It is not easy to choose the best smartwatch since the market is crowded with stylish pieces that have changed considerably over the last few years. Better designs are now challenging the classic pieces, and the range of features available is always expanding.
With new brands entering into the timepiece market such as Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, and Apple and traditional brands such as Tag Heuer and Fossil also involved, picking the best smartwatch for you is now harder than ever.
Fortunately, you are reading this, which is a guide to make the job of choosing the best smartwatches for 2018 much easier. Feel free to use the information to help you find the right smartwatch for your needs.
The 10 Best Smartwatches in 2018
1. Samsung Gear S3
The Samsung Gear S3 is compatible with both iOS and Android. It is an improvement on the Gear S2 in all ways except for the design. The Gear S3 might resemble a traditional watch than the Gear S2, but it is much bigger with a width of 46mm.
The good thing about the larger size is that it comes with a bigger battery and the screen provides a suitable platform for the Tizen OS to shine. It comes with a heart rate sensor and the improved Samsung Health software. If you want an untethered connection, there is the option of LTE.
The great battery life, intuitive rotating bezel, and strong individual style keep the Gear S3 are the best highlights of this smartwatch. The Gear S3 is one of the greatest smartwatches in 2018 even with it shortcomings such as the lack of adequate waterproofing considering that it comes hot on the heels of the Gear S2, which was arguably the best-ever smartwatch from Samsung.
2. Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch Series 3 is the part fitness tracker, part smartwatch, and a definite improvement from the first Apple Watch released in 2015. It is still not perfect, but regarding the overall smartwatch experience, the Apple Watch Series 3 still does the best job.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is essentially identical to the Apple Watch Series 2 with the only major difference being LTE. It is the first cellular smartwatch from Apple that allows you to make and receive calls, texts, and notifications as you would on the phone. It also supports Apple Pay 2.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is focused heavily on fitness, with 50m waterproofing, heart rate monitor and in-built GPS. It even tracks elevation, which is something that the Series 2 was unable to, but it is otherwise almost identical to a fitness device.
The Series 3 features a new operating system packed into a sleeker body and features a well-lit 1,000 nit display. While the app selection is currently still too limited when using LTE, Apple Music will soon be coming, which means that you can look forward to streaming music without your phone.
3. Garmin Vivoactive 3
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 has you covered if you are into golf, swimming, cycling, and running. It has an attractive circular design as well as features that make it more of a Samsung Gear or Apple Watch rival than ever before.
The new look is a welcome change from the blocky designs of the prior models from the brand. It has a 240 by 240-pixel display found at the heart of the body that’s not necessarily the most vibrant or brightest but delivers strong visibility.
The heart rate monitoring functionality is decent, and the GPS is great. The Vivoactive 3 tracks more of the same sports as the Vivoactive HR, but it now also includes rep counting for the weight lifters and the rest of stress tracking capabilities found in Garmin fitness trackers.
The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a significant improvement on the design of the HR and builds on its sports tracking too. Not only that, the Vivoactive 3 is better as an all-day device for tracking health and when paired with the Connect app, it is giving Apple, Fitbit, and others something to worry about.
4. Fitbit Ionic
Fitbit has finally delivered its first smartwatch in the Ionic, but probably more important to some; it is still the best fitness tracker. The Ionic has algorithms for tracking different types of workouts including weight lifting, swimming, running, and biking and is quite versatile.
Fitbit claims that the GPS found on the Ionic is the best in the market while the 4+ days of battery life means that you don’t have to keep taking it off for charging. The heart rate monitor is decent and even likely to become better since Fitbit always tweaks its algorithms through updates.
The Fitbit Ionic does not have the option of cellular connection, which means that you won’t get the standalone functionality available on the Gear 3 or Apple Watch Series 3. However, it supports mobile payments and features the ability to transfer and play your music.
The bottom line is that the Fitbit Ionic is quite a decent smartwatch for fans of fitness trackers and Fitbit fans will appreciate. It has impressive battery life, which is much better than that of other big brands such as Apple and Samsung.
5. LG Watch Sport
The LG Watch Sport is the flagship smartwatch model for Android Wear 2.0 and is more rounded when compared to its sibling, the LG Watch Style. It has an impressive screen, and the OLED display blows the Apple Watch Series 3 out of the water.
The LG Watch Sport tracks workouts such as running, but also has a welcome but surprising addition or keeping track of reps in the gym. It tracks the heart rate in all the activities you participate in. However, its water resistance is quite limited to a maximum depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.
The LG Watch Sport is quite bulky with a width of 46mm. The size might be too overbearing for some, but it still manages to impress with the other amazing features such as the heart rate monitor, support for Android Pay, LTE, and GPS. It might be big but is quite clever with standalone features that make it feel independent of your phone.
