PhoneArena Awards 2015: Best Smartwatch

PhoneArena Awards 2015: Best Smartwatch
Guys, we're definitely, most certainly living in the future – take a look around you, and it should be clear to see why. We have holograms performing at concerts, we have self-parking cars, we have the knowledge of the world accessible from our phones, we have tiny yet smart computers that strap to our wrist. The latter type of gadget is known as a smartwatch, as you surely know.

Now, wearing high-tech electronic gadgets isn't exactly a new concept. In 2001, for instance, IBM showed us a Linux-powered watch, and in 2004, Microsoft released one that could deliver stocks, news, sports results, and more bits of data. It is now, however, that smartwatches are starting to make sense. They have a great number of uses and come at a broad range of price points. No less importantly, modern smartwatches do look like actual watches, not like contraptions inspired by the Ninja Turtles Communicator. In other words, a non-geek wouldn't mind being seen wearing one of them. 

But what are the best smartwatches out there? Which were the models that impressed us the most this year? Well, these are the questions we'll answer today. We're officially kicking off our PhoneArena Awards of 2015 series, and today we'll honor the year's best smartwatches. With companies like Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Asus, and Huawei all in the race for the consumer's wrist, it was not easy to pick the best smartwatch of the year, but in the end, we agreed that the title belongs to the...

Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic

Many are the reasons why the Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic deserve to share the spot as 2015's best smartwatches. They're fast, good-looking, well-designed, and not outrageously expensive. But perhaps most importantly, they have the true potential to appeal to both ladies and gentlemen, as well as to both tech aficionados and regular folks willing to give a smartwatch a try. 

Now, there's no denying that the Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are a bit pricey. The two cost $300 or more as of this writing. In exchange, however, you get one well-made smartwatch – one that's fun and convenient to use thanks to its circular user interface and rotating bezel for navigation, one that doesn't mind getting wet under the rain or during an intense exercise, one that will track your activity (or lack thereof) with its multitude of sensors, one that will last you way more than a day per charge. All in all, if you want to treat yourself to a smartwatch this holiday season, the Gear S2 and S2 Classic are the two you should first take a look at... unless you're an iPhone user. A drawback of Samsung's smartwatches is that they can't be paired with iPhones, at least not yet.

Runner-up: Apple Watch

Although it did not receive as much praise from us as Samsung's offerings, the Apple Watch remains one of the best smartwatches money can buy. And it is probably your best pick if you're already an iPhone owner – most other smartwatches, the Gear S2 included, can't be paired with Apple's smartphone. 

As other Apple products, the Apple Watch does not come cheap, especially if you wish to customize yours with a fancy wristband or if you're after the larger, 42-millimeter model. But Apple's wearable is packed to the brim with advanced technology – a Force Touch display that senses different levels of pressure, a Taptic Engine that gently "taps" your wrist when a notification arrives, and a set of highly-precise sensors to track your activity with, to give a few examples. Then come the apps – plenty of them are available for download, together comprising the richest smartwatch app ecosystem right now. 

But if there was something we could change about the Apple Watch, we would have surely asked for a more inspiring design. It's a good-looking piece of hardware, but not one inspiring enough given the price. Oh well, perhaps the rumored 2nd generation of the Watch will take care of that.

Story timeline



1. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

The Apple watch is awful. Used it over the weekend. The only thing it has going for it is the sharp design.

46. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I said that too. But I get called a hater. Am I still a hater? Of is it hate on lyrics when you disagree? Just askin. In fact I stated the same thing you did. I said it was a cool toy, but it's only cool thing is the look. It's a pain tonise. Force Touch makes it take longer to do stuff. The crown is just lame. If I had one I would think I need to turn that to wind up the watch. But I would buy one if it was 149 or less. Looks is all it has I just want it for a tech toy. A smart watches are just cool toys. If you're into fitness a fitness band is more than enough. I like my Gear S, but it's as useful as tissue. You use it when you need it. Other than that, I'm just wearing an expensive almost useless watch. But I still just bought 2 Gear S2 because I love tech toys and I could get them for the price I was willing to pay for something more useful.

3. Tarox

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 17, 2015

I own the gear s2 classic and tested the apple watch in a store. There is just such a big a gap between this two when it comes to nice usability. That rotating bezel is so great, after using it you can't thinkt of any other method beside that using a smartwatch. Thats really the main killerfuture to me. Of course I also like the round design way more, but I still think that's something subjective.

