If we had tried to compile a collection of the best smartwatches for women two years ago, it might have consisted of a string of angry emojis and not much else. Times have changed, and there are plenty of smartwatches many ladies would happily wear in public.
Men's watches have a pretty set style, but most of the smartwatches and non-screen hybrids here come in a range of designs, sizes and finishes or even the option to go bespoke with your own concoction. Alas, many companies still haven't been able to (or cared about) getting all the flagship sports and tech features into smaller sizes. But times are changing.
We've picked out our current faves and you can also head over to individual reviews for more detailed views on features, design and performance.
Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch is our current top pick of smartwatches and still probably the best full-blooded smartwatch for iPhone-owning women.
The latest Series 4 gives the design a long awaited overhaul but the result is actually that it's now bigger, at 40mm and 44mm sizes. That's awesome for all the new watchOS 5 features but if you want something smaller, don't forget you can still buy last year's now cheaper Series 3 which sticks with the more compact 38mm and 42mm sizes.
As a fitness tracker and health device, it's improved loads and the current feature set includes waterproofing and swim tracking, built-in GPS and LTE for making calls and more when you're away from your phone. The headline feature for Series 4 is built-in ECG but this will only be supported in the US for now, another reason to consider the Series 3.
Though it looks nothing like a traditional wristwatch, the Apple Watch is still the most flawlessly finished smartwatch we've seen and can look quite chic nestled on a wrist stacked with bracelets – and luckily there's a huge aftermarket of Apple Watch straps to choose from.
Kids Aren’t the Only People Interested in VR. Both Generation Z and Millennials are interested in trying virtual reality, but Baby Boomers aren’t far behind. According to research by Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research, 64 percent of Baby Boomers have positive feelings about virtual reality.
Wareable verdict : Apple Watch Series 4 review
After a rocky start with the Ionic, Fitbit's venture into smartwatches is much stronger with the Versa. Its second smartwatch isn't just better looking, it's smaller too, making it more suited for women. This was a major problem with the Ionic, which was too large for many wrists and employed a very angular, arguably ugly design.
The Versa runs on the same software as the Ionic, meaning you'll have access to the app store and catalogue of watch faces, but in a smaller package. There's a vibrant 300 x 300 pixel resolution display topping out at 1,000 nits, and with 50m water resistance it can be taken swimming (you can track pool workouts). Plus Fitbit's female health (period) tracking, which is open to all users of the app, can actually be viewed onscreen on the Versa.
Where it differs from the Ionic feature-wise is the lack of built-in GPS. You'll still be able to track GPS, but it'll need to be paired with your phone to do so. You can still load on tracks and play offline playlists from Deezer and (for US users only) Pandora, so it's still a pretty good independent workout companion. Just be warned if you're buying this in the US: only the Special Edition version comes with Fitbit Pay installed.
Wareable verdict : Fitbit Versa review
Michael Kors Access Runway
The Access Runway, Michael Kors' third Wear OS smartwatch for women, is a lovely alternative to the Apple Watch that works with iPhone and Android.
It won't beat the Versa for activity tracking but otherwise it's a beautiful, comfortable to wear all-rounder that gives you alerts, apps, Google Pay and a selection of custom Michael Kors watch faces. There's also built-in GPS, heart rate tracking and a swimproof build though, as we say, in testing there's still work to be done on making this an everyday smartwatch you can work out or play sports with.
It's a 41mm watch, with a 1.19-inch 390 x 390 AMOLED touchscreen display, so still slightly oversized but it looks good on the wrist. You can get both stainless steel and leather straps for the Access Runway and it's also available in a slightly more expensive Ceramic model. Most importantly, you'll actually want to wear it.
Wareable verdict: Michael Kors Access Runway review
Samsung Galaxy Watch
Look we're not saying girls can only wear rose gold watches but the 42mm Samsung Galaxy Watch in rose gold finish is really rather nice. Also available in a larger 46mm model, the Galaxy Watch is Samsung's new flagship and it shows. The smaller watch features a lovely 360 x 360 AMOLED screen, waterproof design and pretty much every feature you could think of in Tizen 4.0.
The First Head-Mounted Displays – The Telesphere Mask and the Headsight. You might think that strapping a display on a person’s head is a relatively new idea, but it is not. The first head-mounted displays were developed as early as the 1960s. The Telesphere Mask was the first example of a head-mounted display, which provided 3D stereoscopic and wide vision with stereo sound. However, the device lacked certain immersion, because of it being a non-interactive medium. In 1961 two Philco Corporation engineers, Comeau and Bryan, came up with the Headsight. A head-mounted display, much like the Telesphere Mask, the Headsight featured magnetic motion tracking technology, which was connected to a close circuit camera. While the goggles can be named a precursor to modern virtual reality technology, they were not developed for entertainment purposes. Instead, they were developed for the military with the idea that a person would be able to immerse themselves in the remote viewing of dangerous situations.
Aside from being let down on apps, this could be a neat choice for Android owners who aren't convinced by Wear OS. Notifications, solid fitness and sports tracking and thoughtful design - like that rotating bezel - all help the Galaxy Watch to stand out in a sea of smartwatches.
The two day battery life is excellent, and beats the Apple Watch, plus for things like heart rate and stress tracking it could make more sense than a designer Fossil Group wearable. The only downsides? Bixby is still terrible compared to Google Assistant and Siri and we had some trouble with the built-in sleep tracking.
Wareable verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch review
Skagen Falster 2
If you're in the market for a really good Wear OS watch with NFC payments and beginner-friendly HR and sports features, the minimalist 40mm Skagen Falster 2 is a good option. You're getting the standard Wear OS experience, and most of the custom faces that are aimed at minimum designs to optimize battery life don't actually improve battery life any.
