Best smartwatches for women: The top sports and stylish smartwatches for ladies 2019

More than just your average time keeper, smartwatches are the multitasking tech that can free you from your smartphone while still staying connected.

Many smartwatches double as fitness trackers of some sort – from simple step counters to advanced work-out recorders – and are connected to an app. Before you buy, these are the important questions you should consider:

Do all smartwatches work with all phones?

No, you need to make sure your smartwatch is compatible with your smartphone’s operating system. The three most common operating systems for smartwatches are watchOS (by Apple), Tizen (by Samsung) and Wear OS (by Google).

Do you need a new phone to get a smartwatch?

Not necessarily. A lot of smartwatches work with smartphones that are on the two most recent operating systems of their kind, but you might be okay even if your phone is a few years old. Just check the compatibility before you buy your smartwatch.

Do smartwatches have a battery?

Yes, but the vast majority have rechargeable batteries.

How often do you need to charge your smartwatch?

It depends on how much you use your smartwatch and what you use it for – just like your smartphone’s battery, which drains faster if it’s used a lot. Some last a day, so need recharging every night, whereas others can last over a month. If this is of concern to you, check the average time that the battery lasts ahead of purchase.

What functions do you need on a smartwatch if you want to use it to get fit?

A heart rate sensor is a must, as this will track your activity levels in a cardiovascular terms. You’ll also want GPS to track your distance covered and a step counter, plus possibly a calorie counter. Beyond this, you can get smartwatches that can monitor your performance during specific activities, smartphones that can give you feedback on your performance and smartphones that can provide work-out motivation and guidance.

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Can you wear a smartwatch all day?

Yes, usually. Opt for one that’s waterproof and has an in-built sleep tracker. That way you’ll be able to shower, swim or go out in the rain, and you’ll get feedback on your sleeping habits.

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Apple Watch Series 4

Battery life: 18 hours 
Display size: 40mm/44mm
Optical heart rate: Yes

The Apple Watch Series 4 — the latest smartwatch from Apple is — is a cultivated smartwatch/sportswatch for a new generation of tech. Compared to its predecessor, it’s thinner, lighter and has a larger display without adding bulk.

There’s more information and detail on the interface, so you can see more at a glance when you’re going about your day, and the speaker has more oomph than most.

The face is also sleekly integrated, so it feels and looks entirely sophisticated on the wrist. With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cell connectivity you can receive emails, calls and updates on the go without your phone.

Navigation centres around a scroll wheel that is receptive but not overly sensitive. The heart monitor has been improved and includes both an optical heart sensor and an ECG heart sensor that can accurately record your heart rate. It can even pick up early signs of heart problems.

Favoured for fitness tracking, the activity rings are highly addictive and you can even pair the device to compatible gym equipment. The app store a packed with fitness app that make this watch very enjoyable to use as much as it is to learn.

From £399 | Apple | Buy it now

Also avaliable from John Lewis & Partners

Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch

Battery life: 72 hours
Display size: 42mm/46mm
Optical heart rate: Yes

Compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones, this smartwatch has good looks and an impressive array of features. Available in rose gold, midnight black and silver (all of which can be customised with different faces and straps) the smartwatch will suit mosts tastes, and while it is more fashionable than some smartwatches it still looks like it means business – which it does.

You can track your performance at 40 different exercises, logging stats that will help you manage your fitness goals. It tracks your heart rate, your location (so you can see your run route), general health stats, stress levels, sleep quality and more.

The watch syncs with the Samsung Health app, can store Spotify playlists and is compatible with Samsung Pay, so you can declutter your pockets when you’re wearing it. A typical charge lasts up to four days, quadruple the length that the Apple Watch Series 4 manages. It can take the test of life, too; with 50m water resistance and enhanced durability, it is tough yet easy on the eye.

