The best smartwatches for 2022: Apple, Samsung, and more

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. It is feature-rich, user-friendly, gorgeous, and extremely reliable. However, that recommendation comes with caveats -- and the biggest one is that you need to own an iPhone to use the Apple Watch.

That means that if you're using an Android smartphone, the Apple Watch simply isn't an option. But don't worry, there are plenty of great alternatives. Digital Trends has reviewed more than 100 smartwatchesfitness trackers, and wearables, so we have all the deep insight you need to find your ideal smartwatch.

Show 8 more items Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Apple Watch Series 8

Best smartwatch

  • Sleek, comfortable design
  • Display is big and gorgeous
  • Excellent health features
  • Fast charge speeds
  • WatchOS 9 is better than ever
  • Car crash detection
  • Temperature sensors are limited
  • Almost identical to the Series 7

Why you should buy this: It's the best smartwatch available.

Who it's for: Anyone who seeks a beautiful, feature-rich, easy-to-use, fitness-oriented smartwatch. Why we picked the Apple Watch Series 8: The Apple Watch Series 8 follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, the Series 7. Apple's smartwatch is currently the best watch money can buy.

Its style has been slightly updated over the years but has mostly stayed consistent with its signature rounded square design. Its large screen and slim bezels combine with 1,000 nits of peak brightness to make all data easy to see and interact with on its always-on display. Despite the market competition for fitness trackers from the likes of Fitbit, Garmin, Amazfit, and others, Apple Watch's health and activity apps remain the easiest to use and its activity rings have evolved as a linchpin for the activity metrics genre -- covering disparate activities like steps, distance, heart rate, blood oxygen, and sleep.

New features in the Series 8 dovetail with the new watchOS 9 to show real-time heart rate zones and facilitate custom workouts and sleep tracking. New features include car crash detection and automatic contact of emergency services. The Compass app shows current direction and degree and indicates a permanent marker depicting north at the top of the screen.

For those with no sense of direction, a new Backtrack feature helps retrace your steps. The Medications app tracks the medicine and vitamin intake, atrial fibrillation patients can use the watch to track their AFib history, and the Calendar app lets you create events directly on the watch. Battery life lasts a day -- sometimes longer -- and supports fast charging.

The best smartwatches for 2022: Apple, Samsung, and moreApple Watch Series 8Best smartwatchThe best smartwatches for 2022: Apple, Samsung, and moreJoe Maring/Digital Trends

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Best smartwatch for Android

  • Lightweight, comfortable design
  • Robust health tracking
  • AMOLED screen looks excellent
  • Easy access to Google apps
  • Very fast charging speeds
  • Skin temperature tracking not yet available
  • Falls short of battery life claims

Why you should buy this: It's ideal for people with smaller wrists who want a fully tricked-out smartwatch.

Who it's for: Anyone who values fast charging and improved health tracking on a Wear OS watch. Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Despite abundant similarities to its predecessor and fairly iterative improvements, Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 features a larger battery, faster charging, a durable design, and enhanced health tracking. The only difference is the larger 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor at the bottom, designed for more accurate health data.

The Watch 5 is a bit heavy but is so comfy it almost disappears on your wrist and is especially fitting for smaller wrists. The 40mm model's always-on Super AMOLED display measures 1.2-inches with 396 x 396-pixel resolution, while the 44mm is 1.4 inches at 450 x 450 resolution. It has an easy button or swipe interface and bright colors, with an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts brightness and is easy to see in direct sunlight.

It's powered by Samsung's Exynos W920 chipset, 1.5GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. It runs Wear OS 3.5 and the company's One UI Watch 4.5. The Galaxy Watch 5 battery life is respectable, but nowhere near the company's claims of 40 to 50 hours.

Fast charging worked extremely well -- better than Samsung's claims -- but the Galaxy Watch 5 uses restrictive WPC charging instead of Qi, so it's not compatible with third-party chargers. Google Assistant is available and works well and the watch features a full QWERTY keyboard for tap and swipe typing. The software now supports dual-SIM switching for multiple SIMs.

While there's easy access to a range of Google apps, there's a paucity of third-party apps available. Health tracking includes step tracking, auto workout detection, manual workout tracking, and sleep tracking, accompanied by 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, SpO2 tracking, an ECG app, and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis sensor for viewing body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, and more.

The best smartwatches for 2022: Apple, Samsung, and moreSamsung Galaxy Watch 5Best smartwatch for AndroidThe best smartwatches for 2022: Apple, Samsung, and more

Amazfit GTR 4

Best budget smartwatch

  • High functionality at an affordable price
  • Accurate GPS tech
  • New biometric tracker offers 24-hour monitoring
  • Lacks touch-to-wake feature

Why you should buy this: It does everything you want a smartwatch to do and looks great. Who it's for: Anyone on a budget who seeks all the benefits of a fitness tracker and a smartwatch.

Why we picked the Amazfit GTR 4: Don't let its low price fool you. The Amazfit GTR 4 has all the functionality you'll ever need in a smartwatch. It runs on the Zepp 2.0 operating system and features a large 1.43-inch AMOLED display with an anti-fingerprint and anti-glare technology on the glass bezel.

Its one-piece aluminum alloy middle frame and stainless steel navigation crown look elegant and attractive. In addition to its dual-band polarized GPS, it ensures 99% accurate positioning compared with other high-quality handheld GPS locators. It even lets you import a route file from the Zepp App, so you can navigate in real time.

For sports and fitness activities, it offers a selection of over 150 sports modes and recognizes eight specific sports. It supports live notifications for heart rate and hydration, distance, and more. The fitness tracker can track swimming data and withstand up to 50 meters of water pressure.

The Amazfit GTR 4 also makes a huge splash with a new BioTracker 4.0 PPG biometric sensor, which gives you accurate 24-hour monitoring of heart rate, blood-oxygen saturation, breathing rate, and stress levels. All that functionality requires a top-notch battery, and the Amazfit GTR 4 can operate for up to two weeks without needing a charge, while the watch's new battery-saver mode enables continued use of sports modes and health metrics measurements even while saving power. The watch can be used with Amazon Alexa, supports offline voice commands, and enables phone calls via your phone's Bluetooth connection.

You can even add membership cards and store codes for convenient shopping around town.