The best Apple Watch deals ahead of Prime Day – save $120 on the Apple Watch Series 6

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Deals 2x1

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The Apple Watch is our favorite smartwatch. It’s easy to use, comes with a variety of health tracking features, and has a polished design with plenty of customization options. But it’s not cheap, making Amazon Prime Day 2021 – which takes place on June 21 and 22 – a great time to shop.

Prime Day hasn’t begun just yet, but so far we’re only seeing early deals on the Apple Watch Series 6. Last year, discounts were available across Apple’s entire Apple Watch lineup, from the nearly 3-year-old Apple Watch Series 3 to Apple’s latest watches.

See below for everything you need to know about shopping for an Apple Watch on Amazon Prime Day. And don’t forget: You’ll need an Amazon Prime subscription to access Prime Day deals.

Prime Monthly Subscription (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 6 deals

The Apple Watch Series 6 wasn’t on sale last Prime Day, likely because it had just launched about a month earlier. But we did see prices drop shortly after Prime Day on Black Friday. And now that the Series 6 is almost a year old, we’re hoping to see some compelling discounts that bring it well under the $350 street price.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Watch Series 6 (44mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Shop similar deals from other competing sales

Check out similar deals available at Target and Best Buy, which are both offering the Apple Watch Nike Series 6 at a $70 discount for $330. This version comes with the Nike Run Club app and special Nike watch faces.

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch SE deals

The lowest price for the Apple Watch SE we’ve seen so far on Amazon is $230. We’re not seeing any compelling deals just yet, but we’re hoping to see some discounts as Prime Day gets closer. If not, we’ll be looking for discounts this fall after Apple presumably announces new Apple Watch models.

Early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 3 deals

We don’t recommend purchasing the Apple Watch Series 3 unless you find it at an extremely good discount that falls well below its usual street price of $170. Apple still supports the Series 3, but it’s hard to update and will likely begin to feel slow over the next year since it runs on an older processor. While it will be capable of running the latest Apple Watch software, not all features will work – like the new Portraits watch face coming in watchOS 8 and automatic handwashing detection in watchOS 7.

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch accessory deals

It’s not just the cost of the Apple Watch alone that can get expensive. Accessories like charging cables and bands can add up, too. Prime Day is a great opportunity to pick up some discounted accessories for most electronics, and we’re expecting that to hold true for the Apple Watch as well.

Watch Magnetic Charging Cable (1m) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Sport Band (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

More Apple Prime Day deals

Frequently asked questions

Which Apple Watch should I buy in 2021?

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best Apple Watch you can buy, but it’s also the most expensive. When picking out a new Apple Watch, be sure to consider what you intend to use it for and how much you’re willing to spend.

The Series 6 is best for those who want the most comprehensive health tracking available, especially if keeping a closer eye on cardiac health is important. That’s because the Series 6 comes with several features that aren’t available on the recently released, budget-focused Apple Watch SE, such as the ability to take an electrocardiogram from the wrist and measure blood oxygen saturation.

Those who are willing to pay extra to have the latest and greatest Apple Watch should also consider the Series 6, since it runs on the newest Apple Watch processor, has an always-on display, and charges faster than the SE.

But the Apple Watch SE still runs on a fairly recent processor and has all of the most important Apple Watch features, such as the ability to track workouts, fall detection, high and low heart rate notifications, and a large screen.

We don’t recommend buying an Apple Watch Series 3 now because its low storage capacity makes it difficult to install important updates. If you’re investing in a new smartwatch, it’s worth paying a little more money to get a device that’s more recent and will last longer.

Is the Apple Watch worth it?

We believe the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch overall because its software is more polished and easier to use than that of rivals, it has an attractive design that matches any style, and it has some of the most comprehensive health and wellness features available. It’s not perfect, but the Apple Watch’s holistic experience is better than that of any other smartwatch we’ve tested.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Apple Watch is best for everyone. If you’re a current iPhone owner who wants the flexibility to switch to Android eventually, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Or, if sleep tracking is your main priority in a smartwatch, Fitbit’s Versa 3 might be a better choice.

Why right now is a great time for the best Apple Watch deals

Amazon Prime Day is one of the best times of year to buy a new Apple Watch, along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, should you miss it. This is because Apple typically announces new models in September, so buying a Series 6 in, say, August makes little sense. Even if you don’t care about having the newest Apple Watch, you may be able to find the previous-generation Apple Watch at a better discount once the new version is released.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Apple Watch is on sale ahead of Prime Day – here are the best early deals we’ve found so far

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Deals 2x1

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The Apple Watch is our favorite smartwatch. It’s easy to use, comes with a variety of health tracking features, and has a polished design with plenty of customization options. But it’s not cheap, making Amazon Prime Day 2021 – which takes place on June 21 and 22 – a great time to shop.

Prime Day hasn’t begun just yet, but so far we’re only seeing early deals on the Apple Watch Series 6. Last year, discounts were available across Apple’s entire Apple Watch lineup, from the nearly 3-year-old Apple Watch Series 3 to Apple’s latest watches.

See below for everything you need to know about shopping for an Apple Watch on Amazon Prime Day. And don’t forget: You’ll need an Amazon Prime subscription to access the deals.

Prime Monthly Subscription (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 6 deals

The Apple Watch Series 6 wasn’t on sale last Prime Day, likely because it had just launched about a month earlier. But we did see prices drop shortly after Prime Day on Black Friday. And now that the Series 6 is almost a year old, we’re hoping to see some compelling discounts that bring it well under the $350 street price.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Watch Series 6 (44mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Shop similar deals from other competing sales

Check out similar deals available at Target and Best Buy, which are both offering the Apple Watch Series Nike Series 6 at a $70 discount for $330. This version comes with the Nike Run Club app and special Nike watch faces.

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch SE deals

The lowest price for the Apple Watch SE we’ve seen so far on Amazon is $230. We’re not seeing any compelling deals just yet, but we’re hoping to see some discounts as Prime Day gets closer. If not, we’ll be looking for discounts this fall after Apple presumably announces new Apple Watch models.

Early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 3 deals

We don’t recommend purchasing the Apple Watch Series 3 unless you find it at an extremely good discount that falls well below its usual street price of $170. Apple still supports the Series 3, but it’s hard to update and will likely begin to feel slow over the next year since it runs on an older processor. While it will be capable of running the latest Apple Watch software, not all features will work – like the new Portraits watch face coming in watchOS 8 and automatic handwashing detection in watchOS 7.

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch accessory deals

It’s not just the cost of the Apple Watch alone that can get expensive. Accessories like charging cables and bands can add up, too. Prime Day is a great opportunity to pick up some discounted accessories for most electronics, and we’re expecting that to hold true for the Apple Watch as well.

Watch Magnetic Charging Cable (1m) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Sport Band (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

More Apple Prime Day deals

Frequently asked questions

Which Apple Watch should I buy in 2021?

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best Apple Watch you can buy, but it’s also the most expensive. When picking out a new Apple Watch, be sure to consider what you intend to use it for and how much you’re willing to spend.

The Series 6 is best for those who want the most comprehensive health tracking available, especially if keeping a closer eye on cardiac health is important. That’s because the Series 6 comes with several features that aren’t available on the recently released, budget-focused Apple Watch SE, such as the ability to take an electrocardiogram from the wrist and measure blood oxygen saturation.

Those who are willing to pay extra to have the latest and greatest Apple Watch should also consider the Series 6, since it runs on the newest Apple Watch processor, has an always-on display, and charges faster than the SE.

But the Apple Watch SE still runs on a fairly recent processor and has all of the most important Apple Watch features, such as the ability to track workouts, fall detection, high and low heart rate notifications, and a large screen.

We don’t recommend buying an Apple Watch Series 3 now because its low storage capacity makes it difficult to install important updates. If you’re investing in a new smartwatch, it’s worth paying a little more money to get a device that’s more recent and will last longer.

Is the Apple Watch worth it?

