four stars than a feature-stuffed premium watch that isn’t worth the expensive price. 

Using that knowledge we’ve then ranked them, factoring in their value, design, features and performance to get an overall star verdict. 

Latest updates

01 July: Updated How we test

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