The Best Smart Watches for 2022
Looking to buy a smart watch, but unsure which one best fits your lifestyle? Check out our picks for the best smart watches for 2022.
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A great smart watch can do a lot more than just track your steps or help you take phone calls and send texts. These handy devices can also measure your heart rate, play your favorite tunes and help you stay organized on the go. They’re excellent multi-purpose devices, and usually at the forefront of the conversation when we talk about fitness trackers.
A smart watch is an invaluable addition to any tech junkie’s menagerie of devices. It’s also one of 100 products that will make your home smarter, especially as it can sync with most of the best smart home devices you may have. In addition to letting your smart watch tackle your communication, health, and fitness needs, you can use it to control your lights, your smart thermostat, and even your security system — including some of the best smart home gadgets under $50.
Aside from all of the above, they can even look great on your wrist. But which smart watch is right for you? As a tech editor, I’m breaking it down.
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How a Tech Editor Shops for Smart Watches
When it comes to figuring out what to know about smart watches, there are a wide variety of factors to keep in mind before locking in a purchase. One of the most important factors to consider when buying a smart watch is compatibility. If the watch you purchase doesn’t work with your smartphone, most (if not all) of its functions will be unavailable to you. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however, of factors to consider. These are some of the aspects I check for when buying the best smart watch for my needs.
- Battery life: Unlike your smartphone, it’s a bit more difficult to recharge your smart watch on the go since many come with proprietary chargers. A watch that features a large, colorful screen (especially one that’s always on or uses animated watch faces) will drain battery quickly. Linking to your smartphone will result in the battery lowering quickly as well. Make sure you have a full charge so you aren’t left without your watch while on the go.
- App store: There are a variety of different apps available across smart watch ecosystems. For example, if you choose an Apple Watch, you will be relegated to downloading only apps available to watchOS users. The same can be said of those picking up Samsung watches with Wear OS. You’ll want to make sure the apps you’re interested in downloading are available on the app store assigned to your smart watch manufacturer.
- Fitness options: If you’re buying a smart watch to use during your workouts, choose one that includes health-minded features. An accurate heart sensor and GPS are useful for tracking your runs, while a heart rate monitor and even an ECG app can evaluate your heart’s activity. You’ll want the full suite of options, because taking care of yourself comes first when you’re dealing with smart watches for fitness purposes.
- Watch band: Consider selecting a watch with a band that isn’t going to easily annoy you or one that’s simple to swap out. The Apple Watch’s bands are easy to slide out of the face, for example, and swap with Apple-branded bands or third-party choices. Whatever you choose, ensure there’s a replacement band that’s comfortable for you or that you enjoy looking at since it will be on your wrist.
With all that in mind, check out the best smart watches of 2022.
Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 7
If you prefer Apple products, whether because of their aesthetics or their functionality, the Apple Watch Series 7 is a fantastic choice. It’s the latest iteration of Apple’s popular smart watch series. It includes all the features the previous models boasted, like calling, texting, music options and even ways to track your workouts and fitness cycle. But it also comes with much more this time around.
This version features improved durability, a larger, always-on Retina display and faster charging. It even includes blood oxygen monitoring, which is a useful feature in the age of COVID-19. With a wide variety of apps available via the watchOS store and ever-evolving functionality, this smart watch truly does it all.
Best Android Watch: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is an exciting new riff on the previous Wear OS platform, as it now runs via the new Google Wear software. This adds new features, including heart rate tracking and ECG options. It also adds an electrical sensor that uses a method called bioelectrical impedance analysis to calculate the percentage of muscle and fat in the wearer’s body.
In addition to its health options, this watch is slick and modern, with a round face in contrast to the Apple Watch’s square shape. With a wide range of communication and productivity features as well, this watch is a fantastically capable smart watch.
Best Budget Smart Watch: Fitbit Versa 3
Fitbit has long been a name that fitness enthusiasts trust, and for good reason. It delivers reliable results at a cheaper price point than the other heavy hitters. The Fitbit Versa 3 is a great example of this.
For example, you can use it with both iOS and Android phones, and you can sync it with either Alexa or Google Assistant, depending on your preference. It comes with a full suite of smart watch features, including the ability to take calls and receive texts and control music. Plus, it features an onboard GPS and live heart rate zone notifications.
Interestingly, it also comes with a sleep tracking feature that breaks down your night into different data points, including body temperature. What’s more, it lasts much longer than some of the other big names in the smart watch market. It doesn’t come with every feature you’d want from the bigger names, but it’s svelte, attractive, and definitely capable.
Best Lite Smart Watch: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini
If you only want to spend the bare minimum for a smart watch, the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is an excellent option. We call it a “lite” smart watch because of its slimline design, low cost compared to the other smart watches on the market, and its smaller feature set. But in terms of design and functionality, it can do most of what the majority of users will need it for.
It looks a lot like an Apple Watch, but it costs far less, and it can last up to a month on a single battery charge. Amazfit has packed it full of features, like sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, menstrual cycle tracking and breathing tracking. It’s an impressive range of features, and for the money, you can’t do much better than this, even if you do give up a couple of perks like the ability to reply to texts or automatic fitness tracking.
Best Smart Watch for Music: Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
If you’re the type of person who wants to bring their music with them, the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music smart watch is the perfect companion. It can store up to 500 songs with its onboard memory, so you don’t need to worry about being connected to the internet if you want to rock your favorite tunes. You can also opt to sync music from your favorite streaming service for offline play as well.
It’s a great choice for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors with little cell signal. That’s because it comes with a heart rate monitor, advanced running dynamics analytics, and a performance monitoring tool to help you prepare for a race or fine-tune the way you train. Once you’re back on the grid, there’s even a contactless payment option with Garmin Pay, so you can do far more than just exercise with the watch. It’s a must-have for anyone who’s serious about staying in shape and getting down while they do it.
Best Smart Watch for Fitness: Garmin Vivoactive 4
Looking for a smart watch that comes packing both a range of useful watch mechanics as well as fitness options? The Garmin Vivoactive 4 fits the bill perfectly. Not only does it look great on your wrist, but it allows you to store music onboard. Plus it comes with 20 preloaded sports-centric fitness apps, and a host of trackers: heart rate monitoring, pulse oximeter readings, respiration tracking and more.
Its large screen is colorful and bright, and even despite how much use it gets if you keep turning it on, it has a whopping eight days of battery life in smart watch mode. It’s sleek, simple, and fashionable, and for a watch that’s fitness-focused, that’s refreshing. If you’re all about a watch that will help you travel down the road to being the best you, this pick comes highly recommended.