If our grandfathers lived in an era of analog and our fathers in a time of digital, we’ve landed squarely in the future of smart — smartwatches, that is. These whirring electronic gems have been kicking around for years now. While they seemed at first like little more than Jetson-esque playthings, they’ve come a long way in terms of durability, affordability, accessibility, and practicality. Even better: They're a helluva lot more affordable now, too. All of which is why they're replacing "dumb" watches on the wrists of most active people these days.
Nowadays, there are scores of men’s smartwatches available from mainstream brands like Apple and Fossil to niche outdoor manufacturers like Garmin and Suunto. It might seem to be too overwhelming to look for the right smartwatch for you, with each one varying widely in terms of style, features, and price point. But fret not, as we've done the hard work for you to research dozens of top-selling models. Below, we've rounded up our picks for the best smartwatches for men in 2023.
SUUNTO 9 Non-Baro GPS Sports Watch
Best value multisport smartwatch
If you're the active sort, but you're on a budget without the want or need to drop north of $700 on a premium multi-sport watch, the Suunto 9 Non-Baro edition should do the trick. Out of the box, it's compatible with more than 80 sports, including running, swimming, cycling, hiking, and a whole lot more. It tracks all your vitals, plus your sleep, if that's important to you. We love that it's bolstered by a big, bright 50mm display and a respectable 120 hours of battery life with excellent power management. Bonus: It's water-resistant down to 100 meters, if freediving and spearfishing are your thing. The best part? It's roughly $350 delivered.
Garmin fēnix 7 Sapphire Solar Edition
Best premium smartwatch for men
Garmin's catalog of men's smartwatches is arguably the deepest on the market with a wide range of models for every budget and fitness level. Near the top of the heap lies the flagship fēnix 7 Sapphire Solar Edition. This ultra-premium smartwatch combines just about every tech feature Garmin offers into a single model. With a nearly $900 retail price tag, you'll pay handsomely for the privilege of wearing it, of course. But, that gets you up to 22 days of battery life (bolstered by integrated solar charging), excellent activity coaching features, preloaded TopoActive maps, and built-in storage for downloading tunes to directly to the watch, so you can leave your phone at home. It's all wrapped in a rugged, mil-spec case that's thermal-, shock-, and water-resistant.
Apple Watch Ultra
Best smartwatch for Apple wearers
For anyone already in the Apple "family," the latest generation Apple Watch Ultra is the one smartwatch to rule them all. It packs every piece of the company's most bleeding-edge tech into a single unit. That includes all the essentials, like excellent battery life, a crisp, beautiful display with a sleek interface, magnetic charging, advanced health tracking (heart rate, blood oxygen levels, ECG readings, and more), and a skin temperature monitor for keeping tabs on even more vitals. Plus, it comes with Apple's all-new crash detection safety feature built-in. It's also infinitely customizable with a long list of official and third-party bands and accessories, so you can coordinate with your personal style.
Garmin Forerunner 745 GPS Running Watch
Best smartwatch for runners
Runners demand a lot from their smartwatches, and Garmin's aptly named Forerunner 745 delivers. It boasts comprehensive fitness tracking for all your most important metrics, including a wrist-based heart rate monitor, while keeping tabs on your overall training status and offering the proprietary Garmin Coach with adaptive training plans. With multiple global navigation technologies baked in, it's far more accurate than relying on just GPS alone — great for trail runners and those who like exploring far off-grid. It's all wrapped in an ultra-rugged design with Corning Gorilla Glass DX and a housing that's waterproof down to 50 meters.
Fitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch
Best everyday smartwatch
If you're active but wouldn't call yourself an "athlete," a simpler, more affordable smartwatch might be best for you. Fitbit has been a go-to favorite of ours for years, and the latest Fitbit Versa 3 is a solid buy at right around $150. It offers a handsome, streamlined, user-friendly design that makes this the perfect "daily driver" smartwatch to track heart rate, skin temperature, stress levels (via an EDA sensor), and even sleep. The design is swimproof and features built-in GPS, so it's ready to take you just about anywhere, even in inclement weather. Plus, it's Google Assistant compatible for a truly hands-free experience.
Fossil Gen 6 Touchscreen Smartwatch
Most stylish smartwatch
Want a smartwatch that doesn’t look like a smartwatch? Allow me to introduce you to the Fossil Gen 6. This bad boy is built to look like any ol’ Fossil watch, with one slight difference — its handsome, Google Wear OS-powered display. Compatible with both iPhone and Android devices, this watch packs a serious punch with options to set alarms, create app and calendar alerts, check email, monitor social media, and text. Plus, it boasts built-in GPS and tracks all your vital stats, too. While it doesn’t have the same futuristic look of other options on the market, its leather band and more traditional watch face could endear it to folks looking to rock an old-school vibe.
How to find the best smartwatch for you
Smartwatches can be surprisingly complex. Wearing one is akin to wearing a mini-computer on your wrist, after all. So, it can be difficult to shop for the perfect model for you. It all comes down to how you plan to use it, how much you're willing to spend, and whether it's compatible with your existing tech setup. Here's the low-down on what to look for.
Above all else, you'll need to make sure that any smartwatches you're shopping are compatible with your smartphone (assuming you're planning to pair the two, and you probably are). Some smartwatches work with Apple iOS, others work with Google's Android platform, and the best smartwatches play nice with both technologies. It's worth noting that Google Wear OS is technically compatible with iOS, but they don't always work perfectly together, so some features may be unavailable.
For old-school (i.e., "dumb") watches that could run for years on a single battery, battery life wasn't really an issue. Today's smartwatches, however, typically measure battery life in days, maybe weeks, if you're lucky. So you'll want to be sure that any models you're shopping can keep up with you and your preferred activities. Most smartwatches offer a variety of power modes to help you get the most out of their batteries.
Construction and durability
Likewise, you'll also want to check that your potential smartwatches are built to withstand whatever you plan to throw at them. Some "everyday wear" type watches aren't ruggedized and might only be swimproof, but not waterproof. The most durable models, however, can withstand deep water, freezing temperatures, shocks, and more.
Smartwatches vary widely in price. The most budget-friendly models can be had for $100 or even less, while midrange options run around $200-$400. This is the sweet spot where most "average" (if there is such a thing) smartwatch buyers fall. Don't feel obligated to spend more than $500 on the very best smartwatch unless you're an athlete who knows they'll need all the next-gen features such models typically offer.
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