These are the best smartwatches you can buy in 2022

These are the best smartwatches you can buy in 2022

We’ve come a long way from the early days of the Galaxy Gear and the Moto 360. Those smartwatches weren’t bad, but modern wearables have reached a point where they’re all, well, smart. They’re no longer just a timepiece to display the time and mirror notifications from your smartphone. The best smartwatches on the market right now can do so much more, from measuring your heart rate and tracking different types of workouts, to even giving you access to digital assistants on your wrist. There’s a lot that you can do without having to pull out the phone from your pocket now.

It’s also true that you have a lot more options on the market, making it more difficult than ever to pick a watch that suits your needs. If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out which smartwatch to buy, then we are here to help. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best smartwatches you can buy on the market in 2022.

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Best smartwatch for Android phone users: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic were two of our favorite Wear OS watches last year. We had a lot of good things to say about those watches and sadly none of the other Wear OS watches managed to come close. Samsung recently updated its product lineup with fresh offerings in the form of the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. They aren’t a big departure from their predecessors, but we think they do just enough to upgrade upon the already excellent watches in the lineup.

The regular Galaxy Watch 5 ditches the “Pro” moniker along with some features to keep the price low. But it still offers a lot of value for the money. You’re not missing out on any essentials as the more expensive Galaxy Watch 5 Pro model only has a bigger display and battery along with premium build materials. That might be a big deal for many, but the regular Galaxy Watch 5 is still plenty for most users who are switching from an older smartwatch or buying one for the very first time.

So what makes the Galaxy Watch 5 special? For starters, it’s one of the few smartwatches on the market running Wear OS 3 software. The only other wearables on the market running Wear OS 3 are Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 series smartwatches or the Montblanc Summit 3 which is significantly more expensive coming in at €1,250, which is roughly $1,314. So unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money on an accessory, you’re better off buying the Galaxy Watch 5. Besides that, you also get a ton of useful health tracking features, making it one of the best fitness smartwatches.

The Galaxy Watch 5 supports all the basic health stats you’d expect including blood oxygen level, heart rates, and more. Some features like electrocardiogram (ECG) are still reserved for those using it with Samsung smartphones, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s plenty capable. Some other noteworthy features of the watch include a Super AMOLED display, GPS support, a bigger battery with faster charging speeds compared to its predecessor, and more.

All things considered, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is one of the best smartwatches you can buy on the market. It’s got XDA’s badge of approval, so you can count on it to remain one of the best options well into the future, if not the best. It’s not worth upgrading to the Galaxy Watch 5 if you already have the Galaxy Watch 4 or the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. But it’s definitely a solid option for those coming from an older smartwatch or even for those who are buying their first smartwatch to go with their Android phone.

We think the Galaxy Watch 5’s $280 price tag makes it a better pick for budget-conscious buyers compared to the Pro models. Alternatively, you can also consider picking up the Galaxy Watch 4 for a relatively cheaper price if you don’t strive to be on the cutting edge of technology.

    Samsung's new Galaxy Watch 5 offers some noteworthy improvements over its predecessors to offer a more refined experience overall.

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Best smartwatch for iPhone users: Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch series 8

The arrival of the new Apple Watch Ultra may have dwarfed the excitement around the Apple Watch Series 8, but that’s not to say it’s a bad smartwatch. If anything, the Apple Watch Series 8 is still one of the best smartwatches on the market, and the one which most Apple users should consider buying over any other alternatives. It offers incremental upgrades over the Apple Watch Series 7, but that’s not necessarily an issue considering Apple has kept the $399 starting price in place.

The Apple Watch Series 8 looks identical to its predecessor, sporting rounded edges, curved glass, and the same digital crown and a button on the side. You won’t be able to tell the difference between a Series 7 and a Series 8 Apple Watch as the new watch also borrows the same colors. The silver color is the only new addition this year but even that doesn’t make it immediately obvious you’re using the new Apple Watch Series 8.

New to the Apple Watch Series 8, however, is the temperature sensor. This new sensor will feed the data to help with two key features of the watch — sleep tracking and menstrual cycle tracking. The advanced fertility tracking feature is what’s getting the most attention and rightfully so. There are studies to prove that changes in wrist temperature are good indicators of probable ovulation, so this is indeed a neat feature to have on the Apple Watch that will benefit a big chunk of the population.

