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Smartwatches have evolved beyond mere timekeeping; they have become indispensable tools for modern living. From tracking your fitness progress to receiving essential notifications and even interacting with voice assistants, these intelligent timepieces offer a world of convenience right on your wrist. With a smartwatch, you can leave your phone in your pocket and effortlessly handle daily tasks. The Apple Watch Series 8: Perfect for iPhone Owners

Price: $329 at Amazon

The Apple Watch Series 8 reigns as the undisputed champion in the world of smartwatches. With its sleek design and the powerful WatchOS operating system, it minimizes the need for constant phone access. While the Series 8 doesn't introduce groundbreaking changes over its predecessor, it boasts innovative features like a skin temperature sensor, valuable for tracking fertility and periods. Additionally, its Crash Detection feature ensures your safety in case of emergencies.

Health enthusiasts will appreciate the oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor, ideal for altitude training or monitoring health conditions, and the FDA-cleared electrocardiogram sensor. The only downside is its battery life, which necessitates daily charging, but WatchOS 9 introduces a Low Power Mode for extended use. Keep in mind that the Series 9 is expected soon.

*Available in 41-mm or 45-mm sizes.*

*Get the Apple Watch Series 8 at:*

- Amazon: $329

Samsung Galaxy Watch6: Perfect for Android Owners

Price: $300 at Samsung

For Android aficionados, the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 and Watch6 Classic are top-notch choices. These round smartwatches offer a seamless experience, boasting various sizes to fit your style. The option for LTE connectivity ensures you stay connected even when your phone isn't nearby. Note that some health features, like the electrocardiogram and irregular heart rate alerts, function optimally when paired with Samsung phones.

The Watch6 Classic, with its mechanical rotating bezel, adds a fun and intuitive way to navigate the Wear OS interface. Its robust health and fitness tracking, coupled with auto-start and auto-pause capabilities, make it a versatile companion for an active lifestyle. However, keep in mind that heart rate measurements during certain workouts may exhibit minor discrepancies.

*Available in 40-mm or 44-mm sizes (Watch6) and 43-mm or 47-mm sizes (Watch6 Classic).*

*Get the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 at:*

- Amazon: $300

Withings ScanWatch: The Best Hybrid Smartwatch

Price: $300 at Amazon

Withings ScanWatch redefines hybrid smartwatches with its multifaceted functionality. Equipped with heart rate and sleep tracking, as well as FDA clearance for blood-oxygen and electrocardiogram measurements, it goes the extra mile in monitoring your health. This minimalist timepiece boasts impressive month-long battery life, sapphire glass protection, and stainless steel construction.

However, its OLED subdial, while informative, is relatively small. It excels in delivering quick glances at the date, heart rate, and step count.

*Available in 42-mm or 38-mm sizes.*

*Get the Withings ScanWatch at:*

- Amazon: $300

Garmin Vivomove Trend: The Ultimate Fitness Watch

Price: $270 at Amazon

When it comes to fitness-focused smartwatches, the Garmin Vivomove Trend stands out as a stylish and functional choice. Boasting wireless charging, blood oxygen measurements, sleep tracking, and Garmin's renowned fitness algorithms, it combines elegance with performance. While its interface may appear slightly clunky initially, the five-day battery life more than compensates for it.

*Available in a 40.4-mm size.*

*Get the Garmin Vivomove Trend at:*

- Amazon: $270

Google Pixel Watch: My Personal Favorite

Price: $350 at Amazon

Google's first smartwatch combines performance, aesthetics, and functionality seamlessly. With features like NFC for contactless payments and advanced health tracking, including sleep monitoring and electrocardiogram measurements, it excels in both form and function. Despite some minor drawbacks, it's an attractive choice for Android enthusiasts.

*Available in a 41-mm size.*

*Get the Google Pixel Watch at:*

- Amazon: $350

Honorable Mentions

Ladies and gentlemen, gather 'round the digital campfire, for we're about to embark on an adventure through the enchanting world of smartwatches in 2023! In this grand bazaar of wrist-worn wonders, I, your trusty guide Stan Freberg, have donned my explorer's hat, rigorously testing timepieces from renowned houses such as Tag Heuer, Citizen, Montblanc, and even some of those fancy, schmancy fashion brands. However, let's cut to the chase: most of these options are pricier than a pawn shop's solid gold watch. Fear not, for I've rustled up a posse of alternatives that will surely tickle your fancy!

