A smartwatch is more than just a watch or even an accessory for your smartphone; it’s one of the biggest innovations in smart gadgets over the last couple of years. Like a wrist watch, it sure does tell time but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the things you can do with smartwatch
of your own.
Best Smartwatches 2018 Comparison Table
You can receive your notifications on your wrist now, without having to go through the
cumbersome process of reaching for your phone every time and that’s not all; you can use your
voice to reply to messages and search the internet. You can even track your exercise over GPS with
these gorgeous wrist wrapped gadgets.
In this list, we’ll look at what’s good and what could be better in the latest smartwatches available
out there this year and then we’ll answer whether or not these smartwatches can stand up to
mechanical wrist watches.
The Smartwatch vs the Mechanical Watch
The smartwatch quickly captured the hearts and wrists of many in the five years that they’ve been around and are now more than just another convenient gadget to have; they’re a part of your attire, just like the good old fashioned mechanical watch. However, their popularity does raise an important question for many of us; are we ready to give up the mechanical watch just yet?
Mechanical watches have always been a matter of great pride to have; they’re crafted with remarkable attention to detail and are powered by a mechanism that has a set amount of energy stored in it and every cog and gear in the watch it powered by the rotation of this mechanism. It’s truly remarkable, if you think about it and we understand why people take so much pride in their watches. Their beauty lies in their mechanical engineering and the fact that you never need to charge them.
To be completely honest, even the best smartwatch doesn’t come close to a mechanical watch in terms of its timeless design and elegance but they certainly do have the potential. Smartwatch makers are focussing on the aesthetics of their watches just as much as their functionality and functionality is where the smartwatch wins over the mechanical watch.
A Few Advantages of SmartWatches
Although smartphones can be written down in history as the catalyst for a human revolution of sorts, they can be very distracting as well. We spend an unhealthy amount of time fidgeting with our phones, jumping from one social media app to another with some games in between.
This is a legitimate cause for concern and is diverting our attention away from spending time with our families and friends in person. Having a smart watch can really filter out these distractions and only forward the important things such as calls, emails and messages from your phone to your wrist.
This way you’ll get to give your phone a rest and keep a healthy distance from it as well. You can even respond to messages by dictating your replies to your watch and using text templates.
Keep track of what you do
This is where your smartwatch really outshines both your phone and your watch; you can quantify every move you make in a day with it. Your smartwatch is also your fitness buddy and can help you keep track of all the steps you take in a day, the kilometres you walk, your time spent sleeping and even your calories and hearth rate.
This sounds like a gimmick at first but once you use the fitness apps properly and enter every detail, this data can help you really improve your health and be mindful of yourself. Smartwatches also have maps that you can use to navigate on the go.
Having a screen instead of an actual clock face might sound artificial to some but let’s face it, it also means that you can have a number of different clock faces to choose from. You can turn your smart watch’s display from a minimalistic time date and weather face to one with a clock with multiple dials.
There are so many skins that you can download for your smartwatch and you’ll never have to stick to the same old thing every day. You can even buy different kinds of straps and chains for your smart watch just like you would with an ordinary watch.
Ultimately, the smart watch might not have the same value or the kind of longevity that your grandfather’s retro Rolex has but it can help you stay in touch with yourself and your smartphone life to a healthy extent and is certainly worth having for that reason.
Of course, it has its own set of shortcomings as well such as the fact that it’s one more device that you have to charge every day, but that’ just something we need to live with to enjoy the benefits of anything ‘smart’, be it watch or phone
Best Smartwatches 2018 Review Guide
1. LG Watch Sport
The LG Watch Sport has come a long way from the first Android Wear watch launched by Google back in 2014; this smartwatch is indeed a large one and if you have very skinny wrists, it might look very bulky as well.
However, despite its sizable footprint, the LG Watch Sport looks very minimalistic because of its material design and neat finish. The 1.38’’ OLED display is nice and round, just like the Android Wear 2.0 powered UI that comes with it.
We’re very pleased with how everything on this watch appears to be circular; this includes the crescent menus and round icons as well. Outdoor visibility on the display is pretty decent, which is good since this is a sports watch that you’ll be using outdoors quite some.
The LG Watch Sport lives up to its name for two reasons; it is as durable as a sports watch should be and it has a slew of great fitness tracking features. Its IP68 rating means that you can rest easy and not have to worry about getting your smartwatch wet or dusty, which will happen quite a lot while you’re out and about.
