Best smartwatch 2018: the top choices you can buy

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The smartwatch is the ultimate smartphone accessory. It can tell the time, of course, but it can also beam important notifications straight to your wrist and run native apps too.

What's more impressive is that many of today's best models can also perform a ton of tricks, such as enabling you to search the internet with your voice, tracking your exercise with GPS and letting you pay at the grocery store without reaching for your wallet.

Oh – and they look absolutely stunning to boot. If you're thinking that a smartwatch is a pointlessly geeky accessory... think again. These choices are well-made, powerful and can genuinely make you fitter through some smart nudges. 

Below is our full list of the best smart wristwear you can buy right now including options from the Apple Watch to Fitbit, Garmin to Tizen. Plus there are quite a few watches running Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear) which is Google's own smartwatch operating system.

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1. Apple Watch 3

A better connection with the world's best smartwatch

OS: watchOS 4.3 | Compatibility: iOS | Display: 1.53" OLED | Processor: S2 dual-core | Onboard storage: 8GB / 16GB (Non-LTE and LTE respectively) | Battery duration: 18 hours | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IPX7 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC

Brilliant fitness tracking
Non-LTE version much better value
LTE is an unnecessary expense
Battery too short for sleep tracking

The Apple Watch 3 (or Apple Watch Series 3, if you're picky) is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. Yes, it's essentially just the Apple Watch 2 frame with some new innards... but they make a big difference.

The LTE connection is the headline event, although that's not really as useful as some might hope - plus it costs a lot more to use, and drains the battery.

What we like is the non-LTE version, which is a lot cheaper, and offers all the smarts of the Watch 2 but with a longer battery life and faster speeds when flicking through apps. This is the right kind of upgrade on the best smartwatch in the world.

It's still water-resistant so you can swim with it and you won't have to worry about getting it wet in the rain when you're out for a jog. There's GPS onboard to make running that little bit easier plus it comes running the latest watchOS 4 software and will be updated to watchOS 5 later in the year.

Read the full Apple Watch 3 review

Watch the Apple Watch 3 in action below:

What's next? We expect one day there will be an Apple Watch 4 running watchOS 5, but we don't expect to hear anything official until at least September 2018. Rumors currently suggest it'll have Face ID unlock tech and better battery life. 

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2. Ticwatch Pro

Our favorite Wear OS watch comes with two screens

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED paired with LCD screen | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h, 5 extra days in Essential mode | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC

Innovative screen tech
Premium design
Limited app
No LTE features

Our favorite Wear OS watch is the Ticwatch Pro, which you can use with either an iPhone or with your Android phone. You may not have heard of Ticwatch before, but the latest from the company it a top-end watch with a unique dual-screen feature.

There are two displays on this watch - one layered on top of the other. On the top is a transparent LCD display that can display the time, your heart rate and more when the battery is low.

Below that is a bright and bold full color OLED screen that will give you all of the benefits of Wear OS. That means you can have a normal smartwatch, which we found would last around two days, and then have the time and some other features still available when your battery is running low.

Mobvoi claims the Ticwatch Pro can last for 30 days in the low power mode, but we haven't yet been able to test out that claim properly. We did find it lasted for just under a week when in low power mode though.

In terms of smartwatch features there's GPS, NFC for Google Pay, Bluetooth for listening to music and the top Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset in here running the watch as well.

Then there's the price, and with the launch price set at $249.99 / £219.99 / AU$369.99 it's hard to be disappointed with the Ticwatch Pro.

Read the full Ticwatch Pro review

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3. Fitbit Versa

A smaller and cheaper Fitbit Ionic

OS: Fitbit OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: TBC, 1000 nits | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Onboard storage: 2.5GB | Battery duration: 3-4 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: 50M water resistant | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Lightweight design
Relatively low price
No GPS
Feels a little cheap and childish

Fitbit is one of the biggest names in fitness tracking tech, but until late in 2017 the company hadn't gone anywhere near smartwatches. 

