Do more than tell time with the best smartwatches for women

Do more than tell time with the best smartwatches for women

November 23, 2021 0 By Courtney Lynch

Some women like to accessorize, but sometimes it’s a struggle to find the perfect balance of form and function. This is especially true when you’re shopping for the best Android smartwatch for women. The good news is there are tons of options to pick from these days. The Fossil Gen 5 Julianna is currently the best smartwatch for women for many reasons. You get premium features and a classic yet stylish design. With that in mind, this is just one of many options to consider. We’ve rounded up the best picks to help you find the right one for your needs.

Best overall: Fossil Gen 5 Julianna

If you were a fan of the Gen 4 smartwatches from Fossil but hoped for improvements, you’ll appreciate the Gen 5 smartwatches — including the gorgeous Julianna. It comes with a new stylish design, more RAM, and an external speaker. It also does everything you need: activity and heart rate tracking, 3 ATM water resistance (depth of up to 30 meters), Google Pay, Google Assistant, GPS, and notifications.

If this watch looks familiar, that’s because it’s the women’s version of the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. You’ll have the Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, which helps a bit with battery life. If you were hoping for a major upgrade, you might be disappointed; the Julianna has an estimated 24+ hours of life, which isn’t exactly the improvement we were hoping for.

However, thanks to the improved processor and battery-saving modes, you can get more usage between charges. Extended mode turns off nonessential features, like the always-on display, speaker, Wi-Fi, and touch to wake. Location and NFC are set to “on-demand,” so those radios are only turned on when apps are using them. Time Only mode gives you a few extra hours when the battery is low by functioning as a watch only. In short, if you plan on taking full advantage of all of the features the Gen 5 offers, you’ll need to charge it daily.

Pros:

Stylish, lightweight design
External speaker, more storage
Onboard GPS, NFC, HRM
Google Assistant

Cons:

Mediocre battery life
Display could be brighter
Battery saving modes limit functionality

Best overall

Fossil Gen 5 Julianna Smartwatch

From $179 at Amazon
$179 at Best Buy
$237 at Walmart

New and improved

Fossil fans will love this watch. It has activity and heart rate tracking, Google Pay, and GPS. It’s lightweight and stylish, too.

Best value: Michael Kors Access Runway

Sometimes you’re aiming for the best of both worlds: a solid activity tracker with tons of features in the form of an affordable smartwatch. The Michael Kors Access Runway will check all of these boxes. You’ll enjoy an estimated 24 hours of battery life, onboard GPS, activity and heart rate tracking, 3 ATM water resistance, Google Assistant, Google Play, and more. It comes in various colors, including gold, pink, black, silver, and rose gold. The beautiful design might make this watch seem like it’s only about looks, but that’s not the case.

The Access Runway allows you to set customized fitness goals, track calories burned, and map exercise routes. There’s a wide selection of activities to choose from, like elliptical, aerobics, boxing, circuit training, and more. So if you’re a fashion-forward individual who wants a fancy watch that can track your activity, this might be the one for you.

The only real con is that iOS users will need to have the Wear OS app running in the background for the smartwatch to stay connected, or you won’t receive notifications. When your phone is connected, you’ll be able to accept or reject calls (there’s no speaker, so be prepared to use headphones). Android Users can reply to texts, but iOS users won’t have that luxury.

Pros:

Various color options
Google Assistant
GPS, NFC, HRM
Customized activity tracking
Reply to texts; answer calls on Android

Cons:

Limited iOS functionality
Disappointing battery life
Design isn’t ideal for intense workouts

Best value

Michael Kors Access Runway Smartwatch

From $310 at Amazon

Best of both worlds

Want a stunning smartwatch full of impressive features and activity tracking perks? The Michael Kors Access Runway is a winner.

Best LTE: Fossil Gen 5 LTE

If you’re a fan of Fossil smartwatches but you’ve been waiting for LTE connectivity, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE might be just what you’re looking for. The standard Fossil Gen 5 models, like the Julianna, aren’t a whole lot different. But, as you might’ve guessed, the main difference is that you’ll have LTE connectivity that allows you to leave your phone behind and rely solely on your smartwatch for calls, texts, notifications, and so on.

The design is reminiscent of the original Gen 5 models, consisting of a 45mm stainless steel case and interchangeable bands. The two color options are Smoke and Rose Gold. Most users will appreciate that the Fossil Gen 5 LTE offers new battery-saving modes, which can help extend battery life by shutting off certain features. The biggest improvement is, of course, the addition of LTE connectivity. This feature allows you to make calls, send texts, and stream music without your phone.

