When it comes to the iPhone, there’s arguably no better accessory than the Apple Watch and we’ve rounded up the very best of them.
While there are tons of great iOS-compatible smartwatches out there from the likes of Withings, Fossil and Fitbit, yet none of them pair quite so seamlessly with Apple’s smartphones as the Apple Watch series itself.
No matter which one you opt for, the Apple Watch has been designed to make the most out of iOS with features such as messaging on your wrist, hands-free Siri activation, and even sleep tracking.
Apple recently announced three new wearables in the form of the affordable, the rugged , and the , though at the time of writing we have only published our review of the latter of these, with the other two on the way.
We’d recommend holding off on buying an Apple Watch just until we have tested the full range of Apple’s latest wearables, just in case they end up besting some of the watches featured here. If you don’t fancy waiting and simply want to get your hands on an Apple Watch as quickly as possible then we’ve still got you covered with the following round-up of the best Apple Watches you can buy right now.
As a side note, you can also check out our round-ups of the, and if you’re after a wearable that doesn’t have the Apple brand attached.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that theis no longer supported by Apple so we’d recommend steering clear of it, even if it is available at a tempting price, and those who are still sporting the Apple Watch 3 should look at getting an immediate upgrade.
How we test
Every smartwatch we test is used by the reviewer for at least a week, or longer if the battery life lasts beyond that point or we need more time to trial its features.
During testing we will check it for key metrics including app support, usability and battery life. If the device offers fitness, location or health tracking features we will also test these for accuracy and reliability.
For distance tracking we record how accurately the device recorded runs on tracks we know the length of. We also record how much battery is lost using things like in-built or connected GPS per hour. To check heart rate accuracy we compare the results recorded on the wearable to a dedicated HRM strap.
After recording the data we then pair it with our general experience using the wearable day-to-day, letting you know if it’s comfortable to wear or if we encountered unexpected bugs during use over the review period.
Apple Watch 8
The best premium option
- Excellent tracking features
- Plenty of sensors, including clever use of temperature sensor
- Charges quickly
- Additional low power modes
- No big battery upgrade
- Minimal additions over the last model
The Apple Watch 8 is the best smartwatch that we have tested, pending our review of the Apple Watch Ultra, and it remains one of the most attractive options for iPhone users.
There are many excellent attributes to this watch, including its highly adjustable screen; not only can it boast high levels brightness that’s perfect for sunny days, but it can also reduce this right down for when you need to check your watch at night, while the always-on display means you can check the time and notifications just with a glance thanks to its LTPO refresh rate tech.
There aren’t all that many additions to the Watch 8 over its predecessor, but one change is that employment of a skin temperature sensor, which is particularly useful for women’s health tracking and family planning. The overalll fitness tracking is still very strong, comparing favourably to dedicated sports watches such as thein its lock-on speed and accuracy, while the adoption of heart rate zones is informative for keeping an eye on the intensity of your workout.
Overall, this watch does a great job of encouraging to to keep healthy, whether that be through its addictive sleep-tracking feature or its step counting goals.
The new S8 chipset s more efficient than its predecessor, and we found that its battery life generally leaves us with 25-30% charge after a full 24 hours’ usage (including through the night), and this is further helped out by its improved low-power mode. The fast-charging introduced last year has remained in place, giving us 20% of the juice after 10 minutes plugged in.
Apple Watch SE
The best affordable option
- Excellent value
- Huge range of tracking features
- The best smartwatch OS around
- Wide variety of straps available
- No always-on display
- Battery life still only really a day
The Apple Watch 3 is cheaper than the SE and still sold on the official Apple Store. But with software support ending we can’t recommend it anymore. This is why in this list we’re recommending buyers on a budget look at the Apple Watch SE instead, despite it costing a bit more.
Though the SE is hardly cheap, especially compared to some of the dedicated fitness trackers and WearOS watches we recommend, it’s still very good value. During testing we found the watch offers equivalent fitness tracking to the 7, near identical battery life and access to the same portfolio of apps. Performance also proved to be on a par with our tester never noticing any lag or slow down using the device.
The only compromises are that the SE doesn’t have an always on display option, which means you have to turn the screen on when fully whenever you want to check the time and that its charge speeds are much lower. It took well over an hour for us to get a full charge.
We found the compromises are worth making if you can live without these small luxuries which is why we actually recommend the SE over the 7 for most buyers.
We also considered…
Apple Watches are not fully compatible with Android devices. To make the most of them they need to be paired with an iPhone or iPad.
Only a select number of newer Apple Watches feature LTE connectivity. You should check their spec sheet before purchasing one if you need the added connectivity.
All modern Apple Watches support NFC and Apple Pay, meaning you can use them to make contactless payments in most regions and stores.
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You can see a breakdown of the Apple Watch 7 and SE’s specs in the table below.
First Reviewed Date
Apple Watch Series 7
Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, PRODUCT RED
Apple Watch SE
30 x 40 x 10.7 MM
Silver, Space Grey, Gold