Best smartwatches of 2021 for business use
written by Pavol Luptak on January 27, 2021
In Resco, we see smartwatches as the next big thing for business. With various features and sensors, companies using wearables can gather valuable data from employees and their work environment. Optimized manufacturing processes, better activity management, or real-time health tracking are just some advantages you can achieve with smartwatches.
As smartwatches become more and more suited for work use, we looked at some of the best options on the market. First, we made a list of essential features to check before buying, and then we list our top picks that can enhance your workflow and provide new possibilities for your operation. No matter the position or industry you work in.
What to consider before buying?
Certain features make usage of smartwatches especially convenient and productive. At the same time, one or two drawbacks can screw up the whole experience. So, here are the features you should pay attention to when choosing your smartwatch:
- Operating system (OS) and app support – Vendors and third-party developers create many productivity apps enhancing the possibilities of smartwatches, but not all devices support all apps. Apple with watchOS, followed by Google with WearOS, have the largest app selection in their stores. Tizen from Samsung provides many useful features straight out of the box, and even without extensive app support, it’s one of the best smartwatch operating systems. Other OS are more limited and vary in performance;
- Battery life – The absolute minimum is a full working day of operation, so you can use your watch during the day and charge it when you sleep. Charging can become quite time-consuming, so the more the battery lasts, the better;
- LTE connectivity – At work, it’s often vital to stay connected and some smartwatches can connect even to cellular networks. With mobile network reception, you can receive notifications, messages, and also calls just with the device on your wrist, no phone needed. But keep in mind that when using smartwatches solely for work purposes, online connection can be a distraction for workers;
- Design and overall build quality – Watches suitable for official meetings look elegant, devices used in the fieldwork are more rugged. Therefore, choose accordingly and adjust to your work position and needs. Don’t forget to consider water resistance, to avoid inconveniences due to rain or splashing water;
- Size and display – Sizes of smartwatches and their displays have significant effects on the overall user experience. Generally, the size of a smartwatch ranks from 38 mm, appropriate for smaller hands, to 46 mm, mostly suited to men. Displays of smartwatches in the business range are generally high quality and offer sufficient resolution;
- Sensors and activity tracking features – Smartwatches can track the number of steps, GPS position, heart rate, or even the quality of sleep, helping you optimize your workflow and energy management.
- Connectivity and storage – Bluetooth is a necessity for connecting to your phone, wireless headphones, or Bluetooth beacons. NFC functionality will provide you with contactless payments, and Wi-Fi is a bonus for connecting to the Internet. Dedicated storage can also offer space for offline music playback;
- Price – One more significant point to consider. The most affordable smartwatches in our ranking start at about $150. The most expensive can rise up to a few hundred dollars. Ultimately though, we recommend to consider all of the aspects above, and make a choice based on what’s most important for your use case;
Best smartwatches of 2021 for business use:
1. Apple Watch Series 6
Pros: Best app support on the market, elegant design, various sizes, advanced heart-rate monitoring and activity tracking capabilities, best overall performance
Cons: Working just with iPhones, one-day battery
Price: Starts at $399 (no LTE)/$499 (LTE support)
Why: Apple sets the bar for smartwatches every year, and the new Apple Watch Series 6 is the best device on the market you can buy right now. Highest processing power and fine-tuned OS with unrivaled support of third-party apps are the foundation of the success. Followed by elegant design, LTE support, water resistance, and many possibilities for personalization with an extensive range of braces. Advanced heart-rate monitor with electrocardiogram and SpO2 monitor can even save lives.
Battery life is still a little problematic, so you will probably need to charge it every day. However, if you are an iPhone owner, these are the smartwatches you should consider in the first place. Elegant look, powerful apps & features, and overall performance make them a perfect match for use on any occasion.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Pros: The best option for non-iPhone users, works with iOS and Android, elegant design, rotating digital bezel for fast navigation in a menu
Cons: Few third-party apps
Price: Starts at $399 (no LTE)/$449 (LTE supported)
Why: Galaxy Watch is one of the most successful devices on the market and offers many useful features. Exceptional is the mechanical rotating bezel, which is one of the best ways of interacting with a smartwatch. Other strengths include an OLED display, Tizen OS, optional LTE, water-resistance, or NFC for contactless payments. Battery life delivers between 2 to 3 days of usage for one charge.
3. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Pros: Works with iOS and Android, elegant design, rotating digital bezel for fast navigation, offline Spotify storage
Cons: Few third-party apps
Price: Starts at $199 (no LTE)/$379 (LTE support)
Why: Galaxy Watch Active 2 comes in two sizes with a 40 or 44mm option. Both use 20mm interchangeable straps, offering countless possibilities to find your look. However, they look elegant and stylish right from the box. Galaxy Watch Active 2 also offers an LTE model so you can use them for making calls and connecting to cellular data. Battery life is roughly two days.
The rotating digital bezel is a unique solution, which makes navigation in the Tizen operating system fast and fluid, although third-party apps support is not so extensive as in watchOS. However, the watch enables to use internal storage for offline Spotify music playback, which is a unique feature on the market at the moment.
4. Fitbit Sense
Pros: Most advanced Fitbit smartwatch, tracking features
Cons: less intuitive OS than watchOS or Tizen, limited notification answering capabilities
Price: Starts at $329 (no LTE)
Why: Fitbit is well-known for making fitness bands, but company also entered the smartwatch arena few years ago. The most advanced smartwatch up-to-date is a good-looking and well-performing device with just some limitations. It’s now more suited for overall performance than just focused on activity tracking, but it still lacks LTE connectivity.
With approximately a week-long battery life and renowned fitness and sleep tracking features, it can be a nice to have device, especially in scenarios where physical performance of the staff plays a key role.
5. Apple Watch 3/SE
Pros: The most affordable smartwatch in Apple ecosystem, best app support on the market, elegant design
Cons: No ECG support, no always-on display
- Series 3: Starts at $199 (no LTE) / $229 (LTE support)
- Watch SE: Starts at $279 (no LTE) / $329 (LTE support)
Why: While the Series 6 presents the top-tier device, Apple also keeps other options for customers. The Apple Watch 3 is now the most affordable smartwatches in its ecosystem, providing very good value for money. The new addition, Apple Watch SE, is very similar to Series 3, with a bigger display and fall detection. Overall, both of these are more than decent options. If the always-on display and ECG/SpO2 monitor don’t break a deal for you, Apple Watch 3/SE will be a good choice.
6. Fossil Gen 5
Pros: Great design for men and women, best experience with Google’s Wear OS
Cons: The operating system lacks at usability against watchOS or Tizen, no LTE support
Price: Starts at $295 (no LTE)
Why: Fossil brings an updated processor with more RAM and improved WearOS to their take on a smartwatch. They offer the best experience with Google’s operating system, supporting various third-party apps and that’s why we ranked them 4th. With a 44mm casing, the device can look slightly bulkier on smaller hands, but the design is exquisite for more formal occasions.
Battery life provides one to two days of operation. Fossil Gen 5 also offers NFC for Google Pay contactless payments, GPS, and heart-rate monitor. Water resistance at 3 ATM means they are not suitable for swimming or bathing. Generally though, all of the features combined make Fossil Gen 5 into a capable all-around smartwatch.
7. Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro
Pros: Unique 2-week battery life
Cons: No third-party app support, no LTE support
Price: Starts at $249 (no LTE)
Why: Smartwatches of the Huawei’s Watch GT series has a special place on the market. It doesn’t support third-party apps, or LTE connectivity, but one of its capabilities is unrivaled. Two weeks of battery life provide exceptional time to enjoy its features uninterrupted. It can display notifications coming to your phone without the need to pick it up, and you don’t need to think about charging for days.
If battery life is your main concern for smartwatch use at work, Huawei Watch GT might be the right choice for you. Although availability in the US can be an issue due to trade restrictions related to this Chinese manufacturer.
Bonus pick: NIVY Watch
NIVY Watch is the new addition to the Resco portfolio and a brand new type of smartwatches developed for professional use. While not intended for a consumer market, the smartwatch opens new possibilities for industry workers and companies.
A professional smartwatch with pleasant materials, good ergonomics and simple operation focus on business scenarious with more specific needs, e.g constuction or warehouse workers. That’s why they come with a full set of additional functionality and equipment, like simplified UI or multi-charging station. Anyone interested can read the detailed specifications or try the Evaluation Kit.
Choose the best smartwatch for your business
As we mentioned, we see smartwatches as the next big thing in business. Expanding capabilities and features make wearables more and more valuable in the work environment, helping companies and employers optimize productivity and performance. There is a number of options available on the market varying in functions or app support. Choose what suits your needs the best.