Best smartwatch 2016: Apple, Pebble, Samsung, Sony, Tag and more


Choosing the best smartwatch right now is a tough task given the plethora of new models now on sale from the likes of Apple, Pebble, LG, Motorola, Tag Heuer, Fossil, Samsung and Sony.

There are so many great smartwatches to choose between, from the Android Wear army to the latest Pebble watches, and the Apple Watch is selling like hotcakes too.

And there’s plenty in the pipeline too. The Apple Watch 2 will land sometime in 2016 and the likes of Nixon’s The Mission and Garmin’s Vivoactive HR have already been detailed.

We’ve completely overhauled our best smartwatch guide to try and help those looking to make the right decision. Whether you’re after a functional, sporty or something downright stylish, read on for our choice of the top tech timepieces to own right now.



Best smartwatch

Samsung Gear S2


As easy to live with as a Pebble, as slick as an Apple Watch and with a tactile, rotating bezel as its secret weapon, the S2 is the kind of smartwatch you’d kick yourself for leaving at home. You’ll have to pay extra for the cellular version to make the most of the GPS features but even the standard version feels like a leap forward.

The battery life is better than most rivals; we’ve used Android Wear watches day to day, and Samsung’s smartwatch beats these hands down.

The full verdict: Our Samsung Gear S2 review

From $299.99, | Amazon

Best for iOS

Apple Watch


Whether you find the Apple Watch the leading example of fashion blended with tech or a boxy abomination is really down to personal taste. But for our money, it’s one of the best looking smartwatches made to date (especially when paired with a quality Apple Watch strap) and, coming in two sizes, is one of the most unisex as well.

The build quality is superb, and the footprint of both the 38mm and 42mm watch is much smaller than you’d expect. Despite its flaws (poor sports features and the lack of GPS), the Apple Watch was one of the first wearables that was actually a pleasure to wear. The Apple Watch 2 is set to arrive soon though…

Wareable rating: Apple Watch review

From $349, | Amazon

Best money no object

Tag Heuer Connected


A confession first up – we’ve not yet tested the new Tag smartwatch enough to fully review it. However, we have spent some time with the Intel-powered device and it doesn’t take long before you realise it’s the best built, and highest quality, Android Wear device to date. From afar it genuinely looks like a regular Tag Heuer watch – it’s only when you get up close that you notice it’s quite a bulky beast.

Hands-on: Tag Heuer Connected review



Best Android Wear option

Sony SmartWatch 3


The Sony SmartWatch 3 was the envy of its rivals, thanks to its built-in GPS connectivity, which means you can leave your smartphone at home when you go for a run (the Moto 360 Sport has matched it on that front now though).

The sports styling make it perfect for a weekend jog, and while the screen is a little dull compared to some of its rivals, the latest Android Wear update means it can pair with wireless headphones for beats on the go. The Steel edition adds a touch of class to the smartwatch that we at Wareable (well,almost all of us) agree offers the most bang for your smartwatch buck.

Must-read: Sony SmartWatch 3 review

From $249, | Amazon

Best for budget

Asus ZenWatch 2


The focus of the ZenWatch 2 is choice, and Asus is approaching the evolving smartwatch market in a mature way. The all-new ZenWatch comes in two sizes – essentially, male and female models. There are also a wealth of strap options including rubber, steel, leather and even a Swarovski covered one. This makes it a nice first step for potential Android Wear buyers.

While little has changed on the ZenWatch 2 on the hardware front, the Taiwanese company has installed a Wi-Fi chip to make use of the new features in Android Wear, and fast charging tech means you can juice up 50% of the battery in around 30 minutes.

Check out our full ZenWatch 2 review.

From $149, | Amazon

Best for techies

Pebble Time


Arguably the first modern smartwatch that went mainstream, the original Pebble is still going strong two years after launch. But for Pebblers wanting to upgrade, look no further than the now-shipping Pebble Time. Everything that made the original brilliant is still on board: that affordable price, an impressive seven-day battery life and both iPhone and Android compatibility.

There are also some serious upgrades to both the software and hardware, the most notable of which are the new colour e-paper screen and the revamped Timeline OS.

Wareable verdict: Pebble Time review

$199, | Amazon

Best for battery life

Pebble Time Steel


The world had only just caught its breath from the record-breaking Pebble Time launch when the Steel version was announced. The Pebble Time Steel is thicker than its plastic brethren, making it feel much more regular watch than geek accessory.

That extra 1mm isn’t a bad thing though – it means room for a larger battery, which should keep the Steel going for 10 days.

Get the big picture: Pebble Time Steel review

$249.99, | Amazon

Most customisable

Moto 360 2


The Moto 360 2 comes in two sizes – 42mm and 46mm (two different sized displays: 1.37 or 1.56-inch) – in fact, it’s three sizes if you count the different band sizes on offer. Using Moto Maker, you can choose between hundreds of different combinations of straps, bezels, finishes and colours.

Put the new Moto 360 next to the first-gen Motorola watch and you can see the subtle differences that really turn this design into a watch rather than last year’s circle on a strap.

Take a look at our Moto 360 review here.

From $299.99, | Amazon

Best for sports

Garmin Vivoactive

Before the Garmin Vivoactive was released, the perfect fitness device for the truly active person was a pipe dream. Arguably Garmin’s first smartwatch, the Vivoactive promises full notifications on the wrist and a dizzying array of sports tracking for a relatively low price.

With running, cycling, swimming, golf and a whole lot more all on board, Garmin has combined an incredible set of fitness features with top notch notifications to create the first truly every day sports wearable.

Sadly, the dated design and questionable screen tech call into doubt whether anyone would actually want to wear the device every day, and that’s a crying shame.

Full verdict: Garmin Vivoactive review

$249.99, | Amazon

Best for running

Moto 360 Sport


At last, an Android Wear device to match the Sony SmartWatch 3’s GPS skills – the Moto 360 Sport is actually a better running aid thanks to the Moto Body app already built in.

The Moto 360 Sport boasts an AnyLight LCD display that is naturally adaptable, meaning it should be nicely backlit in dim lighting situations but be easily readable when out running in sunnier conditions.

Read our full Moto 360 Sport review.

$299, | Amazon

Best for affordable style

LG Watch Urbane


There’s no missing the Urbane, whether it’s the silver or gold model you’re sporting; that fully round bezel is seriously eye- and light-catching. It’s a smartwatch that looks like a traditional timepiece, and unlike the more premium-looking Urbane LTE, with its classic watch shape and extra physical buttons, the regular Urbane looks much more fashionable and feminine.

It’s pretty pricey though. If you really want to go all out, the LG Watch Urbane Luxe features a 23-karat gold watchcase and handcrafted alligator leather strap. It’s $1,200 mind.

Check out: Full LG Watch Urbane review

$349, | Amazon

Best for display

Huawei Watch


The stunning AMOLED display on Huawei’s Android Wear debutant is a 1.4-inch, 400 x 400, one with a 286ppi count – the highest density on an Android Wear smartwatch so far.

The screen is made all the more impressive thanks to a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Side by side with the smaller Moto 360 2 – its closest rival in terms of aesthetics – it’s clearly a much clearer display. Not just because it offers genuine 360-degree visuals, but because everything just looks sharper.

Have a look at our Huawei Watch review.

From $349, | Amazon





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