Also new to the Apple Watch Series 8 is the crash detection feature. The company’s smartwatch will use two new motion sensors along with an improved gyroscope and accelerometer to detect a crash. The Watch will then automatically call emergency services and even notify your emergency contacts. Being able to get quick help in such an unfortunate circumstance could be a matter of life and death, so this is indeed a very useful feature to have.

The rest of the features are more or less the same as the older watch. The new Apple Watch Series 8 is available in two sizes — 41mm and 45mm. You also get the option to choose between aluminum and stainless steel finish, both of which are also available in GPS and GPS + Cellular flavors. Besides the addition of the aforementioned features, not a lot has changed from the Apple Watch Series 7. But the fact that the Apple Watch Series 8 now starts at the same $399 price makes it better than the predecessor for new users.

Existing Apple Watch Series 7 users, on the other hand, can skip the new watch if the new temperature sensor and the crash detection features aren’t convincing enough. Apple has also introduced a new version of the Apple Watch SE with a cheaper price tag. It lacks the new temperature sensor but you get the crash detection feature in addition to some other improvements over the 2020 model. Depending on the price you are being quoted for them and your specific requirements, both of these smartwatches could be a better purchase than the Apple Watch Series 8. But either way, the Apple Watch Series 8 remains our top recommendation for Apple users.

    The new Apple Watch Series 8 is an incremental upgrade over the outgoing model. It now comes with a new temperature sensor and supports Apple's new Crash Detection feature.

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Smartwatch with best battery life: Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

Smartwatches have evolved a lot over the years, offering features and improvements that we once thought would be impossible to cram inside such a small device. Even modern smartwatches, however, leave a lot to be desired on the battery front. Sure, you can get an additional day or two worth of usage between the charges, but that’s not necessarily a radical improvement. Well, this is exactly why the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar stands out from the crowd.

The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar comes with the promise of “never-ending battery life” for active users who spend some time outdoors every day. This particular watch charges using a transparent “power-glass” covering the screen and the panels on the edges around it. This transparent “power-glass” is capable of keeping the watch topped up for essentially unlimited battery life provided you spend at least three hours every day in direct sunlight. The goal is to expose the watch to 50,000 lux of light every day so you don’t have to plug it into a charger for more juice.

Three hours may sound like a lot on paper, but you probably already spend that many hours outdoors depending on your day-to-day activities. For regular indoor usage during, say, winters when you can’t go out much or don’t get enough sunlight, the watch will last you about 15 days on a single charge, which is still quite commendable given the features it brings to the table.

The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar lacks a touchscreen, but it more than makes up for it with its intuitive button-based interface. It supports all the smart features that you’d expect from a typical smartwatch in 2022, including notification pop-ups, GPS, workout tracking, heart rate tracking, and more. The Instinct 2 Solar tracks a vast number of activities including running, walking, cycling, swimming, strength training, cardio, and more. It syncs with the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone to give you additional insights too.

The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar comes in a bunch of different models, but the standard version with solar charging starts at $450. That puts it in the same league as some other smartwatches mentioned in this collection, including the Apple Watch Series 8. But the solar charging is what makes the Instinct 2 stand out from the crowd and that’s why we think it deserves a spot in our collection of the best smartwatches.

The Instinct 2 Solar is not for everyone, and certainly not for those who spend a lot of time indoors. But if you’re an active outdoor person who spends long enough each day in the sun, then you may never have to plug it in for charging. If that doesn’t excite you enough, then you’re better off buying some other watches mentioned in this collection. The new Apple Watch Ultra is a great watch to consider as it comes with slightly better battery life compared to the Series 8 options. It’s also built with tougher materials and has a rugged build quality, so it might just be the perfect watch for you if you’re involved in extreme sports activities.

    The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar is perfect for those who have an active lifestyle and spend a lot of time outdoors.

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Best hybrid smartwatch: Withings Scanwatch

Withings Scanwatch

Smartwatches are great and offer a lot of useful features, but nothing beats the simplicity and the classic look of an analog watch. Well, if you prefer rocking a simple-looking watch over fancy ones with flashy features, then you might want to consider buying a hybrid smartwatch. Hybrid smartwatches, for those that don’t know, look like traditional watches but they offer smartwatch smarts.

There’s no shortage of hybrid smartwatches on the market, but we think the Withings Scanwatch is one of the options out there right now. The Withings Scanwatch, as you can see, looks gorgeous and has a stellar build quality. Its stainless steel case and minimal design scream quality in a way a lot of modern smartwatches fail to do. This particular watch also has a sapphire glass display, meaning you won’t scratch or crack it easily. It comes in 38mm and 42mm sizes, both of which look identical except for the size.

