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

FEATURED VIDEO

49 Comments

52. S.Yashwanthram

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 21, 2014

Check this site people store.google.com/product/asus_zenwatch_2­ *Built-in speaker Make and receive phone calls using the watch speaker and hear an alarm or audio message through supported apps. *My Asus ZenWatch-2 lasts 3 days with light usage on the greyscale WatchFaces mode. *Best budget smartwatch. ( Rs. 11999 Only ) *No heart rate and NFC ( not very much required at all) * New android wear 1.4 with android 6 marshmallow update will bring new gestures and speaker support *Overall excellent smartwatch and a must buy smartwatch

45. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

When PA writers keep saying Samsung Gear devices don't work with iPhones, it is just stupid. They do work, they just have limited functions. Like you can get texts and calls, u just can't respond with the watch. But that will change. I bet when Samsung announces the S7, they may surprise us with announcing the S2 will work with iOS

43. shield

Posts: 900; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

LG G Watch R

37. shinywindow unregistered

Microsoft band 2. Has most of the smart watch features, definately best at fitness and is the only watch i believe that monitors your sleep. Which is important for us sleep apnea guys. Plus the looks are masculine and best of all smart/fitness watches imho. Anything is better than that krapple overpriced toy watch! Dang that thing is hideously fugly.

35. Mube007

Posts: 260; Member since: Sep 24, 2013

is there is call option in Samsung gear 2?

51. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yes. There is a 3G model just like the original Gear S.

34. AkoSiKuting

Posts: 88; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

No way, Apple watch is better

39. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Said no one ever.

33. oozz009

Posts: 520; Member since: Jun 22, 2015

The Apple Watch has a nicer Smartwatch Software than gear S2, plus a much nicer design and not to mention that it more choices in terms of which watch (size, color, model, etc) you can choose. PA what gotten into you:D

38. tedkord

Posts: 17532; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The Apple Watch has neither a nicer design not better software. The Gear S2 design is miles better looking than the Apple Watch, and it's UI is leagues above the hot mess that is WatchOS. It does have more choices in size.

32. wando77

Posts: 1172; 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

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

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

28. darkkjedii

Posts: 31809; 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.

27. Furbal unregistered

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

26. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

moto 360 !

25. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

I love my Gear S2 classic with black metal band.

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...

23. tallbob

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 01, 2015

The runner up should have been the Pebble Time Round

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

20. banglazbless

Posts: 146; 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!

14. adecvat

Posts: 678; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Moto 360 and LG Urbane 2

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.

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.

9. tedkord

Posts: 17532; 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.

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

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless