Best smartwatch and fitness band (2015 edition)


2015 is the year when we were supposed to have jetpacks and flying cars. Instead, we got smartwatches, and just the beginning of that niche has started to form.

Some devices, however, do stand out in the crowds, and we do indeed have crowds: Samsung alone has released six smartwatches in the past year or so, and practically all other phone makers have set their sights on the new category.

The elephant in the room is, of course, the Apple Watch. The upcoming smartwatch has already gotten reviewed early by loyal media, and somewhat surprisingly, the reviews warn of long waiting times on many apps and battery life that lives up to the 18-hour promise of Apple, but not much more. Are we in for a disappointment? And what are the alternatives?

With no further ado, we give you the best smartwatches and fitness bands so far in 2015. We start with the two most anticipated upcoming devices, and continue with what's available right now in stores below. What's your favorite?

Available:

Apple Watch

Price: from $350 for Sport edition | $600 for Stainless steel | $10,000 for Edition
Release date: April 24th, 2015

To make the Apple Watch stand out, the Apple team put aluminum, stainless steel, and 18k solid gold on a table and started thinking how to make them be the best aluminum, stainless steel, and solid gold incorporated in a smartwatch. They made the Apple Watch: a gadget with an 18-hour battery life, a new system chip specifically designed for this form factor, and a brand new Taptic Engine that delivers gently tactile notifications. It's also got heart rate tracking functionality and a neat fitness and health app that urges you to stand up more often and move to stay healthy.

Samsung Gear S

Price: $329

The Samsung Gear S comes closest to the dream of the independent smartwatch: it is the only popular smartwatch that can take a SIM card and be used as a replacement to your phone. It takes calls, text messages, and handles all various notifications. Naturally, all of that power comes at the price of battery life, which is limited to just one day of real-life use on the Gear S.


Microsoft Band

Price: $199

Stuffed to the gills with sensors, the Microsoft Band will track pretty much everything you throw at it. Well, except for your sports that no tracker can actually track fully, but you already know this, don't you? For all else, the Band stands out with its cross-platform support, and its capability to track your heart-rate continuously: something that makes a huge difference for accurate calorie burning estimations for runners, for instance.


LG G Watch R

(read our review here)
Price: $299

Unlike most other smartwatches, the LG G Watch R has a circular display, making it more alike to a conventional timepiece. It's also quite obvious that LG has looked at traditional watches for design inspiration. The G Watch R is powered by Android Wear, and as such, it is more of a companion to your smartphone rather than a fully independent gadget.

Price: $250/$300 (steel band)

Visually, the Moto 360 is a remarkable testament to quality industrial design: with its solid build and high-quality materials. Moto 360 is also crammed with features: a heart rate sensor, wireless charging, ambient light sensor, dual microphones, and one luxurious looking round display.


Asus Zenwatch

Price: $199

Some have called the Asus Zenwatch 'the most traditional' amongst smartwatches. Its aesthetics are definitely its strong side, but it's not just about looks: the Asus Zenwatch runs on Android Wear, supporting the over 1,000 watchfaces available on the platform, as well as the countless apps.


Fitbit Surge

Price: $249

A true fitness band at its finest, the Fitbit Surge offers continuous heart rate tracking, long-lasting battery, and a display (a tiny one, but still) that will show you the time and your progress towards your goals. It's far from being a stylish accessory, but its utilitarian looks work great when you take it for a workout.


Pebble | Pebble Steel

(read our reviews here for Pebble and here for Pebble Steel)
Price: $99 | $199

The Pebble gave the smartwatch niche a head start: it launched as a huge success on crowdfunding site Kickstarter gettting over $10 million in funding, and the original version arrived with a low-res somewhat retro feeling screen, but a colorful design, a nearly week-long battery, and water protection to make its strong case. Then, the Pebble Steel arrived keeping the functionality but adding a metal body that made for a more premium feel to the thing. In the nearly two years since its launch, the Pebble has now dropped in price, and remains one of the most alluring and useful smartwatch offers.


Withings - Activité Pop

Price: $149

An unconventional take on smartwatches, the Withings Activite Pop looks just like a regular watch with a round body and mechanical hands. Where are its smarts? Well, they are cleverly concealed: you have a secondary dial that actually measures your progress towards your daily steps goal, and an app to tell you all about your walking stats.


Samsung Gear Fit

(read our review here)
Price: $145

The Samsung Gear Fit is a device that looks like it comes from the future: with its new-fashioned curved display and extremely light footprint, it looks like a gadget straight out of a Star Trek fantasy. At its core, it’s a cross-over between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, showing you the time, as well as tracking your steps. The Gear Fit has a few tricks up its sleeve as well, like a heart-rate monitor and a coaching mode that can set the exercise pace for runners and cyclers. It also vows to last up to 5 days on a single charge. 

Upcoming:

Pebble Time | Pebble Time Steel

Price: $199 (retail) | $299
Release date: July 2015

The big news about the Pebble Time is clearly the gorgeous new timeline UI, adorned with awesome animations and looking much faster and more responsive than the original Pebble interface. The new Pebble Time has become thinner and lighter as well. Speaking in numbers, the Pebble Time body measure 9.5mm (0.37"), some 20% less of thickness when compared with the original Pebble.