We’ve even tested it underwater and are happy to report that it holds up, though as always, we’ll advise that you do so at your own risk. The fitness tracker on the LG Watch Sport is by far the best we’ve seen since it not only just tracks your calorie intake or the amount of distance you’ve travelled, it also track your strength training activities, making it the perfect gym companion.
Another thing that this watch has above most other smartwatches is that it can function as a cellular device totally independent of your smartphone; you can insert a sim in its backside and use it to make calls and use LTE data as well.
The only real place where it falls short is its rather short 16 hour battery timing, which is understandable considering the size of the display but you’ll have to charge it every day and the fact that it has wireless charging doesn’t change that.
We’re also hoping to see more standalone apps for this smart watch soon in the future
2. Samsung Gear S3
The Gear S3 boats a rather simple but sleek design and improves on the outgoing Gear S2 with the addition of GPS, which was a necessary improvement since it means that you may now use your watch to navigate yourself and track the distance you’ve travelled more accurately.
We were pleased to see that the Gear S3 doesn’t miss a thing from the outgoing model; the Tizen OS brings you the best of Samsung’s UI on your smart watch and the Super AMOLED screen makes the display look gorgeous, no matter what display profile you choose.
Thanks to the AMOLED display, minimalistic profiles look great and also conserve a lot of battery. The battery on the Gear S3 is as good as it gets; we got up to three whole days on a single charge which is pretty much the maxim right now and for a watch with a display this big, it’s all the more impressive.
The large display is a plus point for most of us but we feel that it may be too big for those of us who have skinny wrists, which Samsung thinks isn’t too much of a problem since you get an option of a smaller strap.
Overall, we’re very pleased with the Gear S3 and think it’s worth the price. We do wish it came with more original apps, however.
Despite the lack of apps, the fitness tracking features are very effective and will track your activity very accurately. The Gear S3 is without a doubt one of the best smartwatches out there right now and we’re looking forward to the next iteration of the Samsung Gear series.
3. Huawei Watch 2
Huawei has come a long way in the smartphone business and they impressed us with the Huawei Watch, however we can’t seem to decide whether or not the Watch 2 is an upgrade from the outgoing model.
The reason we feel this way is because of how the watch 2 is designed; it’s very bulky and frankly, very dorky looking as compared to the outgoing model. The plastic build might have made it lighter but its large design and small screen makes it look like an old G- Shock model rather than a 2017 Smart watch.
Despite the design being anything but smart, the Watch 2 is loaded to the brim with remarkable features including GPS for navigation and movement tracking, 4G connectivity, and NFC. The 2 day battery life is fairly decent and it’s probably thanks to the small screen that we get this kind of battery time on this watch.
Overall, the Huawei Watch 2 caters to those of us who pay more attention to features over form, or those who grew up wearing G-Shock watches. Thanks to the bulky design, the Watch 2 is pretty durable and with its IP68 rating, we’re fairly confident that you’ll get to wear it anywhere without having to worry about it breaking.
But you may still worry about it looking dorky compared to most smartwatches out there.
4. Apple Watch Series 2
Apple expressed their scepticism towards the whole idea of Smartwatches in the start and yet here we are, with the second iteration of the Apple smartwatch series. There are certain improvements that the Apple Watch Series 2 has over the outgoing model but as far as design is concerned, it’s pretty much the sane, which is kind of a bummer considering how the competition is producing better looking watches each year.
The Apple Watch 2 features Apple’s latest watchOS 3 software, which is a breeze to use and there’s plenty of on board storage as well, even though it’s got designated partitions for storing your music and photos.
The 1.5’’ screen is large and bright enough for use outdoors and indoors but the battery life is rather short and you’ll have to charge it before you go to bed if you want it running throughout the day. The only real improvements we see with the Apple Watch 2 is the fact that it now has GPS and is water resistant, otherwise if you already have an Apple Watch, we don’t see why you’d want to spend so much money and get this one instead.
Maybe next year, we’ll finally see an Apple watch that’s compatible with Android devices as well, which is fair considering how Android wear is compatible with iOS devices.
5. Asus ZenWatch 3
Ever since the first ZenWatch came out, Asus has put forth only the classiest looking smart watches and the ZenWatch 3 is no exception to that rule.
