Looking for a smartwatch for your iPhone? 2018 is the best year yet for feature-packed smartwatches, and we’ve made it easier than ever to find the best with our latest round-up.
Whether you are looking for a smartwatch with LTE for untethered music streaming, or a smartwatch with accurate GPS for tracking your runs, there’s a wide range of iPhone compatible smartwatches on the market to suit your needs. So, without further ado, let’s look at the top 10 smartwatches for iPhone in 2018:
Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch 3 is the best Apple smartwatch on the market right now if you can do without cellular connectivity. It does mostly everything the LTE version does, except receive calls and notifications over a cellular network. The upside to this is price; the Apple Watch 3 is cheaper than the LTE version, and it can’t possibly charge you extra to stream data from the watch. Thrifty. And for many people, the lack of LTE isn’t a big deal.
With in-built GPS and GLONASS, the Apple Watch Series 3 tracks workouts perfectly and instantly syncs that data to iPhone when paired. You also get a heart-rate sensor for even more in-depth data. Elsewhere, the Apple Watch 3 impresses with its speed and functionality. It’s easily twice as fast as the Apple Watch Series 2 and the digital crown feels reassuringly robust, while providing one of the most intuitive ways to navigate the OS.
The only real downside to this version of the Apple Watch is that you can’t stream music on the go. You download it first. But of course, there’s a solution for that… and that solution lies with Apple themselves and the Apple Watch Series 3 LTE.
Apple Watch Series 3 LTE
The Apple Watch Series 3 LTE is mostly the same smartwatch as the regular Apple Watch Series 3. The biggest differences are that it adds cellular data (LTE), and it is available with a premium silver or black stainless-steel case in addition to an aluminium one. It also has a ceramic case back, which is much more scratch resistant that the composite back on the non-LTE model. The cellular version also increases the internal storage from 8GB to 16GB.
So, the Apple Watch Series 3 LTE offers a few upgrades over the standard Apple Watch Series 3, but is it worth the premium? Well, the addition of cellular data adds functionality to the Apple Watch, offering users the ability to receive phone calls, app notifications and stream music untethered from their iPhone and without the assistance of a Wi-Fi network.
Whether or not cellular data is worth the premium depends on where, when and what you will use your Apple Watch for. Right now, the LTE cellular functionality is only useful for receiving calls and streaming music, and even then, it’s not a perfect “untethered” feature, since your iPhone must have the same carrier as your Apple Watch.
Apple Watch 3 Nike+
The Apple Watch 3 Nike+ is based on the Apple Watch Series 3, so it’s available with or without LTE to suit your budget and lifestyle. Nike+ models come in a unique box and can be differentiated from the standard models by a Nike Sport Band. There’s also a selection of pre-loaded Nike+ watch faces to choose from and the Nike+ app is preinstalled. Other than that, the Apple Watch 3 Nike+ is the same smartwatch as the Series 3.
Buyers of the Apple Watch 3 Nike+ have access to the Nike+ Run Club by default, which is quite a useful feature. The Nike+ Run Club app includes audio cues when running to help you get more from your workouts. For instance, it will notify you when you run each mile and it will update you on your pace and progress. It’s a more advanced feature than Apple Workouts, and it’s free for all Apple Watch 3 Nike+ customers.
Because it’s priced the same as the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS and LTE models, the Apple Watch 3 Nike+ is a bargain. The bands are also extremely stylish and comfortable, with the Black/Pure Platinum Sport Loop being particularly fetching.
Suitable for running, cycling, swimming and hiking, the Fitbit Ionic is all about fitness and health tracking. It has a rather controversial design, with a very square face and angular case, but we like it. It has decent battery life too, and while the LCD screen is 384 x 250 in resolution (which is low-res compared to the competition), it makes up for that with a 1000 nit brightness, which means it’s super-usable outdoors.
The Fitbit Ionic is also feature-packed. It has GPS and a heart-rate monitor, and Fitbit has included Fitbit Coach to help you get more from your workouts. This application gives you customised workouts and feedback on your progress.
Fitbit estimates that you’ll get 10 hours of battery life whilst using GPS and streaming music, but users report over 12. On standby, you’ll easily get a day and half out of the Ionic which is right up there with the best on the market. This smartwatch also has 2.5GB of onboard storage for your music. It connects seamlessly to iPhone, but doesn’t support Siri. It doesn’t have LTE either, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker with this sort of smartwatch.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 will fit the bill. This luxury smartwatch from iconic Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer runs Android Wear 2.0 and is fully compatible with iPhone. It’s one of the fastest Android Wear smartwatches on with an Intel Atom Z34XX chipset and 512MB of RAM, and it includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity.
The first thing you notice about the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 is its outstanding build quality, weight and heft. It simply feels like a higher quality product than anything else on our list. The second thing you notice is the gorgeous fully-round 1.39” display, which has a stonking 400 x 400-pixel resolution with a beautiful Sapphire crystal to protect it.
