Sun. Nov 17th, 2019

The best stylish smartwatches for women

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The best stylish smartwatches for women

  • We tested dozens of smartwatches to see which ones are best for women in terms of style, size, and function.
  • The 40mm Apple Watch Series 5 is the most stylish, high-tech smartwatch for women with its simple interface and attractive looks.

The first smartwatches were bulky, ugly monstrosities that only the most ardent of tech addicts could stomach wearing every day, but over the past few years, smartwatches have become much more fashionable.

As more and more fashion-forward brands join the latest tech craze, smartwatches for women have started to arrive. Fossil, Skagen, and Kate Spade are getting into the wearable world. Of course, traditional tech companies are taking notice of the trend, too.

Apple was one of the first tech companies to make female-friendly Apple Watch styles, and it remains the only company to have successfully made a smartwatch that’s small enough for women with dainty wrists. Meanwhile, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola, and others have dabbled in making attractive versions of their smartwatches for women.

As a female tech reviewer for the past six years, I’ve tested nearly every smartwatch that has come out to date — no matter how big or manly — so I can confidently say that these are the best smartwatches for women.

Our buying guide of the best smartwatches for women includes all kinds of watches to suit every style, so whether you like gold, silver, or a unique finish; whether you like chunky watches, slim ones, or futuristic styles, we’ve got you covered.

Here are the best smartwatches for women:

Updated on 10/21/2019 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added notes about new smartwatches that we are currently testing.

The best smartwatch for women overall

The Apple Watch Series 5 has a cool new always-on watch face, a female-friendly fit, and excellent fitness features.

It doesn’t get better than the Apple Watch Series 5. The new slimmer body and always-on watch face make it sleeker and more stylish than ever before. The unique modern design works for both men and women.

The smartwatch comes in 40mm and 44mm styles to fit wrists big and small. You can buy it in several finishes to match your style and there are dozens of Apple-made and third-party watch bands to make the Watch your own. Apple brought back the premium ceramic and stainless steel finishes, too.

No other smartwatch offers this much variety and customization, especially when it comes to female-friendly options. The Apple Watch is the only smartwatch I’ve ever worn regularly each day for months on end. I’ve reviewed dozens of Android Wear watches, and although many of them are nice looking as well and they have improved over the years, they’re not as fully featured or easy to use as the Apple Watch. They’re not quite as slim or natural-looking on my wrist, either.

The Apple Watch boasts cutting-edge smartwatch tech including mobile payments with Apple Pay, stand-alone GPS, full waterproofing up to 50 meters, and thousands of apps. The user interface is very simple and attractive. It’s easy to use and it has advanced, easy-to-use fitness tracking features, thanks to many sensors and an excellent heart rate monitor.

The Series 5 can even detect when you fall and even alert emergency contacts if need be, as well as an electrical heart rate sensor that works with an app to alert you to heart health issues. The electrocardiogram (ECG) app has been certified by the Food & Drug Administration.

You can also get an LTE version of the Series 5 for standalone smartwatch functions like calls, texts, and internet access. That way, you can leave your phone at home when you go out on a run or a long hike.

The LTE connection will cost you a monthly fee at most carriers, and the LTE model does cost more. There’s a non-LTE version, too, if you’re not interested in the new feature. Most people probably don’t need LTE, frankly, unless you regularly go on hikes or long runs and you don’t want to be weighed down with your phone. Still, it’s a nice option to have.

The Series 5 lasts a full day on a charge, but you can get more out of it if you don’t get notifications from every app on your iPhone. The new always-on display does lessen the battery life a bit, too.

While other companies struggle to pack tons of tech into bulky smartwatches, Apple effortlessly offers all the tech you need in the most compact and attractive smartwatch you can buy.

Pros: Gorgeous larger screen, slimmer watch case, haptic feedback from the crown, great watch faces, tons of band options, lots of apps, new health-focused features

Cons: Expensive, battery life is short, only works with iPhone

The best with feminine details

The Kate Spade Scallop 2 is a truly feminine, whimsical, and charming smartwatch that packs serious tech features like a heart rate monitor, GPS, and NFC for mobile payments.

Most smartwatches are still more unisex than specifically made for women. Even though Fossil, Skagen, and Apple make very convincing unisex watches that women can actually wear, none of them are unapologetically feminine. If you, like me, have been waiting for the day when you can look at a smartwatch and say, “Oh my God! It’s so cute!” your day has come. 

The Kate Spade Scallop 2 is fully and completely designed for women. The round metal watch casing is relatively slim, very sleek, and absolutely adorable because it has the cute little detail of scalloping around the watch face.

