Smartwatch Comparison: The Best Smartwatch by Price and Features

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Smartwatches have evolved considerably since their conception, causing many of us to question which option is actually the best. Both Apple and Samsung will confidently tell you all of the reasons why you should opt for their smartwatches over the rest of the competition. However, there are a number of other manufacturers out there also producing excellent watches of their own.

In this guide, we have decided to settle this debate by comparing five of the most popular smartwatches currently on the market. Each option in this guide targets a slightly different demographic to the others, but this makes for a decent comparison, as the five options collectively cover most sections of the smartwatch market.

Size

When it comes to watches, one of the most important aspects is their size. Forget how technologically advanced they are, if a watch doesn’t fit properly on your wrist, the chances are that you’re not going to wear it. This means potentially missing out on all of the benefits a smartwatch brings simply because it is uncomfortable or clunky to wear.

The main component of a watch to focus on when it comes to size is the casing, as this dictates how well the watch will sit on your wrist, as well as how tightly the strap is able to fasten. One of the most common mistakes people make when choosing a watch is buying one that is too big.

In this scenario, the watch can end up hanging over the sides of a person’s wrist, causing gaps to appear between the wrist and the lugs of the watch. This prevents the watch from sitting snug on the wrist, making it feel clunky as it moves around throughout the day. From an aesthetic point of view, an overly large watch also looks rather ridiculous, giving off a blingy impression, rather than a subtle and functional one.

ModelSize
Apple Watch Series 5Case Size: 40mm, 44mm
Case Thickness: 10.7mm
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2Case Size: 40mm, 44mm
Case Thickness: 10.9mm
Fossil SportCase Size: 41mm, 43mm
Case Thickness: 12mm
Fitbit VersaCase Size: 40.6mm
Case Thickness: 12.7mm
Garmin Fenix 5 PlusCase Size: 47mm
Thickness: 15mm

Based on our findings, we have decided to award the points in this category to the Apple Watch, the Galaxy Active 2, and the Fossil Sport. The reason for this is that thy all have multiple size options available to prevent the issues sated above from occurring. This means that provided you buy the correct size for your wrist you should have no issues with the fit of these watches, making them the most versatile options in this category.

The Fitbit Versa also deserves a special mention for being a well-sized smartwatch. However, due to the fact that it only offers one size option, it doesn’t quite compare to the other models we have chosen for this category.

The worst option in terms of size is the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. whilst its size shouldn’t be an issue for those with large wrists, it will no doubt feel bulky on slender wrists. For this reason, it is hard to recommend the Fenix 5 Plus from a size perspective, as the number of people it will properly fit is lower than the other options.

Apple Watch Series 5: +1

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: +1

Fossil Sport: +1

Display

Another important aspect of a smartwatch is its display. After all, this is the min part of a watch that you will be interacting with, and for this reason, it is imperative that is up to standard.

There are three main factors to consider when judging a smartwatch display, which includes the display size, display type, and the resolution. You will also want to consider how well each of these factors comes together when considering the overall quality of each display.

For the purpose of this comparison, we have decided to focus on the larger watch sizes for those that have multiple options, as these tend to be the better sellers. We have also considered how well each display is implemented, as a good display needs to act as the focal point of a smartwatch from both an aesthetic and functional perspective.

ModelDisplay SizeDisplay TypeResolution
Apple Watch Series 544mmOLED448 x 368 pixels
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Active 2
35mmAMOLED360 × 360 pixels
Fossil Sport30mmOLED390 x 390 pixels
Fitbit Versa33mmLCD348 x 250 pixels
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus30mmLCD240 x 240 pixels

The winner in this category is clear. The Apple Watch simply blows away the competition thanks to its large OLED Retina display. Its colors are bright, its images are crisp, and its color accuracy is in a class of its own. The display also covers almost the entirety of the front of the watch, giving it a very modern look.

The Galaxy Active 2 also has a decent display. However, it falls slightly short of the Apple watch in terms of size and resolution. It does use an AMOLED panel though, giving it excellent color accuracy and plenty of vibrancy.

Apple Watch Series 5: +1

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: +1

Construction

Whether you are buying a smartwatch to use a functional tool, or as more of a fashion statement, you will want to be sure that it is both well designed and well built. After all, these devices aren’t cheap, and for the price tag that many of them command, you should expect them to last a long time.

When we say well designed, we aren’t talking from an appearance perspective, as this is a highly subjective aspect of a smartwatch, meaning that what looks good to us might not necessarily look good to you. Instead, we are looking at the design of a smartwatch from a functional perspective, i.e, how well each element of a smartwatch complements the next.

This means considering factors such as materials used to construct the watch, as well as the durability they provide. We will also be considering the strap options for each smartwatch, as these can play a big part in determining how each device should be used.

To ensure durability, we recommend opting for a smartwatch that is built from tough materials such as stainless steel or a hard polymer. Aluminum is also a decent alternative, however, you will likely notice a difference in quality if you already own a stainless steel watch of any kind.

Some watches, such as the Fossil Sport, also include a nylon option. This material isn’t as hard-wearing as the likes of stainless steel. However, it is very lightweight, making it a great choice if you are planning to use the watch while exercising.

