Smart watches are one of the hottest trending products in 2023, and for good reason. Thanks to leaps forward in battery life, computing power, and diagnostic equipment, the time is right to buy. From fitness enthusiasts to seniors, Aussies are living more informed, less stressful lives thanks to data on heart rate, sleep, stress levels, and even blood oxygen levels.
If you are thinking of purchasing a new smartwatch, our list (updated monthly) will help you make the best choice with a focus on health monitoring, accuracy, and overall value for your money.
Walkabout Watch 2: Editor’s pick for best health monitoring smartwatch – $169.99 at Mifo.com.au
Where to buy the Walkabout Watch 2 health monitoring watch in Australia
The best smartwatch including heart rate monitor, stress levels, sleep, and physical fitness come from a brand that is new to Australia. But don’t let that scare you off, as this smartwatch is easily one of the best we have ever tested.
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Why the Walkabout Watch 2 is the best all around smartwatch for daily health monitoring
- Advanced health and wellness monitoring. With six distinct medical sensors and a number of other instruments, the Watch 2 provides an absurd amount of data about your body 24/7. That adds up to a much better understanding of your own body (did we mention it also measures stress levels?). Data is seamlessly stored and analysed for opportunities to improve your daily routine.
- The best smartwatch for active lifestyles, period. The Walkabout Watch 2 comes with a bevy of features that improve the tasks of the day immensely, beginning with its form factor. Weighing in at what feels like a few grams, the Watch 2 feels supremely comfortable, which is critical given our next point on battery life. Further, the screen is sharp and clear, and responds immediately to touch.
- Absurd battery life. The Watch 2 can be used continuously for 10 days, a feat we tested over several weeks. With rigorous use beyond what most users will experience, we were able to squeeze 7 days of battery life out before using the included magnetic USB charging cable with rapid charge function. Nearly every other smartwatch on the market costing 2-3 times more have just a third of the battery life.
- Australia-based customer support. We have been continuously disappointed with smart watch products in the past, even from tech giants like Garmin. Part of that disappointment comes with poor or absent customer service. We tested Walkabout on several occasions with questions and every time received proper replies within an hour. That demonstrates commitment to Australian market and contributes greatly to our award of Editor’s Pick.
Garmin Vivoactive 4: Solid but pricey smartwatch – $340.99 at Amazon.com.au
Where to buy the Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch in Australia
If you aren’t price sensitive, Garmin may be the brand for you. This rugged smartwatch comes with fewer features than the Walkabout Watch 2, but offer a more generalist approach to the format.
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Why Garmin makes the list of best smartwatch products for health
- Good overall quality for the smartwatch category. Since smartwatches were invented, we have lamented at poor battery life, dropped calls, and pairing fiascos. Garmin has included top quality chipsets and firmware, and we were pleased with the overall experience.
- Rugged features for travel and recreation. Inbuilt GPS functionality allows the Garmin Vivoactive 4 to connect and transfer data without a smartphone device. This means added streaming and location capabilities that may be critical when out on the road. Unfortunately these features drain battery rapidly, resulting in only 4-5 hours of continuous use when active.
- Excellent marks for feature quantity, but usability suffers. While it is clear Garmin want you to have every recreational feature at your disposal, the exhaustive feature list comes at a cost. The size and weight of the device is noticeable and can get uncomfortable on all but the largest of wrists. Coupled with a complex setup and user interface, and we were frustrated more than once when attempting to initiate a feature or setting.
Apple Watch Series 7: A smartwatch that lives up to the Apple name – $599.00 at Amazon.com.au
Where to buy the Apple Watch Series 7 in Australia
While the first versions of the Apple Watch were less than perfect, the American tech giant is finally finding its stride. And if the astronomic price tag doesn’t scare you, then the Series 7 may be the smart watch product you have been waiting for.
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Why Apple gets our approval for the Series 7
- Massive style that comes at a massive cost. Apple have engineered a product that looks and feels simply spectacular to wear. The numerous band and bezel styles are complemented by a large format touch screen that is sharp and easy to read. The materials look and feel absolutely superb. If that matters to you, and you are willing to pay for it, you will not be disappointed.
- Built by Apple, for Apple. If you live and breathe the Apple ecosystem there is no better smartwatch than the Series 7. But if you ever interact with non-Apple devices, the high price tag may start to seem less than ideal. Apple have done a good job of making the Series 7 experience seamless within their own walled garden, including finding lost devices and multi-point connectivity. But buyer beware, as this product was designed with Apple only devices in mind.
- Some mediocre technical specs. We were somewhat surprised to find Apple have not met other manufacturers when it comes to battery life and processing speeds. In typical Apple fashion, updates have been incremental. This is, after all, the 7th version of the Watch released to date.
- Built for health, but may not work for you. One technical area where Apple shines is in the powerful diagnostic kit contained in the Series 7. The medical grade sensors are accurate and grab a surprising amount of data. To truly take advantage of that information you will need to ensure apps and devices are fully compatible with Apple’s health software, and be comfortable with Apple holding on to your data.
Runners-up: Best Smart Watches For Health Monitoring
There are many, many fitness tracking smart watches in the Australian market. And while we attempt to test as many as possible for our readers, some units simply don’t make the cut. Here’s a quick peek at smartwatches that didn’t make the list.
Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle – $298.00 at Amazon.com.au
Fossil is well known for affordable yet stylish timepieces, so we were not surprised to find them entering the smartwatch space. While the Carlyle is just fine in a number of categories, it fails to excel in any one. What we end up with is a jack of all trades that is not useful for specialized needs.
Fitbit Versa 3 – $349.95 at Amazon.com.au
Fitbit are known as a producer of simple, easy to forget you are wearing fitness trackers. In our opinion, they should stick to the simpler is better model and away from the smartwatch space. The Versa 3 is not particularly good at anything other than basic smartwatch functions, and adds an unnecessary accessory if your primary concern is health tracking. Perhaps in another generation or two they can improve on the model, until then buyers should avoid.
Samsung Watch 4 – $395.00 at Amazon.com.au
The Samsung Watch 4 is an admirable attempt at a movement oriented, powerful smartwatch. But a clunky interface, lack of usable features, and strange design choices prevent us from recommending the Watch 4. Samsung have notably improved on products as they mature, and perhaps their smartwatch category will follow suit.