The past two years, 2020 and 2021, have been unique in many ways. But a few things will start to feel familiar as we move closer towards the end of the year — the quickly approaching holiday season and the worry about finding the perfect gifts at the perfect prices. Swappa is here to help ease those concerns, and we’ve got you covered if that special someone in your life has been asking for a smartwatch.
Which smartwatch should I buy?
There are several different options to consider when it comes to smartwatches. Of course, you have the Apple Watch. You also have smartwatches that run Samsung’s Tizen operating system and Google’s Wear OS. And then there are smartwatches that focus more on fitness, such as those from Fitbit.
Which model you choose will be somewhat dependent on which smartphone you own. For example, if you own an iPhone, you’ll probably want an Apple Watch. And if you own a Samsung phone, you’ll likely want a Samsung smartwatch.
Matching brands ensures the best integration between your watch and your phone. But some smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa lineup, which is also an excellent fitness tracker, will work with both iOS and Android smartphones. Continue reading as we outline the models we recommend.
Best Apple Watches
The Apple Watch Series 7, which is the newest Apple Watch, was released in October 2021. While it can be fun to have the latest model, the Series 7 release really just made the previous years Series 6 a bit more appealing. Sure, the Apple Watch Series 7 has a larger display and faster charging, but this release also means better deals on earlier models such as the Series 6.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is available in a few color options, and two different sizes, 41mm or 45mm. Previous generations (Series 6, Series 5, and Series 4) of the Apple Watch were available in 40mm and 44mm, and the Series 3 and older versions were available in 38mm and 42mm sizes. The decision on which color and size to purchase will come down to the preferences of who will be wearing the watch. You can also get an Apple Watch with cellular connectivity, or one with just WiFi and Bluetooth — the cellular model also has WiFi and Bluetooth. Both of these options allow you to pair the smartwatch with your phone, and the models with cellular connectivity will allow you to venture out without your phone.
If you are looking for a smartwatch to pair with your iPhone — the Apple Watch is the first and best choice. We recommend checking out the Series 6 or the Series 5 if you are looking for the best deal. These models share many of the same features, such as an always-on-display and a built-in compass app, which was introduced in the Series 5. Otherwise, if you are content with raising your wrist to activate the display — spend a little less and go with a Series 4.
Best Android Smart Watches
Unlike with the Apple Watch, where the majority of features are the same across various models when you are looking for the best smartwatches for Android — you’ll want to keep in mind that some models offer better battery life, and some will have GPS while others do not. Similarly, fitness-related features such as heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen sensors may not be available on all models.
Smartwatches that are compatible with Android can run Tizen from Samsung, or Wear OS from Google. While that may sound like an added complication when choosing a smartwatch for an Android user — both Tizen and Wear OS work with Android. That said, if you are looking for a smartwatch to pair with a Samsung smartphone — the Galaxy Watch Active2 or Galaxy Watch4 should be the first options you consider.
Samsung touts many of the same features for these two models, such as multiday battery life, fitness tracking, auto workout-tracking, health monitoring, and sleep and stress monitoring. Both models also have a 1.2” display. Perhaps the key difference is in the color options and the overall look. If the price is your biggest concern, we recommend going with the Galaxy Watch Active2. But if you’re looking for the newest model, the Galaxy Watch4 is the model to pick.
Another option we recommend is the Fitbit Versa line. The Versa works with the iPhone and also with Android smartphones. The Fitbit Versa is a smartwatch with features such as an always-on display, multiday battery life, and Fitbit Pay, which allows you to make NFC payments with just your watch. Of course, as Fitbit is known for fitness tracking — the Versa lineup is also an excellent fitness tracker with step counting, heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, and more.
You’ll find that Versa 2 and Versa 3 share many of the same features. However, there are some differences such as the Versa 3 having a bigger display, and the Versa 3 has built-in GPS, which allows for GPS tracking without using the GPS from your smartphone.
Best smartwatches for kids
Depending on the age or maturity level, a smartwatch can be a good piece of technology for a kid. You can find some smartwatches that are made specifically for kids, such as the Garmin Vivofit Jr. However, some smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch may offer a better experience. For example, Apple introduced a feature called Family Setup with watchOS 7. Family Setup lets you set up a cellular-compatible Apple Watch for your child — without needing to also give them an iPhone.
Apple’s Family Setup works with the Apple Watch SE with cellular or with the Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, Series 6, or Series 7 with cellular. You’ll likely want to be careful with how much you spend on a smartwatch for a kid given they can be rough and there is the possibility of damage, so in that regard, we’d recommend checking out the Apple Watch Series 4 or an Apple Watch SE.
Swappa’s Quick Picks
The holiday season is hard, and part of the difficulty comes in having to make decisions that aren’t always easy, or quick. That said, what follows is a list of quick picks to help make your decision making process a bit easier.
- Best watch for iPhone users: Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm or 44mm)
- Best watch for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 (40mm or 44mm)
- Best fitness-first smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 2
No matter which smartwatch you pick, Swappa makes buying even easier with Buy Now, Pay Later. Get the tech you want today, and pay for it in 4 easy installments spread over time.
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