You’ll have the same standard features on the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, including onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/health tracking, Google, Pay, and Google Assistant. The only problem is Verizon Wireless is the only supported carrier. Also, it’s powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset rather than the new 4100. If you’re set on having a watch with LTE connectivity, you might be able to get past the expensive price tag.

Pros:

GPS, HRM, NFC
Activity/health tracking
Google Assistant
Built-in mic/speaker
Two color options

Cons:

Short battery life
Expensive price tag
Only available on Verizon

Best LTE

Fossil Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch

$249 at Fossil
$349 at Verizon

Always connected

Those who want a connected smartwatch for women will appreciate the Fossil Gen 5 LTE. It’s both fashionable and efficient.

Best for basics: Garmin Lily

If it’s a small but elegant timepiece you’re after, you’ll have met your match with the Garmin Lily. It’s one of the company’s latest releases and just so happens to be a smartwatch specifically made for women. It focuses on fashion first and features second, but it’s still a great option for those who want both.

You get up to 5 days of battery life on a single charge, 5 ATM water resistance, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and much more. It comes in a Sport model with aluminum hardware and a silicone band, or you can choose the Classic model with stainless steel hardware and a leather band. You’ll want to keep in mind that the Classic model is slightly more expensive. Both options are compatible with 14mm proprietary Garmin Lily bands.

There are a few missing features that might affect your decision. For example, the Garmin Lily does not offer onboard GPS, music storage, or NFC payments. Another common perk that’s not present is the bright AMOLED display. Instead, you get a liquid crystal monochromatic touchscreen. It’s still easy to read and use, but it’s not quite the same as those attractive color displays that you might be used to. Another small gripe is that the bands are not compatible with standard quick-release straps. Instead, the Lily uses Garmin’s proprietary T-bar lugs, so you’ll need a special tool to change your Garmin Lily band.

Pros:

Heart-rate monitoring
Activity/sleep tracking
SpO2 monitoring
Up to 5 days of battery life

Cons:

No color display
Lacks GPS and NFC
Proprietary straps

Best for basics

Garmin Lily

$150 at Amazon
$150 at Best Buy
$200 at Walmart

Keep it simple

The Lily is a solid pick if you prefer to keep things simple and want a smartwatch that focuses on looks before features.

Best for fashion: Kate Spade Scallop 2

The Kate Spade Scallop 2 is a major step up from its predecessor. It offers a ton of features that weren’t on the table before, including built-in GPS, Google Pay, and heart-rate monitoring, not to mention there’s an array of fashionable designs to choose from. The 41mm case is available in black, rose gold, gold, pink, and white. You can choose the band style you prefer, whether silicone, leather, or classic stainless steel.

Did we mention that it also comes with a 3ATM water resistance rating? This smartwatch estimates around 24 hours of battery life, depending on your usage. You’ll also be able to use Google Assistant, view notifications at a glance, control your music, customize watch faces, and more. Let’s not forget about the basic activity tracking that lets you keep track of your steps taken and calories burned throughout the day while monitoring your heart rate and tracking your route.

We’re bummed it’s still using the old Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, but it’s a small compromise for all that you get. The good news is that the price has gone down some since the initial release. If you’re not willing to settle when it comes to finding a stylish smartwatch, you’ll love the Kate Spade Scallop 2.

Pros:

Activity tracking
GPS, NFC, HRM
Music controls
Great design options
Different band styles

Cons:

Uses Snapdragon 2100
Short battery life

Best for fashion

Kate Spade Scallop 2

From $160 at Amazon

Fashion at its finest

Looking to make a fashion statement while still having the functionality you need? Look no further than the Kate Spade Scallop 2.

Best for sports: Fitbit Versa 3

While the Fitbit Versa 3 isn’t exclusively for women, it can certainly pass as a women’s smartwatch. When you head outdoors for an intense workout, you can make it rugged and durable with the right band. When the evening rolls around, switch to an elegant band for a night out on the town. Speaking of which, there are plenty of Fitbit Versa 3 bands to choose from. A fitness smartwatch can be feminine if you want it to be! There are many improvements worth noting, especially the addition of onboard GPS and a whopping six days of battery life.