The company has now released two smartwatches, and both feature on this list but first we're starting with our favorite that was announced in March 2018 and will be ready to buy in mid-April.

That favorite from Fitbit is the Versa that is a touch smaller than the other one (that's the Ionic) but it comes with Fitbit Pay for contactless payments, 2.5GB of storage for music and battery life that'll last around three days.

It doesn't have GPS for tracking your runs and the design doesn't feel as premium as some of the other watches on this list, but we really like the Fitbit Versa and it's one of the more affordable choices on this list.

Read the full Fitbit Versa review

What's next? Don't want for a follow-up to the Fitbit Versa, the watch is relatively new so we don't expect to see a sequel anytime soon. We have put together a list of what we'd like to see from the Fitbit Versa 2, though.

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4. Ticwatch E

A fully-loaded Wear OS watch you’ve never heard of

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED | Processor: MediaTek MT2601 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1

Accurate GPS and heart rate sensor
Fantastic value
Design won't suit everyone
Not-so-elegant charging method

You may not have ever heard of Ticwatch, and that's because it's a relatively small and new brand to the smartwatch world. This is the best Wear OS watch money can buy right now.

That's mostly because of the low price and the fact everything works really well. We also love the Ticwatch E for its built-in GPS, accurate heart rate sensor and great design.

All of the fitness features you'd expect are here; you can even use it without having to take your phone out while you exercise, but you won't be able to receive phone calls like on the Apple Watch 3. The design is premium, but it won't be for everyone so be sure to properly study the photos above and in our review to work out if it's built for you. 

The true highlight here is the low price considering it's generally around half the price of a lot of the other devices you'll find on this list.

Read the full Ticwatch E review

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Fitbit Ionic

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5. Fitbit Ionic

The fitness brand makes its first big smartwatch play

OS: Fitbit OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: TBC, 1000 nits | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: Large | Onboard storage: 2.5GB | Battery duration: 2-3 days | Charging method: Proprietary charger | IP rating: 50M water resistant | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Bright display
Variety of fitness options
Slow interface
Severe lack of apps

The Fitbit Ionic was always going to be a tough move for the brand, trying to enter the world of smartwatches from fitness bands.

The effort succeeds in some places: namely fitness, as you might imagine, where you can track all manner of things, from running to weight lifting to swimming. There's also dedicated bodyweight coaching sessions in there, and you can pay for items on the go using Fitbit Pay.

When it first launched, the price was super high and it was a bit too expensive to wholeheartedly recommend. The good news is the price seems to have dropped in recent months so you can get it for at least $70/£70 cheaper than the RRP.

If you're a Fitbit fan looking to do more than you get on an average band, this is a nice option.

Read the full Fitbit Ionic review

What's next? Rumors about a new Ionic are few and far between, but we've put together a guide on what we want to be improved if it releases a Fitbit Ionic 2.

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6. Misfit Vapor

Top-end design and specs, but for little money

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.3" 360 x 360 AMOLED | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: 20mm straps | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: 2 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: 50m | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Large, vibrant AMOLED display
Low price
Thick design
No Android Pay

Misfit's first ever fully-fledged smartwatch comes in sixth position in our ranking, and a part of that is down to its low price - we've seen the price drop down even further since it launched too.

The Misfit Vapor has a super clear and bright 1.3-inch AMOLED display, a premium design - if it is a little thick - as well as Wear OS software as well.

It's not the perfect watch as the Misfit Activity app is quite limited and there's no Android Pay, but mostly this will suit you if you're looking for an attractive watch with basic fitness and notification features.

Read the full Misfit Vapor review

What's next? There are currently no rumors of a Misfit Vapor 2, so don't hold your breath if you're waiting for an updated version of the brand's smartwatch soon.

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7. Ticwatch S

Another sophisticated smartwatch with a budget price tag

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED | Processor: MediaTek MT2601 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1

Affordable
Comfortable with a nice design
Lacks NFC
Can't change the strap

Ticwatch is back again for our seventh entry. This time it's the Ticwatch S, which is remarkably similar to the Ticwatch E we've mentioned above.

