Smartwatches and fitness wearables continue to grow in popularity, with India being among the leading global markets for wearable devices. While much of this growth can be seen in the affordable smartwatch segment, we’ve also seen strong performance from brands in the premium space, where Apple and Samsung continue to excel. If you’re looking to buy a new smartwatch and want to know what your options are, our list of the best devices launched in 2022 is definitely worth a look.
Just like 2021, the spoils for 2022 are shared by Apple and Samsung once again. However, we have some additional recommendations based on form factor, features, use case, and price, with brands such as Fossil, Garmin, and Noise winning honourable mentions. Here is our list of the best smartwatches and fitness wearables of 2022.
Best overall: Apple Watch Series 8 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Just like last year, it’s a solid tie between Apple and Samsung for our pick of the best smartwatch of 2022. This is because of the platform exclusivity of the two devices — the Apple Watch only works with iPhones, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro can only be used with Android smartphones. Naturally, your preference here would depend on which smartphone you use.
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8, like previous versions in the product range, isn’t radically different or pathbreaking in any way, and that’s completely fine. The smartwatch remains among the most capable, well-equipped, and accurate among all smartwatches you can buy today.
It serves as a true wrist-mounted extension of your smartphone, letting you view and respond to calls and notifications, track your fitness, and more. Various improvements in advanced health and safety tracking, fast charging, fitness and sleep tracking, and an excellent display make this our top pick for 2022.
However, as before, the Apple Watch Series 8 only works with an iPhone, and is therefore only relevant if you already have one or are planning to buy one soon. Prices for the Apple Watch Series 8 start at Rs. 45,900 for the aluminium case models, and there are two size options — 41mm and 45mm. You can also choose between having cellular connectivity in addition to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, or just the latter two.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
While the idea of a ‘Pro’ version isn’t new to Samsung when it comes to other product categories, this is the first time the Korean brand has implemented this for its smartwatches. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is, expectedly, a particularly impressive smartwatch, with a solid and rugged titanium case, accurate fitness tracking, and the benefits of Samsung’s unique combination of WearOS and OneUI Watch software.
Although a fair bit more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, the Pro version offers better looks and build quality, a much nicer strap in the box, and better battery life. You have the option of Bluetooth-only or LTE and Bluetooth connectivity, with the latter offering eSIM functionality and the ability to place and receive calls directly from the smartwatch, even with the smartphone out of connection range.
Of course, a key point to note here is that the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro works only with Android smartphones, so it’s the one to pick if that’s your use case. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is, by a long margin, the best smartwatch for Android right now, significantly outperforming the competition in the segment.
Best hybrid smartwatch: Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid
Smartwatches usually have some notable drawbacks as compared to regular mechanical wristwatches when it comes to traditional design and battery life. However, hybrid smartwatches offer the best of both worlds, and the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid is quite possibly among the best we’ve come across in this segment. With great looks, an energy-efficient E Ink display, class-leading battery life, and Alexa voice assistant functionality, this is a smartwatch that’s well worth its price.
The controls are naturally a bit fiddly since there is no touchscreen and navigation relies completely on the physical buttons. However, the Fossil Machine Gen 6 is entirely functional in many ways, including pushing notifications, offering hands-free voice assistant functions, and providing accurate fitness and health tracking. Perhaps the only real drawback is that the device is a bit heavy, but it’s worth it if you want a combination of old-school and new-age in one.
Best for fitness tracking: Garmin Venu 2 Plus
If fitness tracking is your primary objective, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is our top pick for 2022. With accurate fitness tracking, an excellent AMOLED display, platform support for both iOS and Android, and very good battery life, this is the ideal pick for fitness enthusiasts looking for something that bridges the gap between an out-and-out fitness tracker and a smartwatch.
That said, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus comes at a premium, and you might want to consider a full-fledged smartwatch with cellular connectivity instead at this price. However, it’s the fitness and health tracking as well as the ease of its use that truly sets the Garmin Venu 2 Plus apart.
Best affordable smartwatch: Noise ColorFit Pro 4
It’s the affordable smartwatch segment that really drives the volumes, and the Noise ColorFit Pro is among the best budget devices launched this year. With a sharp and bright colour screen, convenient Bluetooth calling functionality, reliable connectivity and notification pushing, and dynamic watch faces, the Noise ColorFit Pro 4 offers excellent value for money. Battery life is decent as well.
Fitness and health tracking usually isn’t where budget devices excel, and the Noise ColorFit Pro 4 is no different. However, it’s the customisability, notifications, sharp and detailed screen, and Bluetooth calling that makes this a worthwhile recommendation, especially considering the price of the device.