The 15th annual Pocket-lint Gadget Awards will be taking place in a couple of weeks, celebrating the best products and devices across 18 categories spanning smartphones and tablets to cars and smartwatches.
As usual, we have been running a series of features over the last few weeks, each of which dives a little deeper into the respective categories to not only list the nominations within them, but explain what we loved about them.
There are six nominees for each category, and here we are concentrating on the second of the wearable categories, best smartwatch, following on from yesterday’s best fitness gadget.
Apple Watch Series 4
If you’re still using the original Apple Watch then the S4 is a monumental leap forward. Over the last four years Apple has continued to refine the experience by enlarging the screen, adding GPS, waterproofing, cellular and other sensors and functionalities.
The Series 4’s biggest success is its screen. That bigger panel provides so much more information than before, which makes interacting with passcodes or swiping to write messages when you can’t use voice commands just so much easier. Even if you’re a Series 3 user, you’ll likely find yourself jealous of those who sport the newer device. As the smartwatch all-rounder, there’s nothing better than the Apple Watch Series 4.
Diesel On Full Guard
As a whole package, if what you’re looking for in a smartwatch is Android Wear that’s heavy on design but not so much on features, the Diesel On Full Guard is ideal.
Battery life and charging times are quite frustrating, there’s inconsistent connectivity performance, plus the button design could be rethought for better use but what Diesel gets right in the On Full Guard is its aesthetic appearance. If you’re after a fashion watch with some added smarts then that’s the real sell here.
Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3
As fashionable smartwatches go, there’s a lot to like about the Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3. It’s attractive, well made, waterproof and available in a choice of finishes and band styles. There’s no advanced health or activity tracking here, but it does the jobs it’s supposed to do well – and does them in style.
If you want all the features of Wear OS in a design that’s not as shiny as the Michael Kors range, or as ostentatious as the Diesel watches, the Fossil Q Explorist will suit you right down to the ground. It looks and feels just like a regular watch, but with the addition of some smart.
Michael Kors Access Sofie
The Michael Kors Access Sofie is a stunner of a smartwatch, combining beauty with brains, especially when paired with an Android rather than iOS device. It offers a luxurious and waterproof design, enough bling to make it stand out from the rest of the Android Wear crowd, while also offering a decent performance and a good battery life.
The customisable Michael Kors watch faces make this smartwatch feel that little bit more special than its competitors, while the customisation options and the way “Looks” are organised is excellent, especially for those who like to match their watch to their outfit. For the MK fans who love the signature, chunky and blingy watches from the company but want them connected, the Sofie won’t disappoint. It is fashionable, functional and a smartwatch we still wear regularly.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
The Samsung Galaxy Watch continues the tradition set by its predecessors: it’s a well-made, easy to use, durable and attractive smartwatch. While it’s improved in the battery department – its four days per charge (46mm model only) is mighty impressve – it’s still lacking in some of functionality that you’d hope to see from a smart wearable device in 2018. And its apps aren’t aplenty by any stretch of the imagination.
In many ways, however, Samsung’s premier smartwatch is one of the few strong competitors to the Apple Watch. It’s as smart a watch as it is a sports watch, meaning chunky style and adept fitness tracking rolled into the one package.
Need an attractive smartwatch that you can wear to work and wear during your workouts? The TicWatch Pro is that watch. Don’t need the sports stuff, but want a Wear OS watch with great battery life? TicWatch Pro is that watch too. Sure, Mobvoi could build a more in-depth fitness-tracking app with a better user interface for the more serious sports people out there, but for most users its sporting capabilities will be ample.
The TicWatch Pro is a reliable, practical and durable smartwatch that will survive your daily grind, won’t give you battery anxiety, and doesn’t depend on a big brand name to sell itself. No, this smartwatch sells itself by being smartly priced and specified with a genuinely useful dual-layer screen.
Voting in the 15th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards is now open so you can let us know which one of these great devices you think should win the Best Smartwatch award for this year and give us your verdict on all, or some, of the other tech across the 17 categories.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive event in London on 13 November in association with EE. Voting closes on 2 November.