Which 2019 Smartwatch Should You Buy?

Though they were once tipped to be the next major mass-market consumer gadget, smartwatches haven’t quite reached the critical mass many expected they would. At least, not yet. That said, there are still plenty of great options out there if you are looking to buy one.

Here’s what do expect from each of them.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

What can it do?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has dedicated fitness tracking, IP68 waterproofing, built-in GPS, mobile payments (via Samsung Pay), music playback (via Spotify) sleep tracking and plays nice with any and all other Samsung SmartThings.

What can’t it do?

Since it runs on Tizen, the Samsung Galaxy Watch doesn’t support third-party WearOS or WatchOS apps. It also lacks the ECG feature found in the Series 4 Apple Watch and is limited to Samsung Pay when it comes to mobile payments.

[Related: On The Money: Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay Explained]

How good is the battery life?

The Samsung Galaxy is good for about four days of battery life per charge.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, the Samsung Galaxy Watch has a recommended retail price of $549. If you’re a Telstra or Vodafone customer, you can also connect it to your existing plan via eSim.

Do we rate it?

In our review, we concluded that “The Galaxy Watch is the best smartwatch Samsung has ever made but it's unlikely to convert sceptics.”

You can read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch here.

Apple Watch Series 4

What can it do?

The new Apple Watch supports dedicated fitness tracking, music playback (via Apple Music) IP68 waterproofing, built-in GPS, mobile payments (via Apple Pay), sleep tracking and plays nice with Apple HomeKit smart home.

The Series 4 Apple Watch also boasts an electrical heart-rate sensor, which is capable of diagnosing atrial fibrillation. If and when this feature arrives locally, it’ll allow you to take an electrocardiogram using the wearable. However, as mentioned, the feature has yet to arrive in Australia - so we don’t have a whole lot to say about it at this time.

[Related: Hear Me Out: Oppo should make a smartwatch]

What can’t it do?

Since it runs on WatchOS, the Apple Watch won’t play nice with WearOS or Fitbit Apps. You’ll also only be able to use it with an iPhone. If you have any other smartphone, you won’t be able to set up and use this smartwatch. You’ll also have to use Apple Pay for mobile payments, which might not be supported by your bank of choice.

How good is the battery life?

The Apple Watch Series 4 is good for 1-2 days of battery life per charge.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, the Apple Watch Series 4 has a recommended retail price of $599.

Do we rate it?

In our review, we said that “Having jumped between countless Android smartwatches and fitness bands over the years, I was honestly shocked at just how much more compelling Apple’s flagship wearable is to use - both in terms of hardware and software. If you already own and use an iPhone, the Series 4 Apple Watch is a $600 accessory you’re going to want to shell out for. If you fall into that box, it's not a matter of should you buy an Apple Watch but when.”

You can read our full review of the Apple Watch Series 4 here.

Huawei Watch GT

What can it do?

The Watch GT supports notifications, step-tracking, heart-rate monitoring, specialized fitness tracking (indoor & outdoor runs, climbs, indoor & outdoor cycling and swimming), sleep tracking and alarms.

What can’t it do?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to build on the Huawei Watch GT’s functionality with any sort of third-party apps, no music playback and no contactless payments to speak of.

How good is the battery life?

The Huawei Watch GT offers a category-leading battery life of fourteen days per charge.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, the Huawei Watch GT isn’t available locally but Huawei do bundle it in for free with the Mate 20 Pro.

Do we rate it?

In our review, we said that “the Huawei Watch GT isn’t the company’s first effort at cracking the space but it is, in many ways, their most interesting. At least on paper. In practice, the Huawei Watch GT is a little bit boring. It ticks most of the boxes and it sets a new benchmark for battery life but it doesn’t feel as impressive or exciting as it ought to.”

You can read our review of the Huawei Watch GT here.

Fitbit Versa

What can it do?

The Fitbit Versa delivers comprehensive fitness tracking, music playback over Bluetooth and contactless payments (via Fitbit Pay).

[Related: On The Money: Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay Explained]

Out of the box, the Versa supports sleep monitoring, breathing guide and goal setting, messaging, call and social app notifications. Additional apps are available through the Fitbit App store.

What can’t it do?

The Fitbit Versa doesn’t have GPS connectivity. It also lacks the ECG feature found in the Series 4 Apple Watch.

If you’re not a Deezer subscriber, the music playback in the Fitbit Versa is also limited to MP3 files that have been dragged over via a connected PC.

How good is the battery life?

The Fitbit Versa offers four days of battery life per charge.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, the Fitbit Versa has a recommended retail price of $299.

Do we rate it?

In our review, we said that “If its predecessor was the wearable that showed that Fitbit had the chops to make it in the smartwatch market, this is the one that you’ll actually probably want to buy.”

You can read our full review of the Fitbit Versa here.

Fitbit Ionic

What can it do?

The Fitbit Ionic supports FitbitOS apps, comprehensive fitness tracking, music playback over Bluetooth and contactless payments via Fitbit Pay. The smartwatch also supports sleep monitoring, breathing guide and goal setting, GPS tracking messaging, call and social app notifications. Additional apps are available through the Fitbit App store.

What can’t it do?

The Fitbit Ionic doesn’t have the ECG feature found in the Series 4 Apple Watch.

If you’re not a Deezer subscriber, the music playback in the Fitbit Ionic is also limited to MP3 files that have been dragged over via a connected PC.

How good is the battery life?

The Fitbit Versa offers up to five days of battery life per charge.

How much does it cost?

In Australia, the Fitbit Ionic has a recommended retail price of $449.

Do we rate it?

In our review, we said “The Fitbit Ionic isn’t quite the slam dunk product that maybe the brand’s fanatics might have hoped it would be. However, it still manages makes a strong case that - despite their wearable roots - Fitbit absolutely have what it takes to compete with the big names in the smartwatch space.”

You can read our full review of the Fitbit Ionic here.

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Fergus Halliday
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