For a long time, smartwatches have existed in an uncomfortable space in terms of utility. While they pack in a lot of features that you won’t find in a more traditional watch, they also aren’t as feature-rich as your smartphone. But as technology has improved, smartwatches are becoming more useful and more popular than ever before.
HotRate doesn’t want to just help you find the best smartwatches for men. We want you to determine whether or not a smart watch is right for you and which watch models will be well suited to your particular needs. We’ll start things off with reviews for the best smartwatches for men on the market in 2020 and then provide you with more detailed information on how to shop smarter.
- 10 Best Smartwatches for Men
- 1. Apple Watch Series 5
- 2. TAG Heuer Connected Modular 41 Men’s Smartwatch
- 3. Fitbit Versa 2 Health & Fitness Smartwatch
- 4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Smartwatch
- 5. Ticwatch Pro, Premium Smartwatch
- 6. Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Smartwatch
- 7. Montblanc Summit 2 Smartwatch
- 8. Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium Smartwatch
- 9. Withings Steel HR Sport Smartwatch
- 10. COROS APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch
- Smart Watches for Men Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Smartwatches for Men
1. Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch is almost wholly responsible for the popularity of the smart watch, so it's no surprise to see the latest addition - the Apple Watch Series 5 - make our list of the best smartwatches for men. At a glance, this model looks almost indistinguishable from earlier Apple series watches with a number of shared features, including the capability to measure your heart rate, but that's not a bad thing. After all, the iOS operating system is among the cleanest and most attractive in the world. Combine that with the full weight of the Apple App Store, and you're left with one of the coolest and most feature rich smartwatches anywhere.
But the Series 5 from Apple does bring with it a few cool new additions. The addition of a compass really expands the value of this watch as a tool for more outdoorsy users, and it sports an always-on display that means you don't have to go digging through menus to check the time. There truly is good reason why the Apple Watch Series 5 came out above the other smartwatches that we reviewed.
2. TAG Heuer Connected Modular 41 Men’s Smartwatch
If there's one thing that modern smartwatches tend to lack, it's the elegance and sophistication of more traditional models. And while the Tag Heuer Modular 41 may cost you a pretty penny, it's undoubtedly a fine piece of luxury jewelry. Compact in design, the display can shift between an elegant Swiss style analog face when it's not running apps, and the "Modular" in its name refers to the fact that the case and bands can be swapped out on a whim, and the bezel resembles what you could expect to find on an old school diving watch.
But the technology underpinning this watch is as modern as can be. Tag Heuer has opted to make use of Google's Wear OS infrastructure to create a well rounded watch that packs in all the fundamentals and gives you access to the entire catalog of apps that Google has integrated into the Play Store.
3. Fitbit Versa 2 Health & Fitness Smartwatch
While other manufacturers were trying to pack as many features as possible into their smartwatches, Fitbit had the good sense to focus on doing one thing and doing it well. If you want a smartwatch that can serve as your personal trainer in the gym without costing you a fortune, the Versa 2 is an excellent choice. The design may resemble the iconic smartwatches set out by Apple, but it offers some of the most comprehensive fitness tracking capabilities around.
And despite the stripped-down price tag, they've squeezed some nice extra bells and whistles into this watch too. Alexa capabilities are built right in, providing you with convenient hands-free navigation, heart rate tracking is standard and there are in-depth sleep tracking features to provide you with a more balanced sense of overall health. Despite promising an always-on display, the Versa 2 offers an exceptional battery life, so it doesn't need regular charging.
4. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Smartwatch
Samsung's flagship fitness smartwatch constitutes a price increase on the Fitbit Versa 2, but it also offers an upgrade in terms of features. A heart rate monitor, once the exclusive province of Apple, is packed in for better health tracking, and this smartwatch sports one of the coolest navigational interfaces we've seen across the smartwatches we reviewed. The rotating bezel is easy to use without being finicky and does a surprisingly good job of flicking between your favorite features and apps.
