If you have been looking on temptingly at the smartwatch market these last few years, it’s fair to say that you have done well not to pull the trigger and buy one so far. The likes of Motorola, Samsung and Apple have all launched excellent smartwatches, and even Swiss watchmakers Breitling and TAG Heuer have gotten in on the action with smartwatches that are, for all intents and purposes, aimed solely at men.
In fact, most smartwatches are aimed at men, which is understandable given the stereotype that men are more interested in tech than women. But the main reason the smartwatch market has grown as it has is because smartphones have lost momentum. We have now reached what is known in the tech world as ‘peak smartphone’, a place in the smartphone’s lifecycle where devices are as good as they can get. Sure, OEMs can release phones with bigger screens and faster processors, but we’ve seen it all before.
There’s nothing new, and that’s boring. Smartwatches meanwhile are new and they offer an exciting new way for us to interact with our digital lives.
As a result, they are selling like fish at a fish market. Looking for a smartwatch of your own? Well in this article, we have listed the top 10 smartwatches for men. We have chosen these smartwatches, because they are all on the large side and they are all fairly chunky devices fit for a larger wrist. But, women can wear them too. They are officially all unisex.
Samsung Gear S2
Forget everything you have heard about Samsung smartwatches to date – the Gear S2 is one of the best smartwatches in the world and it makes a real statement on the wrist. This is a unisex watch, but we think it suits men better than it suits women overall.
There are two versions of this watch, the Standard and the Classic, however they both have the same internals and features. The Classic is more of a dress watch with a glossy steel body and the Standard is more an outdoors watch with a matte body that’s slightly thicker.
The Samsung Gear S2 is compatible with Android devices running 4.4 or higher and at CES 2016 it was announced it’ll support iOS devices in the future. The Gear S2’s user experience is dominated by a unique rotating bezel that gives you quick access to applications. You still get a display - a 1.2-inch round Super AMOLED unit with 326 ppi – but you can rotate the bezel to do things like check fitness stats or open a calendar. It’s a really cool way to use a smartwatch. The Gear S2 is also IP67 certified so it’s water resistant and dust proof, and it runs Tizen (Samsung’s own operating system) as opposed to Android Wear.
HUAWEI may not be the best known brand in the UK, but they are in fact the largest telecommunications manufacturer in the world and their smartwatch, the HUAWEI Watch, is one of the best smartwatches in the world. It looks great with its full round screen and the face choices are impressive. We particularly like the black-plated case and the rose gold one.
The Watch is compatible with iOS and Android smartwatches. It runs Android Wear in its pure form, with the only customisation in the form of some neat HUAWEI-developed watch faces. The screen is 1.4-inches and it’s an AMOLED unit with a 400 x 400 (286 ppi) resolution. That display is protected by sapphire crystal. The case measures 42mm and the device connects to your phone by Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi. With moderate use and with the face on all of the time, you will get a day and a half from its 300mAh battery.
Above all else the HUAWEI Watch is exceptionally well made. HUAWEI have gone to great lengths to make a classy and luxurious watch that doesn’t cost the earth. It’s fantastic value overall, and it’s one of the Android Wear smartwatches to beat in 2016.
Motorola Moto 360 2nd gen
With five-star or four-star reviews across the board, the Motorola Moto 360 2nd gen is one of the best men’s smartwatches around. It’s available as a 46mm (the bigger version is chunkier, best suited to men) or 42mm and there’s also a Sport version with built-in GPS and a moulded silicone shell. For the sake of clarity, we are going to cover the regular Moto 360 below. Click here to find out more about the 360 Sport.
The Moto 360 2nd gen is compatible with iOS and Android devices. The face is dominated by a 1.37-inch IPS LCD display on the smaller watch and a 1.56-inch display on the larger option. They boast a pixels-per-inch count of 263 and 233 respectively and colours really pop on them and text is pin sharp. The watch packs a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor so the operating system, Android Wear, runs really smoothly and the case is made from the finest stainless steel which oozes quality. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and like the Samsung Gear S2 listed above, the 360 2nd gen boasts IP67 certification.
Stylish and really well made, the 360 is a smartwatch you can count on to turn heads and get people talking. Overall, it’s one of the best smartwatches on the market.
LG G Watch R
The LG G Watch R, or W110, may have been released back in 2014 but it’s still an excellent smartwatch in 2016. It can be had pretty cheap now at under £200 and it boasts one of the nicest displays of any. The watch itself is 46.4mm in diameter so it’s larger than the largest Moto 360 but it wears well and the watch is extremely well made.
The G Watch R is compatible with Android devices running 4.3 or higher and iOS devices running 8.2 and later. The display is a 1.3-inch P-OLED 320 x 320 unit with 245ppi serving up delicious blacks and colours. That display is circled by a traditional watch bezel that’s slightly concave, giving the G Watch a truly unique look. A number of software updates since launch have all but eradicated battery life woes and the R will now deliver 2 days with average use which isn’t bad at all. Like all smartwatches, the R will track your fitness including your steps and calorie burn and being an Android Wear device, you can sync your phone to send active notifications like text messages alerts, email alerts and much more.
Sealing the deal and making the G Watch a true contender for your money is the in-built heart rate sensor and barometer, features only usually found on the newest smartwatches.