We believe the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch overall because its software is more polished and easier to use than that of rivals, it has an attractive design that matches any style, and it has some of the most comprehensive health and wellness features available. It’s not perfect, but the Apple Watch’s holistic experience is better than that of any other smartwatch we’ve tested.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Apple Watch is best for everyone. If you’re a current iPhone owner who wants the flexibility to switch to Android eventually, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Or, if sleep tracking is your main priority in a smartwatch, Fitbit’s Versa 3 might be a better choice.

Why right now is a great time for the best Apple Watch deals

Amazon Prime Day is one of the best times of year to buy a new Apple Watch, along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, should you miss it. This is because Apple typically announces new models in September, so buying a Series 6 in, say, August makes little sense. Even if you don’t care about having the newest Apple Watch, you may be able to find the previous-generation Apple Watch at a better discount once the new version is released.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Apple Watch deals for Prime Day 2021 you can get right now

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Deals 2x1

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The Apple Watch is our favorite smartwatch. It’s easy to use, comes with a variety of health tracking features, and has a polished design with plenty of customization options. But it’s not cheap, which is why Amazon Prime Day 2021 is a great time to shop for an Apple Watch.

Last year on Amazon Prime Day, we saw discounts across Apple’s entire Apple Watch lineup, from the nearly 3-year-old Apple Watch Series 3 to the Apple Watch Series 6. Prime Day doesn’t start until June 21 and runs through June 22, but we’re already seeing compelling deals on the Series 6.

See below for everything you need to know about shopping for an Apple Watch on Amazon Prime Day. And don’t forget: you’ll need an Amazon Prime subscription to access the deals.

Prime Monthly Subscription (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 6 deals

The Apple Watch Series 6 wasn’t on sale last Prime Day, likely because it had just launched about a month earlier. But we did see prices drop shortly after Prime Day on Black Friday. And now that the Series 6 is almost a year old, we’re hoping to see some compelling discounts that bring it well under the $350 street price.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Watch Series 6 (44mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch SE deals

The lowest price for the Apple Watch SE we’ve seen so far on Amazon is $230. We’re not seeing any compelling deals just yet, but we’re hoping to see some discounts as Prime Day gets closer. If not, we’ll be looking for discounts this fall after Apple presumably announces new Apple Watch models.

Early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 3 deals

We don’t recommend purchasing the Apple Watch Series 3 unless you find it at an extremely good discount that falls well below its usual street price of $170. Apple still supports the Series 3, but it’s hard to update and will likely begin to feel slow over the next year since it runs on an older processor. While it will be capable of running the latest Apple Watch software, not all features will work – like the new Portraits watch face coming in watchOS 8 and automatic handwashing detection in watchOS 7.

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch accessory deals

It’s not just the cost of the Apple Watch alone that can get expensive. Accessories like charging cables and bands can add up, too. Prime Day is a great opportunity to pick up some discounted accessories for most electronics, and we’re expecting that to hold true for the Apple Watch as well.

Watch Magnetic Charging Cable (1m) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

More Apple Prime Day deals

Frequently asked questions

Which Apple Watch should I buy in 2021?

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best Apple Watch you can buy, but it’s also the most expensive. When picking out a new Apple Watch, be sure to consider what you intend to use it for and how much you’re willing to spend.

The Series 6 is best for those who want the most comprehensive health tracking available, especially if keeping a closer eye on cardiac health is important. That’s because the Series 6 comes with several features that aren’t available on the recently released, budget-focused Apple Watch SE, such as the ability to take an electrocardiogram from the wrist and measure blood oxygen saturation.

Those who are willing to pay extra to have the latest and greatest Apple Watch should also consider the Series 6, since it runs on the newest Apple Watch processor, has an always-on display, and charges faster than the SE.

But the Apple Watch SE still runs on a fairly recent processor and has all of the most important Apple Watch features, such as the ability to track workouts, fall detection, high and low heart rate notifications, and a large screen.

We don’t recommend buying an Apple Watch Series 3 now because its low storage capacity makes it difficult to install important updates. If you’re investing in a new smartwatch, it’s worth paying a little more money to get a device that’s more recent and will last longer.

Is the Apple Watch worth it?

We believe the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch overall because the software is more polished and easier to use than that of rivals, it has an attractive design that matches any style, and it has some of the most comprehensive health and wellness features available. It’s not perfect, but the Apple Watch’s holistic experience is better than that of any smartwatch we’ve tested.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Apple Watch is best for everyone. If you’re a current iPhone owner that wants the flexibility to switch to Android eventually, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Or, if sleep tracking is your main priority in a smartwatch, Fitbit’s Versa 3 might be a better choice.

Why right now is a great time for the best Apple Watch deals

Amazon Prime Day is one of the best times of year to buy a new Apple Watch, along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday should you miss it. This is because Apple typically announces new models in September, so buying a Series 6 in, say, August makes little sense. Even if you don’t care about having the newest Apple Watch, you may be able to find the previous-generation Apple Watch at a better discount once the new version is released.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best smartwatches for women in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The Apple Watch Series 6 offers the best combination of style, smart features, and fitness.
  • But there are others that work on both iPhone and Android and shine in areas like sleep tracking.
  • Check out our guide to the best smartwatches overall for more buying advice.

Apple helped popularize smartwatches with the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015, which was one of the first smartwatches that appealed to broad audiences beyond those interested in tech.

But it’s also facing increased competition as rivals like Samsung and Fitbit have upgraded the form and functionality of their watches, too. Google also recently announced a new version of its smartwatch platform that it developed in partnership with Samsung, so we’ll be looking out for new watches powered by this updated software later this year.

We’ve been reviewing smartwatches for the past six years and have witnessed their evolution from being clunky, wrist-worn gadgets to sleek timepieces that can almost pass as regular analog watches.

Our buying guide includes all kinds of watches to suit every style and preference. Whether you’re looking for a watch that’s stylish and minimalist or want a device to help you get in shape for the new year, we’ve got you covered.

Here are the best smartwatches for women:

The best smartwatch for women overall

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 has an improved always-on display, a great fit even on smaller wrists, and excellent fitness features. 

Pros: Stylish and customizable design, wide selection of health tracking features, easy-to-use interface,  attractive always-on display

Cons: Expensive, shorter battery life than Fitbit watches, less detailed sleep metrics than rivals

The Apple Watch is still our top pick, and the Series 6 brings improvements like a brighter always-on display, faster charging, and the ability to measure blood oxygen levels. We think the Apple Watch offers the best combination of health tracking, general smart features, style, and customization options. 

Just like the Series 5, the Series 6 comes in 40mm and 44mm size options. Apple also added two new finishes with its latest watch, blue and red, meaning the Series 6 comes in more color options than any other Apple Watch.

After testing plenty of Android Wear and Fitbit smartwatches, the Apple Watch is still generally the easiest to use and has the most polished software experience. 

For fitness fanatics, the Apple Watch allows you to log dozens of workout types, track metrics like calorie burn and exercise minutes, can detect hard falls, and can monitor your heart rate. For those that may need to keep a closer eye on their respiratory or cardiac health, the Apple Watch Series 6 can also detect oxygen levels in the blood and take an ECG from your wrist. 

Otherwise, the Apple Watch comes with all of the features you’d expect from a smartwatch, such as mobile payment support, standalone GPS, water resistance up to 50 meters, the option for cellular connections on pricier models, and plenty of apps to choose from.  

For those who don’t want to spend $400 on the Series 6, Apple also sells the $280 SE. That watch is missing some of the bells and whistles found on the Series 6 — most crucially an always-on display and deeper health features like ECG monitoring and blood oxygen measurements — but still offers the same general experience.  

In terms of battery life, you can expect the Apple Watch to last for more than a day, but probably not two full days. That can make it challenging to use as a sleep tracker since it’s best to charge it nightly. 

Even so, the Apple Watch combines style, functionality, and health tracking better than most rivals, making it our favorite smartwatch. 

The best with a feminine design

Fossil Julianna HR

The Fossil Julianna HR is a sleek smartwatch with a feminine design, a heart rate monitor, GPS, NFC, and the power of WearOS.