At a glance, the third iteration of the ZenWatch is equal parts techy and retro at the same time; it resembles a very classy looking mechanical watch from a distance and the gorgeous AMOLED display makes it look even realer than it already seems. The 1.39’’ display is bright and crisp but thanks to its AMOLED technology, it’s also very easy on the battery.
The third ZenWatch has a battery that can last two days on a single charge which is impressive to say the least.
The UI is very intuitive to use and the hardware buttons make interacting with the watch even easier. The design of the ZenWatch 3 is simply spectacular but it still falls short in a pretty weird place; there is no heartrate sensor, NFC or GPS on board the watch.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a watch that can help you track your fitness routine, this might not be the ideal watch for you. The watch is very durable and is rated IP67 but it’s more of a premium watch you’d wear to work instead of a fitness companion.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch to wear as both a fashion accessory and as a useful piece of technology, then this watch is near perfect; it will always last you through the day and keep you in touch with your social life and everything else on your smart phone without you having to reach for it.
6. Moto 360 (2nd Gen)
If you’re looking for a watch that looks trendy but at the same time has a sophisticated enough feel for it to be worn to somewhere formal, then the new Moto 360 might fit your bill just perfectly. It has a spectacular and bright LCD display that comes in two size options; 1.37’’ and the much larger 1.56’’.
This is good news because it means that no matter what the size of your wrist is, you can put a 2nd gen Moto 360 on it. This has to be one of the most beautiful smartwatches out there right now.
We also found the new Moto 360 to be very comfortable to wear for long periods of time as well; you could fall asleep wearing it and you won’t wake up with a tired wrist; this is partly due to the quality of the strap and to the watch’s light weight.
The Moto 360 2nd gen has proven itself to be the new and improved version of its predecessor, the very popular Moto 360 and is therefore a worthy upgrade. The battery life is only a shade better than that of the older generation model and it can vary from 1 day to 1 and a half days, depending on what size you went for. This isn’t a lot of battery power but it certainly isn’t the worst either; we’re ready to forgive the lacking battery due to its functionality and looks.
Overall, the Moto 360 was one of the best smartwatches in 2017 and remains to be a very strong option even in 2018
7. Fitbit Ionic
For almost a decade now, Fitbit has kept its title as the best fitness tracking in the world. Although their wearables have been around for much longer, Fitbit wasn’t going to lag behind in the Smartwatch game.
The Ionic is the long awaited first Fitbit smartwatch and it resembles Pebble smartwatches quite a lot, which makes sense since Fitbit acquired pebble last year. The Ionic is unique since it runs neither Android Wear OS nor WatchOS from Apple but it still compatible with both platforms.
The Square shaped design is interesting to some and boring to others; however, there’s more to the design than meets the eye. The Ionic is designed such that it sits against your skin in a way that ensures maximum contact with the sensors so it can track your pulse better as well. It is also extremely light weight and very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
One thing we definitely don’t like about the design is the amount of real estate wasted around the display; the amount of space the huge Fitbit logo takes up should be illegal in 2017’s watch design laws.
When it comes to performance, the Ionic is all about sports and fitness tracking. The fitness apps are very dynamic and are programmed to show you the most accurate data possible, as expected from Fitbit. The battery timing is by far the most impressive we’ve seen on a smartwatch; it can get up to 4 days on a full charge which is amazing but with GPS on, you only get 10 hours of constant tracking activity, but that’s understandable.
Though, to be completely honest, if the Ionic had a large display like other watches on this list, it would’ve had a much weaker battery life.
Overall, the Ionic is a great fitness tracker plus smart watch for those of us who are really athletic and want to track their fitness very accurately, it isn’t for everyone and it’s also very expensive.
To conclude, before you can walk out of a store with a new smart watch, you need to ask yourself what you’re expecting to gain out of it first. Some of the watches on our list are designed for more routine wear and usage while others are much sportier and some even try to focus on both.
We’ve only chose the best smart watches available right now for this list, so there isn’t a single watch mentioned above which is a bad watch, but it still might not be the best for you.
You might want to try on a smart watch before you actually buy it for yourself, just like you would with a regular watch. Once you’ve found the right smart watch for yourself, out of the above, you’ll immediately feel like you’ve made a great decision in purchasing it.
Yes, we’ve established that smartwatches can’t replace mechanical watches but they don’t have to, these watches aren’t just flashier tools for telling time, they’re your companions throughout the course of your day, so pick your smart watch accordingly!