We’re still waiting on a lot of the biggest new smartwatches in 2016, whether it’s the Moto 360 3 or the Apple Watch 2, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of good options out there right now.
Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive way to keep track of your notifications on your wrist, or a more elaborate gadget that doubles as a fashion piece, you’re bound to find something below that fits your desires.
The Best Budget Smartwatch: Pebble Time
The thing I like most about the Pebble Time is that it know exactly it wants to be and sets to be it in the most practical way possible. Pebble has always prided itself on making smartwatches that have simple functions and incredibly long battery. The new Pebble Time continues that legacy and even updates the display from monochrome to color.
Add in the completely redesigned software and you’ve got a smartwatch that acts as a very significant alternative to the Apple Watch and Android Wear. If you shell out the extra money for the Steel version, even better. But as a budget smartwatch that puts you outside of the Apple/Google dichotomy, the Pebble Time is your best bet.
The Best Smartwatch for Fitness: Fitbit Blaze
Fitbit has been in the activity tracker game from the very beginning and has always been at the top. The Fitbit Blaze is an example of the fitness tracker plus model—a device that has a lot of the functionality of a smartwatch, except with an added emphasis on fitness.
The Blaze is the best of the bunch with its color display and easy-to-use software. The heart rate monitor might not quite be up to snuff for fitness buffs, but for beginners, the Fitbit Blaze is a really solid, balanced activity tracker with just enough smartwatch features to make it feel worth the money.
The Best Battery Life: Vector Watch
Unlike every other smartwatch on this list, the Vector Watch is made by a watch manufacturer, not a tech company. That alone gives this device a couple of advantages over the others—most notably, the real wristwatch look and feel. But the best part is that the Vector Watch has fantastic 30-day battery life and always stays on so you can actually use it as a watch.
The Best Display: Huawei Watch
The Huawei Watch has always been one of the most expensive and luxurious Android smartwatches out there. It’s much more than just a nice design and a hefty pricetag though—the Huawei Watch has the best display out there too. The 1.4-inch screen is a 400 × 400 resolution AMOLED display, which makes for the highest pixel density on any smartwatch. So if you want a smartwatch that will dazzle with its display, the Huawei Watch is one to check out.
Overall Best Smartwatch Runner-Up: Apple Watch
The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone and the iPad wasn’t the first tablet—Apple’s never been about being first. But it’s also safe to say that a competitor like Android wasn’t around when those products first hit the market. Winning the smartwatch wars won’t be nearly as easy, and though neither watchOS or Android Wear are as developed as they need to be, the ambitious nature of the Apple Watch is certainly promising.
Despite not being round, it’s still an incredibly well-built and attractive watch. Rumors are pointing toward a forthcoming price cut, so you may want to wait for that. The sequel to the Apple Watch probably won’t be due for at least a few more months, so the original is a still a good buy, especially with the price cut.
Overall Best Smartwatch: Moto 360
Despite everything the original Moto 360 got right, it had it also had its fair share of problems—and not just quibbles either. It had terrible battery life, disappointing performance, and pretty limited functionality.
The Moto 360 might not attempt to do as much as the similar offerings from Apple or Samsung, but it does just as many things well. Motorola has nailed the look and feel of the kind of smartwatch I want to have on my wrist, largely thanks to the amount of customization the company is giving its customers. Because of that, it’s my favorite smartwatch to actually have on my wrist so far that I’ve used.