Best Smartwatches of 2022

These top models from Apple, Citizen, Fitbit, and Samsung offer great performance and a variety of useful features

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Illustration of a smart watch with apps floating around it. Illustration: Getty Images

In many ways, smartwatches are the fulfillment of those comic book fantasies of a tiny computer you wear on your wrist. They let you answer phone calls and texts, keep track of your daily step count and other workout metrics, play music, check your to-do list, and more.

That said, they can be needy, too. Even a model with cellular service must be paired with a smartphone at times.

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So you have to think about your phone when shopping for a watch. Apple watches tend to work most seamlessly with iPhones, while watches that operate on Google’s Watch OS perform best with Android phones.

So choosing the right smartwatch can be a complicated task. Some models are essentially fitness trackers on steroids, adding a few extra features to a device that’s happiest counting steps taken and calories burned. Others feel a little more like a full-fledged extension of your phone.

The smartwatches below all performed very well in our labs, where Consumer Reports testers checked the accuracy of step counts and heart rate monitoring functions, the durability of the displays, and much more. As always, the devices were purchased at full retail, the same way you would buy a watch.

Apple Watch SE

What it is: Apple’s meat-of-the-market smartwatch

What’s to like: The SE represents the best value in the Apple Watch line. The display is a tiny bit smaller than the one on the new Series 7, and the device lacks a few features like a blood oxygen sensor, which is useful for sleep tracking. But for most people the SE looks and works just about the same as the top-of-the-line Series 7 for significantly less money.

Our testers find that the SE outperforms the Series 7 by a slim margin in ease of interaction—how quickly and accurately the watch responds to a command—as well as in heart rate and step-count accuracy.

What’s not to like: As with all Apple watches, the SE’s 18-hour battery life is a bit of an issue. You’re likely to find yourself charging the watch on a daily basis. And while it’s not a drawback per se, Apple Watches all but require you to use an iPhone for the most seamless integration.

Samsung Galaxy Watch4

What it is: The latest smartwatch aimed squarely at consumers who use Samsung’s smartphones

What’s to like: The Galaxy Watch4 has a bright, round, 1.3-inch AMOLED display that can showcase a variety of interesting watch faces. The model also has a mic and speaker for handling phone calls. From a features point-of-view, the Galaxy Watch4 offers a robust suite of health and fitness options, including a blood oxygen sensor, ECG monitoring (that could detect irregularities in heart rhythm), and even a sensor that is claimed to measure body fat.

What’s not to like: If you have an Android smartphone not made by Samsung, you won’t be able to tap the Galaxy Watch4’s full capability, including that array of fitness features under the Samsung Health umbrella. The Galaxy Watch4’s claimed battery life of two days is also relatively short.

Bottom line: The Galaxy Watch4 is an attractive option if you have the right phone.

Citizen CZ Smart

What it is: A retro-look smartwatch from a company best known for traditional analog watches

What to like: The traditional styling will appeal to users who want smartwatch functionality in a model with the look of something made of chunky stainless steel. The watch also performed very well in our labs, with solid scores in ease of interaction as well as heart rate and step-count accuracy.

Compatible with both Android phones and iPhones, the watch offers GPS, although it lacks a blood oxygen sensor, which limits its sleep tracking functionality.

What’s not to like: With a retail price of around $400, the CZ Smart is significantly more expensive than the functionally similar Fossil Gen 5; you’re paying a premium for that attractive stainless steel case. The CZ Smart’s Wear OS2 operating system is about to be replaced, and for the moment at least, the CZ isn’t slated to get the OS3 upgrade. The one-day reported battery life is also relatively short.

Bottom line: A solid performer with elegant looks that will appeal to many consumers.

Fossil Gen 6

What it is: A slick-looking watch that can play nice with Android phones and iPhones

What’s to like: The Gen 6 will be able to run the Wear OS3 operating system, which promises to be a significant upgrade over Wear OS2, when it becomes available later this year.

The Gen 6 also features standalone GPS, which helps runners and cyclists track their workouts, and a blood oxygen sensor that enhances sleep tracking.

What’s not to like: The Fossil Gen 6’s claimed battery life is only a day, which is very short. The Gen 6 also depends on the rather basic Google Fit suite of health and fitness apps. And while it has a blood oxygen sensor, it lacks ECG functionality that can measure heart rhythm irregularities.

Bottom line: An attractive model that should get better with the planned OS3 update.

Fitbit Versa 3

What it is: A versatile, inexpensive smartwatch likely to please Fitbit fans.

What’s to like: If you have a Fitbit fitness tracker, you’re likely to feel at home with the Versa 3, especially if you see the benefit of the large display. The model works with Android phones and iPhones, although it’s probably a better option for the Android user.

Unlike earlier Versa models, the Versa 3 one has built-in GPS which allows you to go for a run or a ride without hauling your smartphone along, plus a blood oxygen sensor, which enhances its sleep tracking capabilities. It also has a mic and a speaker, allowing you to take calls via a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. Our testers find that it’s a solid performer when it comes to counting steps and tracking heart rate.

What’s not to like. The Versa 3 still looks a bit like a fitness tracker, so it might not be your first choice for an important meeting or a first date. It also lacks the stress-tracking features found on Fitbit’s higher-end Sense smart watch.

Bottom line: A fitness tracker at heart, the Versa 3 adds enough smartwatch features that you’ll be happy to wear it to the office.

Amazfit GTR 2

What it is: An attractive, budget-priced smartwatch that won’t break the bank.

What’s to like: Compatible with both Android and iPhone models, the GTR2 has two big things going for it: The price is very low, and the battery life is really good, at a claimed 14 days. The case design is sleek, channeling some higher-end analog watches, and the touch screen display is bright and easy to read. The model also features standalone GPS.

What’s not to like: As you might expect for the price, the fitness features of the GTR2 are pretty basic. The model also lacks connectivity with third-party apps like Spotify.

Bottom line: The Amazfit GRT2 is legitimately cheap but doesn’t look it and, despite the price, is a solid performer.

Garmin Venu 2

What it is: A smartwatch from a company known for its performance-oriented fitness trackers.

What’s to like: The Venu 2 is more stylish for everyday wear than the company’s previous offerings and is compatible with both Android phones and iPhones.

It’s also packed with a variety of activity profiles, ranging from basic workouts like running to more esoteric ones like indoor rowing and bouldering. It even includes workout animations that show you how to do exercises and which muscles are targeted. The Venu2 also features a very long claimed battery life of up to five days.

What’s not to like: The Venu 2 lacks a speaker or mic for taking phone calls, which some users might see as a significant drawback. (The newer Venu 2 Plus, which we haven’t reviewed yet, does add a mic and speaker.) Also, the Venu 2’s heart rate monitor accuracy is only average and actually a bit worse than the previous-generation Venu.

Bottom line: If you’re more interested in beating your personal best than emptying your inbox, the fitness-oriented Garmin Venu 2 could be a smart choice.

Allen St. John

I believe that technology has the power to change our lives—for better or for worse. That's why I’ve spent my life reporting and writing about it for outlets of all sorts, from newspapers (such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) to magazines (Popular Mechanics and Rolling Stone) and even my own books ("Newton’s Football" and "Clapton’s Guitar"). For me, there's no better way to spend a day than talking to a bunch of experts about an important subject and then writing a story that'll help others be smarter and better informed.