Smartwatch buying guide
Smartwatches have come on leaps and bounds over the past few years. And there's now a huge array of neat, powerful devices to choose from, packed with all kinds of clever features.
From smartwatches that let you track and improve your fitness goals to easy-to-use smartwatches for kids, our handy guide is perfect for helping you choose the right one.
Smartwatches for different lifestyles
Best smartwatches for kids and teenagers
Older children and teenagers may want a device like the Apple Watch SE - it's affordable, durable and is great for teens who are starting to take an interest in running or working out.
It's perfect for staying in touch with your kids too. Use Family Setup with your iPhone to pair with your child's watch - even if they don't have their own iPhone⁹ - making staying in touch easier than ever.
Best Android smartwatches
There are several outstanding Android smartwatches available, that easily pair with your Android phone for seamless connectivity, tracking and schedule management.
Streamline your daily routine with Samsung's Galaxy Watch6 series. The Samsung Galaxy Watch6 Classic and Samsung Galaxy Watch6 come with a massive range of extra features, including Samsung Pay, wireless connectivity for Buds and SmartThings Find, which helps you find your watch if it's gone walkabout. Receive or reject calls on your wrist, check your social media updates and use the 16GB of internal storage to play thousands of songs when you’re offline.
Best smartwatches for calls
All the smartwatches we sell allow you to make and receive calls, either by using your smartwatch as a speaker or by pairing your smartwatch with your headphones.
If you're already a Vodafone Pay monthly customer and you're thinking of buying a smartwatch from us, we recommend setting up Vodafone OneNumber
Share your phone's allowances, number and contacts with your smartwatch, allowing you to use your phone's data even when you’re away from your phone or WiFi. Check if your plan is eligible
Best budget smartwatches
There are plenty of budget smartwatches with a stylish design and features that many premium models offer. If you're looking to pay a lower amount each month for a smartwatch, then the Apple Watch SE is the perfect choice for a budget smartwatch.
Featuring three stylish case colours and a faster dual-core processor, Apple Watch SE is sharp looking and sharp thinking. With powerful sensors for insights about your health and fitness, you can track dozens of workouts and get real-time personalised metrics in Apple Fitness+. Plus, you can track your sleep⁵, get help when you need it with Crash Detection, Fall Detection⁸ and Emergency SOS, and keep an eye on your heart health with irregular rhythm notifications⁴. Call, text and check notifications on the go and pay from your wrist for just about anything with Apple Pay. With available cellular connection, you can do more even when you don’t have your phone¹.
Smartwatches for fitness
If you'd like a smartwatch for different types of workouts where they might get wet, sweaty or need to withstand shock while tracking your miles, here's a guide to the best smartwatches for fitness.
Getting fit doesn’t have to mean endless runs around the park in the latest lycra creations. There are plenty of smartwatches available to track your workouts - no matter what you’re doing. Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch SE are built for people who want to improve their fitness levels and easily see their progress.
For Android users, the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 Series is the perfect pairing for any physical activity and will help to support a healthier you. Understand more about your body with Samsung Health - from creating personal heart rate zones¹ and monitoring your monthly cycle based on your skin temperature² to tracking your body fat and muscle density progress³.
You can even build towards a healthier lifestyle when you're asleep by monitoring snoring⁴ and blood oxygen levels⁵, which can help to inform your daily sleep routines, so you get the most effective rest⁶.
Best smartwatches for running
Whether you're new to running or you’re a seasoned jogger, there are plenty of smartwatches to help you plan, track and improve on your fitness goals.
If you're serious about taking your fitness to the next level, smartwatches like Apple Watch Series 9 measure blood oxygen¹ and allow you to take an ECG² to check the your heart rhythm. You can even share your activity with friends and family and see who’s covering the most miles.
Find out your optimal heart rate zone with the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 Series – just start running and it will measure your heart rate based on your fitness capacity. Monitoring your fitness journey is easier than ever with notifications that tell you when you enter your goal HR zone and if you still remain in the zone when your heads in the game. Don’t forget to connect with your workout buddies so you can create challenges and celebrate achievements together. Plus, your watch will automatically recognise and record your run so if you forget to hit start when tracking your run, Watch6 has got you covered.
Most smartwatches come with built-in activity trackers, step counters and can track your running distance, so if you're working on your running performance, a smartwatch is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.
Best smartwatches for swimming
It's tough to track how many lengths you're doing if you're a focused swimmer, so let your smartwatch take care of measuring your workouts, heart rate and more. Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE are both water resistant to 50 metres³, with their screens automatically turning on Water Lock when you start a swimming workout, keeping water out of your watch. You can also set your workout to Pool Swim or Open Water Swim, so your Apple Watch can track your lengths and distance. If you’re a water sport enthusiast, you may be better suited to the Apple Watch Ultra 2, which is water resistant to 100 metres⁴
and equipped for descents to 40 metres⁴ . Whether your scuba diving or free diving, the Depth app will measure the time, water temperate, duration and maximum depth you’ve reached under water.
Samsung Galaxy Watch6 and Watch6 Classic both come with IP68 water-resistance up to 50 metres⁷ so you can track your lengths, keep an eye on your heart rate and push yourself even further.
We'd advise that you only use your smartwatch in freshwater, and that you rinse it after you've been in the pool or in freshwater.
Best smartwatches for hiking and walking
Apple Watch is a superb accompaniment if you're looking to boost your daily steps, whether that's a 15k hike or a quick walk to the shops and back.