And that's a good thing. Because despite the Active2 smartwatch's emphasis on fitness, it's also an all in one device for handling all of your notifications. All your messages are folded together under a single interface which can then zero in on specific platforms for more in-depth navigation. And Samsung's Tizen operating system is second only to Apple in terms of wide compatibility for a range of different third-party apps. Although it just missed the top three, this is undoubtedly a strong contender in our line up of smartwatches.
5. Ticwatch Pro, Premium Smartwatch
The Ticwatch may not be as well known as some of its smartwatch siblings, but it does something no other smartwatch on the market today does: packing two screens into a single watch. This has never been seen before in the world of smartwatches. The top display resembles a more traditional watch but provides you with all the fundamental features you'd expect like timekeeping, step counts, and heart rate. And it can last an exceedingly long time in low power settings. But when you want access to a deeper bench of features, you can make that top screen transparent so you can access a more powerful computer screen underneath.
This second touchscreen display makes the most of the Wear OS watch operating system. Anything that the Google Play store offers is right at your fingertips, and the combination of a decent chipset and some mid level RAM allows it to perform admirably when pitted against other smartwatches. All the features are wrapped inside a pretty package that sports the feel of a more traditional watch.
6. Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Smartwatch
Fossil is another traditional watch brand that jumped feet first into the smartwatch revolution, and they've produced some pretty impressive results with their latest model. The Gen 5 is a smartwatch that doesn't stray too far from the formula of other models that use the Wear OS operating system, but it makes a fundamental hardware change that really upgrades its performance. With double the RAM, it's far peppier and more responsive than the typical apple or Android smartwatch even when running resource-heavy apps.
And with this smartwatch, Fossil has also taken steps to improve on the battery performance of the typical Wear OS interface. A variety of different battery modes allow you to create a customized setup for this watch that suits your unique lifestyle, and the inclusion of Google Assistant and Google Pay provides you with a naturalistic way to control your smartwatch without having to fumble with fiddly watch buttons or bezels at all.
7. Montblanc Summit 2 Smartwatch
There are a lot of great smartwatches for men, but most of them will stick out like a sore thumb in formal wear. If you want a smartwatch that will look great with your two-piece suit (and don't mind dropping a grand), the Montblanc Summit 2 provides one of the best solutions. From a glance, it looks every bit like an elegant business watch. The stainless steel case and sleek round face are a stark contrast against the squared-off design that Apple popularized with their range of smartwatches.
Powering this smartwatch is the latest version of Google's Wear OS software, and you can customize the apps for ready access using the rigid but satisfying buttons built in to the watch case, and you can even change the watch face to fit your style or even your mood for a given day. The screen on the front of the watch is large enough for easy navigation but not so heavy as to be burdensome. This is a fantastic watch that can easily lend itself to a number of occasions and social settings.
8. Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium Smartwatch
Garmin may be best known for its standalone GPS devices, but they've been quietly making waves the past few years by taking their best in class tech and incorporating it into a series of smartwatches. The Forerunner 945 is one of the best. It's one of the best smartwatches around for triathletes who are looking to push themselves further and find a personal assistant that can help with all of their health and fitness tracking needs.
This smartwatch can last an astounding two weeks in smartwatch mode, and it still manages an impressive 10-hour battery life when keeping GPS mode activated. That should be more than enough for even the most serious of long-distance runners. And you don't need to worry about this smartwatch falling behind just because it's built off a proprietary watch OS. It offers Garmin Pay as well as compatible with a whole host of music services.
9. Withings Steel HR Sport Smartwatch
While most smartwatch manufacturers are opting for designs that emphasize the "smart" half of smartwatches, Withing and Nokia have taken the bold move of opting for something more traditional. That means that this piece won't stand out when paired with either a suit or more casual attire, but the hybrid design means that this smartwatch isn't as loaded with features as the alternatives. There's no app store to speak of, but there's a surprising layer of depth to this classy looking smartwatch.
