large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Best Apple Watch 2022: Only 2 are worth buying

If you’re on the hunt for a new smartwatch then you may well be considering an Apple Watch, and for good reason.

If you’ve kept track of Trusted Reviews’ smartwatch coverage over the past half decade you’ll have seen each year’s Apple Watch score highly whenever we got them in for review. Highlights include the best app offering on the market, great hardware and a wealth of useful health and fitness tracking features that are sure to delight any iPhone owner.

But, with Apple now selling numerous versions of its Watch, each with very different features and prices, knowing which to get has become slightly tricky. This is especially true given the number of refurbished older Apple Watch models still doing rounds on stores like eBay and Amazon, which on paper offer brilliant value for money.

Here to help we’ve created this guide detailing the best Apple Watch’s we’ve tested and would recommend to any buyer. Every Watch on this list has been used by one of our reviewers for at least a week and run through a series of lab and real world tests to ensure our buying advice is accurate. During the process, we gauge everything from screen quality to tracking accuracy and battery life to make sure the devices we recommend are worth your hard earned cash.

For the sake of longevity we’ve also made sure to only recommend wearables that are still officially supported by Apple. This is a key reason we don’t recommend the Apple Watch 3 despite it still being sold on the official Apple Store, with the firm having confirmed it will not receive any software updates after this year.

If you can’t find what you’re after and aren’t set on getting an Apple Watch, also make sure to check out our best smartwatch, best running watch and best fitness tracker guides.

How we test

Find out how we test Apple Watches

Every smartwatch we test is used by the reviewer for at least a week, or longer if the battery life lasts beyond that point or we need more time to trial its features.

During testing we will check it for key metrics including app support, usability and battery life. If the device offers fitness, location or health tracking features we will also test these for accuracy and reliability. 

For distance tracking we record how accurately the device recorded runs on tracks we know the length of. We also record how much battery is lost using things like in-built or connected GPS per hour. To check heart rate accuracy we compare the results recorded on the wearable to a dedicated HRM strap.

After recording the data we then pair it with our general experience using the wearable day-to-day, letting you know if it’s comfortable to wear or if we encountered unexpected bugs during use over the review period.

Apple Watch Series 7

The best premium option
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Much faster charging
  • BIgger screen is great
  • Wide range of easy-to-use fitness features

Cons

  • Battery life remains a day
  • No neutral black or silver aluminium colour options

The Apple Watch 7 is the best smartwatch at the moment and the obvious choice for any buyer with cash to burn.

During testing we struggled to find fault with the wearable, with it featuring the same comfortable to wear, water resistant design as past Apple Watch’s, but coming with a host of awesome features and technologies you won’t find elsewhere.

The biggest is the addition of faster charging. During our checks, though the watch only lasted a day with regular use, it charged much faster than other models. Doing our battery checks we were able to get a charge from 10-90% in under 40 minutes.

Add to this a larger variable refresh rate screen which is way easier to read full messages on and a full array of fitness focussed sensors including ECG, GPS and HRM and the watch became an easy recommendation for our reviewer.

The fitness tracking, in particular, was solid, with its distance readings proving suitably accurate for mid-level runners and the addition of local Spotify support making it a great companion when commuting or doing a quick 5km.

The only slight caveat we have is that it is very expensive and outside of the charging and larger screen, it is only a modest upgrade on the discontinued Apple Watch 6. So if you spot a decent deal on a refurbished 6, or find a place with excess stock it may be worth considering getting the older model, which is still supported by Apple despite being discontinued.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Apple Watch 7 Review

Apple Watch SE

The best affordable option
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Huge range of tracking features
  • The best smartwatch OS around
  • Wide variety of straps available

Cons

  • No always-on display
  • Battery life still only really a day

The Apple Watch 3 is cheaper than the SE and still sold on the official Apple Store. But with software support ending we can’t recommend it anymore. This is why in this list we’re recommending buyers on a budget look at the Apple Watch SE instead, despite it costing a bit more.

Though the SE is hardly cheap, especially compared to some of the dedicated fitness trackers and WearOS watches we recommend, it’s still very good value. During testing we found the watch offers equivalent fitness tracking to the 7, near identical battery life and access to the same portfolio of apps. Performance also proved to be on a par with our tester never noticing any lag or slow down using the device.

The only compromises are that the SE doesn’t have an always on display option, which means you have to turn the screen on when fully whenever you want to check the time and that its charge speeds are much lower. It took well over an hour for us to get a full charge.

We found the compromises are worth making if you can live without these small luxuries which is why we actually recommend the SE over the 7 for most buyers.

Reviewer: Max Parker
Full review: Apple Watch SE Review

We also considered…

We’ve reviewed

2,290

Wearable & Fitness

See all reviews

FAQs

Do Apple Watches work with Android

Apple Watches are not fully compatible with Android devices. To make the most of them they need to be paired with an iPhone or iPad.

Do all Apple Watches have LTE?

Only a select number of newer Apple Watches feature LTE connectivity. You should check their spec sheet before purchasing one if you need the added connectivity.

Do Apple Watches have NFC?

All modern Apple Watches support NFC and Apple Pay, meaning you can use them to make contactless payments in most regions and stores.

Comparison specs

You can see a breakdown of the Apple Watch 7 and SE’s specs in the table below.

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Screen Size
IP rating
Waterproof
Battery
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Colours
GPS

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.