Pros: Classic watch design, stylish color options, lots of compatible watch straps, and it’s compatible with iPhones and Android phones

Cons: It’s a bit chunky, not as good with iPhone

If you’re an Android user who wants a feminine smartwatch, you’re in luck. Over the past few years, fashion brands and watchmakers have been making great Wear OS smartwatches. Fossil’s smartwatch line continues to grow each year, and we are looking forward to testing its newer Gen 5 LTE watches. But until then, we still recommend the Julianna HR.

The Julianna HR has the latest tech like a heart rate sensor, GPS, and NFC for mobile payments. Fossil also offers several different finishes for the Julianna’s watch casing. I love the simple rose gold casing and leather strap option, but you can also get one with a metal bracelet.

If you don’t like any of the included straps, Fossil and other brands sell dozens of 22mm watch straps you can choose instead to really make the Julianna your own.

It’s a chunky watch, which is great for those who like bigger watches. Even though it’s stylish, this smartwatch is also waterproof up to 3 ATM, so you can swim with it on.

The Julianna runs Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear) and works with thousands of apps on the Google Play Store. You can answer texts, interact with notifications, and choose your own watch face — just like you would on any other smartwatch. Fossil has lots of nice watch faces in feminine colors, too.

It’ll work with both Android phones and the iPhone, but it’s best with Android devices. When Android Wear watches are paired to the iPhone, a lot of functions no longer work, and you’re left with a pretty watch that gives you notifications.

The best for minimalists

skagen falster 3

The Skagen Falster 3 has a simple, attractive design, a heart rate monitor, Google Pay, and built-in GPS.

Pros: Cool design, simple mesh band, suits women and men, Wear OS, works with iPhone and Android, GPS, NFC, heart rate monitor

Cons: A bit pricey

Skagen is known for its minimalistic design choices, and that’s exactly what you can expect from the Falster 3.  It has a distinct look from other smartwatches with its signature lugs and simple bands, and it’s also slimmer than the original Falster.

Skagen also recently announced a new watch called the Jorn Hybrid HR, which should be available later this year and uses gray-scale e-ink technology for its watchface. We have yet to test this model, but will update this guide accordingly if it’s worth recommending.  

The Falster 3 is an interesting smartwatch because it could easily suit just about anyone. I tried the Falster 3 on for size, and while it was still a bit large for my notoriously small wrists, it looked just fine on larger wrists. If you like bigger watches, it’ll look right at home on you.

Just like all other Wear OS (previously Android Wear) smartwatches, the Falster 3 works with both iPhone and Android devices. As always, Wear OS is best with an Android phone; some functions simply don’t work as well when you pair this watch to an iPhone. It also supports the Google Assistant, and you can take calls from your wrist since it has a speaker and microphone.

You can download thousands of apps from the Google Play Store and get notifications on your wrist. It also has GPS, NFC for Google Pay mobile payments, and a heart rate monitor, so it’s more fully-featured and high tech than the original Falster. You can even go swimming with it, as it’s rated for 5 ATM water resistance.

The best with fitness features

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a great smartwatch for women who want a good-looking wearable with solid fitness-tracking features.

Pros: Heart rate monitor, automatically tracks some workouts, offers helpful data for 39 different types of exercise, easy to use, good app selection, simple design

Cons: Some features may be limited on iOS

Many fitness-focused smartwatches are still bulky and relatively unattractive, so if you’re looking for a smartwatch that looks subtle but knows its way around a workout, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.

It comes in two sizes (40mm and 44mm) so you can pick the one that suits your style and wrist-size best. You can also choose between several finishes, including black, silver, gold, a pink-ish gold, and a blue-ish silver. Plus, the 22mm straps are swappable, so you can change up the look of the watch to match your outfit on any given day.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is compatible with both iOS and Android phones, so you can get notifications, track your workouts, and even issue voice commands to the digital assistant Bixby on the watch. Samsung Pay works on the watch for mobile payments when you’re on the go. Samsung’s app store is quite robust, too, so you can have apps like Spotify, Twitter, Strava, and more on your wrist.

In terms of fitness features, the Active 2 not only tracks your activity, but it can automatically detect seven different types of workouts — “walking, running, cycling, rowing, elliptical trainer, dynamic workouts, and swimming” — and start tracking them without you having to do anything.

The watch can also track 39 types of exercise, though you will manually have to select the specific workout on the watch to get the specialized tracking and advice from the Health app. It’s water-resistant up to 5 ATM — just like the Apple Watch — so you can swim with it on, too.

Its heart rate monitor helps to ensure that your stats are accurate, and the watch can also detect high or low heart rates.  All told, it’s an effective smartwatch that excels at fitness tracking.

The best for sleep tracking

Fitbit versa 3

The Fitbit Versa 3 combines robust sleep tracking with fantastic battery life for those interested in learning more about their sleeping habits. 

Pros: Long battery life, in-depth sleep tracking, plenty of health and fitness features

Cons: Need premium subscription ($9.99/month) to access the most comprehensive stats, no LTE version 

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a full-featured smartwatch that has a lot to offer when it comes to sleep tracking and fitness, coupled with excellent multi-day battery life. 

The 40mm Versa 3 has a crisp AMOLED display and an aluminum watch casing with built-in GPS and sensors to monitor blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), heart rate, and skin temperature. There’s also a speaker and microphone for taking phone calls on the watch. 

The sleep tracking is particularly robust. Users get a Sleep Score that is based on time spent in regular, deep, and REM sleep. In Fitbit’s free tier, you get access to graphs breaking down your time spent in various sleep stages, as well as the estimated oxygen level variations throughout the night. You can also see your 30 day average as well as benchmark ranges for people in your age bracket and gender. 

The premium membership unlocks the full spectrum of the Versa 3‘s sleep tracking capabilities. This includes detailed readings from the blood oxygen sensor, sleeping resting heart rate, and skin temperature readings –  which analyzes your individual skin temperature range, with the readings showing you how many degrees you are above or below your baseline. 

This opens up access to even more graphs which allows you to dive even more deeply into the different stages of sleep, the time asleep, and sleeping heart rate.

The Premium membership, priced at $9.99 a month, also comes with a library of workouts, exercises, and mindfulness meditations. 

The battery life on the Versa 3 is great for a full-featured smartwatch. I was able to routinely get four days on charge–even when occasionally using the GPS– which helps to make this an easy watch to recommend.

What we are looking forward to testing

Fossil 5E

We’re currently in the process of testing several other smartwatches that women might enjoy, and we’ll update this guide accordingly after we do so. Here are the ones we’re currently looking into and rumored smartwatches we’re keeping an eye out for.

  • Smartwatches with Google’s new Wear OS: Google and Samsung are working together to create a unified operating system that works with all Google-based watches. The update should bring more customization, faster performance, enhanced battery life, and overall  better consistency between watches running Wear OS. The new Wear OS will be released later this year.
  • Garmin Lily: This watch features a stylish feminine design while maintaining core smartwatch functionality such as sleep monitoring, activity tracking, and the ability to see text and calls on the watch. 
  • Bellabeat Time: This hybrid smartwatch mixes a traditional analog watch face with sleep and activity tracking.
  • Fossil Gen 5 LTE:  Fossil’s new Gen 5 LTE smartwatches look great and offer updated internals, along with LTE connectivity for a phone-free experience.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 3: With the Galaxy Watch Active 2 becoming a little old following its 2019 release, we’re hoping Samsung launches a successor to one of our favorite smartwatches in 2021. 

How we test smartwatches

Apple Watch 6 Back

To test smartwatches, we evaluate both the form and function of the device. Because these are pieces of tech that you’ll wear every day, the design matters more than it does for a lot of other kinds of devices.

Style is obviously subjective, so we look at design elements we can objectively measure like having a few different sizes, multiple band options, and a wider variety of colors and finishes to choose between. The more options, the higher the likelihood that there will be a style for just about everyone.

Other design elements we look for are water resistance and comfort while exercising because you’ll want to have both in a smartwatch if you’re using it for workouts. To test, we dunk the water-resistant smartwatches in the designated depth of water for the amount of time they’re rated to withstand. We also workout with these watches to see how comfortable they are to wear and how helpful they are during the workout.

