The best smartwatch is more than just a way to get smartphone notifications on your wrist. The device has to be everything in one: a fitness tracker, a wallet and even a phone.
Smartwatch shipments increased by 48 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019, due in large part to the Apple Watch, according to Counterpoint Research. One in three smartwatches shipped is an Apple Watch.fiber optic transmission speed
After spending hundreds of hours testing dozens of smartwatches, our pick for best smartwatch is the Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS (starting at $399), which has a huge display, ultra-fast processor, Raise to Speak Siri, fall detection and a built-in electrical heart rate sensor for taking on-the-go electrocardiograms. It also runs watchOS 5, which makes the watch even more useful with automatic workout-tracking, offline podcast playback and a Walkie-Talkie voice chat feature.
However, the Apple Watch 3 is still a very good value, so be sure to check out our Apple Watch 3 vs Apple Watch 4 comparison. The improved watchOS 6 is coming this Fall with even more improvements for both models.
The best smartwatch for Android users is Samsung's $200 Galaxy Watch Active. In addition to a sleek, sporty design, the Galaxy Watch Active offers built-in GPS, heart rate sensor, water-resistance, Samsung Pay support, plus advanced heart health features for $130 less than its predecessor. You can also download music from Spotify to the watch for offline listening. However, it runs Samsung's proprietary Tizen OS, so you get far fewer apps than you would with a Wear OS watch. Samsung also sells a 42-mm Galaxy Watch ($329) and a 46-mm model with a rotating bezel if you're looking for a larger option with better battery life.
The new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 goes on sale September 27 for $279; based on our hands-on with the new watch, it looks like a winner. Stay tuned for our full review.