When it comes to the strap of the watch, we recommend choosing one based on how you intend to use the watch. For example, if you are a fitness enthusiast, your best option is silicone or the fluor elastomer that comes with the Galaxy Active 2. Both of these materials are very hard-wearing, while also providing plenty of comfort, regardless of how tightly they are fastened. They are also non-porous, meaning they won’t soak up sweat.

Leather straps are preferred for more general use, thanks to the blend of comfort and style that they provide. The drawback to leather straps, however, is that they are prone to soaking up sweat and other liquids. This can not only cause them to discolor over time but also smell, especially if they aren’t washed very often.

As for metal straps, these are generally preferred for dressy occasions such as a fancy meal or gathering. They also pair well with suits, making them a great choice if you work in an office environment that has a strict dress code.

ModelCasingStrap
Apple Watch Series 5
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Silicone
  • Leather
  • Stainless steel
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Active 2
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Fluor elastomer
Fossil Sport
  • Aluminum
  • Nylon
  • Silicone
Fitbit Versa
  • Aluminum
  • Silicone
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
  • Reinforced fiber polymer/ stainless steel
  • Silicone

All of the smartwatches featured in this guide get a point in this category, as they each include the necessary design features required for their specific purposes. They are also all very well built and made from solid materials, meaning that none of them are lacking from a durability perspective.

Despite all of the models picking up points in this category, the Apple Watch deserves a special mention for the fact that it includes so many different options for both the casing and the strap. This makes it highly customizable compared to the other options on this guide, allowing you to tailor the device to suit your style.

Apple Watch Series 5: +1

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: +1

Fossil Sport: +1

Fitbit Versa: +1

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus: +1

Key Features

The main reason why many of us opt for a smartwatch rather than a conventional timepiece is because of the vast amount of features they offer compared to their traditional counterparts. Activity tracking and heart rate monitoring, in particular, have become more or less standard features on smartwatches these days, with other functions such as sleep tracking, GPS, and NFC also becoming commonplace.

Another key feature of smartwatches that is often overlooked is their ability to provide you with notifications. This is a rather simple feature, but it brings with it some huge benefits, especially if you receive a lot of notifications per day.

For example, by having the option to view notifications on your wrists, you can decide whether or not you need to reply there and then or whether it can wait. This reduces the number of times you need to take your phone out of your pocket each day to check it, which might not sound like much, but it can actually be rather time-consuming.

Another useful feature that is starting to appear on smartwatches is emergency SOS. This feature allows you to quickly call for help if you find your self in a dangerous situation. These situations could be anything from a serious fall to someone following you late at night, making the feature not only versatile but potentially life-saving.

ModelKey Features
Apple Watch Series 5
  • Activity tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • GPS
  • Cellular
  • NFC
  • Emergency SOS
  • One-way notifications
  • Always-on display
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
  • Activity tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Sleep tracking
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • Emergency SOS
  • One-way notifications
  • Always-on display
Fossil Sport
  • Activity tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Sleep tracking
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • Music storage
  • One-way notifications
Fitbit Versa
  • Activity tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Sleep tracking
  • Music storage
  • One-way notifications
  • Always-on display
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
  • Activity tracking
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Sleep tracking
  • Performance monitoring
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • Music storage
  • One-way notifications

The winner in this category is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. This watch includes all of the features we touched upon above, as well as many others, making it the most functional device in this guide. The Apple Watch and Fenix 5 Plus also earn a point in this category for their extensive feature-sets, with the latter worth highlighting for its excellent sports and GPS functionality.

The Fossil Sport and Fitbit Versa also have decent feature-sets. However, they don’t quite stack up compared to the competition. The Fitbit Versa does give you access to the impressive Fitbit app though, making it a great option for fitness enthusiasts.

Apple Watch Series 5: +1

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: +1

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus: +1

Total Score

Now that we’ve looked at all of the main aspects of each smartwatch, let’s tally up the final scores.

ModelTotal Score
Apple Watch Series 54
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 24
Fossil Sport2
Fitbit Versa1
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus2

As you can see, both the Apple Watch and the Galaxy Active 2 have scored the highest in our comparison, making them the overall winners. The Fossil Sport and Garmin Fenix 5 Plus then come in at a respectable joint second, with the Fitbit Versa coming in third.

1st: Apple Watch Series 5/ Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

2nd: Fossil Sport/ Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

3rd: Fitbit Versa

Best Overall

Despite the Apple Watch and Galaxy Active 2 receiving the same score, our overall winner is the Samsung Galaxy Active 2. This smartwatch not only includes the most well-rounded feature-set, but it also boasts significantly better compatibility than the Apple Watch, thanks to the fact that it can be used with a wide variety of different devices.

If you are an iPhone user, however, you will no doubt want to pick up the Apple Watch instead. Its integration features are far superior to the of the Galaxy Active 2 when it comes to iOS devices and the seamless interaction it provides makes the device a joy to use.

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is also worth considering if you have a passion for the outdoors, as it comes packed with excellent GPS and navigation features. It is also arguably the most premium device in this guide, making it a decent option if you are looking for a high-quality timepiece.

Best Value

The option to go for from a value perspective is the Fitbit Versa. This smartwatch might not be as premium as the other options in this guide, but it provides plenty of functionality while also being very well built.

The Fossil Sport is also well priced. However, it doesn’t offer the same level of functionality as the Fitbit Versa. The Fossil Sport does have a more premium appearance though, making it a better option if you prefer your watch to have a classier form factor.