When smartwatches were first introduced a few years ago, they were definitely for a niche market, but they were poorly optimised and lacked any real useful feature. In 2016, though, there is now a wide variety of devices to choose from, and the market for smartwatches has at last become more mainstream. Here is a list of best smartwatches of 2016 (in no particular order). Yes, some of these watches did not come out in 2016, but they still offer the best features of the year for the price.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Yes, the Apple Watch is still one of the best smartwatches of 2016 on the market. It has a sleek design, some of the best app support, and enough internal specs to make it a worthwhile investment. It is also one of the more expensive watches on the market, but the cost is worth it. You can get the watch in one of two sizes, as well as choose from several band options. For something premium and customisable, the Apple Watch is the best choice. You can also read our in-depth review of this timepiece if you want to.
Pebble’s line of smartwatches is also some of the best on the market, but for different reasons than the Apple Watch. The Pebble series offers a basic but elegant design and a solid battery life (up to a week depending on what model you get). The line lacks a touch screen, but the have the price of other leading smartwatch manufacturers. If you are looking for a reliable smartwatch on the cheap, Pebble is your best choice.
Microsoft Band 2 is not categorised as a smartwatch, but it functions much better than one in reality. It is compatible with Microsoft, iOS and Android devices. This is something which is not common and tough to come by. Apart from being a fitness device, it IS a smartwatch. Sure it looks simple and dull but then Microsoft was not aiming to rob the customer but rather offer a feature-packed experience with a decent battery too. You can read about it more in our review which we covered some time back.
The Moto 360 is another great option for someone looking for a sleek smartwatch. The Moto 360 has a lovely round watch face and a comfortably sized display. The watch also has models designed specifically for men and women. If you order off the Moto website, you can even customise everything from the colour to the type of band you receive. It is essentially the Android Wear answer to the Apple Watch, and that is why it is considered one of the best smartwatches of 2016.
Whereas the Moto 360 has a lot of customisation options, the Huawei Watch offers a more premium Android Wear solution. With a broad range of choices for watch faces and bands, the Huawei Watch tries to blend premium design with the latest tech. The watch also has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal display – the first ever on Android Wear watches. No wonder we consider it one of the best smartwatches of 2016.
The Pebble series is a great affordable option, but it also scales back a lot of the features that make it a smartwatch. The Asus Zenwatch 2 does not make those compromises. It has a robust stainless-steel design and a beautiful AMOLED display. The ZenWatch 2 even has some unique features to it, including the ability to control your smartphone camera. The ZenWatch 2 gets you all of this for less than $150, so it is easy to see why it is a big deal.
The Fitbit Blaze is unique because it is the first full-fledged smartwatch from Fitbit, a company that mainly focuses on activity trackers. The Blaze has a sleek Apple Watch-esque design, but it lacks in features. It doesn’t run Android Wear, and it is still primarily intended as an activity tracker, but if that’s all your looking for in a smartwatch this may be the one for you. Best of all, you can get it for under $200.
It is hard to mention Apple without mentioning their main competitor – Samsung. The Gear S2 diverges from the path of the Apple Watch, instead opting to look and feel more like something from the future. With a round watch face and a rotating bezel, the Gear S2 has one of the smoothest interfaces and unique designs. With 4 GB of internal storage, you’ll have plenty of room for apps, though the Samsung store is still lacking in those. Despite its lack of apps, the great specs and futuristic design earns the S2 a spot in the best smartwatches of 2016.
The Huawei Watch brings elegance and class to the Android Wear lineup, but the LG Watch Urbane does so without stretching the budget. The Urbane has a stellar premium feel as well as advanced activity tracker technology. It is a beautiful watch that just happens to have smart technology. Combine that with its low price, and it’s clear that the Urbane is one of the best smartwatches of 2016.
All of these premium watches are great, but the truth is most smartwatches don’t have a sustainable battery. Most can maybe last a day or day, and the Pebble line can last up to a week. But that may not be enough for some of us. Look no further than the Vector Watch, an impressive smartwatch that brings stellar battery life to a premium design. With the Vector Watch, you can get over 30 days of battery life, and it is one of the only smartwatches like Microsoft Band that is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows phones (most are not compatible with Windows). If battery life is what you need in a smartwatch, the Vector Watch was made for you.
If you love tech and the outdoors, you probably know that those two don’t always mix. Smartwatches also aren’t known to be the most rugged devices. Luckily, Casio created a solution for you with the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch. This smartwatch was made to be outside, and it has the design to withstand practically anything thanks to military standard environment distance. Not to mention it is waterproof up to 50 meters. You’ll pay for that endurance, though. The Casio costs a whopping $500. Despite its price, the Casio earns its place in the best smartwatches of 2016 thanks to its rugged design.
If you are in the market for a smartwatch, then we at TechVise think you should check out these and then make an investment, or if you are into fitness devices, then make sure you read our post on those. Is there a smartwatch that you think should have made the cut for this list? If yes, let us know and tell us why you think so too.