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34 Comments

1. Geek.T

Posts: 18; Member since: Apr 04, 2015

i will choose moto 360 and LG G Watch R and will also consider Sony Smartwatch 3

10. sgodsell

Posts: 7431; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Victor H. You are wrong when you said. "The G Watch R is powered by Android Wear, and as such, it is more of a companion to your smartphone rather than a fully independent gadget.". Considering you can install standalone applications on Android Wear smart watches. I left my phone in the car charging, but went into Starbucks to buy a coffee, and the watch lost its connection. I could still bring up my Starbucks bar code to pay for my coffee on the watch. Granted I can't use my voice to bring up the bar code on the watch. But I could still go through the menu to bring it up. The same goes for a number of apps and games on Android Wear. Android Wear supports both standalone apps, and phone and tablet apps that have added Android Wear functionality. The Apple watches ONLY support phone apps that add watch support. In other words Apple Watch developers CANNOT make standalone watch apps.

21. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

No Sony sw3 seriously? What a lame article just to highlight apple watch. Typical PA article.

2. Deadeye37

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 25, 2011

LG G Watch R for me!

3. drunkenjay

Posts: 1696; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

none for me.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31283; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

As an Apple user, I gotta have an AppleWatch, but the Gear S is badass.

24. Sauce5 unregistered

You dont have to. You can toss a Moto 360 on your wrist and pair it with your iPhone just like you would with an Android device. I know you don't jailbreak, but if you are interested in any Android Wear devices maybe you might want to.

25. darkkjedii

Posts: 31283; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Nahhh, I want that sport bro. That's what I got my eyes set on.

28. Sauce5 unregistered

Same here. Mostly for the gym / the football field & track I work out on at night. Would totally benefit my full body workouts I do and give me a better understanding of where I stand. I myself will be waiting for the next gen model to come out. But yea, just felt to share what I said above so people know it -IS- possible and has been done already. The Moto 360 is stylish and classy, which is what I love. I just don't see me using it out to a dinner date or office meeting AND in the gym or on the field. Thats what I like about the Apple Watch. Stylish and useable (for my lifestyle/fashion) in all aspects. I do want to get my hands on the 360 though, so I will have a watch synced to both my Note and iPhone. I guess I have myself a dilemma. Guess Ill just have to buy both one day xD

5. romeo1

Posts: 816; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

No sw3? And how biased is the part of the apple watch. Did apple say they did put the materials on the table? And it says it has a 18hr battery life. About the gear s :Naturally, all of that power comes at the price of battery life, which is limited to just one day of real-life use on the Gear S.

20. engineer-1701d unregistered

gear s is real life 2 days thats what i get

6. Hammerfest

Posts: 384; Member since: May 12, 2012

I actually like my Gear S... its weird... used a pebble prior...

7. buenos

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 24, 2014

Why no love for the gear 2 neo? It is the most usable, user friendly device out now? Has had all the useful features in one device....only downside is you have to connect to Sammy phone....

8. gaming64 unregistered

Oh no! You got an image from TechRadar. Let me tell you this. I stopped going tomTechradar because they are HUGE iSheeps. They're really biased, every article is biased, and they have horrible writing.

9. gaming64 unregistered

I like the software of the Apple Watch. It is really customizable but I guess the best look for me is the Moto 360. It looks like a waterfall:)

14. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

How exactly is it customizable?

17. gaming64 unregistered

It's no use if I comment to an iHater. Go rain me with facts and propagandas, it'll change nothing.

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 31283; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Good post, I'm ignoring him from here on out. Had to check him on the 5S article. I'm done with him now, he'll be leaving 5,000 word essays for nothing, if they're directed at me. +1

15. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

How exactly is it customizable?

30. AlikMalix unregistered

Instead of always looking for Dirt on Apple, you may want to try some real information... You can start here and good luck with the rest:http://www.apple.com/watch/

11. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

I realized the only thing I want on my wrist is the Xiaomi miband. For $13, it gives the functions I need. It is coming to the US in April, so I will buy it then. I already have the app on my phone.

12. Simona unregistered

best smart watch arena?? ar u paid from them so that is why u promoting them ?? where did u forget AGAIN alcatel smartwatch which cost 150 or huawei smart watch ??? ON purpose u NTO showing them but u have to show apple ? or samsung ? LG .. mmost expensive ? Naive !

18. Rydsmith unregistered

Maybe, and I'm just throwing this out there, maybe because they haven't come out yet? The Apple Watch has been in the hands of reviewers for over a week and this was included.

13. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I get 2 full days of usage on my Gear S. That 2 full 24 hour days not work days. Funny how the Apple Watch is top in the list, but the others like Pebble were sold first, that and you can even purchase the Apple Watch yet

16. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I'll stick with my 360 for now. But the Huawei, Alcatel, and the Neptune Duo have me intrigued.

19. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

How's it possible that the Sony Smartwatch 3, that most reviewers consider the overall best android wear smartwatch available at the moment, is not in the list?

22. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 207; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

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23. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 207; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

The most beautiful band is the one on the left from Poiret if it was paired to an iwatch. Dynamite!

27. Dee79

Posts: 307; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Moto and Asus have the best style by far

29. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 207; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

I think the second best is Microsoft band. I think the future is narrow and long watches wear buckle up so you can read your watch from the palm of your wrist which is easier.

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