We test all the tech specs and features to ensure that they are easy to use and actually work. Mostly, we just go through life and see how much value each smartwatch adds. How helpful are the notifications and apps? How good is music playback? How easy is the software to navigate? How helpful are the workout features?

We also track how long battery life lasts in different modes and how long the watches need to recharge. If the charger is annoying to use or easy to lose, that’s another consideration.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Apple Watches to buy in 2021 and which one to avoid

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Apple Watch 6 and SE
The Apple Watch Series 6 (left) and Apple Watch SE (right)

  • The Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s best watch yet and comes packed with the latest health tech.
  • But the Apple Watch SE has the watch’s most important features at a more reasonable price.
  • The Apple Watch Series 3 is getting too old to recommend, but it’s fine for just the basics.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch in the world, and it’s the best choice for iPhone owners. But that doesn’t mean picking out the right Apple Watch is easy, especially now that Apple sells three different models.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best Apple Watch overall. Even if you aren’t interested in taking blood oxygen readings from your wrist, which is the Series 6’s biggest improvement over the Series 5, it still comes with a variety of useful features that aren’t available on the SE or Series 3.

But it’s also the most expensive Apple Watch, which means it isn’t for everyone. The $280 Apple Watch SE comes with a larger screen and more recent processor compared to the Series 3, but lacks an always-on display and other newer features.

The $200 Apple Watch Series 3 had a good run, but we wouldn’t recommend buying it right now. It’s starting to get a bit slow and difficult to update, so you’re better off paying the extra $80 for the Apple Watch SE.

The best Apple Watch overall: Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s priciest smartwatch, and also its most advanced. The Series 6 comes loaded with new health-oriented features and an upgraded chip from Apple. The biggest new addition is the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation, which refers to the percentage of oxygen your red blood cells distribute throughout the body. 

Other improvements include a slightly brighter always-on display and faster charging, although you still won’t get multi-day battery life out of the Apple Watch like you can with Fitbit’s watches. The Series 6 also comes with wellness features that debuted on the Series 5, such as hard fall detection, electrocardiogram readings, international emergency calling, and noise level alerts.

But the Series 6 has one big advantage over Apple’s other current watches: an always-on display. That means the watch’s screen is capable of showing your watch face even when the display would normally turn off. This feature debuted on the Series 5, which Apple no longer sells, but the Series 6 is the only model in the current lineup to have it. 

Apple also provides more choice  in terms of style for its top-of-the-line watch compared to the SE or Series 3. The Apple Watch Series 6 is available in silver, space gray, gold, blue, and red if you opt for the aluminum finish, while the stainless steel version comes in silver graphite and gold. The titanium model is available in titanium or space black. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with more health and wellness capabilities, style options, and features that make it function better as a wristwatch compared to any watch in Apple’s lineup.  Overall, it’s the best experience you can get on an Apple smartwatch for those who are willing to pay.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (button)
The best Apple Watch on a budget: Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

You don’t have to spend $400 to get an Apple Watch that feels new and fast. For the first time, Apple launched a second new watch alongside its flagship model: the $280 Apple Watch SE.

The Apple Watch SE has many of the same capabilities as the Series 6: it can track the same exercise types, monitor sleep, measure heart rate, detect hard falls, comes with a built-in compass for location tracking, and features an always-on altimeter for logging elevation. 

Fitness buffs won’t be missing out on much with the SE, but those who want to get a more detailed picture of their overall health and wellness might. That’s because the SE lacks the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and take an ECG from the wrist.

With this in mind, the SE is better suited for potential buyers looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that can track their workouts and don’t need to keep as close of an eye on their cardiac health.

There’s another major feature missing from the SE: an always-on display. This is probably the most critical omission, considering it makes the SE less capable as a wrist watch. But it still has a screen that’s 30% larger than the Series 3’s display.

Color and finish options are also more limited on the SE than the Series 6, with Apple only offering an aluminum finish in silver, space gray, or gold. 

Still, for the price, the Apple Watch SE is an excellent choice. Although it’s missing features like an always-on display, fast charging, and blood oxygen measurements, the overall experience is very similar to the Series 6. I’ve even called it the best Apple Watch for most people given its more accessible price.

Watch SE (40mm, GPS) (button)
Why we’re not recommending the Apple Watch Series 3 anymore

Apple Watch Series 3 cyber monday deal

I still wear my Series 3 every day, but it’s becoming difficult to update because of its low storage capacity. That might not sound like a big deal. However, software updates are crucial for bringing new features to the Apple Watch — and more importantly, for keeping it secure.

Apple only sells the Series 3 in the GPS configuration, which means it only comes with 8GB of storage. The Apple Watch SE and Series 6 both come with 32GB of onboard storage. 

This was never a huge issue for me until earlier this year when I had to delete almost every single app from my watch to install an important update. Updating a Series 3 without enough storage can actually be more cumbersome than what I experienced and usually involves unpairing and reconnecting your Apple Watch to your iPhone.

That also makes me wonder how much longer Apple will support the Series 3, considering the latest Apple Watch software doesn’t run on the Series 2 and earlier. 

Software updates bring new features to the Apple Watch — like the ability to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch. But the bigger reason you’ll want to keep your Apple Watch updated  is to ensure it remains safe. Back in March, for example, Apple released an important fix for all of its products to address a security vulnerability.

Anecdotally, I’ve also noticed that my Apple Watch Series 3 has gotten a bit sluggish. Sometimes there’s a delay when pushing the digital crown to return to the app screen, and Siri doesn’t always respond right away.  

If you’re thinking about buying the Series 3, that means you’re already expecting to spend around $200 on an Apple Watch. It’s worth spending the extra $80 for a watch that will run faster and last longer.

When will Apple release a new Apple Watch?

Apple Watch lineup 2020

If history is any indication, we can expect to see a new Apple Watch in the fall timeframe. The company typically unveils its new smartwatch in September and releases it within the same month.

It’s unclear what to expect from Apple’s next smartwatch, which will likely be called the Apple Watch Series 7. But each new Apple Watch usually comes with an updated Apple processor, so that will likely hold true in 2021 as well. Bloomberg also reports that Apple is working on a new swim tracking feature for the Apple Watch. But it’s unclear if this feature would be available across current models or if it would be exclusive to a new model.

Apple may also be working on a new rugged version of the Apple Watch called the Explorer Edition that could launch in late 2021 or early 2022, according to Bloomberg.

Check out our guide to the best Apple Watch bands

apple watch bands
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The best smartwatches in 2021 for fitness, sleep tracking, and style

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The best smartwatches are useful for making sure you’re kept in the loop when your phone’s not in reach. They’re also a great motivational tool for staying in shape and keeping tabs on your overall wellness.

Smartwatches come in many different sizes, designs, and they can vary greatly when it comes to features. Before making a buying decision, ask yourself whether you want a watch primarily for fitness and sleep tracking, or whether style is your top priority.

I’ve been reviewing tech products for nearly a decade, and that includes testing smartwatches over the course of the past seven years. That means I’ve tested and researched many wearables from companies like Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and others and have a strong sense of what makes a good smartwatch for the price.

Here are the best smartwatches you can buy:

The best smartwatch overall

Apple Watch 6 Red

The Apple Watch has long been our favorite smartwatch for its ease of use, comprehensive health tracking, and polished design, and the Series 6 is the best iteration yet. 

Pros: Large always-on display, polished design and software, wide variety of health-focused and smartwatch-oriented features

Cons: Expensive, shorter battery life than some rivals, only offers basic sleep tracking

The $400 Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s most expensive smartwatch, and for good reason. With an always-on display that’s brighter than the Series 5’s, fast charging, new color options, and blood oxygen monitoring, it’s the best Apple Watch you can buy. 

Apple also sells the less expensive Apple Watch SE for $280, another great choice if you want an Apple Watch that still feels new and fast at a more reasonable price. But you’ll be missing out on advanced health features like blood oxygen level monitoring and the ability to take an ECG from your wrist.