The watch faces themselves are classic Kate Spade designs. You get a sultry winking moon face with perfectly curled lashes, calling you a leading lady; cute bubbly balloons for a digital watch face with numbers; a speeding cab that reassures you that you’ll be there in a New York minute; and a daisy that loses petals as the time ticks away in a classic game of “He loves me; he loves me not.”

The cute scalloped silicone band in black or a leather band in blush pink and the well-made, slim metal bracelet style watch band complete the feminine look. It is these little touches that make this watch so fun. 

Underneath all the fun design is Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) with all its skills and limitations. Like all the other Wear OS watches in our guide, you can pair it an iPhone or Android device to get apps and all your notifications.

The second-generation Scallop even has GPS, NFC for payments, and a heart rate monitor, making it more high tech than ever.

Pros: Adorable design, feminine watch faces and casing, cute straps, subtle details for fun, GPS, NFC, heart rate monitor

Cons: A bit expensive

The best with a classic design

The Fossil Q Julianna HR is a sleek smartwatch with a classic design, a heart rate monitor, GPS, NFC, and the power of WearOS.

If you’re an Android user who wants a female-friendly smartwatch, you’re in luck. Over the past few years, fashion brands and watchmakers have been making great Wear OS smartwatches. Fossil’s smartwatch line continues to grow each year, and the new Q Julianna HR is its fifth-generation model.

In the new version, the watch casing is smaller and less bulky and there’s also the latest tech like a heart rate sensor, GPS, and NFC for mobile payments.

Fossil offers several different finishes for the Q Julianna’s watch casing. I love the simple rose gold casing and leather strap option, but you can also get one with a metal bracelet.

If you don’t like any of the included straps, Fossil and other brands sell dozens of 22mm watch straps you can choose instead to really make the Q Julianna your own.

It’s a chunky watch, which is great for women who like bigger watches. Even though it’s stylish, this smartwatch is also waterproof up to 3 ATM, so you can swim with it on.

As for the tech inside, the Q Julianna runs Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear) and works with thousands of apps on the Google Play Store. You can answer texts, interact with notifications, and choose your own watch face — just like you would on any other smartwatch. Fossil has lots of nice watch faces in feminine colors, too.

It’ll work with both Android phones and the iPhone, but it’s best with Android devices. When Android Wear watches are paired to the iPhone, a lot of functions no longer work, and you’re left with a pretty watch that gives you notifications.

Pros: Classic watch design, stylish color options, lots of compatible watch straps, and it’s compatible with iPhones and Android phones

Cons: It’s a bit chunky, not as good with iPhone

The best for minimalists

The Skagen Falster 2 has the same unique, simple design as the original, but now it has a heart rate monitor, Google Pay, and GPS built in.

Skagen is known for its minimalistic design choices, and the Falster 2, its second smartwatch, is a prime example. The Falster 2 looks very different from most other smartwatches with its unique lugs and simple bands. It’s also slimmer than the original Falster.

It’s an interesting smartwatch, because it could easily suit men or women. I tried the Falster 2 on for size, and while it was large for my notoriously small wrists, it looked just fine on other women’s larger wrists and on men. If you like bigger watches, it’ll look right at home on you.

Just like all other Wear OS (previously Android Wear) smartwatches, the Falster 2 works with both iPhone and Android devices. As always, Wear OS is best with an Android phone. Some functions simply don’t work as well when you pair this watch to an iPhone.

You can download thousands of apps from the Google Play Store and get notifications on your wrist. This second-generation smartwatch also has GPS, NFC for Google Pay, and a heart rate monitor built in, so it’s more fully featured and high tech than the original Falster. It’s everything we wanted the original Falster to be.

Pros: Cool design, simple mesh band, suits women and men, Wear OS, works with iPhone and Android, GPS, NFC, heart rate monitor

Cons: A bit pricey

What else we considered

We’re currently in the process of testing several new smartwatches for women that were just released, so stay tuned for a bigger update. Here are the ones we’re currently looking into and testing.

  • Garmin Vivoactive 4SGarmin makes great fitness-focused smartwatches, and the 4S looks to be a good Apple Watch alternative, as it has many of the same specs. It has a simple design that looks good on both women and men.
  • Fitbit Versa 2: The Fitbit Versa 2 could be a great contender for the best smartwatch upgrade for people who have an old Fitbit tracker and want to try out a smartwatch for the first time. The previous generation of the Versa was our pick for fitness fans.
  • Michael Kors Access Lexington 2: Michael Kors has been making smartwatches alongside Fossil for years now. If you like MK, you’ll probably like this watch as it has many of the same features and a flashy feminine design.

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