Smartwatches are quickly becoming an essential item for many people in the modern world. With the level of convenience they add, they just fit so perfectly into the fast-paced lives we live. It’s like having an assistant on your wrist that can keep you on top of your schedule, your health and fitness, and even your notifications.
It’s incredible what we’ve managed to pack into a tiny screen, huh? Back in 1945, the first electronic computer ever invented - the ENIAC - took up an entire room just to do calculations, and cost over $500,000! These days, a tiny gadget that fits on the wrist - the smartwatch - can not only do calculations, but it can also track your workouts, monitor your health, receive messages, and in some cases, even act as an independent phone.
With so many options to choose from, we thought we’d do you a solid and put together a list of our top smartwatch picks of 2021.
Xiaomi Mi Watch
Like almost every single Xiaomi product, the Mi Watch delivers incredible value for money, so we’d be doing an injustice to not feature it on this list. The Mi Watch is a great fitness-oriented smartwatch, perfect for those focused on tracking their health and fitness.
The Mi Watch has a straight-forward and simple design, featuring a round AMOLED display that’s crisp and bright, even in sunlight. The strap is just a simple black synthetic material that’s pliable and comfortable for all-day wear.
The Mi Watch has an abundance of sports-tracking features, including support for a whopping 117 different sport profiles. It also comes with an onboard GPS, an optical heart rate sensor, sleep tracking, as well as an SpO2 sensor for tracking blood oxygen levels. You can’t install third-party apps on here but if you’re mainly focused on health and fitness features, the Mi Watch comes with a tonne of those to keep you happy!
The battery life is another area where the Mi Watch totally kicks ass. You’ll get 16-days of battery life on a single charge (though certain features such as always-on display may reduce this); this is perfect for those who don’t want the extra hassle of having to charge up your smartwatch regularly.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a solid, no-frills smartwatch at an affordable price, you won’t do much better than the Xiaomi Mi Watch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch3
Samsung’s flagship - the Galaxy Watch 3 - is the best smartwatch money can buy for Android users. With a big feature list, an excellent OS, and an attractive design, it’s easy to see why. It combines smartphone-level productivity with leading health technology, all in one premium and sleek device.
The Galaxy Watch 3 is available in a 41mm and 45mm case size, sporting a classic circular screen. It has a rotating bezel complete with that satisfying mechanical click. The overall size has shrunk since previous generations making it slimmer, lighter, and more comfortable to wear. With a premium genuine leather strap, it’s a great looking watch that’ll even go with dressier attire.
One of the main things the Galaxy Watch 3 has going for it is the impressive feature list. Among these is the industry-leading health features such as fall detection; SpO2, ECG, and blood pressure monitoring; sleep tracking; running coach and running dynamics.
When it comes to battery life, you’ll get about two days worth with normal use. Considering how top-spec this smartwatch is, that’s pretty reasonable; but if you’re after a smartwatch that’ll go longer without a charge, you should consider one of the other options on this list.
Apple Watch Series 6
Whether or not you’re an Apple fan, there’s no denying that the Apple Watch series is one of the best options when it comes to smart watches, and the Series 6 is definitely the best one yet!
The Apple Watch is known for its excellent performance, fantastic app selection, and ample health and tracking features; and Series 6 has stepped it up with more features, including high-end health technology.
New to Series 6 is the SpO2 sensor which calculates blood oxygen saturation on-demand and captures background readings day and night when you’re sleeping and inactive. The Apple Watch 6 also retains ECG monitoring, fall detection, sleep tracking, and an always-on altimeter for you climbers and hikers out there. There are plenty more features available, but if there’s something the Apple Watch doesn’t do, you’re bound to find a third-party app for it in the bustling App store.
The area the Apple Watch falls behind the rest of the pack is with its battery life. Apple promises 18 hours, though you could probably stretch this a bit if you’re using it lightly. If you plan to use your smartwatch for sleep tracking, you’ll either have to stick to charging your watch during the day, or you might want to consider another watch on this list. If this isn’t a deal-breaker though and price isn’t a concern, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a great choice!
Huawei Watch GT2
While the Huawei Watch GT2 isn’t packed full of fancy features and apps like the previous two, it nails the basics and is much more affordable. Other highlights are the long battery life, great design, and excellent fitness features.
The Huawei Watch GT2 has an attractive design that could be enough to sway those who are concerned about the aesthetics of a smartwatch. The Classic Edition features a brown leather strap delivering an executive and classy look. Alternatively, you can opt for the Elegant Edition with a Milanese strap or the Sport Edition with a Black Sports Band. All feature the same bright and sharp AMOLED display, on a high-quality stainless steel frame.
The Huawei GT2 excels with its fitness features. Most recently added is the SpO2 monitoring which measures blood oxygen levels. In addition, the GT2 has precise GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and a personal workout guide. It can also monitor and make suggestions to your training based on different factors such as your VO2 max, recovery time, training intensity, and aerobic/anaerobic exercise effect.
Unfortunately, you won’t get access to third-party apps in the Huawei app store. If you need those, this isn’t the smartwatch for you. However, if you’ll be using your smartwatch primarily for health and fitness tracking, the Huawei GT2 will deliver!
The most impressive feature of the Huawei Watch GT2 however, is the long battery life with up to two weeks on a single charge! If you hate the idea of having to charge your watch regularly, this won’t be an issue here.
Fitbit Charge 4
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a superb fitness tracker that packs a punch into a slim and lightweight form factor. It’s a great option for anyone who is looking to monitor their health and fitness, without the bulk of a full-blown smartwatch.
The Charge 4 is made for fitness with features such as built-in GPS to track outdoor workouts; 24/7 heart-rate tracking (including all-day calorie burn); sleep tracking; SpO2 measuring; 20+ goal-based exercise modes; and reminders to move. You'll even get some basic smart features such as contactless payment; and call, text, and app notifications.
You can get up to 7 days of battery life on a single charge, but if you’re using the built-in GPS frequently, you can expect the battery life to take a slight hit. Considering the Charge 4 is designed with fitness use in mind though, even charging it every few days is pretty reasonable.
OPPO Watch 46mm
OPPO has just released the OPPO Watch, designed to take on the likes of Samsung and Apple with flagship-level specs, at a lower price point. With a square face, it’s very reminiscent of the Apple watch but slightly bigger at 46mm.
The watch sports an impressive dual-curved flexible AMOLED screen, which provides crisp image quality and colours that pop. It also has a 3D curved back design that keeps the watch looking good from different angles.
The Oppo Watch uses Wear OS by Google which loads it with a bunch of convenient features that help you get the most out of your day. You get access to hundreds of apps on Google Play and you can stream music, reply to messages, check news headlines, and check the weather. You’ll also have a Google Assistant, be able to track workouts with Google Fit, monitor your heart rate, and stay on track with smart info management tools. Safe to say, it’s pretty jam-packed full of features.
The battery life on the Oppo Watch is pretty decent considering. To make the most of its battery, OPPO Watch uses two endurance modes. You can get up to 36 hours of battery life in smart mode, and up to 21 days in power-saving mode. In addition, thanks to Watch VOOC Flash Charging, it takes just a 15-minute charge to power a whole day of use.
If you like the look of an Apple watch, want flagship-level specs, but need more battery life, the Oppo Watch could be the one for you.