Those features may not matter for everyone; if you’re the type of person that just wants to stay active and challenge yourself with fitness goals, the  SE will do just fine. It’s these features combined with the Series 6’s always-on display and faster charging that make it our top choice in the lineup.

More broadly, the Apple Watch stands out from other smartwatches for its modern design that easily fits with any style, broad customization options, smooth performance and wide variety of apps, and polished software. Our writers and editors have tested dozens of WearOS and Fitbit watches over the years, and the Apple Watch has consistently been the best when it comes to the overall experience.

That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though. The Apple Watch’s biggest drawbacks compared to rivals from Fitbit and other companies are its high price tag, shorter battery life, and lackluster sleep tracking.

The best smartwatch for Android users

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is a fantastic fitness-focused smartwatch for Samsung fans.

Pros: Sleek design, gorgeous screen, great fitness tracking, heart rate monitor, LTE option, auto workout tracking, sleep tracking, swim-proof

Cons: Requires a bunch of extra Samsung apps to work if you don’t own a Samsung smartphone

Samsung’s Galaxy smartwatch lineup has been getting better every year as more apps and features are added. While it has the word “Active” in its name, the Galaxy Watch Active2 is perfectly suitable for fitness or general use.

Samsung also added a feature to the Galaxy Watch Active2 that helps it better compete with Apple: ECG readings. The feature launched in September after gaining approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration. However, it only works if the watch is connected to a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone. 

You can get it in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm — just like the Apple Watch. It has a slim, sleek round watch case so it looks more like a normal watch than a piece of tech. The bezel is also touch-sensitive, which makes the software easier to navigate since you don’t always have to obscure the tiny screen with your finger.

You can get it in aluminum (WiFi/Bluetooth) and stainless steel (LTE) and choose between silver, gold, and black finishes. It’s rated at 5ATM for water resistance, so you can swim with it.

The Galaxy Watch Active2 can automatically track workouts, which is surprisingly a big plus for the Samsung watch, as Google’s Wear OS watches don’t have automatic workout detection. The heart rate monitor also helps the watch track the intensity of your workout.

The watch even has sleep tracking built in, a feature that’s common on smartwatches but only recently came to the Apple Watch.

But it doesn’t have the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa since it uses Samsung’s Bixby assistant. And its battery life is decent, with reviewers rating it as lasting roughly between 1.5 to two days, but it’s not as long-lasting as Fitbit’s watches.

The best smartwatch for sleep tracking

Fitbit versa 3

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a relatively affordable smartwatch that checks all the boxes, but truly shines when it comes to sleep tracking and battery life.

Pros: In-depth sleep tracking, long battery life, plenty of fitness features

Cons: No LTE version, software isn’t as polished as the Apple Watch

Fitbit is far from being the only smartwatch to offer sleep tracking. But if you’re looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that can provide deep insights into your sleep, the $229.95 Fitbit Versa 3 is the best pick for most people.

Fitbit’s sleep tracking goes beyond the basics by offering time spent in REM, light, and deep sleep, as well as the time you spent awake. It also tells you how much time you spent asleep and issues a Sleep Score that tells you about the quality of your sleep.

In addition to just seeing data indicating how well you slept last night, you can also view a 30-day average and see how your sleeping pattern compares to others of your age and gender. Some of Fitbit’s sleep-oriented features, like metrics that show restlessness, are only available if you subscribe to the $9.99 per month Fitbit Premium service. 

Still, even in the free tier, Fitbit offers more comprehensive sleep tracking metrics than most smartwatches, especially the Apple Watch. The Versa 3 also offers impressively long multi-day battery life that makes it much easier to track your sleep without worrying about draining your battery during the day. 

We recommend the Versa 3 over the $299.95 Fitbit Sense since it’s more affordable and still has many of Fitbit’s most important features. 

These include heart rate monitoring, the ability to deliver notifications from your phone, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, exercise tracking, comprehensive sleep tracking, and a swim proof design. 

The downside, however, is that there’s no LTE option for the Versa 3 for those who want to receive calls and texts when their phone isn’t nearby. For iPhone owners, the software and app experience is also much more polished on the Apple Watch than it is on Fitbit’s watches.

The best feminine smartwatch

Fossil Julianna HR

The Fossil Julianna HR is a sleek smartwatch with a feminine design, a heart rate monitor, GPS, NFC, and the power of WearOS.

Pros: Classic watch design, stylish color options, lots of compatible watch straps, and it’s compatible with iPhones and Android phones

Cons: It’s a bit chunky, not as good with iPhone

If you’re an Android user who wants a feminine smartwatch, you’re in luck. Over the past few years, fashion brands and watchmakers have been making great Wear OS smartwatches. 

Fossil’s smartwatch line continues to grow each year, and we are looking forward to testing its new Gen 5 LTE watches that were announced in January. As the name implies, the new model adds support for LTE connectivity on Android through Verizon, a feature that most competing smartwatches have offered for years. 

In the meantime, we still recommend the Juliana HR. Fossil offers several different finishes for the Julianna’s watch casing. I love the simple rose gold casing and leather strap option, but you can also get one with a metal bracelet.

It’s a chunky watch, which is great for those who prefer that style. Even though it’s fashionable , this smartwatch is also waterproof up to 3 ATM, so you can swim with it on.

As for the tech inside, the Julianna runs Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear) and works with thousands of apps on the Google Play Store. You can answer texts, interact with notifications, and choose your own watch face — just like you would on any other smartwatch. Fossil has lots of nice watch faces in feminine colors, too.

The Julianna HR works with both Android phones and the iPhone, but it’s best with Android devices. When Android Wear watches are paired to the iPhone, a lot of functions no longer work, and you’re left with a pretty watch that only gives you notifications.

Julianna HR (button)
The best smartwatch for fashionable men

Fossil Carlyle HR

Fashion-forward men who aren’t into the high-tech futuristic look will love Fossil’s Q Carlyle HR with its classic design and smartwatch powers.

Pros: Classic watch look, WearOS, use any 2mm watch band you like

Cons: No LTE

Fossil is one of the few fashion brands and watchmakers that’s making actively gorgeous smartwatches. The Q Carlyle HR is the ultimate WearOS watch for men who want their smartwatch to look like a high-end wristwatch.

It’s a hefty smartwatch that feels luxurious, but it doesn’t cost a couple thousand dollars like the Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch. The stainless steel casing paired with a  chunky metal watch band give it a premium look and feel, but you can choose a number of different finishes.

You can get the smartwatch in dark gray, black, and silver finishes with metal or leather straps. The straps are interchangeable with any 22mm watch band you can buy from Fossil and others.

When it comes to tech, the Q Carlyle isn’t the most high-end one on this list, but it runs WearOS and it’s compatible with thousands of apps. You can send texts, view your notifications, and track your activity — just like you would on any smartwatch. The latest generation also has NFC for mobile payments, GPS, and a heart rate monitor.

Q Carlyle HR (button)
Best smartwatch for fitness enthusiasts

Garmin Forerunner 935

The Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Watch is a fitness enthusiast’s dream that has long battery life and measures several metrics you won’t find on general purpose watches.

Pros: Long battery life, waterproof, durable glass face, built-in barometer and thermometer, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, and the ability to measure more metrics than we can list here

Cons: Expensive, reduced GPS accuracy when running on a track, built-in thermometer only measures temperature right above your skin

Smartwatches running Apple’s, Samsung’s, and Google’s operating systems come with decent fitness tracking features and functionality, but then there are smartwatches that bring fitness tracking to a whole other level. We’re talking about smartwatches from Garmin. 

We had a competitive distance runner try the $500 Garmin Forerunner 935 for 1,000 miles — and it’s better than any running watch he’s ever used. With that testimonial in mind, the Forerunner 935 is our top choice for fitness enthusiasts, at least for those who can allocate up to $500 for a device that’s specifically geared towards fitness. 

When you’re spending this much on a fitness tracking device, you’re better off reading the full review to find out what’s good and what’s not about the Forerunner 935. And realizing that the Forerunner 935 is expensive, we know of some less expensive fitness trackers that will work just fine for the majority of fitness folk. 

