PhoneArena 2023 Smartwatch Awards: The best and most innovative ones

As the year draws to a close, we look back at the best wearable devices released in 2023.

Innovation in the smartwatch space happens at a slower pace, but there is a lot of competition and this year in particular has been great for some segments of the market like sports watches. We have also seen some unexpected new features, and a few other devices, so let’s waste no time and see which watches and wearable features you should know about.

Best Innovation — Double Tap

When it comes to innovative new features, we did not expect this one.

Apple introduced Double Tap as one of the main innovations in its latest Apple Watch Series 9. Previously, an accessibility feature only few knew about, Double Tap graduated to a more mature form and it became a mainstream way of navigation the watch.

It wasn’t quite as revolutionary as we hoped and some limitations were present. The biggest one must be that you have to first flick your wrist to turn on the screen before double tap would work.

However, in certain scenarious it was absolutely great and it definitely sounds like the future. Having the ability to operate your watch without ever touching it is truly so promising.

Best Hybrid Watch — Withings ScanWatch 2

When it comes to hybrid watches (those hiding some smarts under a classic form factor), there is again quite the competition, but one brand stands above them and it released new devices this year.

The best one is the new Withings ScanWatch 2.

It looks sleek just like you would expect out of a classic watch, but it has most of the advanced sensors of a modern smartwatch so it can track your health and fitness.

Buy it for the looks, but also for the incredible multi-week battery life.

Best Sports Watch — Garmin Forerunner 265

If you were ever curious about sports watches, you know they come with these monochrome memory-in-pixel screens that don’t have the vibrant colors of an OLED display, not even close.

This finally changed this year as many smartwatches arrived with full-blown OLED display.

Garmin in particular released three new relatively affordable models, all with an OLED screen: the Forerunner 265/965, the Venu 3/3s, and the Vivoactive 5.

Out of these, the Forerunner 265 is the best one for more sporty folks as it supports dual-band GPS, but all the rest also have the same quite pleasing new menu system and multi-day battery life (expect around 4 to 5 days with the always-on screen enabled).

Best Smartwatch — Apple Watch Series 9

Finally, when it comes to smartwatches, the award goes to the Apple Watch Series 9.

But honestly, we’re a bit sad to see that the competition did not do enough and Apple could remain the dominant force despite almost no new features in this new Series 9 watch.

Samsung watches are your second best option, and while they are more affordable and some have the cool rotating bezel, the latest Galaxy Watch 6 lacks the accuracy in heart rate and GPS tracking, and sleep stage tracking has been broken for months.

The Apple Watch remains the gold standard for accurate heart rate measurements, sleep tracking data, and practically all things health and fitness.

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