Apple Watch Sport
The cheapest Apple Watch is actually the best. The Sport has the same internals as the regular Watch so it’s just as fast. The difference between the Sport and the Watch is that the Sport has an aluminium case rather than a stainless steel one. You also forfeit sapphire crystal for ‘ion-X’ glass, Apple’s cheaper glass. But it’s still a very scratch resistant material and truth be told, we prefer the matte look and feel of the Sport’s aluminium case.
As you probably already know, the Apple Watch Sport is only compatible with iOS devices so if you are an Android user, look elsewhere. If you have an iPhone though the Apple Watch is one of your best options. The UI is super smooth and opening apps is really fast. You get all the usual fitness tracking capabilities and with its rounded square dial, the Apple Watch is one of the most recognisable smartwatches on the market. It’s available in 38mm or 42mm sizes (the 42mm sits on a thicker wrist better and looks manlier) and you can choose between silver, black, gold and rose gold cases. We like the black one the best.
If you are looking for a fashionable smartwatch, this is a fantastic option. We particularly like the gold version with a Midnight Blue band.
Mondaine Helvetica 1
Mondaine are best-known for their iconic Swiss railway watches but their Helvetica line, which is inspired by the Helvetica font, is arguably as special. Mondaine have released a few different versions of the Helvetica but it’s the Helvetica 1 you want for smartwatch features.
The Mondaine Helvetica 1 is a 44mm analogue smartwatch powered by MotionX. It has arguably the nicest design of all the smartwatches on our list with a sleek stainless steel case that’s also available in gold and black courtesy of ion plating. The Helvetica 1 boasts a 2-year battery life and has two dials; one to tell the time and one to give you a visual indication as to your daily fitness progress (it will tell you how close you are to meeting your step count).
Unveiled last year, the Alpina Horological is an analogue smartwatch with a Bluetooth chip that hooks up to your smartphone. Utilising the Manufacture Modules Technologies platform, which is a Swiss Joint Venture SARL and Fullpower’s MotionX, it has all the fitness tracking capabilities of a fitness band but the style and quality of a Swiss watch.
Compatible with both Android phones and iPhone, the Alpina Horological has a battery life of two years and offers activity tracking, sleep monitoring and sleep cycle alarms. The watch itself is made from stainless steel and has a regular MMT-285 quartz movement. The dial is available in black or ‘silvered sunray’ and it is protected by a sapphire crystal. Both of those versions can be had on a stainless steel bracelet or a genuine leather strap, and there’s a 39mm version for ladies and a 44mm version for men (although, they are actually unisex).
The Alpina has two analogue dials; one that tells the time, and one that gives you a visual indication as to your physical activity. It’s a nice looking watch - but it’ll cost you. Most online stores have it for sale at £850-£950. So, you’ll have to really dig it to get one.
The Tissot Smart-Touch is arguably the most exciting upcoming smartwatch on our list because it is the first true smartwatch from Swatch Group. It is based on the T-Touch Solar, and as a result much of the watch face is made up of a photovoltaic cell which powers the quartz movement.
Embedded below the cell is a small LCD readout which can provide live notifications when synced to a smartphone. This smartwatch won’t compete with the TAG Heuer Connected, which runs Android Wear, though. Instead it is aimed squarely at active people. It has GPS and the battery life is quoted at “around a year”. In the launch video, the Smart-Touch can be seen showing directions by using the watch’s hands, which we think is really neat, and the LCD screen can show local weather information and other useful information.
The Smart-Touch also has a built-in barometer and altimeter sensors so it can track all the usual data that fitness bands can. US pricing has been confirmed at $1,100 to $1,200, which is really rather steep, but there’s no denying the Tissot Smart-Touch is a high quality device.
BLOCKS Modular SmartWatch
The BLOCKS Modular SmartWatch is all set to start shipping this year and it is without doubt one of the most hotly anticipated smartwatches of 2016.
Designed to be futureproof, BLOCKS is a user-upgradeable smartwatch which lets its users add new features by simply changing a section of the wristband. Or in other words, you can choose the modules you want and build a smartwatch based on your needs and your lifestyle. You can add a Fingerprint Module, Air Quality Module, SIM Card Module, Heart Rate Module, a GPS Module, Flash Memory Module and many more Modules to the watch.
The Modules themselves switch out with a simple click and you don’t have to turn the watch on and off to add them, so the whole process is seamless. The watch unit itself, which is called the ‘Core’, has activity tracking, voice control and Bluetooth built in as well as haptic feedback. The screen is an AMOLED unit, which is a nice addition. The BLOCKS smartwatch is available to pre-order today for $330 + shipping from the BLOCKS Kickstarter campaign.
The Nixon Mission has flown under most people’s radar this year, but make no mistake this has the potential to be one heck of a smartwatch. Nixon is calling the Mission the “world’s first ultra-rugged, action sports smartwatch”, taking a clear swipe at the excellent Casio WSD-F10. It is powered by the super-fast Snapdragon Wear 2100 system-on-chip and has water resistance to 100-metres.
The case is a mixture of tough polycarbonate and stainless steel and the round AMOLED display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. The Nixon Mission comes on a rugged orange silicone strap or it can be had with a black or grey strap. Personally, we like the orange one.
Nixon has also developed their own app for the Mission powered by Surfline and Snocountry, two services that will provide users with live conditions at a glance on the wrist.
Nixon have really talked their first smartwatch up with their claims of ruggedness, and at first glance the Mission certainly looks to be a tough cookie. It’s interesting that Nixon has decided to market their watch to surfers and snowboarders and skiers first and foremost, but the Mission is stylish enough for desk divers too. Keep your eye out for this one.