What’s the best smartwatch in 2021? our selection

Yes, when we talk about connected watch, there is the Apple Watch and the others. But all of the alternatives to Apple’s success are not to be shunned. Our guide will help you make the right choice, whatever your budget.

The smartwatch buying guide in summary:

The connected watch or smartwatch is a fairly complex product to judge. Ask the question around you and it will probably not be unanimous. There is hardly any in-between: some use it every day, others do not see the point at all. In the market, Apple can boast of being the number 1 in watches since 2019, all technologies combined, with its Apple Watch.

This success of the Apple Watch means that there is indeed a place on people’s wrists for this category of product – especially since Apple recently made it an unlocking tool. Of course, it’s not about seeing the smartwatch as a perfect replacement for a smartphone, more as a fashion or wellness accessory that does little more than tell the time. Once this precision is well integrated, it is time to make the right choice. We help you with our selection of the best connected watches of 2021.

Our recommendation: Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6 // Source: Apple

Although exclusive to the iOS environment, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the best connected watch on the market. With the previous generation, Apple offered elegance to its object, now much prettier to wear – and to look at. The Series 6 is however only a slight improvement of the Series 5, already almost perfect for the use that is proposed. We note the addition of an oxygen sensor in the blood, very useful for monitoring certain pathologies. Most of the other changes are cosmetic… or software.

Technologically speaking, the Apple Watch Series 6 just fishes in its autonomy, which struggles to exceed two days (which adds a device to be recharged often). The rest is flawless: screen – almost – comfortable edge to edge, ergonomics, performance. From the moment we accept the limits of a smartwatch, we tell ourselves that the Apple Watch Series 6 is one of the few on the market to be truly pleasant on the wrist and respond to the finger and the eye. to all our orders. Whether for sports, health or managing home automation or notifications, the Apple Watch Series 6 really has no blind spots.

Best value for money: Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE // Source: Numerama screenshot

Apple has found it useful to replicate the “SE” strategy that works so well on iPhone for its line of connected watches. The Apple Watch SE is a kind of hybrid of features of several previous watches, for an unbeatable result in terms of value for money. It doesn’t come in all of the premium finishes offered by the Watch Series 6, but you can still choose between silver, space gray, or gold.

Besides that, we find almost all the features of the Series 6 on the Watch SE.

Function Apple Watch Series 6 Apple Watch SE
LTE (optional)
Altimeter always on
Waterproofing 50 meters 50 meters
Light sensor
Optical heart rate sensor
Measurement of the level of oxygen in the blood

As you can see in this comparison table, only advanced health-related options are not available on the Watch SE. Which is perfectly understandable on a model at € 299. In short, it will be perfect if you want to buy yourself a smartwatch to see what it’s worth, without making too much of an investment.

The connected watch for Android: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The Galaxy Watch 3 // Source: Samsung

Watches for Android phones find it hard to compete with the Apple Watch, but Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 may be the one that does it best. The watch has a classic design which makes it easy to wear with any type of outfit. It is equipped with a rotating bezel which facilitates navigation within the OS. The design is therefore very successful overall, even if the rather massive case makes it difficult to recommend to people with small wrists (who will potentially prefer the more minimalist Watch Active 2.)

This Galaxy Watch 3 has many sports monitoring apps on board. More traditional apps like Spotify or Samsung Pay are also available, making the Samsung watch a very complete gadget that you can even buy in a 4G version to cut the cord with your phone. If you’re looking for a watch that can do almost everything and don’t mind the bulkiness too much, then the Galaxy Watch 3 is probably for you. It is one of the best watches compatible with the Android ecosystem.

A less connected watch: Withings Move ECG

Withings Move ECG watch // Source: Withings

Don’t look for a screen on the Withings Move ECG. In this guide, it is undoubtedly the most normal of the lot. This is already an argument for those who are looking for a more classic product, if not more discreet. But don’t be fooled by appearances, the Move ECG comes with essential features for those who want to monitor their health. Starting with a clinically tested EKG. There are also devices that monitor sleep and track activities. Everything goes through a well-thought-out Health Mate app, available on iOS and Android. And as it is a normal watch, the autonomy, guaranteed by a button battery, exceeds the year of use.

Note that Withings also has in its range of connected watches the ScanWatch, more expensive, but much more complete in terms of health monitoring.

The criteria to take into account when choosing a connected watch

What is the difference between a watch and a connected bracelet?

The world of gadgets to wear on the wrist is divided into two main categories: that of the watches we are talking about here which, in addition to relaying your notifications, allow you to control your music, answer messages or even take calls. And that of more discreet connected bracelets dedicated above all to sports monitoring. Connected bracelets often have a much smaller screen and much less advanced functionality.

What operating systems do connected watches offer?

The world of connected watches is much more fragmented than that of smartphones. Each manufacturer seems to come up with its own operating system more or less compatible with everyone’s phones. To put it simply, an Apple Watch in WatchOS is only useful if you have an iPhone. Samsung’s Tizen watches will interface without too many problems with your Android phone, but the solutions from OnePlus or Huawei (HarmonyOS) will have more random compatibility.

And Google in all of this?

If Google crushes the smartphone market with Android, the company is struggling to establish itself in the connected watch market, hence the proliferation of in-house solutions. But the research giant has recently joined forces with Samsung to try to relaunch its own solution, it will be a few months before seeing if this umpteenth attempt will finally be successful.

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