Android 2.0 is an excellent operating system. For iPhone users, the only thing it gives up versus the Apple Watch is Siri support. But, you still get Google’s Assistant and to be honest with you, Google Assistant is better anyway. This smartwatch runs its own applications with access to its own app store, so it doesn’t rely on iPhone for anything.
Fossil Q Accomplice
The Fossil Q Accomplice is one of the best hybrid smartwatches on sale. It connects seamlessly to iPhone and lets you track your activity through a dedicated iPhone app. Being a hybrid smartwatch, the Fossil Q Accomplice has an analogue watch face but gives away its smart internals with a 0-100 progress dial on the watch face.
Battery life is one of the biggest selling points with hybrid smartwatches and the Fossil Q Accomplice delivers with a 12-month battery life. The CR214 coin-cell battery is user-replaceable and dirt cheap too. In terms of other hardware, the Fossil Q Accomplice is made from stainless steel and has a mineral crystal covering the dial.
The Q Accomplice is Fossil’s slimmest smartwatch to date and that shows. On the wrist, the Fossil Q Accomplice wears small and it looks the part under a shirt cuff. Like many hybrid smartwatches, the Q Accomplice has a silent notification system, which vibrates to alert you when you receive a notification on your iPhone.
Samsung Gear S3
The Samsung Gear S3 is an obvious choice for iPhone users, because it runs Tizen. This means it runs its own applications rather than relying on a smartphone, which does away with any compatibility concerns. It also helps that the Samsung Gear S3 is an excellent smartwatch, with a great display, solid battery life and a speedy processor.
Another thing you’ll love is the smart dial. Basically, this is a dial that you can twist left or right to scroll through the Tizen interface and your apps. It works very well, and it puts Apple’s digital crown to shame from a usability point of view. Once you have highlighted the app what you want with the dial, you tap the screen to launch it. Simple.
The fully-round display is another highlight. It’s an OLED panel so it has beautiful colours, and it has a 360 x 360 resolution. That’s not class-leading, but it’s certainly sharp enough on a 1.3” display. The Gear S3 is fast too, although it uses a Samsung Exynos 7270 processor instead of a Snapdragon processor. The RAM stands at a healthy 768MB.
LG Watch Sport
The LG Watch Sport was one of the very first smartwatches to ship with Android Wear 2.0, and it’s still one of the best today. It offers 4GB of onboard storage, is powered by a Snapdragon 2100 chipset clocked at 1.1GHz and runs 768MB of RAM. It offers a blazingly fast user experience and has excellent compatibility with iPhone.
iPhone users can setup the LG Watch Sport for phone and app notifications. However, you can’t use Google’s Assistant to send links from the LG Watch Sport to iPhone. For this, you’ll need an Apple Watch. If you can look past that drawback, the LG Watch Sport is an excellent alternative to the Apple Watch and it has a lovely, industrial design.
GPS, NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and even cellular connectivity are included with the LG Watch Sport. The latter feature uses a Nano SIM (any Nano SIM will do, so long as you have a 3G or 4G LTE data plan attached to it). Making phone calls and receiving data untethered on the LG Watch Sport is a fantastic experience and comparable to that on the Apple Watch 3 LTE.
Huawei Watch 2
The Huawei Watch 2 is a decent Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch. It’s comfortable and lightweight and features a build quality that’s more comparable to the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 than the Apple Watch. It packs GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 4G SIM tray into its stainless-steel case which looks the part with a black finish.
The display is a particular highlight, being a 1.2” OLED panel with a 390 x 390 resolution. That makes it smaller than the competition, but it also makes the watch lighter, which is a plus point depending on your needs. The display also has an ambient light sensor that adjusts brightness automatically, making it more usable outdoors.
The Huawei Watch 2 runs Android Wear 2.0, so it has access to its own app store and runs its own applications without the need for a smartphone. It connects to iPhone seamlessly and sends notifications well enough. One thing to keep in mind is that the case only has two hardware buttons for navigation the OS, and they aren’t as nice to use as the swivel dial that is found on the Samsung Gear S3.
Armani Exchange hybrid smartwatch
We end our list with the Armani Exchange hybrid smartwatch, which is available in four colours (Black, Orange, Blue, White) to suit any taste. This smartwatch offers iPhone notifications, activity tracking, music control, camera control and a ‘ring’ function which will call your iPhone to help you find it if you misplace it.
The Armani Exchange hybrid smartwatch is, in our opinion, extremely stylish and it seamlessly connects to any smartphone via Bluetooth. It accurately tracks your steps and basic activity and it is water resistant to 5ATM. The battery life stands at 6 months and you can control your music wirelessly using the buttons on the side of the case.
The Black, Blue, and White versions are listed as ‘coming soon’ on the Armani Exchange website, with a release date in early 2018. For now, you can only pick up the orange version which has a lovely orange and black rubber strap. The 44mm case on this smartwatch has a silicone coating for durability and a textured finish for a unique look.