The differences are limited, but this watch is a tiny bit heavier and a little larger because it comes with a thicker bezel around the sides to show you the exact time.

There's also a different strap on this version that comes with the GPS sensor inside. The makers of the Ticwatch claim this is more accurate than when it's inside the watch casing, but we didn't see any major differences. 

It does mean you can't swap out the band on the Ticwatch S, like you can on the Ticwatch E, and that's a big shame.

It's a touch more expensive than the Ticwatch E too, but if you prefer the design you may want to go for this as it's still much more affordable than a lot of our other favorite smartwatches on sale right now.

Read the full Ticwatch S review

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8. LG Watch Style

LG's latest has both style and substance

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS8.2+ | Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 P-OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB charger | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Devilishly good-looking
Well-priced
Disappointing battery life
Lacks NFC and broader connectivity

The LG Watch Style (built in collaboration with Google) offers everything that's to love from the best Wear OS smartwatches, ditches the dreaded flat tire, then fills in the gap with cool, useful features and a whole lot of… style.

Roll that all up and you're left with an extremely alluring presentation that makes a mighty strong argument for Google's wearable platform. But there are some familiar wrinkles here including the sub par battery life.

That said, it’s easy to express why the Style is one of the smartwatches we want to put on our wrists. 

For a recently-lowered price, it offers just as much utility as prior smartwatch attempts, but ups the ante with a slim, dashing design and several welcome features, like the voice-activated Google Assistant and a refreshed user interface that's full of clever tweaks.

Read the full LG Watch Style review

What's next? We've heard lots of rumors about an LG watch being showed off behind closed doors at MWC in February 2018, but we've yet to officially see what's codenamed as the LG Watch Timepiece.

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(Image: © Evan Blass (via VentureBeat))
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9. Huawei Watch 2

A well-equipped smartwatch

OS: Wear OS | Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 9+ | Display: 1.2" 390 x 390 | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Conductive USB-C charger | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G + 4G LTE

Built-in GPS and NFC
Optional 4G model
Screen too small
Performance can be sluggish

The Huawei Watch was one of our favorite Android Wear watches back in 2016, and while the follow-up was originally quite expensive the pricing has now dropped to make it one of our top recommendations for your wrist.

Huawei has packed in lots to the Watch 2 including GPS, NFC and there's also a 4G model if you're looking to have a connection while you're on the move and without your phone.

The design isn't to everyone's taste but it's a well built watch with Wear OS software ready and waiting on board. All that wrapped up with some of the best features you'd want from a smartwatch, the Huawei Watch 2 may be right for you.

Read the full Huawei Watch 2 review

What's next? CEO Richard Yu confirmed to TechRadar that his company was working on the Huawei Watch 3, but we don't yet know when we'll see it launch.

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Samsung Gear Sport

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10. Samsung Gear Sport

The refreshed, sportier Samsung watch keeps the style

OS: Tizen OS | Compatibility: Android, iOS | Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 Super AMOLED | Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz | Band sizes: S (105 x 65mm) L (130 x 70mm) | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: 2 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: 50m | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Great screen
Offline Spotify playback
Poorer battery life
Severe lack of apps

Despite a serious lack of original apps, the Samsung Gear Sport still merits a place on this list. It's got the same premium build we've come to expect from Samsung, has an exceptionally clear screen.

The main draw is the fact it has Spotify offline playback onboard, and combine that with the inbuilt GPS and you've got an all-in-one running watch that can supply you with millions of tracks on the go.

It's also 50m-waterproof, which means you can take this little wrist beast into the water and get swimming - and it's even compatible with iOS on top of that.

It's not got the battery life of the Gear S3, lowering the time between charges to make the whole unit a little sleeker - and with a rubberized band in the box, it's clear this a smartwatch for the fitness fans from Samsung.

Read the full Samsung Gear Sport review

What's next? Just announced, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is the follow up to the  Gear Sport and Gear S3. It features a brand new name, extended battery life and we can't wait to test it out to see where it falls in this list.