To find the best Apple Watch, we took an in-depth look at the available options, selecting which smartwatches would pair best with your iPhone based on a few factors, including the display, build materials, integrated health features, and built-in sensors. Depending on your desires, some Apple Watches provide functions such as Always-On displays so you can glance at your wrist without delay, and fall detection to assist you in the case of an emergency. Whichever features you have your eye on, we’ll pair you to the best Apple Watch for you.
In our research and testing, we awarded the Apple Watch Series 5 as our top pick. Featuring advanced features, such as built-in heart rate notifications and an ECG app, Series 5 can help you keep track of your heart health. Apple Watch 5 is also the only Apple smartwatch to offer an always-on display, so you don’t need to waste time waking your watch before you can check the time or your latest notifications. If you are searching for the best Apple Watch, keep on reading to learn more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Apple Watch Series 5 is the latest smartwatch from Apple, sporting features such as a larger always-on display for quickly viewing information, and a built-in ECG app for checking your heart health.
It should be no surprise that Apple’s latest Watch makes it to the top of our list. The Apple Watch Series 5 boasts more features than any of its predecessors, including a faster processor so that you don’t need to wait around while features load. A new larger always-on retina display ensures that you don’t need to wait around before your Watch shows the time or notifications – it’s always available at a glance. New integrated health features, such as an ECG app and fall detection, can help you keep your eye on heart health or call for SOS in the event of an emergency, respectively.
Other unique features on the Series 5 include an integrated GPS & compass combo that make it even more helpful on your next hike. We do wish that the latest Apple Watch was a bit cheaper as the low price tag can make it a bit difficult for some. Additionally, if you select a higher grade material other than Aluminum, such as Stainless Steel, expect to pay quite a bit more.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Apple Watch Series 3 provides all of the best things about Apple Watch including a built-in heart rate sensor, water-resistance down to 50-meters, and access to all the best Apple Watch apps.
There is a reason that Apple still proudly sells the Apple Watch Series 3; it’s an excellent product that still brings the best of Apple Watch to your wrist. Featuring a high-resolution Retina display that shines at 1000-nits, you’ll be able to see your Watch face even in the brightest sunlight. If you decide to take a dive, the Series 3 also sports Water-resistance down to an impressive 50-meters. While Series 3 doesn’t feature fall detection, it can still contact local emergency services with the hold-down of a single button.
Other features that you won’t find on the Series 3, but can be found on the Series 5, include international emergency calling, a built-in GPS, and an ECG heart health app. However, if you can live without the features mentioned previously, the Apple Watch Series 3 continues to be one of the best smartwatches on the market.
Award: BEST BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re new to Apple Watch or are on a tight budget, the Apple Watch Series 2 presents itself as a great option to jump into the world of smartwatches thanks to Apple’s built-in Health App and stellar choice of design materials.
Apple Watch Series 2 is one of Apple’s older smartwatch models, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth taking a look at these days. Series 2 has a lot in common with the previously mentioned Series 3 watch, which we awarded as our Honorable Mention. Features that other Apple Watches sport, such as built-in health tracking, heart-rate detection, and even the ability to pay wirelessly with Apple Pay at merchants, are found here. It’s also just as easy to set up with your iPhone as any of the newer models.
The primary setback to an Apple Watch Series 2 over a Series 3 is the slower process – the Series 3 receiver a newer 70%-faster processor. So know that you might be waiting a bit more time for this watch to load, but it still might be very much worth the price. Be sure, however, that you aren’t counting on some of the more advanced health features such as ongoing heart-rate monitoring and ECG scans, as neither are available here.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Apple Watch Editions sports the same features as Apple’s latest Series 5 Watch but opts to use higher-quality materials for its exterior shell, including silver or dark-gray titanium and smooth white ceramic.
If you’re looking for the best that Apple has to offer with Apple Watch, look no further than the Apple Watch Edition. Featuring the same internals as the latest Series 5, the Watch Edition takes it a step further with premium materials. While most smartwatches reach their peak with stainless steel, Apple has pushed forward, offering watches crafted from either titanium or ceramic. Titanium is lighter than stainless steel, yet features twice the straight, making it an ideal material option available in either a silver or space black finish. Ceramic, on the other hand, is four times as hard as stainless steel and features a look that is hard to ignore.
Apple Watch Edition also comes paired with a higher quality watchband automatically so that you can choose from either a modest sport loop or a classier leather loop, both in a multitude of colors. We wish the Watch Edition wasn’t such an expensive upgrade, but then again, once you put one on, the price-tag seems to vanish away.
Apple has quite a few of its Watches available for sale, so we took the time to look at the differences and similarities, delivering to you the best option. For each Watch, we took a look at the features that matter most, including the displays, build materials, health features, and built-in sensors. For each feature category, we set a minimum standard so that no matter which Watch you select, we know that you’ll have a fantastic experience once you get it on your wrist and connected to your iPhone.
For the displays, we made sure that all Apple Watches we selected included the company’s Retina display technology for the sharpest and brightest image. At the same time, other smartwatches can be challenging to read in the sun due to their lack of brightness; Apple brings forth a product that is readable even at the beach at midday. Moving past the display, Apple’s watches are built from aluminum; we wouldn’t accept any subpar materials on our list. We did, however, include Apple’s titanium and ceramic for ultra-premium options.
Inside the Watch, we wanted to ensure that no matter which selection you made, you could always count on it for tracking your day-to-day health. All versions of the Apple Watch we selected offer a built-in GPS for tracking your runs, as well as water-resistance down to 50-meters so that you can take it on swims. Beyond the GPS sensor we mentioned, we also made sure the basics were on board, such as a heart sensor, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.