The Healthmate app integrated within the watch provides you with in-depth tracking for your sleep and exercise patterns, and that includes everything from VO2 tracking to heart rate. The built-in GPS even tracks how far you've run. And since all the data is relayed to your phone, that allows for a clean and streamlined analog smartwatch face that isn't cluttered with information and instead focuses on the basics of timekeeping and heart rate tracking. Although this watch is possible no Apple killer, it may just be the perfect mixture of watch and smartwatch for someone.
10. COROS APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch
The Coros Apex isn't the most feature-heavy smartwatch we've encountered, but for men who want a great model that they don't have to spend a lot of time fussing over, it's one of the best smartwatches we've encountered. That lack of functionality is a modest benefit because it's allowed Coros to strip down their navigational interface to the essentials and provide a smartwatch that even the most tech-illiterate men can use with confidence.
And you also don't have to worry about a whole boatload of apps draining your battery life. When running normally, it can last for up to 35 hours, and it can work for nearly a day even when it's using full GPS functionality. This smartwatch for men is constructed from tough titanium and ceramics, so it's tough enough to withstand the rigors of even the most serious athletes.
Smart Watches for Men Buyer’s Guide
Modern smartwatches are essentially miniature computers, so that means that shopping for smartwatches is a little more complicated than shopping for more traditional watches. But you don’t have to be intimidated about what to look for. We’re going to break down the most important functions and specifications you should pay attention to when shopping for a smartwatch so you can find a smartwatch you’ll love.
All watches with smart capabilities have an operating system built-in. This is the watch equivalent of running Windows, Mac, or Linux on your PC. The operating system determines the interface you’ll be interacting with, the software you have access to, and the general performance of your watch. For that reason, it’s a pretty big factor in your decision. Unlike PCs or phones, which are dominated by just a couple of major OS’s, there are a whole lot of operating systems to choose from when shopping for smartwatches.
- The Apple Watch Series 5 (and any Apple watch series) runs on WatchOS, and it’s in our opinion, the best operating system on the market for smartwatches. It sports a sleek design, the most expansive app store around, and great performance. The only problem is the proprietary nature. If you want Apple smartwatches to interact with your other devices, you’re going to need to invest completely in Apple’s products.
- The Fitbit OS is understandably focused on fitness-related software. It can run on Android, iOS, and Windows devices (for those rare customers still using a Windows phone). The app store is pretty limited, but it offers all the core functions you could expect from a smartwatch like the ability to answer calls and make payments. But in terms of apps, the focus is almost entirely on fitness with this range of smartwatches.
- Garmin OS and their range of smartwatches is similarly focused on fitness, but on that front, it’s arguably got a better selection to choose from. Garmin’s suite of fitness and sleep tracking apps are very impressive, tightly aligned together, and synced up with Garmin’s phenomenal GPS technology. And with the advent of Garmin Pay, you can even make purchases on the go, directly from their smartwatches.
- Tizen is the operating system utilized by Samsung for their smartwatches, and it’s quickly becoming a strong contender for competition with Apple. The open-source nature means that Samsung’s smartwatches offer some of the best third-party app compatibility around, and it’s a nimble and lightweight operating system, allowing Samsung’s watches to achieve pretty extraordinary battery lives.
- Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) is a miniaturized version of the Android OS used for phones, specifically designed for smartwatches. Access to the Play Store means you get access to a wide range of software, and the fact that Android lets other manufacturers use their watch OS means it’s one of the most prominent choices around. And while Wear OS has long had some issues with performance, it’s improving steadily. In fact, a number of manufacturers (most notably the smartwatch Fossil on our list) have managed to squeeze some pretty good performance out of it, increasing its popularity among those shopping for smartwatches.
- A lot of smaller manufacturers make use of their own proprietary operating systems for their range of smartwatches. You generally shouldn’t expect the same level of depth and software you’d find in more developed operating systems, such as those in the apple watch series, but smartwatches with proprietary operating systems tend to be cheaper and more content light, so they serve the purpose they’re intended to.
Do you plan on using your watch regularly for your daily activities or more as an aid for your fitness regimen? Will you have trouble reminding yourself to plug it in every night? These questions will be the biggest factors in how much you need to consider the battery life of these products. Unfortunately, higher quality smartwatches tend to offer worse battery life. That’s because more powerful software will drain your battery more quickly.