6. Samsung Gear Sport
The Samsung Gear Sport is meant to be the successor to the Gear 2 as opposed to the Gear 3. It is the best smartwatch for 2018 when it comes to music playback support. Besides being able to transfer music using Samsung Gear Manager, you can also transfer Spotify playlists with 4GB of storage available.
The Samsun Gear Sport has amazing workout tracking features whether it is putting the GPS to use for cycling or running or using the watch as a fitness tracker. The waterproof design is the new addition and even brings swim tracking to the mix thanks to the partnership with Speedo and the Speedo On app.
The Samsung Gear Sports runs Tizen OS, which means that you will enjoy a slick UI experience, but the number of apps available is still limited. It is, however, a drop down in size from the Gear 3, which means less battery life, but it is still able to go for 3 to 4 days before recharging.
The Samsung Gear Sport is a refined Gear S2 in more ways than one with more focus on health and fitness. It is Samsung’s best smartphone yet with many amazing features including water resistance up to a depth of 50 meters, swim tracking, GPS, and heart rate monitor.
7. Nokia Steel HR
The Nokia Steel HR manages to strike a balance between style and smarts better than other brands. It might not have a classic look, but its tiny screen allows it to deliver information that won’t leave you guessing about the kinds of notifications you are receiving.
It is important to keep your expectations low regarding how much information the Nokia Steel HR’s screen can deliver. Nokia has managed to cram a lot in the HR, but it is the 25 days of battery that stands out from the rest of the smartwatches on this list.
The Nokia Steel HR has accelerometer-based step tracking and sleep monitoring and a built-in heart rate monitor for measuring BPM 24/7 and reports useful data. It might not be the best for tracking high-intensity workouts, but it hits the mark when it comes to tracking the resting heart rate.
8. Polar M600
The PolarM600 is a great smartwatch option for runners. It is built by Polar, the running giant and backed with Android Wear with powerful running smarts placed front and center. It has GPS and advanced metrics like Running Program, Training Benefit, Running Index as well as Sports Profiles.
The Polar M600 is capable of offering notifications, running apps, all-day activity monitoring, and accessing Google Voice commands since it is an Android Wear device. It runs Android Wear 2.0, which a significant improvement on Google’s software.
The Polar M600 is one of the best smartwatches when it comes to hitting the gym or even running. The GPS tracking functionality is quite accurate while the heart rate monitoring is simply the best. The biggest let down with this watch is the bland design that gives it more of a fitness tracker look than a smartwatch look.
The Polar M600 is so impressive that you might easily forget that you are wearing an Android Wear smartwatch when you strap it on. It is an outright running watch with many other impressive features such as being water resistant up to 10 meters, GPS, heart rate monitoring, among others.
9. Pebble 2
The pebble 2 is an impressive smartwatch that supports both iOS and Android, but not in the looks department. While it is not the most stunning smartwatch, it enjoys cult hero status thanks to the impressive watch faces and apps as well as the ability to run for a week before it needs recharging.
The Pebble 2 also includes a heart rate monitor along with a decent health and fitness tracking platform. Its monitor is not particularly impressive regarding accuracy when pushed during workouts, but it is not horrible. With this smartwatch, your resting heart rate will be tracked throughout the day.
The Pebble 2 is an impressive device that packs a lot for the price, but the design is a letdown. However, it is still the best entry level smartwatch that has many impressive features for those that don’t care too much about how it looks.
10. Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
The Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 is all about customization. It is available with ceramic, 18 karats rose gold and titanium finishes. With this smartwatch, you can swap out, the straps, lugs, and even the buckle if you so wish.
Tag reports that there are 56 different versions available in total, which makes it the most modular Android Wear watch available. The notable difference is the 50-meter water resistance and the inclusion of GPS, which are both fitness features often missed by other fashion-forward Android Wear watches.
The Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 also features NFC for Android Pay, but you will still only be getting an average of 1.5 days of battery life, which can make the cost of the watch somewhat hard to bear since it starts at over $1,200 and then moves up depending on the materials you choose.
The modular design of this smartwatch is a definite plus, and while it cannot match a sports watch, the waterproofing and GPS are still impressive features. While there is still room for improvement, this smartwatch proves that the watchmaker is quickly learning how to make great smartwatches.
The Bottom Line
The smartwatch industry is full of competing brands and models, and it can sometimes be hard to find the soundest one for your needs. However, with the right information and advice, it can be easier to find the right one. The ten smartwatches discussed here are all excellent options in their right, and it is up to you to decide which one to buy.