Smartwatches aren’t just for secret agents anymore. They’re becoming increasingly common tech accessories among spies and civilians alike. If you’re looking for a watch you can call command (or home) on, the standalone smartwatch is for you.
With service providers and watchmakers teaming up to add style to productivity, there’s a different fit for every function. Like many other smartwatches, it also acts as a companion device to your smartphone, receiving notifications, track fitness or sleep statistics and even summon your Google Assistant.
Here’s our list of the best standalone smartwatches.
The Fitbit Versa is the newest entry in our list and is Fitbit’s second attempt at a smartwatch. Even though it doesn’t run Wear OS, we still think the Versa is an awesome addition to the list.
As you may guess, the Versa is definitely designed to help you stay up to date on all of your workout metrics. It also has sleep tracking, reminders, social media alerts and more. All of these can be controlled from the new personalized dashboard that Fitbit included in the Versa. The aim was to make a quick and easy menu system that will get you to where you want to go quick.
The Versa includes some pretty nice features like NFC. Normally we wouldn’t point this out, but the inclusion of NFC allows the Versa to make mobile payments. This can be especially handy when you’re at the gym and don’t necessarily have cash on your person. The watch also includes Bluetooth 4.0, heart rate tracking, and GPS. All of that packed into a watch that’s designed to last for four days on a single charge? Sign us up.
Samsung Gear S R750
The Samsung Gear S runs Tizen but is compatible with Google’s Android OS. It includes 4GB internal storage plus GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 wireless connectivity. It also has an integrated SIM card slot. Essentially, this means that you can contact your network service provider and add your watch as an additional phone line, allowing it to function independently of any other phone on your plan.
This smartwatch is big, but sleek, with an analog clock display and sleek 2″ curved AMOLED display and no protruding knobs or buttons. The camera lens is located on the back of the watch face, against the wrist. The bands are interchangeable and come in a variety of colors and styles.
Samsung Gear S R750 purchase links: Amazon
Samsung Gear S3 (Classic or Frontier)
The Samsung Gear S3 models are technically standalone watches but do require carrier-specific modifications. Therefore, check with your service provider to make sure it’s available on your network before purchasing.
Similar to the Gear S2 models, the S3 uses eSIM, which is a programmable SIM chip rather than an insertable card. Along with Bluetooth compatibility, the Gear S3 also integrates with Samsung Pay so you can tap or swipe your watch to make purchases at the register.
The Frontier model uses Gorilla Glass for added durability without hindering touchscreen sensitivity, and GPS to track your activity with military grade performance. Both models have a 1.3″ AMOLED display and optionally interchangeable bands, making them a better potential fit for smaller wrists.
Huawei Watch 2 Classic
This smartwatch has many of the standard practical features expected in an average smartphone, like Google Pay (formerly Android Pay), GPS, NFC payment and weather alerts. It also has a wide variety of classic and digital watch faces to choose from.
The Huawei Watch 2 also offers many tools for maximizing your fitness using Google Fit. Things like a 24/7 heart rate monitor, sleep and activity tracking, and a running coach to help you build a training schedule, track personal bests and record workout reports.
ASUS ZenWatch 3
The Zen Watch 3 uses a new-ish technology called HyperCharge, which is basically the smartwatch equivalent of fast-charging for phones. It can replenish up to 60% of its battery in 15 minutes. Like the Frontier, the Zen Watch 3 uses curved Gorilla Glass to protect a 1.39″ AMOLED touchscreen with 400×400 pixel resolution. It includes GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, and is one of the first smartwatches to run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 Wear processor.
Technology aside, the Zen Watch 3 is stylistically minimal with just 3 buttons. The processor does add a little weight and thickness to the watch face, so it may not be comfortable on smaller wrists. It comes with 50 unique watch face options, including widgets for quick access to information like weather or daily step count, making it a convenient option for casual fitness tracking.
It’s important to note that Android Wear OS has recently rebranded to Wear OS by Google. Most smartwatches that were previously compatible with Android Wear OS will receive an update to Wear OS by Google. Check here to see if your smartwatch watch will be receiving an update. The update will only include new logos and branding, while functionality will remain the same. There are no new features yet, but we are excited to learn all about the updates and fun stuff at Google I/O in May.
What features do you look for when you consider purchasing a standalone smartwatch? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments.