2016 Tech Gift Guide: Best Smartwatches

By on October 25, 2016


Looking for the best smartwatches to give as gifts this holiday season? We’ve collected our top favorites this year, the majority of which have nothing to do with that popular fruit company in Cupertino. Check out our picks below:

Huawei Watch

Gaining a 4.5 out of 5 star review rating on Amazon, the Huawei Watch has quickly become one of the more popular smartwatches on the market due to high-end design. The watch offers a 1.4″ full circle AMOLED display (42 millimeter) as well as a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 4GB of storage and roughly two days of battery life.

  • Compatibility: Android and iOS
  • MSRP: $299
  • Best Recent Price: $200 (refurb)


  • Pros: $70 less than Apple Watch 2 MSRP. Gorgeous screen with sapphire glass, includes fitness apps to replace devices like Fitbit
  • Cons: Battery life could be better, slightly thicker than other smartwatch options.

Check Price on Amazon

Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch

Stepping up with a beautiful display at 360 by 360 resolution, the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch is Samsung direct response to the Apple Watch. The stylish watch includes a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. In addition to providing notifications from your Android smartphone, it also include a built-in fitness tracker. The watch will offer a 3-day battery life.


  • Pros: Slightly better price point than Apple Watch. Includes a wireless charging dock. Very snappy interface. Supports Wi-Fi in case smartphone is unavailable.
  • Cons: Apps are sparse. Navigation app is poor. Can’t use watch to answer phone calls via Bluetooth.

Check Price on Amazon

Pebble Time Steel Smartwatch

Rolling out the company’s first color display on a smartwatch, the Pebble Time Steel is a platform agnostic smartwatch that’s roughly the same size as the 42mm Apple Watch. While the display is notably more muted and less advanced than other smartwatches, the advantage to that display is a 10-day battery life. Also, the screen always stays on, compared to other smartwatches that require user interaction all the time.


  • Pros: Water-resistant up to 30 meters, steel construction very durable, low power mode will continue to display time even when battery is drained.
  • Cons: Fitness tracking is subpar, can’t be used to accept or place phone calls, less impressive design than other smartwatches

Check Price on Amazon

LG Watch Urbane Smartwatch

Offering up a gorgeous design in both gold and silver, the Urbane from LG is another style-oriented design that’s meant to tackle the Apple Watch head on. It’s one of the first Android watches to offer compatibility with iPhones and is outfitted with a speedy quad core 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.


  • Pros: Extremely smooth performance due to snappy processor, streams music from compatible Bluetooth device, includes a tons of sensors for apps to take advantage of.
  • Cons: Battery life is just average at under two days, large size may be too bulky for some users, doesn’t include an ambient light sensor.

Check Price on Amazon

Moto 360 Smartwatch (2015 revision)

Available in a 42mm and 46mm version, the Moto 360 revision for 2015 sports a speedy 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 512MB fo RAM, 4GB of storage and an on-board GPU. Features include on a heart rate sensor on the back of the smartwatch as well as an ambient light sensor, which auto-adjusts the display brightness depending on light in the area. Battery life rated between 1.5 to 2 days, depending on model.


  • Pros: Extremely smooth performance due to quick processor, includes a wireless charging dock, dust and water resistant, includes Wi-Fi connectivity when phone unavailable.
  • Cons: Battery life is average, bezel size may be too big for some wrists.

Check Price on Amazon

ASUS ZenWatch 2 Smartwatch

Easily mistaken for an Apple Watch, the ASUS ZenWatch 2 is a stylish follow-up to the original ZenWatch. Complete with a snappy 1.2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage, the ZenWatch 2 is available as a 1.63-inch version with a 400mAh battery pack (3-days) and a smaller 1.45-inch version with a 300mAh battery pack (2-days). Also, the price is amazing, basically half the MSRP of most competitors.


  • Pros: Killer price point, slick display, can use your own watch band, lower power mode offers time display when watch not active.
  • Cons: Awkward interactions with user interface & phone, large bezel may not work for all wrists.

Check Price on Best Buy

Apple Watch Series 2

Rounding out the bottom of our list specifically due to the exorbitant price, the Apple Watch 2 is a 2nd generation product limited to interactivity with iOS. While reviewers love the design of the product, battery life is still a constant complaint as owners are required to charge it daily. In addition, the new GPS function in gen 2 drain the battery even faster.


  • Pros: Beautiful design, Can send & receive calls, Excellent app support, great fitness tracking software, waterproof up to 50 meters.
  • Cons: Terrible battery life of just over 1 day, lacks always on display, Non-sport professional designs get expensive.

Check Price on Apple

About Mike Flacy

By day, I'm the Editor-in-Chief for The CheckOut in addition to being the content manager for Steve's Digicams and High-Def Digest. During my free time, I love to write about pop culture, home theater, digital photography, social media, mobile technology and cool gadgets!


  1. Cadaver

    December 4, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I have spent a fair amount of time looking at the Wuawei smartwatch since Black Friday week and am convinced that if I were buying on for myself that would be the one. Was it not yet out when you created your list?

  2. Cadaver

    November 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    For the $$ you’d think that all of these would have top fitness app support by now, along with heartrate monitoring. I guess a fitness tracker is a better fit for now.

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