Samsung's Galaxy Watch blends the elegance of a traditional watch with the features of a smartwatch, making it the best smartwatch of 2018.
Quite a few new smartwatches were released in 2018 even though Qualcomm's latest wearable chip didn't get announced until September, and so far only two smartwatches have launched with that new chip. That didn't keep watch and smartphone makers from debuting new smartwatches, and while it was a somewhat quiet year overall for the smartwatch market, there were some big products released from some of the biggest names in the industry. Which made it a bit tough to pick the best smartwatch of the year, but we have, and it's a pretty popular one too.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch
This year Samsung decided to go back to its "Galaxy" naming scheme with the Galaxy Watch. In previous years, it had used the "Gear" moniker for its wearables and VR headsets. However the company decided that since "Galaxy" is basically synonymous with Samsung products now, it was the better route to take. The Galaxy Watch arrived as a replacement for the Gear S3 that was announced two years earlier. There wasn't a whole lot that Samsung needed to do to make this a solid upgrade, but it still managed to find a way. The main upgrade to note comes in the form of a greater capacity battery which now means the 42mm model can last around two to three days, and up to four days for the larger 46mm Galaxy Watch. It also still has the rotating bezel which works really well for navigating through the OS, especially on such a small display.
Samsung's Galaxy Watch is an all-around great smartwatch. Instead of running on Google's Wear OS, it uses the company's own proprietary Tizen OS, which allows Samsung to get better battery life, but also call the shots on its wearables. The Galaxy Watch brought a number of improvements to fitness this year, which shouldn't be a surprise after it launched the Gear Sport last year - a more fitness-centric Gear S3 smartwatch. The Galaxy Watch is now water-proof and can actually track your swimming which is a good thing offering swimmers the option to use the watch when in the pool to track their workouts. Overall, the Galaxy Watch really stood out this year because it was one of the few smartwatches that lasts more than a single day on a charge, and that right there is the biggest complaint about wearables these days. Although the Galaxy Watch is also much cheaper than many other smartwatches currently on the market, which has made it a pretty popular option for many buyers.
Over the past few years, Samsung has really stepped up its design game across all of its mobile products, but this has been particularly noticeable in its smartwatches. The Galaxy Watch is a great looking smartwatch that will work with just about any outfit you might have. As it will work just as well when wearing a suit, or when you're in shorts and t-shirt at the gym. For those looking for something a little different, the company also released versions in Rose Gold and Silver with a black rotating bezel. So there's an option for everyone, no matter your style.
Runner Up: Fossil Sport Smartwatch
There are two main reasons why the Fossil Sport Smartwatch is a runner up, compared to the other smartwatches on the market. First is the price, as this one is available to buy starting from $255. Secondly, albeit also an extension of the first, it is the cheapest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100-powered smartwatch on the market. That is the chipset that Qualcomm announced back in September and one that's designed to be more powerful and efficient, and expected to offer better battery life than ever before. The Fossil Sport Smartwatch is running on Google's Wear OS and as an operating system it has gotten a few upgrades this year, and is now mostly a black or dark themed operating system with easier navigation and better notification visibility. Fossil also made this Sport smartwatch pretty colorful, offering it in a ton of different colors, which makes it a rather unique smartwatch that will appeal to a majority of people.