If you've just started exercising again after being unwell, Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch SE have high and low heart rate notifications, irregular heart rate alerts⁵ and Emergency SOS⁶ functionality in case you need help when you're out.
You can also see how many minutes of brisk activity you've completed, how often you've been stationary, and how many calories you've burned - all while tracking your weekly progress and adjusting your goals if you need to.
Best smartwatches for cycling
Apple Watch Series 9 is a great choice for cyclists. Apple Watch now automatically detects when you begin pedalling and reminds you to start a workout. Fall Detection⁷, now optimised for cycling and other workouts, can call emergency services if you take a hard fall. And to help you keep your eyes on the road, a voice feedback feature announces workout milestones, like speed, distance and more. For e-bikes, an improved algorithm more accurately calculates calories. Use the blood oxygen sensor to see how much oxygen is in your blood and safely push your limits, and track your heart rate and performance with the ECG app². Plus, Apple Watch links with Maps to make it easy every step of the way. Gentle taps from the Taptic Engine let you know when it’s time to turn left or right, so you don’t have to look at your watch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch6 Series is also highly recommended if you're looking for a smartwatch to get the most out of your rides. It links to several popular cycling apps including MapMyRide, and accurately tracks distance, location and your workout time. Use the built-in ECG tracker⁸ so you can see a quick snapshot of your heart’s health in more detail.
Terms and conditions
The Blood Oxygen app is for wellness purposes only and not for medical use
The ECG app is available on Apple Watch Series 4 and later (excluding Apple Watch SE) and can generate an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. Intended for use by people 22 years old and over
³Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch SE has a water resistance rating of 50 metres under ISO standard 22810:2010. This means it may be used for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean. Apple Watch Series 9 should not be used for scuba diving, waterskiing, or other activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth. Water resistance is not a permanent condition and can diminish over time. For additional information, see support.apple.com/HT205000. Apple Watch Series 9 is also rated IP6X dust resistant.
Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a water resistance rating of 100 metres under ISO standard 22810 and may be used for high-speed water sports and recreational scuba diving (with compatible third-party app from the App Store) to 40 metres. Should not be used for diving below 40 metres. Water resistance is not a permanent condition and can diminish over time. For additional information, see support.apple.com/HT205000. Apple Watch Ultra 2 is also rated IP6X dust resistant.
Irregular rhythm notification requires the latest versions of watchOS and iOS. It is not intended for use by people under 22 years old or those who have been previously diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF).
⁶Emergency SOS requires a cellular connection or Wi-Fi calling with an internet connection from your Apple Watch or nearby iPhone.
⁷ Fall Detection updates are available on Apple Watch Series 4 and later with watchOS 8 and later.
To update the ranges of each HR zone for running based on cardiopulmonary capabilities, it is required to run outdoors more than 10 min with constant speed of 4km/h or faster
Body composition is only supported in Samsung Galaxy Watch4 series and later released Galaxy Watch models. Body composition should not be used if you have an implanted pacemaker or other implanted medical devices, or if you are pregnant. Any health-related information accessed through the device and application should not be treated as medical advice. Measurement results may not be accurate if you are under 20 years old. The measurements are for your personal reference only. Please consult a medical professional for advice.
³Cycle Tracking is available for cycle and period prediction which is powered by Natural Cycles. Due to country restrictions in obtaining approval/registration as a Software as a medical device (SaMD), Cycle Tracking based on skin temperature only works on phones and watches purchased in the countries where the service is currently available. NOT INTENDED FOR CONTRACEPTION. If you are currently taking hormonal birth control or undergoing hormonal treatment that inhibits ovulation, this service will not be useful for tracking ovulation. Predictions displayed are for personal reference only. To improve the accuracy of predictions, it is recommended to wear your watch for at least 4 hours during sleep, 5 times a week. Predictions may vary depending on the proper use of your watch, input data, environmental conditions, etc. Intended for users 18 years old and above. Users should not interpret or take clinical action based on the predictions made without consultation of a qualified healthcare professional. Requires latest version of Samsung Health app.
Sleep tracking features are intended for general wellness and fitness purposes only. Not intended for use in detection, diagnosis, treatment of any medical condition or sleep disorder. The measurements are for your personal reference only. Please consult a medical professional for advice
⁵Galaxy Watch6 must be paired with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone with Android 10.0 and minimum 1.5GB Memory
Sleep Coaching requires sleep data of at least 7 days, including 2 days off.
Galaxy Watch6 is water resistant to up to 50 meters in depth for 10 minutes under the 5ATM rating. It is not suitable for diving or high-pressure water activities. If the device or your hands are wet, they must be dried thoroughly prior to handling. Galaxy Watch6 provides ingress protection (IP68) against dust and fresh water to a maximum of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. Refer to user manual for further information, including care/use instructions
⁸ HR alerts is intended for general wellness and fitness purposes only. Not intended for use in detection, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring or management of any medical condition or disease. Any health-related information accessed through the device and application should not be treated as medical advice. Users should seek any medical advice from a physician. Not intended to provide a notification on every episode of irregular rhythm and not intended for any diagnostic purposes or other heart conditions. Not intended for users under 22 years old. Users should not interpret results, or take clinical action based on the device output without consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. The PPG sensor is not intended to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment. ECG app is not intended for use under 22 years old and is not intended to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment. Users should not interpret or take clinical action based on the device output without consultation of a qualified healthcare professional. Check out https://www.samsung.com/uk/apps/samsung-health-monitor/ for more information and latest update on service countries.