1. Samsung Galaxy Watch5 for $280 and Watch5 Pro for $380: Your Trusty Companions

Now, I reckon these ain't the shiniest new Galaxy Watch6 models, but don't you dare part with more cash than those slick Watch6 gadgets command. The Watch5 and Watch5 Pro still pack a punch. They go mano-a-mano with the Apple Watch when it comes to health and fitness metrics, measuring everything from SpO2, sleep quality, to heart-rate tracking and even fancy electrocardiograms (though, I'll admit, this last feature is an exclusive treat for Samsung phone owners). The Watch5 Pro is the big dog, flaunting a battery that'll keep on chugging for a solid two days, while its sibling, the Watch5, will accompany you from sunup to sundown. As a bonus, the Pro even throws in GPX, letting you download those fancy hiking routes. Both come armored with sapphire crystals guarding their screens, but the Watch5 Pro's crystal is tougher than an old cowboy boot, and it's sheathed in titanium, while the standard Watch5's rocking aluminum.

2. Casio G-Shock Move DW-H5600 for $299: A Rugged Companion

If you're the kind of hombre who wants a G-Shock with a heart rate monitor, partner, the DW-H5600 is your trusty steed. Its measurements line up respectably with the Apple Watch, but if you're dead-set serious about tracking your health, you might want to mosey on over to our Best Fitness Trackers corral. Now, I ain't gonna sugarcoat it – the buttons on this fella can be a bit of a workout themselves, and it ain't got a ginormous roster of workouts it can keep tabs on (just your run-of-the-mill running, walking, and gym routines). The app lets you sift through a fair amount of data, but I'll be honest, I was hankering for a bit more. The battery will keep you rolling for about three days with non-stop monitoring. It's got a solar-charging trick up its sleeve, but you'll need to hitch it up to a somewhat hefty charging clip every now and then. Despite not making it to the top of my list, I reckon it's got a certain rugged charm, ideal for tracking time zones, monitoring your wanderings during a workout with GPS, and even keeping tabs on your shuteye.

3. Skagen Falster Gen 6 for $200: Sleek and Stylish

Don't let its dashing good looks fool you – this Wear OS smartwatch is akin to Fossil's Gen 6 (though I didn't quite take to it as fondly). Running on the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor, it's had a fresh lick of paint with an update to Wear OS 3. Performance is as smooth as silk under a prairie moon, and you'll find heart rate and sleep tracking onboard, alongside the ability to measure your SpO2 levels. The results matched up pretty darn well with my Apple Watch Series 7, although the Skagen does have a penchant for taking its sweet time with those numbers. Now, it ain't gonna keep the lights on for more than a day with sleep tracking, but it can guzzle up that juice right quick when it's a-chargin'.

4. Montblanc Summit 3: Time to Look Elsewhere

Now, let's saunter over to the watches you might wanna give a wide berth. These fellas, my friends, ain't exactly worth the greenbacks.

Citizen CZ Smart Gen 2 for $350: The Slugger

I've only been dabbling with this watch for a short spell, but let me tell you, I ain't too pleased. It's slower than a tortoise in a turtleneck, plagued with glitches, and its battery life is duller than dishwater. They've got an app called YouQ that's supposed to keep tabs on your vitals and rouse you when it's time to rise and shine (or fetch a cup of joe), but let me tell ya, it's been spotty at best. It's been a rocky ride thus far, and I can't fathom how this highfalutin watch is worth the dough. I'll keep poking at it, though, and if anything changes, you'll be the first to know.

5. Fossil Gen 6 Wellness for $299: Lagging Behind

This here Fossil watch (earning a modest 4/10 from us in a WIRED Review) is just too darn sluggish for the price tag it's sporting. It's like trying to ride a three-legged mule up a steep hill – not too optimized, if you ask me. The fitness app's about as basic as a penny whistle, and I stumbled upon a right nuisance where some features kept playing hide and seek. The battery life's nothing to write home about either.

6. Montblanc Summit 3 for $1,290: A Pretty Face, But...

Sure, it's a real looker, and it's packing Wear OS 3, but that don't mean it's worth the king's ransom they're asking. There ain't no speaker, no Google Assistant, and the fitness features, well, they feel a mite half-baked. It's got the looks, but not much else.

Folks, in the sprawling landscape of smartwatches, it's a veritable jungle out there. So keep your wits about you and do your due diligence before you reach for that wallet. That, my friends, is the sage advice of the day! And remember, if you want a trusty companion for your wrist, look no further than the options I've rustled up for you today. Happy trails, y'all!

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