The Withings Scanwatch comes with a PMOLED monochrome display to show things like notifications and real-time ECG readings. The rest of the smartwatch looks unapologetically classic, so keep that in mind. There’s a digital crown on the side to make up for the lack of touchscreen controls. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for this watch as it’s not a full-fledged smartwatch that lets you interact with notifications or run apps on it.

One of the headline features of the Scanwatch is its built-in electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. In addition to taking occasional scans for irregular heartbeats, the watch also notifies you if your heart rate regularly seems to be high or low. The recorded ECG readings can also be shared as a PDF to a doctor for medical records. Notably, the Scanwatch also comes with a medical-grade pulse oximeter to measure oxygen saturation levels (SpO2). The watch can also use the pulse oximeter to detect breathing disturbances while you sleep.

Withings’ companion app — which is available on both iOS and Android — is packed with a ton of useful features. The Scanwatch can also track over 30 sports activities and even supports auto-tracking for activities such as walking, running, swimming, biking, and more. All the relevant data can be found within the companion app. The company advertises 30 days battery life for the Scanwatch, which is quite impressive. There are hardly any smartwatches out there that can last for up to 30 days on a single charge. Even if it doesn’t hit the advertised 30 days battery life, we think it’ll still last you longer than a lot of options out there on the market.

The Withings Scanwatch is now available to purchase in the US for a starting price of $275.95 for the 38mm variant. The 42mm model costs an additional $25, and they’re both available to purchase in a bunch of different finishes. The Withings Scanwatch is significantly better than a lot of other hybrid watches on the market. Garmin’s Vivomove Sport comes close to matching the general user experience but it’s not as feature-rich and doesn’t look nearly as good as the Scanwatch.

    The Withings Scanwatch is an excellent hybrid watch that comes with a classic watch and offers a lot of great features including ECG, SpO2 tracking, and more.

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Best rugged smartwatch for most users: Amazfit T-Rex 2

Amazfit T-Rex 2 smartwatch

The Amazfit T-Rex 2 is one of those smartwatches that’s very easy for us to recommend. It costs less than $200, has a rugged look with impressive build quality to match, and it lasts for over two weeks on a single charge. It may not be the most premium or the most feature-packed smartwatch out there on the market, but it works as advertised and it excels at plenty of things that’ll make it a worthwhile purchase.

One of the best things about the Amazfit T-Rex 2 is its build quality. It’s got a rugged build with 10ATM water resistance and STD-MIL-810G certification. It’s not designed to everyone’s liking but we think it speaks well with those who are into buying rugged smartwatches to go with their active lifestyle. As we mentioned in our T-Rex 2 review, it looks like a G-Shock watch so it’s definitely not for those who like minimal-looking sports watches.

The Amazfit T-Rex 2 is only available in one size, though. It’s both bigger and bulkier than many other smartwatches on the market, but thankfully it’s not as heavy as it looks. The T-Rex 2 is also validated to withstand extreme temperatures and environmental conditions from 70-degrees celsius to all the way down to -40-degrees celsius. It also sports an AMOLED panel on the front which we found to be just as bright and beautiful as the displays on some other premium smartwatches on the market.

The Amazfit T-Rex 2 runs on the company’s custom software but it offers a good set of features to compliment the hardware. It’s not the most feature-rich software on the market but there’s plenty to like about it. It works well with both Android phones and iPhones, so that’s something worth appreciating. The watch also offers a lot of health tracking features to help you keep tabs on some crucial metrics.

From heart-rate monitoring to automatic sleep tracking, the Amazift T-Rex 2 can do it all, making it a lot better than a lot of other smartwatches out there. Some other noteworthy features of this watch include the ability to measure blood oxygen (SpO2) and stress levels, support for GPS, and a lot more. It can also automatically track your exercises, which is indeed pretty good for a watch that doesn’t cost nearly as much as many other premium options.

all things considered, we think the Amazfit T-Rex 2 is a solid rugged smartwatch that can easily keep up with your active lifestyle. There’s no shortage of rugged smartwatches on the market, but we think you buy this one if you’re looking to pick up an affordable rugged smartwatch that you don’t have to charge every other day. It’ll also help you stay in shape with all the health features, so we think it’s worth checking out before looking at other watches. But you really have to like the rugged look and feel to be able to live with this watch. If not, then we recommend checking out some other options including the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or the Garmin Fenix 7.

