If 2018 taught us anything in tech, it’s that the Smartwatch obituaries were just a little premature. While numerous start-ups have failed and big boys like Motorola may no longer be actively pushing their creations, it does mean that only the strongest have survived. The likes of fitness and fashion brands have rushed to fill the vacuum left by the tech start-ups, meaning smartwatches are becoming more niche and user-specific.
We think that’s a good thing, but it does mean you do probably need to know what you want from your smartwatch before shopping around the marketplace. So to help you through the whole process, here’s our guide to buying a smartwatch in 2019, complete with the best watches money can buy!
Before we start getting into specific features, first there are a couple of things you need to consider; the most important being the phone you’ll be pairing it with. It may seem obvious but Android users won’t be able to benefit from virtually any of the features of the iOS-enabled Apple Watch, while iPhone fans won’t get as much out of Android Wear as Android phone users. If you’ve got a Samsung phone, for example, you may want to consider the company’s Tizen-based Gear smartwatches.
It might also be worth considering whether you want your smartwatch to come with Lte Connectivity. LTE-enabled smartwatches can be a real godsend if you need to leave your phone behind for some reason but still want to remain connected. With an LTE smartwatch, you can still get your notifications thanks to the watch possessing a cellular radio. Bear in mind, however, LTE connectivity often comes at the expense of battery life and usually means a much chunkier design.
Style or Substance?
Finally, it’s highly likely that at some point you’ll need to pick a priority: function or fashion? Size, shape and bezel will no doubt have you swaying one way or another, and while we’re not here to tell you that’s wrong – you’re the one parting with your hard earned cash – just bear in mind fashion-forward devices can often lack the features and functionality.
Best Smartwatches 2019
So now you’ve considered the basics, it’s time to start looking at some features. We should say from the off that basically all the best smartwatches on the market come with built-in GPS, heart rate monitors and payment technology, but what else is there out there? Here’s what we think are 2019’s best smartwatches…
Apple Watch Series 4 (From £399)
Best All-Round Smartwatch
We’d love to be controversial and pluck something from obscurity, but realistically there really can only be one ‘best smartwatch of 2019’. And at the moment that title has to be given to the Apple Watch Series 4. It’s one of the most attractive smartwatch around and has the most developed platform on the market. If you’re big on health and fitness, the Apple Watch can monitor your heart rhythm and even suggest you see a doctor if it detects something irregular. It’s also got LTE connectivity and for the Series 4, Apple stretched its screen to the edges of the device. Unfortunately it’s only iOS compatible and it is on the pricier side of things, but if you’ve got an iPhone and you can afford it, the Series 4 is a no-brainer.
Samsung Galaxy Watch (From £279)
Best Smartwatch for Android Users
But if you’re an Android smartphone user, we think Samsung’s Galaxy Watch has to be near the top of your list. Now in its fifth generation, we think it’s more attractive than previous models and now comes with some extra fitness tracking abilities and has a superb battery life of 3-6 days. The accompanying app might not be the most user-friendly but it does have a built-in altimeter and barometer, and has a 5 ATM water resistance for when you need to take it off the beaten track. It also has customisation strap and watchface options, so you can easily make it your own.
Casio ProTrek Smart Watch WSD-F30 (£450)
Best Outdoors Smartwatch
For the adventurers looking for the perfect outdoor companion, our pick would be the Casio ProTrek Smart Watch WSD-F30. The ideal all-rounder for active Joes who love hiking, skiing, cycling, fishing, camping, etc., the ProTrek WSD-F30 features a dial-layer monochrome LCD capacitive touchscreen and comes with an in-built altimeter, barometer, digital compass, thermometer, sunrise timer and tide tracker. Full colour maps can be downloaded and viewed offline too, so you should never find yourself lost again.
Fitbit Versa (£179)
Best Fitness Smartwatch
Virtually all smartwatches feature health and fitness tracking, but if you want the very best, we love Fitbit’s second full-fledged smartwatch, the Versa. Available at a far more affordable price than the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Versa brings a new-look UI that offers more insights into your daily data, as well as all the usual fitness features and the impressive Fitbit Coach. Its battery life is also superb and you should comfortably get five days of use on a single charge, so it’s perfect for travellers. It also comes in a host of different finishes and with a huge collection of bands to mix up your look.
Skagen Falster 2 (From £269)
Most Stylish Smartwatch
Designer smartwatches are catching on and there’s some stunning examples out there. Our favourite for 2019 is the Falster 2 from Danish brand Skagen. Slim and light, the Falster 2 is perfect for those who complain that smartwatches are too chunky, packing a full 1.19-inch OLED touchscreen in a 40mm case. Extremely lightweight, the watch strap is a standard 20mm too, so in theory you choose any strap from the analogue watch world you like. Features-wise, you’ll find heart-rate tracking, Google Assistant, smartphone notifications, activity tracking, Google Pay, GPS and more. The major downside is the battery life is limited to a single day’s use. But when it looks like good… meh.
Technology is all about staying ahead of the curve, so here’s trends we think will change the way that we interact with the world in 2019.
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