Smartwatches are getting better every year. They can now last for more than a day without a charge despite their tiny size while staying linked to your phone. Some give notifications and tell you when it’s going to rain while others can function as full-blown phones, untethered from your phone completely like the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular.
With Black Friday set for 23 November it’s the ideal time to start researching what to look for in a smart watch and how to spot a good deal. Thankfully, we’ve boiled down all the key information for you here.
Best smartwatch deals
Here are the best deals we’ve come across. For more smartwatch deals, see our dedicated deals page
What smartwatch should you buy?
There are two types of smartwatch designs you can find right now. One, like the Apple Watch, features a colour touchscreen with apps, while the other combines the analogue watch with smart features. These are semi-smart and are also known as “hybrids”, and typically use less battery since its not powering a whole screen. You can find in-depth buying advice on smart watches in our round-up of the best smartwatches of 2018.
The Apple Watch is still the dominant force in the smartwatch market, but many smartwatches from the likes of LG and Moto run Android Wear, while Samsung’s run its own Tizen UI. Make sure your watch of choice is compatible with your phone before you buy.
Also bear in mind whether or not your phone will be compatible with the smartwatch you’re after – Apple Watch is only for iPhones, and most Android Wear watches require your phone to be of a certain age and running a certain version or later of Android.
There are also designer smartwatches that often run Android Wear from brands like Guess, D&G and Tag Heuer. They are often very expensive, so if you have your eye on one, it’s a good idea to look out for discounts.
Smartwatch Deals: Is pay monthly worth it?
Seeing as smartwatches work hand-in-hand with your smartphone, many phone retailers and network carriers let you split the cost of a smartwatch over your pay monthly phone plan. Of course, these deals work to finance the device, so it’s worth weighing the long term costs against the upfront costs.
Alternatively, if your smartwatch has cellular connectivity, like the Apple Watch, you could get a separate monthly data plan for your watch. Apple Watch Series 3 and 4, for example, offer cellular connectivity so a monthly plan lets you share the same network as your phone (that is, you share the same minutes, data and text allowances), allowing you to receive notifications and calls to your watch directly.
Alternatively, while some plans let you share your phone’s network and plan, there are still other plans which get you separate unlimited data allowances for your Apple Watch.
EE also offers pay monthly plan on Samsung Gear S3 watches where you pay £26 per month on top of your phone’s pay monthly contract, for 11 months. This comes without an upfront cost.
Similar to buying a new phone on a monthly plan, however, you do end up paying more at the end of the contract, but if you prefer to pay in small increments instead of all at once, it may be a better option.
Where to find smartwatch deals
Amazon often has some of the biggest discounts on smartwatches and other tech, but it’s always worth shopping around if you don’t see something you like in our selection here.
If you find that you’re missing out on Amazon’s Lightning deals, which run for just a few hours and offer limited stock, we’d recommend signing up for Amazon’s 30 day free trial of Prime, which will get you access to deals 30 minutes before everyone else. Plus, you’ll get free next-day delivery with the Prime trial, as well as access to Prime Instant Video and more.
Sign up for Prime now to make sure you’re ready.
Beyond Amazon, here are a few of the best places to check for bargains:
Of course, the smartwatch itself is only part of the equation. You may also want to use a different strap from the one provided or freshen the look if you’ve been using the same strap for a while.
This might be especially relevant to Apple Watch users with the plethora of band choices available (here’s how to change your Apple Watch band). Though the Apple store may be an obvious place to find straps for your Apple Watch, you would be hard-pressed to find any bands for less than £49/$49.
You can find alternatives on Amazon for less than £10/$10, though make sure you’re buying it for the right watch face size. Gearbest is another place where you can find Watch bands of various designs but at affordable prices.