There are so many different smartwatches available nowadays, but there’s been a definite shift in the landscape over the past year. Without sugar-coating anything, any one of the Apple Watch models remains the best smartwatches for iPhone, but the competition isn’t as fierce as it once was. With Google’s transition to Wear OS 3, we’re seeing fewer smartwatches that are compatible with both iOS and Android. And that’s a real shame when you look at something like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or the Pixel Watch. Both of these smartwatches are incredible in their own right but simply won’t work with the iPhone. That being said, here’s a list of what we think the best smartwatches for iPhone are.
- Apple Watch Ultra Review Roundup: The Best Apple Watch Ever
- Apple Watch SE vs. SE 2nd Gen: Key Differences
- Fitbit vs Apple Watch: The Best Wearable Fitness Tracker For You
- Best Apple Watch Ultra Health and Fitness Apps
- How to Get 60 Hours Of Battery Life With Apple Watch Ultra
Best Smartwatches for iPhone
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra is the company’s “most rugged” wearable ever, using an all-new titanium design for its casing. The case itself measures in at 49mm, which is quite a bit larger than the 45mm casing found in the largest Apple Watch Series 8 model. But instead of rounded edges on the glass, the Ultra uses a flat sapphire crystal display. Apple says this was done in an effort to allow for the improved display edge protection, which brings raised edges around the screen itself.
This isn’t your average Apple Watch, and it’s immediately apparent. While it shares the same IP6X dust resistance rating, the Ultra is the first Apple Watch to sport an MIL-STD 810H rating, while also being water resistant up to 100m. It’s also swimproof and can handle recreational dives up to 40m, coming equipped with the EN13319 certification to operate as a diving computer on your wrist.
Apple Watch Series 8
With the Series 8, you’ll be able to get this new smartwatch in either 41mm or 45mm, keeping with the changes introduced with last year’s Series 7. As expected, the Series 8 is swimproof (up to 50mm) and also sports an IP6X dust resistance rating. So you’ll be able to go for a swim, take a hike, or just get some work done around the house without worrying about unwanted debris mucking up your watch.
When it comes to health and fitness tracking, the Series 8 continues to be capable of tracking your heart rate, monitor your blood oxygen (SpO2) levels, and even detect irregular heart rhythms (through AFiB). But for the first time on an Apple Watch, the Series 8 introduces an all-new temperature sensor. In fact, there are actually two temperature sensors found on the watch, with one found right beneath the display and another built into the sensor cluster on the underside.
Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation)
When watchOS 9 was announced at WWDC ’22, it all but confirmed that the Apple Watch SE and Series 3 would be eventually removed from the lineup. This makes plenty of sense given how long they have been available for, but it also ditched any notion of a low-cost Apple Watch. Those concerns were rectified with the introduction of the “new” Apple Watch SE.
Essentially, this appears to be a modified version of the Apple Watch Series 6, as it’s available with either a 40mm or 44mm case size. As expected, you won’t have an Always-On Display, but the Retina Screen can reach up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness. Apple also confirmed that the display being used on the SE is 30% larger than the Series 3, and thanks to the updated chip, it will provide 20% faster performance.
Fitbit Sense 2
Even after being acquired by Google, the Fitbit Sense 2 is one of the more robust smartwatches on the market. Not only does it have the added benefit of working across both iOS and Android, but it also now features a physical button on the side to help with navigation. This is a massive improvement over the original Fitbit Sense, which featured a touch-sensitive “button” that was largely unreliable.
With the Sense 2, you’ll find a 1.58-inch AMOLED display, coming in slightly smaller than the Apple Watch Series 8 and quite a bit smaller than the Apple Watch Ultra. Battery life is where the Sense 2 really stands out, as it is rated to last for up to six days on a single charge, while also providing a 5ATM water resistance rating, and being much lighter than many of the other best smartwatches for iPhone.
Fitbit Versa 4
There was once a time when the Fitbit Versa was the company’s flagship smartwatch, but following the release of the Sense in 2020 and the Sense 2 along with the Pixel Watch in 2022, this just isn’t the case any longer. We wouldn’t hold it against you if you looked at the Versa 4 and Sense 2 side-by-side and got confused about which is which. That’s because they are both using the same case design, down to the same dimensions, and both feature the physical side button and the same 1.58-inch AMOLED display.
Battery life is also rated to last for up to six days on a single charge, and recent updates to both the Versa 4 and Sense 2 have brought the ability to use Google Pay and Google Maps, if you decide that you want to give them a shot. What really separates the Versa 4 from the Sense 2 are the health and fitness tracking sensors, as the Versa 4 is simply not as robust as the Sense 2 in this regard. But in the event that you’re looking for a low-cost alternative to the Apple Watch, and don’t care about having the “latest and greatest”, the Versa 4 is a fantastic choice.
Garmin Instinct 2 Solar
Garmin smartwatches are some of the best on the market, being able to stand up to the test that the Apple Watch continues to put on the wearable market. Of course, this isn’t a traditional smartwatch in the sense that you can’t download and use apps from the Apple App Store. But there are a plethora of apps available when you download the Garmin Connect and Connect IQ apps onto your iPhone.
The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar is unique in that it’s capable of lasting for up to 28 days if you opt for the non-Solar variant, but thanks to the power of the sun, the Instinct 2 Solar is capable of offering “unlimited” battery life. It’s definitely a bulkier smartwatch, designed to withstand the ruggedness of the outdoors, and is reminiscent of the Casio G-Shock lineup of traditional watches.
Garmin Venu Sq 2 – Music Edition
If you like what Garmin has to offer with its variety of smartwatches, but want to go for a more-traditional look, then you’ll want to check out the Garmin Venu Sq 2. There are actually two models of this smartwatch, and we’d actually recommend the Music Edition, as the standard version doesn’t allow for you to store music for offline listening.
Regardless of that, the Venu Sq 2 sports a beautiful AMOLED display, along with a lightweight and comfortable design. The button navigation does take a bit to get used to, but this is another one of the few smartwatches that works with either iOS or Android.
Andrew Myrick is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is having a never-ending supply of different keyboards and gaming handhelds that end up collecting more dust than the consoles that are being emulated.