18. maherk

Posts: 7049; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I own both the Huawei Watch and the Gear S2, and as much I used to love my Huawei Watch, I have been finding myself using the S2 way more than the HW. At first I was skeptical about my choice, and if I did the right thing in buying the S2, simply because I felt that the screen is way too small for my own taste. But after a while it grew into me and I don't find it an issue at all, so I started appreciating the other aspects of this watch, which are many when compared the HW. 1-The experience is way smoother, transition between apps and pages couldn't be any faster than it is on the S2. 2-The rotating bezels isn't just pleasing, but also keeps me from wiping the screen every now and then. 3-It doesn't suffer from the red tent found on my HW. 4- Great, great battery life. 5-Built in ambient sensor without the need to ruin the watch with that ugly flat tire. 6-Two side buttons are better than one. 7-Heart rate monitor is faster than ever, and accurate as well. My only grip is that it lacks the watchmaker premium app compatibility, and I hope the developers behind this app are working on a version for tizen.

6. RuneMaster

Posts: 75; Member since: May 31, 2015

It's very logical as Gear S2 is currently best SmartWatch available. Waiting for Apple Watch2.

8. shield

Posts: 888; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

LG Watch is best in the world apple watch and gear s2 is bulls**t!!

16. maherk

Posts: 7049; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

What is an LG Watch?

17. Shocky unregistered

LG Urbane is a good watch, not the best in my opinion but maybe runner up.

9. tedkord

Posts: 17507; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The Apple Watch functions nicely for the most part. It's true downfall is design - it's ugly, and as a piece is jewelry that's important. The only other issue is the UI design, which is a hot mess. Navigation on the Gear S2 is just much more intuitive and simple. It looks better, too. That said, I tried out the Gear S2 recently, and the watch is too small. While I think some others went too big with the round smartwatches, this one went a bit too small. It might be ok for a woman's watch, but men's watches are usually quite larger than that.

47. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Did you check.out the Classic?

48. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

People claimed the Gear S was to big, now the 2 is too small? How big should it be? It's not a Ironman sports watch. Lol. Yes it is small but I think it's cool size. It sucks I think for reading texts or am email. It's OK for fitness, calls and quick glances.

11. Shocky unregistered

Apple watch is runner up? It's hideous. Why not the LG Urbane and Motorola 360 2nd ? Apple watch shouldn't even be in the list, it's their first attempt and it sucks.

13. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

Apple watch lol... It really doesn't deserve to be mentioned but I guess every watch is not really significant for now.

14. adecvat

Posts: 662; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Moto 360 and LG Urbane 2

20. banglazbless

Posts: 140; Member since: Feb 05, 2014

Rightfully deserved. I still don't know why the Apple watch gets the runner up position.

49. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because it's PA!

21. Shocky unregistered

If anyone ever doubted that Phonearena were biased towards Apple, think again. :D

50. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

One article isn't going to change that. If they had aimed the Apple Watch was number of e, they would have gotten an endless amount of bashing and criticism. Right now it's not about bkas, it's about fact. The Gear S2 is factually the best watch as the S6 is the best phone for 2015. Facts are facts, no matter the bias. Apple should have did. Enter because they had 3 years to watch others. SAMSUNG took several attempts. The Gear S and Fit are the ones I thought were best. The original Gear which I did buy with my Note 3 was terrible. But I loved taking pictures when people didn't know it. I took over 500 photos with it. Even the apple watch can't take pics. A watch shouldn't be a touch screen device. It's to small and using a finger blocks it. Pretending Ron have feedback with a buzzer isn't as easing as actually feeling a mechanical physical feedback you get from the bezel on the G2. I gave the apple Watch a fair shot. I spent 15 mins at Target and 20 mins or so at an Apple Store. I decide if I had to spend nearly three same amount of money, the Gear2 was the better buy. The Apple Watch shouldn't be more than 149

23. tallbob

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 01, 2015

The runner up should have been the Pebble Time Round

24. Obádárà

Posts: 218; Member since: Nov 02, 2015

... Thank goodness, P. A is giving it to Samsung this time around, well deserved. Because its always been apple, apple, apple...

25. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

I love my Gear S2 classic with black metal band.

26. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

moto 360 !

27. Furbal unregistered

Sorry, but the Huawei watch and MS Band 2 are better at their price point compared to the Apple watch imo.

28. darkkjedii

Posts: 31749; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple and Samsung probably have the 2 watches with the most impact.

31. hwb01

Posts: 355; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

Truth Since Apple and Samsung have first party operating systems, they can offer better integration. However, they do both still have drawbacks.

29. dmakun

Posts: 382; Member since: Jun 06, 2011

Wow! I'm delightfully surprised PA have it to the gear S2 for best smart watch 2015. I love my Gear S2 but wish its screen was a little bigger & the gear app store really needs developer support to grow

30. FrankUnderwood2

Posts: 243; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

Hey Nick T, why not LG Watch Urbane 2 and Huawei Watch?

40. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

beause its not the best, nor apple's

32. wando77

Posts: 1169; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Love my gear s2 classic but wish somebody would make a mickey mouse watch face :)

41. Tarox

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 17, 2015

Download Mr.Time Maker app on the gear and phone. There are many watchfaces e.g. also some with mickey mouse :D

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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