This smartwatch offers other important upgrades from the original, like Google Assistant, a built-in mic/speaker, local music storage, and an improved proprietary band system. The mic/speaker means you can take calls on your wrist and hear your voice assistant’s responses. You’ll have all of the basics you know and love on the Fitbit Versa 3, including activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, Fitbit Pay, and more.

As always, app selection is somewhat limited, so don’t expect much on that front. While the battery life is usually pretty good, using the always-on display feature will bring that figure down quite a bit. Without a doubt, this is one of the best smartwatches for women. Best of all? It has way more positives than negatives.

Pros:

Improved battery life
Onboard GPS
Heart-rate monitoring
Fitbit Pay, music storage
Built-in mic/speaker

Cons:

App selection is limited
Always-on display kills battery life

Best for sports

Fitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch

$180 at Amazon
$180 at Best Buy
$180 at Walmart

Exercise your heart out

The Fitbit Versa 3 is ideal for women who want a fitness watch with GPS, activity tracking, and heart-rate monitoring.

Best for versatility: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

One of the best smartwatches for women is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, especially if you want excellent versatility. You’ll have optional LTE connectivity and so much more. Again, while this wearable isn’t specifically designed for women, plenty of color options can suit anyone’s style. It’s compatible with 20mm Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 bands, so you’ll be able to wear it casually or dress it up as you please. Your watch will always match your outfit with the My Style color extraction app that lets you take a photo of your outfit so it can generate a selection of watch faces to go with it.

Some other features to look forward to include a faster and more accurate LED-based heart rate monitor, advanced accelerometer, improved GPS, and an embedded ECG sensor. As far as activity tracking, the Running Coach feature now provides real-time pace metrics with a rundown of what to expect before starting your workout. Whether you’re walking, jogging, or running, the feature coaches you with audio cues through the device speaker or your Bluetooth headphones. You’ll also have 5 ATM water resistance and approximately two days of battery life, which can vary based on the model you choose and your usage.

This is another popular pick so that you won’t find too many problems with it. However, be prepared to pay more if you choose to buy a model with LTE connectivity. On that note, the battery life will be slightly less when you have an LTE model and use other key features such as GPS and always-on display.

Pros:

GPS, NFC, HRM
Improved sensors
Optional LTE connectivity
Samsung Pay
Two size options

Cons:

Questionable battery life
Can get expensive with LTE

Best for versatility

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

From $230 at Amazon
$230 at Best Buy
$184 at Walmart

Do it all

If you want a watch that can do it all and easily be tailored to suit various occasions, you’ll love the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

Best for Wear OS users: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

One of the newest smartwatches for women to hit the market is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, which happens to be the successor to the Galaxy Watch Active 2. It comes in numerous colors and sizes, so it’s easy to find a match for your needs. The 40mm aluminum model is lightweight and compact enough that it won’t cramp your style or weigh you down during workouts. You’ll also be able to opt for a model with LTE connectivity if that’s a feature on your wishlist.

Perhaps one of the biggest improvements is the revolutionary 3-in-1 BioActive sensor. Rather than designing a watch with multiple chips and sensors, there’s one chip that contains three key sensors: optical heart rate, electrical heart, and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). This allows you to take a heart rate and electrocardiogram (ECG) reading, plus blood oxygen level measurements. As for the BIA sensor, this new feature analyzes your overall body composition by taking key metrics, including body water and fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate, and more.

We can’t fail to mention the main attraction: Wear OS 3. Don’t worry. This is still a Samsung smartwatch to the core, but you’ll notice subtle changes reflective of the Samsung-Google union. For instance, some of the preloaded apps now include YouTube Music. Google Maps, Messages by Google, and Google Pay. Unfortunately, there’s no compatibility for iOS users at this time. Another factor to consider is that you’ll need to have a Samsung-branded Android phone to enjoy some of the best new features on the Galaxy Watch 4.

Pros:

GPS, NFC, HRM
Improved health tracking
Optional LTE connectivity
Better app support
Two size options

Cons:

Battery life is just OK
No iOS compatibility

Best for Wear OS users

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

From $200 at Samsung
$200 at Best Buy

The new Wear OS

Those who have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Wear OS will want to check out the sleek and stylish Galaxy Watch 4.

Best for Apple users: Apple Watch Series 7

A common debate among Apple users is whether or not to upgrade to the latest model. When it comes to the new Apple Watch Series 7, opinions are somewhat mixed. With that said, some improvements might just catch your eye.