However, this is easily one of the most stylish and best looking smartwatches you can get. It's sleek and small and elegant - plus it's now swimproof as a bonus. It's not explicitly designed for women, but its unisex appeal makes it a strong contender regardless.
Wareable verdict: Skagen Falster 2 review
Fossil Q Neely
Fossil's slim hybrid smartwatch, the $155 Q Neely, keeps things simple and stylish. It's seriously light, small at 36mm, fairly slim at 12mm and comfortable to wear on the wrist. Plus it looks almost identical to a non-connected smartwatch.
As well as activity and sleep tracking, which you can monitor in the Fossil Q app, you can also set up vibration alerts, which you can allocate to a number on the watch face too. So if you get a WhatsApp, the watch hands on the 40mm watch face could move to the 1 o'clock position, for instance - though this does take a few days to get to grips with but then.
Cons: Battery life not improved | Siri integration Feature check: GPS, swimming friendly, Apple Pay, 2 day battery, heart rate monitor. Cons: Lack of apps | Computer-only music transfer Feature check: Works with iOS and Android, GPS/GLONASS, heart rate monitor, dedicated sports modes including swimming, Garmin Pay, music storage, Deezer/iHeartRadio playlist syncing.
Also nice (and more straightforward) are the features you can set up for the three buttons on the right hand edge - remote selfie, remote music controls etc. Just be careful with the 16mm leather straps as they get dirty quickly - we'd suggest splashing out on the metal band.
Wareable verdict: Fossil Q Neely review
Kate Spade New York Scallop
Kate Spade's first Wear OS watch features the brand's iconic scallop design, which was a key part of its fitness tracker, bringing the detail around the bezel.
In terms of tech, the Kate Spade New York Scallop features a round 1.19-inch AMOLED display, with no flat tyre – although it still manages to pack in an ambient light sensor, which regulates brightness to save on battery life. The screen packs a 390 x 390 resolution, which is pretty standard for recent Fossil Group smartwatches.
Virtual Reality Is For Phones, Too. One of the biggest misconceptions with virtual reality is that you need to buy expensive viewing gear in order to participate. That is not true at all. In fact, the latest cell phones allow you to use it as a device for virtual reality. You might need to make or buy an additional piece to use it for that, but it is usually at a low cost. Google, for example, offers a 3D cardboard kit for your phone for less than $10.
It's light on features (no Google Pay for instance), but what it does, it does well, with plenty of Kate Spade-made watch faces that add to one of the best looking women's smartwatches out there right now.
Wareable verdict : Kate Spade New York Scallop review
Michael Kors Access Sofie
Last year's Michael Kors smartwatch is the Sofie and it's still available. It's a dressy, blingy full screen smartwatch, which has a slim pavé bezel and comes in silver, gold, rose gold and sable-tone finishes with a single crown pusher on the right edge. It's still a 42mm stainless steel watch, so you do feel it on the wrist, but it feels nice and expensive when it's on. With the Spring 2018 finishes (above), it's available in ten different styles with seven strap options.
Otherwise, this is a standard, basic Wear OS watch - no heart rate, no Google Pay - with the addition of My Social, which lets you set Facebook and Instagram pics as your watch face. Note: there is a small black bezel around the display so the images won't bleed to the edge where it meets the metal as you might expect.
Wareable verdict : Michael Kors Access Sofie review
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41
Sure, it's not the small 39mm version that Tag Heuer promised, but the latest Tag Heuer Connected Modular is still good enough and small enough for women's wrists.
It helps that Tag Heuer went ahead and fixed some of the problems with its larger brethren. It now sports a gorgeous 1.2-inch AMOLED screen that goes up to 350 nits. Thanks to Intel's Cloverdale Peak processor and 1GB of RAM, it's both a performance beast and futureproofed. And of course, you get all the customisation you'd want from a Connected Modular.
Wareable verdict: Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41 review
From $1,200, tagheuer.com
LG Watch Style
The LG Watch Style isn't first on our list, but it keeps things simple, in both design and features. This is essentially alerts and activity tracking wristwear but what it has going for it is that it's considerably smaller than its sibling, the Watch Sport and most other smartwatches.
It's very light - lighter than it looks - and very slim and compact too at 10.8mm thick with a fully round 1.2-inch P-OLED screen. Packing Wear OS with nifty new watch faces but sadly no NFC for contactless payments - to keep the thickness trim, it's a inoffensive choice if not the most exciting.
Plus that price is mid-range, so if you want lots of features and sensors, you're out of luck with this one. If you want a smartwatch that looks like a watch and adds a bit of connectivity to your wrist, you're all set. Choose from three muted models of rose gold, titanium and silver finishes.
Wareable verdict : LG Watch Style review
Facebook is estimated to have more than 400 employees working on developing VR. Other companies known to have VR in development include Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google.
Misfit Phase was the company's first dip into the hybrid scene, but it's followed up with the similar-but-not-completely-identical Misfit Path. While the Path shares the same DNA as the Phase, there are a few notable differences, including the round markers around the face and the 36mm size - for comparison, the Phase is 41mm.
The Path will alert you to notifications, but unlike the Phase it doesn't use the colour wheel to signify what they're for. Instead, it just uses hand movements and vibrations to give you alerts, which can be customized in the app settings.
One of the side buttons can also be dedicated to a special smart feature of your choosing, like remotely controlling your phone's camera. The watch is waterproof to 50 meters too, with a six-month battery life to boot. One big plus compared to the rest on the list - that affordable price.
From $149.99, misfit.com