    The Amazfit T-Rex 2 is a good rugged smartwatch for those who have an active lifestyle. It offers reliable activity tracking and impressive battery life.

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Best rugged smartwatch for iPhone users: Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra, as the name suggests, is essentially a higher-end version of the standard Apple Watch. This particular watch, however, is designed specifically for fitness enthusiasts and athletes that demand better battery life and durable build quality from their smartwatch. Apple says it’s built for endurance, exploration, and adventures, and it offers relevant features to cater to the needs of those with an extremely active lifestyle.

The Apple Watch Ultra is made out of a lightweight aerospace-grade titanium body with a flat sapphire crystal face on the top. It also sports a larger digital crown that’s grooved deeper in a housing that includes a side button. Notably, the Apple Watch Ultra also comes with an additional physical button on the left side. It’s called the Action button and it can be programmed to activate workouts, set compass waypoints, and more.

The Apple Watch Ultra comes with a larger 49mm casing, making it the biggest Apple Watch to date. The company is using the additional space to pack a bigger battery with which the watch is said to last for up to 36 hours on a single charge. In fact, it can last for up to 60 hours on a single charge with Apple’s new low-power setting, although we’ll have to wait for the watch to arrive on the market to confirm this. The company, however, is pretty confident that the battery will last long enough for users to complete long-course triathlon that includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a full 26.2-mile marathon.

The Apple Watch Ultra is more durable than any other Apple Watch model on the market. It’s built to withstand extreme environments and weather conditions. According to Apple, the watch works in conditions as cold as -4-degrees Fahrenheit (-20° C) to as hot as 131-degrees Fahrenheit (55° C). It’s also certified to MIL-STD-810H, a metric used for military equipment and by rugged equipment OEMs.

The Apple Watch Ultra is also suitable for water sports including kitesurfing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, and more. It’s also certified to WR100 and EN 13319, and it also has a depth gauge and a dedicated depth app for divers. Apple also has designed a customized Wayfinder watch face for the Apple Watch Ultra. It comes with a built-in compass and space for as many as eight complications.

Besides all the additional features, the Apple Watch Ultra offers the same functionality as the Apple Watch Series 8. It even comes with the new temperature sensor and support for the crash detection feature that’s found on the Apple Watch Series 8. The Apple Watch Ultra comes with three new sport-focused bands including the Trail loop, alpine loop, and ocean band. This new extreme-sports rugged watch is now up for grabs and it’s priced at $799, making it one of the most expensive Apple Watch models on sale right now.

Apple is clearly trying to compete with the likes of Garmin with the new Apple Watch Ultra. It may not be as feature-rich as many other high-end smartwatches on the market but it’s a solid departure from the classic Apple Watch that we’ve been using for all these years.

    The new Apple Watch Ultra is targetted at sports enthusiasts and athletes who are involved in extreme sports activities. It has a new rugged design, a bigger battery, and a lot of other noteworthy improvements over the standard Apple Watch.

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Best budget smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

The Fitbit Versa 3 is without a doubt one of the best budget smartwatches you can buy on the market right now. It’s significantly cheaper than a lot of smartwatches mentioned in this collection, but it still offers a solid set of features. The highlights of the Fitbit Versa 3 include health tracking, built-in GPS, and even support for a digital voice assistant.

In terms of the design, the Fitbit Versa 3 sports a square watch face that’s protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 3. You get a 1.58-inch display on the front which is bright, crisp, and easy to see under direct sunlight. It supports the always-on feature and has slimmer bezels that go easy on your eyes. Fitbit also supports third-party watch faces, so you get a ton of customizability options. The Versa 3 also ditches the physical button in exchange for an indented haptic side button. It works exactly like a button, but the haptic feedback isn’t satisfying enough to mimic the experience of using a physical button.

The Versa 3 is available in four different finishes, all of which have a different color on the case and the strap. The watch case is made out of aluminum while the included band uses a “flexible material”. The Versa 3 is water-resistant to 50 meters, meaning you can take a dip inside the pool or the beach while wearing it. Just like every other Fitbit tracker, the Versa 3 also works with both Android and iOS devices.

As for the sensors, the Fitbit Versa 3 comes with support for continuous heart-rate monitoring and SpO2. This is in addition to the usual set of tracking metrics like step count, activity tracking, and more. The Versa 3 also supports NFC for contactless payments, and it also has a built-in microphone that lets you take phone calls on the wrist. One of the best things about the Fitbit Versa 3 is that it lets you choose between Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa as your preferred voice assistant.