For starters, the case sizes are larger this time around. Users can choose between 41mm and 45mm options. The physical design has changed a bit, too. The watches have thinner bezels and larger display areas. There are five different color options among the lineup of aluminum models: Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, and (PRODUCT)RED.

Another upgrade that most users will appreciate is the new USB-C charging cable. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do anything to improve the dismal 18-hour battery life, but you’ll be able to charge your watch much quicker than before. You can bring your dead Apple Watch Series 7 from zero to 80% in only 45 minutes. If you’re in a rush, 8 minutes of charging your watch will get you to 8 hours of battery life.

When indoors, the always-on display brightness is increased by 70% on your device. The larger display has other perks as well. For example, the watch can now fit 50% more text on its display than its predecessor. You’ll also have access to a full QWERTY keyboard for easier typing. Additionally, the QuickPath feature allows you to tap or slide from one letter to the next when typing.

Pros

Onboard GPS
SPO2 tracking & ECG
Optional LTE
Fast charging
Larger display

Cons

Short battery life (still)
Not for Android users
Very expensive

Best for Apple users

New Apple Watch Series 7 (GPS, 41mm)

From $390 at Amazon
$399 at Best Buy
$399 at Walmart

Improved health tracking

The Apple Watch Series 7 offers slimmer bezels, larger displays, a USB-C charging cable for fast charging, and much more.

Best premium pick: Garmin Venu 2

When you think of Garmin, stylish smartwatches may not be the first thing that comes to mind. After all, the company is known for rugged wearables that are geared toward adventurers and runners. However, the new Garmin Venu 2 does things differently. It may still be new to the market, but it’s on track to become one of the best Garmin smartwatches you can buy.

There are now two size options to pick from: the Venu 2 is 40mm, and the smaller 2S is 45mm. Both models are compatible with quick-release Garmin Venu 2 and 2S bands. Not to mention that battery life has doubled from the previous models and can last between 10 and 11 days, depending on the model you choose. One thing that’s remained the same is the sharp AMOLED display, which is clear and easy to read.

An excellent feature for health enthusiasts is the addition of a sleep score. When you wake up, you’ll receive a sleep score based on the quality and quantity of your previous night’s sleep. You also have the option to review your sleep patterns directly on your watch. The new Health Snapshot feature lets you log a 2-minute session and record key health stats. Users can generate a report to share with their healthcare providers. The Garmin Venu 2 also has a fitness age feature that can estimate whether your body is older or younger than your actual age using key metrics. You’ll receive tips on how to lower your fitness age if that’s your goal.

Of course, with a premium design and solid set of features, there are bound to be some compromises. First and foremost, this smartwatch is expensive. Some people may not be willing to pay this much for a smartwatch. Second, you might expect the smaller-sized model to be a bit more affordable, but they’re all the same price. Finally, the larger 45mm model only offers two color options. If you can live with these sacrifices, you might just fall in love with the Garmin Venu 2.

Pros

GPS, HRM, NFC
Two size options
Up to 11 days of battery life
Sleep score, fitness age, Health Snapshot
Onboard Music Storage & Garmin Pay

Cons

Extremely expensive
40mm model is the same price as 45mm
Fewer color options for 40mm model

Best premium pick

Garmin Venu 2 Smaller-Sized GPS Smartwatch

$350 at Amazon
$350 at Best Buy
$350 at Walmart

Improved features

The Garmin Venu 2 brings two size options and numerous new features that take health and fitness tracking to the next level.

Best smartwatch for women: How to choose

The bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with any of these options. But, of course, your final decision will depend on what you’re looking for in a smartwatch. If you’re seeking a fashionable wearable that doubles as a fitness tracker, there are plenty of solid picks out there. No matter which one you choose, you’ll receive a stunning design with a solid set of features that’s perfect for daily wear.

Before you make a purchase, be sure to consider what you want from your smartwatch. For example, if it’s a feminine design you’re after, you can opt for a smartwatch that is specifically designed with women in mind. On the other hand, if you’re more concerned about finding a watch with a specific set of features, then you may want to choose one of the several unisex options that has everything you need rolled into one.

When all is said and done, we feel confident naming the Fossil Gen 5 Julianna as the best smartwatch for women. The eye-catching design is a significant selling point, but there’s a lot under the hood that you’ll also appreciate. This watch has everything you need, from activity and heart-rate tracking to Google Pay to onboard GPS. Don’t forget about the additional RAM and external speaker. Plus, this watch is more affordable than ever. To put it simply, it’s what smartwatch dreams are made of.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She’s obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.

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