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Can’t wait to get a wearable? Here are the best smartwatches you can buy

The smartwatch phenomenon, which began in earnest during 2015, is now in full swing and there are some really exciting and very capable devices on sale. However, there haven’t been that many major releases in 2016, so the current best smartwatches mostly come from last year. This doesn’t make any buying decision easier. There are as many models on sale, with wider device compatibility, and all-around better designs than there were a year ago. It’s just as important to pick the right one, because after all, it’s going to be in full view of the world, so it has to look good and function properly.

Related: Decrypt Android Wear with these 16 essential tips and tricks

Eager tech fans may have started looking towards the future in anticipation of the Apple Watch 2, and maybe a Samsung Gear S3, but if you want a smartwatch in the here and now, this is the guide you need. Here are the five we think should be at the top of the list to strap to your wrist. The only one that requires a particular phone to operate is the Apple Watch, while all the others will happily work with iOS and Android, thanks to cross-device compatibility through a special app.

The best smartwatches you can buy now

Apple Watch ($350+)

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While it’s hard to choose a ‘best’ smartwatch at the moment — there isn’t a universal standout — the Apple Watch comes close to matching the criteria many will have for such a thing. It’s beautifully made, comfortable to wear, comes in different materials to suit most pockets, and there’s a choice of straps that should ensure it can fit in with most people’s style. Plus, it comes in two different sizes — 38mm and 42mm — so it’ll look equally at home on male and female wrists. These are key features, and personalization is an important consideration for watches in general.

We love the unusual, fun messaging features, such as being able to send haptic taps directly to another Apple Watch, and the most recent WatchOS 2 software has cured some of the early software gremlins. Add in fitness tracking, an array of apps, a solid notification system, plus a growing range of accessories, and the Apple Watch sets the overall standard for current smartwatches

There are downsides. Apps are still flaky, the OS is a bit slow, and it’s expensive — particularly if you choose anything but the Watch Sport. It also only works with the iPhone, but it’s an Apple product, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. Read our full review here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Best Buy Apple

Huawei Watch ($350+)

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It took nearly 10 months to hit store shelves following its announcement, but the Huawei Watch is worth the wait. Available in black, gold, or stainless steel, it’s probably the best looking Android Wear device we’ve seen yet. It’s technically impressive too, with the 400 x 400 pixel 1.4-inch AMOLED screen surpassing all other Android Wear watch displays in terms of sharpness.

The 42mm circular body is just about compact enough to suit male and female wrists, but it’s still skewed towards men. However the design is sleek enough to appeal to everyone. You’ll need to splash out if it takes your fancy. The basic leather strapped model costs $350, but you could end up paying anywhere up to $800 if you prefer the rose gold version. Price aside, it’s our firm favorite Android Wear smartwatch. Read our full review here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Best Buy

Fossil Q Founder ($275+)

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If the Huawei Watch is our favorite Android Wear smartwatch for wrists of all sizes, then the Fossil Q Founder is the one to buy if you have a slender wrist and don’t mind a chunky watch. The chrome version is absolutely gorgeous, and treads the fine line between being satisfyingly large without being cumbersome. It’s a delight to look at, and you’ll be proud to wear it.

The technology inside the Q Founder isn’t all that different from other Android Wear watches, however, though it does have an Intel chip and 1GB of RAM. The Intel chip doesn’t make it that much faster in everyday use. Some will be put off by that distinctive ‘flat tire’ display, though it doesn’t detract from the watch as a whole. The price is also extremely reasonable, especially given the brand name and gorgeous design. Read our full review here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Vector Luna ($330)

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Smartwatches don’t have to run Android Wear, they don’t need to look like toys, and they don’t all have batteries that last a couple of days at the most. The Vector Luna proves this, and if you’re looking for a smartwatch that puts traditional design and unobtrusive notifications above flash and needless apps, then it’s worthy of consideration.

The app is compatible with Android and iOS, so it won’t matter what phone you own. It’s sold in several different configurations, with a choice of strap design. The headline feature is its 30-day battery life — a proven figure we saw the watch actually exceed in our tests. Combine this with the cool look, and it’s a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want a touchscreen watch, or the charging inconvenience one usually brings. Read our full review here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Best Buy

Motorola Moto 360, 2nd gen ($300+)

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The original circular smartwatch is back with a vengeance, and although the trademark ‘flat tire’ display remains, the watch now comes in two sizes — 46mm and 42mm, to suit men and women. Everything from the bezel’s finish to the color of the strap can be altered in Moto Maker, allowing you to create a watch that’s completely to your taste. It’s also the only Android Wear watch on this list that we can recommend to women.

Android Wear runs on the Moto 360, so it’ll work with Android and iOS devices, and it’s shown on a 1.4-inch 360 x 325 pixel LCD screen. The battery differs in size depending on which model you pick, but expect a day-and-a-half use. Prices vary, but it starts at $300. Read our full review here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Best Buy Motorola

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