Forerunner 935 (button)
What else we considered

Fitbit Versa 2

While these are our top picks, there are several other options worth considering based on your needs, preferences, and budget. Here’s a look at some other contenders: 

  • Garmin Vivoactive 4: Garmin’s Vivoactive 4 is a more affordable alternative to its Forerunner and Fenix lines that still offers more in-depth health features than your standard smartwatch. It also comes with many of the other features around connectivity you’d demand from a watch of its price.
  • Fitbit Sense: The Sense is Fitbit’s top-of-the-line smartwatch and its first to offer the ability to measure how your body reacts to stress. The Sense, like Fitbit’s other smartwatches, serves as a compelling Apple Watch alternative for non-Apple users and those seeking a more affordable watch. However, we chose the Versa 3 instead as one of our top picks because it has many of the benefits of the Sense at a more reasonable price.
  • Michael Kors Access Lexington 2: Michael Kors has been making smartwatches alongside Fossil for years now. If you like MK, you’ll probably like this watch as it has many of the same features.

What we look forward to testing

Tech companies and fashion houses alike are always launching new products, and these are the smartwatches that we’re looking forward to testing soon.

OnePlus Watch: OnePlus’ new smartwatch, which launches on April 14, promises to offer up to 14 days of battery life and costs just $159. That alone is enough to get us excited about trying it. The watch itself has a simple and sleek circular design, much like the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, and also includes health features like blood oxygen saturation measurements and stress detection despite its low price. 

Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR: With its minimalist design and low-power screen, the $195 Skagen Jorn looks promising for those who prioritize sleek looks and long battery life in a smartwatch. The company says it should last for up to two weeks on a charge thanks to its e-ink screen, which draws less power than traditional LCD or OLED screens. It has many of the core features you’d expect from a smartwatch, like the ability to deliver smartphone notifications, monitor activity and fitness, and measure your heart rate. 

Fossil Gen 5 LTE: Fossil’s Gen 5 LTE addresses one of the biggest complaints about its other watches: that they lacked the ability to establish their own cellular connection when your phone isn’t nearby. This new model also runs on Google’s Wear OS like other Fossil watches, and comes with multiple battery modes. But that LTE option also adds to the price; the Gen 5 LTE is $349, making it almost as expensive as the Apple Watch Series 6.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best smartwatches in 2021 for fitness, sleep tracking, and style

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch overall because of its ease-of-use and robust health features.
  • For Android users, the sleek and round Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a great choice.
  • But if sleep tracking is your top priority, consider Fitbit instead.
  • Check out our guides to the best smartwatches for women and the best Apple Watches for more buying advice.

Smartwatches can be very useful for making sure you don’t miss anything when you’re away from your phone. They’re also a great tool for staying motivated to move, especially as we’ve all been spending more time at home over the past year.

There’s a smartwatch for everyone on this list, whether you’re loyal to iPhone or Android, want a watch primarily for fitness tracking, or are looking for something that looks more elegant than your average smartwatch.

I’ve been reviewing tech products for nearly a decade, and that includes testing smartwatches over the course of the past seven years. That means I’ve tested and researched many wearables from companies like Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and others and have a strong sense of what makes a good smartwatch for the price.

Here are the best smartwatches you can buy:

The best smartwatch overall

Apple Watch 6 Red

The Apple Watch has long been our favorite smartwatch for its ease of use, comprehensive health tracking, and polished design, and the Series 6 is the best iteration yet. 

Pros: Large always-on display, polished design and software, wide variety of health-focused and smartwatch-oriented features

Cons: Expensive, shorter battery life than some rivals, only offers basic sleep tracking

The $400 Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s most expensive smartwatch, and for good reason. With an always-on display that’s brighter than the Series 5’s, fast charging, new color options, and blood oxygen monitoring, it’s the best Apple Watch you can buy. 

Apple also sells the less expensive Apple Watch SE for $280, another great choice if you want an Apple Watch that still feels new and fast at a more reasonable price. But you’ll be missing out on advanced health features like blood oxygen level monitoring and the ability to take an ECG from your wrist.

Those features may not matter for everyone; if you’re the type of person that just wants to stay active and challenge yourself with fitness goals, the  SE will do just fine. It’s these features combined with the Series 6’s always-on display and faster charging that make it our top choice in the lineup.

More broadly, the Apple Watch stands out from other smartwatches for its modern design that easily fits with any style, broad customization options, smooth performance and wide variety of apps, and polished software. Our writers and editors have tested dozens of WearOS and Fitbit watches over the years, and the Apple Watch has consistently been the best when it comes to the overall experience.

That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though. The Apple Watch’s biggest drawbacks compared to rivals from Fitbit and other companies are its high price tag, shorter battery life, and lackluster sleep tracking.

The best smartwatch for Android users

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is a fantastic fitness-focused smartwatch for Samsung fans.

Pros: Sleek design, gorgeous screen, great fitness tracking, heart rate monitor, LTE option, auto workout tracking, sleep tracking, swim-proof

Cons: Requires a bunch of extra Samsung apps to work if you don’t own a Samsung smartphone

Samsung’s Galaxy smartwatch lineup has been getting better every year as more apps and features are added. While it has the word “Active” in its name, the Galaxy Watch Active2 is perfectly suitable for fitness or general use.

Samsung also added a feature to the Galaxy Watch Active2 that helps it better compete with Apple: ECG readings. The feature launched in September after gaining approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration. However, it only works if the watch is connected to a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone. 

You can get it in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm — just like the Apple Watch. It has a slim, sleek round watch case so it looks more like a normal watch than a piece of tech. The bezel is also touch-sensitive, which makes the software easier to navigate since you don’t always have to obscure the tiny screen with your finger.

You can get it in aluminum (WiFi/Bluetooth) and stainless steel (LTE) and choose between silver, gold, and black finishes. It’s rated at 5ATM for water resistance, so you can swim with it.

The Galaxy Watch Active2 can automatically track workouts, which is surprisingly a big plus for the Samsung watch, as Google’s Wear OS watches don’t have automatic workout detection. The heart rate monitor also helps the watch track the intensity of your workout.

The watch even has sleep tracking built in, a feature that’s common on smartwatches but only recently came to the Apple Watch.

But it doesn’t have the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa since it uses Samsung’s Bixby assistant. And its battery life is decent, with reviewers rating it as lasting roughly between 1.5 to two days, but it’s not as long-lasting as Fitbit’s watches.

The best smartwatch for sleep tracking

Fitbit versa 3

The Fitbit Versa 3 is a relatively affordable smartwatch that checks all the boxes, but truly shines when it comes to sleep tracking and battery life.

Pros: In-depth sleep tracking, long battery life, plenty of fitness features

Cons: No LTE version, software isn’t as polished as the Apple Watch

Fitbit is far from being the only smartwatch to offer sleep tracking. But if you’re looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that can provide deep insights into your sleep, the $229.95 Fitbit Versa 3 is the best pick for most people.

Fitbit’s sleep tracking goes beyond the basics by offering time spent in REM, light, and deep sleep, as well as the time you spent awake. It also tells you how much time you spent asleep and issues a Sleep Score that tells you about the quality of your sleep.

In addition to just seeing data indicating how well you slept last night, you can also view a 30-day average and see how your sleeping pattern compares to others of your age and gender. Some of Fitbit’s sleep-oriented features, like metrics that show restlessness, are only available if you subscribe to the $9.99 per month Fitbit Premium service. 

Still, even in the free tier, Fitbit offers more comprehensive sleep tracking metrics than most smartwatches, especially the Apple Watch. The Versa 3 also offers impressively long multi-day battery life that makes it much easier to track your sleep without worrying about draining your battery during the day. 

We recommend the Versa 3 over the $299.95 Fitbit Sense since it’s more affordable and still has many of Fitbit’s most important features. 

These include heart rate monitoring, the ability to deliver notifications from your phone, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, exercise tracking, comprehensive sleep tracking, and a swim proof design. 

The downside, however, is that there’s no LTE option for the Versa 3 for those who want to receive calls and texts when their phone isn’t nearby. For iPhone owners, the software and app experience is also much more polished on the Apple Watch than it is on Fitbit’s watches.

