Best Smartwatches To Buy In 2021
Planning to swap your Rolex for a smartwatch to up your fitness and productivity game? You’ve hit the right space.
2020 was a thriving year for wearable tech and the new year is looking up even brighter for the market. We’ve rounded up an arsenal of smartwatches designed to keep you fit and connected.
Before you dive into the real selection, let’s clear some basics:
Do You Want a Smartwatch Or a Sports Watch?
Smartwatches are for those who track basic fitness metrics but also need the notification life, excellent GPS tracker, smooth music, and features like access to camera, photos and contactless payments, all without touching their phones.
Smartwatches can be synched with your phone but can work independently as well.
Sports watches or fitness trackers, on the other hand, are for exercise buffs. Serious, committed, stats-obsessed fitness enthusiasts who need clever coaching and training insights before and after their workout. These gadgets have highly accurate GPS trackers and give a total bang for your buck when it comes to sophisticated training tools.
If you’re a casual urban runner, an Apple Watch 6 is a good hybrid option – it gives basic fitness tracking and all your smartphone features which are hard to resist. But if you’re seriously training for a marathon or are a committed racer, invest in a Garmin, Fitbit, Polar or a Suunto – you just cannot expect the same level of finesse which these leading players offer with a traditional smartwatch.
Bottomline – Running for fitness? Opt for a smartwatch.
Running for pace? Invest in the latest fitness tracker.
Best Running Watches In The Market
Running watches can track an impressive deal of metrics – navigation, running form, pace, training load, heart rate, sleep pattern, recovery – but there are loads of options in the market. Which ones top the list in 2021?
1. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro – An outdoor watch beast. Premium build, bigger interface, superior technology to track all the workout metrics you’ll ever need, top battery life, touchscreen, storage for songs, WiFi, a tad heavier in weight and also in price, sold for HKD 6,200 at Fortress.
2. Polar Vantage V2 – Extensive tracking and training features, light weight, aluminium build and waterproof; touchscreen lags a bit but overall a well-rounded package at the price. Polar Hong Kong store sells it at HKD 4,780.
3. Garmin Forerunner 945 – Built with triathletes in mind, this top-end Garmin Forerunner version shares most of the sports and fitness features in the Fenix range and is definitely more sporty than the ‘outdoor watch beast’. Crucial difference with Fenix – no touchscreen, resolution and display are not the same. Priced at HKD 4,799 at Fortress.
4. Coros Pace 2 – At less than 30 grams, this tracker is featherlight on your wrist. Packed with tracking features and even an ‘AI tracker’ – something you’d find in more high-end watches – the Coros Pace 2 is an excellent mid-range running watch. A lot of its features compete with the Garmin Forerunner range but we find the screen a bit dim in daylight. Looking to upgrade from your Fitbit for some dependable technology to keep your training on track? Buy this at HKD 2,899 online.
5. Polar Grit X – Rough and rugged, for mountain tamers and trail runners. This solid piece is not designed for short haul runners; those who go on long outdoor adventures will appreciate the specs at the modest price of HKD 3,199.
Best Smartwatches in 2021
It’s 2021 and high time to add some apps and notifications to your wrist.
While not a major leap in terms of features from last year’s Series 5, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch by a country mile, by 5 miles maybe.
The key here is the kickass operating system, slick with a number of new features from the last model – talk about blood oxygen monitoring (in plain speak – measures the oxygen saturation in your blood), a great addition for mountain chasers and serious athletes. It can track your ECG – medical prowess at the tip of your finger, quite literally!
The sleep tracking is awesome and with all the home-office going on we personally heart the reminders to stand up and move around. It’s waterproof upto 50 meters and pretty darn satisfying to spin the crown to withdraw any sign of water. We really think what will drive most regular people to upgrade are the variety of new colours – we love the graphite stainless steel model, the space grey and the very red shade.
Priced between HKD 3,199 to HKD 6,288 depending on the band and case.
For Android Users – Samsung Galaxy 3
Incredible design, innovative rotating bezel which makes navigating through apps incredibly sleek, ECG monitoring and a few other tricks – this is the best Samsung smartwatch in the market for Android users.
It comes at a higher price point than its predecessors but Samsung is mixing high fashion, function and fitness to justify the cost. The smartwatch functions – managing email, WhatsApp group chats or calls, contactless payments – are all smooth. Battery life is poorer than the last model, but the slimmer design, greater music storage and new fitness features will drive the sales.
Priced between HKD 3,298 to HKD 5,398, depending upon the specs.
Best Value For Money – Apple Watch SE
If you’ve zeroed in on an Apple smartwatch and are looking for a compromise between price and perfection – the SE is your gadget.
Looks-wise it’s as polished as all its predecessors and comes in two sizes – 40 and 44 mm – with slim bezels. But now that we’re used to the Series 5 and 6, we sorely miss the always-on-display here; but take heart, all other vital functions are the same. It’s slick at navigating through apps, opening emails, making calls or payments and it’s hard to beat Apple’s fitness functions.
The design and display are iconic, it comes in a range of colour and band options; the battery life is not so great.
Priced HKD 2,199 onwards.
Most Stylish Smartwatch – Motorola 360 3rd Generation
Slick, well-built, looks like a regular timepiece (which works to its advantage), this watch stylishly covers most of the smartwatch basics. Moto 360 is the one you have to own if fashion trumps function for you.
The elegant round display and stainless steel body has such a timeless edge about it – opt for a leather strap for a more formal vibe and swap to a silicone band during a workout. The casing comes in three edgy colours – phantom black, steel grey and a softer rose gold.
Heart rate sensors aren’t nearly as accurate as the other top Android or Apple smartwatches in the market and overall health metrics won’t cut it for true fitness nuts. Battery life is not too great, you’d get about a day’s runtime out of it; but it charges from 0 to 100% in less than an hour. Neat!
Buy it for HKD 2,198.