According to Fitbit, the Versa 3 can last about a week on a single charge. It’s on par with what the company claims for the Charge 5 too. What’s more impressive is that you can get a day’s worth of charge in just 12 minutes with the Versa 3. It may not be the best smartwatch out there but we think it’s great for those who are looking to buy a reliable fitness tracker which also doubles up as a smartwatch. The Fitbit Sense is equipped with more sensors to track more metrics, but we think the Versa 3 offers a good set of features for the price.

The Fitbit Versa 3 is available to purchase for just $170 at the time of writing this article, and we think is a solid price for everything it brings to the table. The only downside to buying the Fitbit Versa 3 is its lack of a dedicated app store. Sure, you can install some apps but the selection is weaker compared to many other smartwatches mentioned in this collection. The new Fitbit Versa 4 fixes some of those issues by offering some software improvements, but the overall experience will largely remain the same. Not to mention, the new watch is also more expensive.

    The Fitbit Versa 3 is very similar to the more expensive Fitbit Sense smartwatch, except this one brings all the essential features for a relatively affordable price.

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Alternate best budget smartwatch: Apple Watch SE (2022)

Overview of the features supported in the Apple Watch SE 2

In addition to the new Apple Watch Series 8 and the Apple Watch Ultra, the Cupertino tech giant also introduced the new Apple Watch SE at its Far Out event this month. The Apple Watch SE (2022) replaces the original Apple Watch SE with an updated chip, a slightly redesigned casing, and more. It also starts at a lower price now compared to the original Apple Watch SE (2020), making it a solid option for those who are looking to buy a cheaper Apple Watch to pair with their new iPhones.

The new Apple Watch SE (2022) costs as much as $150 less than the new Apple Watch Series 8 but it packs the same S8 chip. In fact, the ultra-expensive, Apple Watch Ultra also draws its power from the same chip. As far as the features are concerned, the Apple Watch SE (2022) supports heart rate monitoring and the ability to track all the standard set of workouts. However, you’ll be missing out on ECG, SpO2, and even the new temperature sensor, all of which are supported by the Apple Watch Series 8. The lack of ECG and SpO2 isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for many but it would’ve been nice to have the temperature sensor mainly because of its applications in sleep and cycle tracking.

In terms of the design, the new Apple Watch SE (2022) looks very similar to a lot of other modern Apple Watches on the market. It has thicker bezels compared to the new Series 8 but you can mask it rather easily by using a darker watch face. The new Apple Watch SE’s display is up to 30-percent larger than the one on the Apple Watch Series 3. This new budget smartwatch from Apple also comes with just an aluminum case. You can get it in three color options, but there is no stainless steel option as they tend to be very expensive.

The bottom casing of the Apple Watch SE (2022) is made of nylon composite materials that are color-matched to the bezels. The overall performance of the new Apple Watch SE should be significantly better than the older model. The new S8 chip should help with overall responsiveness and reliability and we think it’ll last you for at least a few years before giving up. The new Apple Watch SE will run the company’s new watchOS 9 out of the box and will also include support for the new crash detection feature.

As for the battery life, Apple is promising up to 18 hours of use on a single charge. It’s the same as the older model but you should be able to take advantage of the new low-power mode to get more usage out of this device. One of the best things about the Apple Watch SE 2022 is that you can use Apple’s Family Setup feature to set it up for someone else without an iPhone in your family. You can then use Family Setup to manage, making it perfect for parents who want their kids to use the watch without an iPhone.

    The new Apple Watch SE 2022 comes with a slightly different case design and the same S8 chip that's also found inside the more premium models.

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Closing Thoughts

There are a lot of smartwatches on the market but we’ve managed to highlight some of the best ones to narrow down your options. Samsung’s Galaxy smartwatches continue to remain the best in this space so we recommend picking up either the Galaxy Watch 5 or the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro if you want the best smartwatch to pair with your Android phone. Those using an iPhone can pick up the new Apple Watch Series 8 or even the Apple Watch Series 7 at a discounted price. We’ve also included some unique options including the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar and the new Apple Watch Ultra for those who want to pick up something new and exciting. Economical shoppers, on the other hand, can consider checking out either the Fitbit Versa 3 or the new Apple Watch SE (2022) based on their preferences.

This is an ever-evolving list so we’ll continue to keep an eye on the market to see if we can add new options to this post. In the meantime, let us know your favorite smartwatch by dropping a line in the comments below.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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