The best feminine smartwatch

Julianna HR slide

The Fossil Julianna HR is a sleek smartwatch with a feminine design, a heart rate monitor, GPS, NFC, and the power of WearOS.

Pros: Classic watch design, stylish color options, lots of compatible watch straps, and it’s compatible with iPhones and Android phones

Cons: It’s a bit chunky, not as good with iPhone

If you’re an Android user who wants a feminine smartwatch, you’re in luck. Over the past few years, fashion brands and watchmakers have been making great Wear OS smartwatches. 

Fossil’s smartwatch line continues to grow each year, and we are looking forward to testing its new Gen 5 LTE watches that were announced in January. As the name implies, the new model adds support for LTE connectivity on Android through Verizon, a feature that most competing smartwatches have offered for years. 

In the meantime, we still recommend the Juliana HR. Fossil offers several different finishes for the Julianna’s watch casing. I love the simple rose gold casing and leather strap option, but you can also get one with a metal bracelet.

It’s a chunky watch, which is great for those who prefer that style. Even though it’s fashionable , this smartwatch is also waterproof up to 3 ATM, so you can swim with it on.

As for the tech inside, the Julianna runs Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear) and works with thousands of apps on the Google Play Store. You can answer texts, interact with notifications, and choose your own watch face — just like you would on any other smartwatch. Fossil has lots of nice watch faces in feminine colors, too.

The Julianna HR works with both Android phones and the iPhone, but it’s best with Android devices. When Android Wear watches are paired to the iPhone, a lot of functions no longer work, and you’re left with a pretty watch that only gives you notifications.

Julianna HR (button)
The best smartwatch for fashionable men

Fossil Carlyle HR

Fashion-forward men who aren’t into the high-tech futuristic look will love Fossil’s Q Carlyle HR with its classic design and smartwatch powers.

Pros: Classic watch look, WearOS, use any 2mm watch band you like

Cons: No LTE

Fossil is one of the few fashion brands and watchmakers that’s making actively gorgeous smartwatches. The Q Carlyle HR is the ultimate WearOS watch for men who want their smartwatch to look like a high-end wristwatch.

It’s a hefty smartwatch that feels luxurious, but it doesn’t cost a couple thousand dollars like the Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch. The stainless steel casing paired with a  chunky metal watch band give it a premium look and feel, but you can choose a number of different finishes.

You can get the smartwatch in dark gray, black, and silver finishes with metal or leather straps. The straps are interchangeable with any 22mm watch band you can buy from Fossil and others.

When it comes to tech, the Q Carlyle isn’t the most high-end one on this list, but it runs WearOS and it’s compatible with thousands of apps. You can send texts, view your notifications, and track your activity — just like you would on any smartwatch. The latest generation also has NFC for mobile payments, GPS, and a heart rate monitor.

Q Carlyle HR (button)
Best smartwatch for fitness enthusiasts

Garmin Forerunner 935

The Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Watch is a fitness enthusiast’s dream that has long battery life and measures several metrics you won’t find on general purpose watches.

Pros: Long battery life, waterproof, durable glass face, built-in barometer and thermometer, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, and the ability to measure more metrics than we can list here

Cons: Expensive, reduced GPS accuracy when running on a track, built-in thermometer only measures temperature right above your skin

Smartwatches running Apple’s, Samsung’s, and Google’s operating systems come with decent fitness tracking features and functionality, but then there are smartwatches that bring fitness tracking to a whole other level. We’re talking about smartwatches from Garmin. 

We had a competitive distance runner try the $500 Garmin Forerunner 935 for 1,000 miles — and it’s better than any running watch he’s ever used. With that testimonial in mind, the Forerunner 935 is our top choice for fitness enthusiasts, at least for those who can allocate up to $500 for a device that’s specifically geared towards fitness. 

When you’re spending this much on a fitness tracking device, you’re better off reading the full review to find out what’s good and what’s not about the Forerunner 935. And realizing that the Forerunner 935 is expensive, we know of some less expensive fitness trackers that will work just fine for the majority of fitness folk. 

Forerunner 935 (button)
What else we considered

Fitbit Versa 2

While these are our top picks, there are several other options worth considering based on your needs, preferences, and budget. Here’s a look at some other contenders: 

  • Garmin Vivoactive 4: Garmin’s Vivoactive 4 is a more affordable alternative to its Forerunner and Fenix lines that still offers more in-depth health features than your standard smartwatch. It also comes with many of the other features around connectivity you’d demand from a watch of its price.
  • Fitbit Sense: The Sense is Fitbit’s top-of-the-line smartwatch and its first to offer the ability to measure how your body reacts to stress. The Sense, like Fitbit’s other smartwatches, serves as a compelling Apple Watch alternative for non-Apple users and those seeking a more affordable watch. However, we chose the Versa 3 instead as one of our top picks because it has many of the benefits of the Sense at a more reasonable price.
  • Michael Kors Access Lexington 2: Michael Kors has been making smartwatches alongside Fossil for years now. If you like MK, you’ll probably like this watch as it has many of the same features.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Apple Watch

  • The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch we’ve ever tried, and Apple sells it in three different versions.
  • The $400 Apple Watch Series 6 is the newest model that comes loaded with all of Apple’s most advanced health features and its latest processor.
  • The $280 Apple Watch SE is a great option for those looking to save a little money since it comes with many of the same features as the Series 6, although it unfortunately lacks an always-on display. 
  • The $200 Series 3 is still going strong despite launching in 2017 and delivers the core Apple Watch experience at a more affordable price, but it’s better to invest in newer technology if you can afford it.
  • Wondering how the Apple Watch stacks up to the competition? Here are our picks for the best smartwatches overall.

The Apple Watch has become the world’s most popular smartwatch since its launch in 2015, outshining rivals like Samsung and Huawei

Each new version introduces additional features that make it even more worthwhile. In 2020, Apple introduced the ability to measure blood oxygen levels on the Series 6, for example, and also launched a sleep tracking feature for all models that support watchOS 7. 

I’ve been covering smartwatches and wearables since 2014, and our team of tech reporters and editors have collectively tested every Apple Watch model that’s launched. Based on our experience, we have narrowed down the best Apple Watch models you can buy right now. 

With all that in mind, read on to see which of the Apple Watch models is best for your needs and budget. You can also read our buying guide to the top smartwatches overall.

Here are the best Apple Watch models:

Updated on 1/21/21 by Lisa Eadicicco: Updated language and added more guidance to the section on factors to consider when shopping for an Apple Watch. 

The best Apple Watch overall

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch Apple currently sells. It comes with top-of-the-line health features, a brighter always-on display, and fast charging.

Pros: Brighter always-on display, fast charging, more health metrics than any other Apple Watch, many color options

Cons: Expensive, not always clear how blood oxygen readings contribute to overall fitness metrics, battery life is short compared to Fitbit

The Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s priciest smartwatch, and also its most advanced. The Series 6 comes loaded with new health-oriented features and an upgraded chip from Apple. The biggest new addition is the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation, which refers to the percentage of oxygen your red blood cells distribute throughout the body. 

Other improvements include a slightly brighter always-on display and fast charging, the latter of which should make it easier to top off your watch in the morning after wearing it overnight for sleep tracking. However, like all Apple Watches, the Series 6’s battery life isn’t long enough to last two full days, unlike watches from Fitbit which offer multi-day battery life. 

The blood oxygen reader works by shining red and green LEDs and infrared light through your wrist and monitoring the color of the light that’s reflected back. Low oxygen levels could be an indication that you need to seek medical care, as the Minnesota Department of Health notes, but Apple says the Series 6 isn’t meant for medical use and should instead only be an indicator of overall wellness.

You can take a reading any time on the Series 6 through an app, and the watch can measure levels in the background, too. Although it’s great that the Apple Watch can offer a new metric for getting a glimpse into your general wellness, in my experience I found that it can be difficult to know what to make of these readings since they’re not meant for medical use.