£279 | John Lewis | Buy it now *Available in additional colours

FitBit Versa Smartwatch

Battery life: 96 hours
Display size: 34mm
​Optical heart rate: Yes

The tagline for this smartwatch is a tad corny and overused, promising to let you “live your best life”. However, if your best life is one where your wellbeing is at the centre of everything, this smartwatch will get you closer to it.

Extremely light, comfortable, customisable and sleek, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it (until you get an alert), and it has the most complete set of features for a FitBit thus far.

Track your step count, distance covered, calories used, heart rate and sleep quality, as well as receiving calls, texts, emails and calendar alerts. You can store over 300 songs onto the watch so you’ll always have your running playlist at the ready, and you can also choose popular apps on there too.

Other features include water resistance, a period tracker, on-screen workouts and coaching, over 15 exercise modes and a built-in NFC chip for payments and a four-day battery life. It works with devices running at least Apple iOS 9, Android OS 5.0 or Windows 10 (v1607).

From £199 | Currys | Buy it now

Garmin fēnix 5 Plus Smartwatch

Battery life: 24 – 336 hours depending on useage
Display size: 30.5mm
​Optical heart rate: Yes

If adventuring is high on your agenda, the fēnix 5 Plus from Garmin is worth considering. With a combination of health and location trackers, it’s the perfect companion on a mountain walk. Using colour TopoActive Europe maps, multi-satellite technology and a compass, gyroscope and altimeter, you can see a simplified map that shows exactly where you are and suggests routes based on their popularity.

The bright backlit screen makes the face easy to read whatever the weather, so you can always see your performance metrics.

Advanced software lets you see how your performance has changed over time, view your recent exercise history (including whether you’re peaking, maintaining or overtraining), check your heart rate, download workouts, view training plans and accurately record your activity during specific sports.

You can store up to 500 songs, use Garmin Pay contactless payment, use apps and receive emails, texts and alerts. These things will run the battery faster, but it can last up to 12 days in some cases.  

From £349 | John Lewis | Buy it now

Polar Vantage M Smartwatch

Battery life: 30 hours
Display size: 30.48mm
​Optical heart rate: Yes

Here is an affordable multisport watch for athletes that love to track everything about their workouts. There are 130 sports profiles, GPS and a sophisticated heart rate monitor, allowing you to focus on one activity at a time and accurately track your improvement.

Work towards goals, see how your body is coping with cardiovascular and muscular workloads and understand your recovery management to get the most out of workout time.

On top of this, you can follow work-out plans, share your data with your coach and record your sleep patterns. The battery can last 30 hours and the body is lightweight with some customisability. In all, for less than £250, this is a great smartwatch for fitness fanatics.

From £208 | Amazon | Buy it now

Withings Steel HR Smartwatch 

Battery life: 25 days 
Display size: 36 mm/ 40mm
​Optical heart rate: Yes

On looks alone, Withings’ Steel HR is very different to its competitors. Classic, stylish and stripped back, it’s a smartwatch in disguise – a hybrid. It is packed with features including continuous heart rate monitoring, multisport tracking with over 30 activities, connected GPS, sleep tracking and automatic recognition and recording when you walk, run, swim, or sleep.

The battery lasts up to 25 days on one charge, even longer if it’s in low energy mode, and is waterproof to 50m. As for the design, it is neat and unfussy.

The embedded digital screen gives you an instant view of your smartphone notifications about calls, texts, event reminders and apps (such as Uber). Below that is a step-count dial. With lots of easily-changeable straps to choose from, you can customise the watch according to your outfit or activity, bridging the gap between techy and trendy.

From £169 | Withings | Buy it now

Verdict:

Apple Series 4 takes the overall top pick based on performance features and style— it’s easy to understand, a pleasure to use and while it’s not cheap it leads the league in smartwatch tech. 

All the smartwatches in this list are stylish enough to wear all day and have plenty of brilliant features to keep you connected and aid your fitness routine. Beauty points go to the Withings Steel HR, possibly the prettiest smartwatch that’s out there.

ES Best product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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