For that reason, investing in a cheaper model can actually be an asset if you don’t want to use more advanced features. A slimmed-down model can sometimes run for days or even weeks when running in low power mode. When looking at battery life, just keep in mind that the listing is an average. It can vary significantly depending on what features you use. Playing music over Bluetooth and making use of GPS functionality are some of the quickest ways to drain your battery.
A lot of the models here are focused on active customers. Fitness takes a high priority in this market, and there are a number of models focused especially on the needs of triathletes. For that reason, you’re going to want a display that can give you the information you need at a glance, even when you’re out in broad daylight. Customers looking for the best and brightest screen should go with a Super AMOLED display or the impressive Retina screen offered by the Apple Series 5 smartwatches.
If you want to dig deeper, you may want to pay attention to the resolution offered by each model. The resolution will tell you how many pixels are packed into a screen, and a high resolution usually results in a cleaner and easier to read face screen.
Bluetooth is a necessity for any decent smartwatch. With Bluetooth connectivity, your device can sync directly to your phone, and that’s used for everything from answering calls and listening to music to making payments and recording your fitness data. While later versions of Bluetooth offer slightly better performance, it’s probably not something you need to pay too much attention to.
Less common is the inclusion of Wi-Fi, but the ability to connect to the internet wirelessly means you can access many of the core functions without needing to be tethered to your phone whatsoever. Just keep in mind that an active Wi-Fi connection can drain your battery pretty quickly.
If you just need a watch that you can wear in the rain or the shower, any of the models on our list will work. Every decent smartwatch out there offers some level of water resistance, but if you’re looking to swim with your timepiece, you’ll want to pay attention to those that promise functionality 50 meters (or 165 feet). These smartwatches can be used while swimming in shallow waters for up to 30 minutes at a time, and that’s a pretty significant advantage for more serious athletes. Fortunately, that level of water resistance is pretty common.
Unfortunately, finding a model with a level of water resistance beyond that isn’t very common. But if you want a timepiece that you can wear with you in deeper waters, there is an option. The Coros Apex range of smartwatches provides double the water-resistance of most of its contemporaries, and that makes it an appropriate choice for snorkeling or diving.
While many smartwatches come with Wi-Fi capabilities that allow you to access the internet and stream music directly, the most reliable point of connectivity for your smartwatch is going to be connecting it to your phone via Bluetooth. This allows you to both extend the battery life of your smartwatch and for getting access to a wider range of features. While most smartwatches are going to work with both Android and Apple iOS, there is one notable exception.
If you decide to invest in the Apple Watch, don’t expect it to work on your Android phone. Apple is incredibly proprietary with their devices, especially their smartwatches. Therefore no matter which Apple watch series you go for, you won’t find compatibility for Android. iOS devices will be necessary if you want to sync up your smartwatch and get access to all of the best features, so you may have to trade in your Android phone if you have your heart set on one of the latest and best Apple Smartwatches.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the Best Smartwatch to Buy?
That really depends on your needs. If you’ve bought into the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Watch Series 5 is a great complement to your existing Apple smartphone, but there are also options built for general fitness, for the more demanding needs of triathletes, and even smartwatch models that are designed to look good with a suit. Check out our review guide above to start your search for the best smartwatch for you.
Which is the Best Smartwatch in 2020?
“Best” is a highly subjective term, but for the average consumer, we can’t recommend the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 enough. The Tizen operating system offers compatibility with both Android and Apple iOS devices, giving it a leg up on the Apple Watch, and it offers a heart rate sensor, a full complement of fitness features (including a heart rate sensor), the ability to monitor GPS positioning, and the ability to make purchases with Samsung Pay.
How Do I Choose a Smartwatch?
We suggest figuring out what you want to use your smartwatch for and what features are most important for your lifestyle. There are smartwatch models that are tailored for everyone from business professionals to triathletes, so take the time to figure out what you want specifically, and then sift through our reviews for the smartwatches that are best suited to you.