The Series 6 also comes with all the health and fitness-focused features from the Series 5. These include the ability to detect hard falls, take an electrocardiogram from the wrist, call emergency services internationally, and alert you if noise levels in your surroundings may damage your hearing. It can also track a variety of different workout types, provide more precise location information through its built-in compass, and can track elevation with its always-on altimeter. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 has the most to offer when it comes to health tracking, but it also has another critical advantage: an always-on display. That means the watch’s screen is capable of showing your watch face even when the display would normally turn off, a useful feature that makes the Apple Watch perform better as a general purpose wrist watch. This feature debuted on the Series 5, which Apple no longer sells, but the Series 6 is the only model in the current lineup to have it. The always-on display is also slightly brighter on the Series 6 compared to the Series 5.

Apple also provides more choice  in terms of style for its top-of-the-line watch compared to the SE or Series 3. The Apple Watch Series 6 is available in silver, space gray, gold, blue, and red if you opt for the aluminum finish, while the stainless steel version comes in silver graphite and gold. The titanium model is available in titanium or space black. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with more health and wellness capabilities, style options, and features that make it function better as a wristwatch compared to any watch in Apple’s lineup. Although the new blood oxygen readings alone may not be worth splurging on the  priciest model for many people, the overall experience is the best you can get on an Apple smartwatch for those who are willing to pay.

The best Apple Watch on a budget

Apple Watch SE

With a recent Apple processor and many of the same features as the Series 6, the Apple Watch SE is a great budget-friendly option.  

Pros: Affordable price, robust health and fitness tracking features, large display

Cons: No always-on display

You don’t have to spend $400 to get an Apple Watch that feels new and fast. For the first time, Apple launched a second new watch alongside its flagship model: the $280 Apple Watch SE.

The Apple Watch SE has many of the same capabilities as the Series 6: it can track the same exercise types, monitor sleep, measure heart rate, detect hard falls,  comes with a built-in compass for location tracking, and features an always-on altimeter for logging elevation. 

Fitness buffs won’t be missing out on much with the SE, but those who want to get a more detailed picture of their overall health and wellness might. That’s because the SE lacks the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and take an ECG from the wrist.

With this in mind, the SE is better suited for potential buyers looking for a general-purpose smartwatch that can track their workouts and don’t need to keep as close of an eye on their cardiac health.

There’s another major feature missing from the SE: an always-on display. This is probably the most critical omission, considering it makes the SE less capable as a wrist watch. Even though the screen turns into a black square on your wrist when idle, it does have the more modern design Apple introduced with the Series 4  that makes it 30% larger than the Series 3’s display.

Color and finish options are also more limited on the SE than the Series 6, with Apple only offering an aluminum finish in silver, space gray, or gold. 

Still, for the price, the Apple Watch SE is an excellent choice. Although it’s missing features like an always-on display, fast charging, and blood oxygen measurements, the overall experience is very similar to the Series 6. I’ve even called it the best Apple Watch for most people given its more accessible price.

The best Apple Watch for just the basics

Apple Watch Series 3

Not only is it the most affordable model you can buy, the Apple Watch Series 3 still offers reliable performance and includes features most people would need.

Pros: Solid performance, includes features most people would need, Apple Pay, fitness tracking, great app support, great value, very durable

Cons: Older processor, smaller display, no advanced fitness and health features, Digital Crown becomes less smooth with age, no always-on screen

After using the $200 Apple Watch Series 3 sporadically since it was introduced in 2017, it continues to perform well, making it the best Apple Watch for people on a tighter budget that just want the basics.

Compared to the SE, the less expensive Series 3 has a smaller screen, can’t detect hard falls, lacks the ability to call emergency services internationally, doesn’t have a built-in compass, and  doesn’t support family setup.

That last point is a bit disappointing since the price otherwise makes it an appealing option for a child or teenager’s first smartwatch. Of course, it’s also missing characteristics of the Series 6 like an always-on screen, blood oxygen level monitoring, and the ability to take an ECG. 

However, if you don’t need those features, the Series 3 still offers the same apps and services available on the pricier SE and Series 6, meaning it has many of the capabilities most people would want from a smartwatch.

Some of the applications we’ve used the Series 3 for include: Paying for a subway ride, withdrawing cash from an ATM, remotely triggering the shutter button on our iPhone, arming and disarming a home’s alarm system, choosing a Spotify playlist, getting directions, controlling smart home devices, waking us up each morning by vibrating on our wrist, and much more.

It also comes in an LTE variant just like the pricier models, which can be a lifesaver during instances in which you’ve left your phone at home. But like the SE, the Series 3  lacks an always-on display, meaning you must raise your wrist or touch the watch to wake it.

The Apple Watch Series 3 also has many of the same health and fitness capabilities of its pricier siblings, save for the ability to take an ECG and measure blood oxygen levels. One of our favorite Apple Watch features is the Activity Rings, which gamifies three physical activities: movement, exercise, and stand. With a desire to close the rings daily, this has encouraged us to be less sentient.

Even though it’s not the fastest, performance is still strong even after three years. I regularly use my Series 3 and never experience any crashes or slowdowns, even after installing new updates.

As for durability, the Series 3 seems very capable. After more than three years, it still doesn’t have a scratch. The Digital Crown doesn’t rotate as fluidly as when the watch was new, but it still works without problem. Even after swimming in both fresh and saltwater with it and wearing the watch in the shower, it still holds up just fine. 

Overall, the Series 3 has performed well after more than three years. But if you were to purchase it new today, there’s no guarantee it will maintain its strong performance for years to come.

It uses an older processor and as with all things tech, it will inevitably start slowing down as newer and more demanding apps are released. Although we recommend it for people on a tight budget, do realize that it may have shorter longevity from this point on. If your budget allows, opt for the SE.

When it comes to color choices and finishes, you only have the aluminum case in space gray or silver to choose from. 

All told, the Apple Watch Series 3 checks all the right boxes for those who just want basic smartwatch and fitness functionality.

Things to consider when you shop

An Apple Store employee shows the new Series 5 Apple Watch during the preview of the redesigned and reimagined Apple Fifth Avenue store in New York, U.S., September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid -
An Apple Store employee shows the new Series 5 Apple Watch during the preview of the redesigned and reimagined Apple Fifth Avenue store in New York

Like any other tech product, choosing an Apple Watch model depends on your preferences, budget, and how you intend to use it. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for an Apple Watch.

  • Health tracking: Are you looking for a device for comprehensive health features, like the ability to take an ECG from the wrist? Or do you just want to track your workouts and monitor your heart rate? If your answer is yes to the first question, the Series 6 is your best bet. Plus, since it charges more quickly, it’s a better choice for those who plan to use their Apple Watch for sleep tracking. Otherwise, consider the cheaper Apple Watch SE instead.
  • Watch functionality: If having a smartwatch that functions as a regular watch all the time is most important to you, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the right choice. It’s Apple’s most expensive watch, but its always-on display and faster charging make it a more capable wristwatch. That’s because the Series 6 can show the time even when the screen is idle and doesn’t take as long to replenish its battery. While these features are helpful, they’re not necessary and mostly just add polish to the experience. If you’re going to spend the extra $120 on the Series 6, do it because you’re interested in the additional health features it has too offer as well. If these features aren’t as important to you, the cheaper Apple Watch SE has plenty to offer.   
  • Material: Depending on the model, the Apple Watch comes in a few different materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. Each material comes with its own price tag. You can also choose between different colors depending on the version. Apple launched two new blue and red color options for the Series 6 in addition to silver, space gray, and gold.
  • Bands: Each Apple Watch is paired with a band at purchase, another style choice you’ll have to make. Some bands cost more than others. Thankfully, any Apple Watch can be used with any compatible band and you’re able to swap them out depending on your wardrobe and mood. Apple also allows you to pair any Apple Watch case with any band through its Apple Watch Studio customization tool when picking out a watch. Other accessory companies make their own Apple Watch bands and sell them at more affordable prices, so you can always add to your collection. 
  • Regardless of which bands and materials you choose, every Apple Watch the company currently sells can run the same apps from the App Store, supports water resistance, and is compatible with the latest watchOS 7 software.
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