Close up of a hand with a waterproof smart watch underwater in the sea.

5 Best Waterproof Smartwatches That You Can Swim With

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While smartwatches are not an essential device in our modern world, they are certainly handy and perfect for the person on the go. You can check messages, email, call people, use apps, and so much more without ever having to take your phone from your pocket or open your laptop.

As with any electronic device, you want your smartwatch to last for as long as possible, and here at Durability Matters, that means pushing the limit of longevity and finding ‘buy it for life’ products.

One way you can lengthen the life of a smartwatch is by making it waterproof. Adding in that vital feature changes the way you can use your watch. From working out, hiking in the rain and swimming, a waterproof smartwatch can be a game-changer.

Our Top Picks

Finding the best smartwatch out there can be a daunting prospect, especially with all that is on offer with both the hardware and software. We have cut through the information for you to bring you the very best. And, all five of our top picks are also waterproof.

Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5 - product image

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

If you buy a product from Apple, you know that you are getting a high-quality device. This watch features an always-on Retina display, giving you the time at all times, without any glare. One look at the watch face and you will fall in love. The Retina display gives you lots of color and detail, and the screen is 30% larger than previous models, displaying a lot of information on your wrist. There are also numerous colors to choose from, so you know that you will get something to match your aesthetic and mood.

The 64-bit dual-core S5 processor is as fast as they come, and you can move through apps seamlessly and quickly. As far as smartwatches go, this is one of the fastest out there. But, how does that processor work underwater? Surprisingly well, is the answer. The watch is rated for 5ATM, allowing you to go down to 50m, perfect for use in the pool, and with your fitness routine.

One of the best apps on this device is the heart-rate monitor, and it will effectively track your heart-rate when you are resting or working out. If you are into fitness, then there are a host of other apps to help you track your progress and set your goals. The smartwatch will track your metrics as you are working out, including your time, distance, and elevation. You can track your progress through exciting visuals, hit daily targets, and even compete with your friends in challenges.

When you are working out, and even when you are not, you have access to over 50 million songs with the Apple Music Library. Add in some podcasts and audiobooks, and you have everything that you need when you are on the go or relaxing.

There are some neat apps like the compass and ground elevation and, if you cannot find what you are looking for, then there are hundreds of apps at your fingertips. You also have access to Apple Pay, for paying on the go.

This smartwatch is fast, convenient, and consistent.

Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch - product image

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

For all of you purists out there, this smartwatch from Samsung does not look like a smartwatch and, instead, features some retro charm that will look amazing on your wrist. In fact, the screen of this watch is so good that you will think you are wearing an analog watch instead of a digital one.

The watch has a 5ATM rating, allowing you to take it down to 50 meters, and that is perfect for anyone who wants to go swimming or make their smart device a part of their workout or fitness routine. This is a device from Samsung, but it is also compatible with other smartphones. It works just as well with Android phones and iOS. There are two sizes available and different strap sizes, too, giving you comfort when you are wearing the watch and looking at it.

One of the best things about this watch is the battery life. You can go nonstop for days on only a single charge, and, with wireless charging, it has never been easier to charge your smartwatch. The built-in Bluetooth connection keeps your wrist connected at all times.

Among many apps and functions, you have lots to help track and maintain your life and fitness. There is a sleep tracker, so the watch can continue to work, even when you are not. There are stress level indicators, reminders, calorie trackers, guided meditation, and breathing exercises. Everything that you need to maintain your health and wellness.

The device is built to last. It has been tested to military-grade specifications. Ten specific conditions have been met, including drops from around 5 feet, extreme temperatures, and shock. The device is water-resistant and features Corning Gorilla Glass that prevents the screen from being scratched.

This is a high-quality and durable watch, which features everything at your fingertips.

Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2 - product image

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

Fitbit have been synonymous with active lifestyles and wearable technology for years. The Versa 2 is one of the best Fitbit models out there. You will notice that this wearable is as sleek as they come, featuring the look and feel that users of Fitbit have become accustomed to.

The main selling feature of this device is that it comes with Alexa preinstalled, making it easy for you to get going and use all of the functionality which comes along with Alexa. With Amazon Alexa installed on the device, you have access to real-time news and information, weather reports, timers and alarms, and control of your smart devices at home, all through the sound of your voice.

This is a smartwatch that is rated at 5ATM, and that allows you to submerge the watch in water, and make it part of your fitness regime. Smartwatches are amazing for maintaining your health and wellness, and this watch is no different. With heart-rate monitors and sleep trackers, you can live your best life and take control of your own future. The sleep score helps you to understand better the quality of sleep that you are getting every night, and you can track the amount of time that you are sleeping in the light, and your deep and REM stages, gaining valuable insight that really makes a difference.

The device features a large display and an always-on option. Your information is only a glance away, and you have complete control over what information is displayed, and what you can do with the device. You can track heart-rate, steps, distance, calories, hourly activity, active minutes, and elevation, along with controlling your Spotify app, Pandora stations, and Deezer playlists.

The smartwatch works around the clock, and it can go for up to 6 days on a single charge. You can pair the watch with your smartphone and receive calls, text, calendar notifications, and app notifications. If you have an Android phone, you can also send quick text and voice replies.

A robust and reliable smartwatch.

Garmin vívoactive 4

Garmin vívoactive 4 - product image

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

This Garmin Smartwatch is one of the most elegant on the market. The Vivoactive 4 is sleek, simple, powerful, and stylish. The screen allows you to display the time at all times, giving you a professional look that people will mistake for a regular watch. You have all the simplicity and style of a regular watch with the power of an amazing smartwatch.

We love waterproof watches, and this is one of the best ones out there. It is rated at 5ATM, allowing you to take the watch down to 50 meters, perfect for the beach, swimming pool, and even for diving. More than that, you can use this smartwatch for a host of other activities. The smartwatch is great for indoor sports, anything involving GPS, yoga, and running, along with giving you the ability to load workouts onto the device. You can follow animated workouts right on the screen, including cardio, strength, yoga, and pilates workouts.

Smartwatches are all about tacking your daily routines, and this smartwatch allows you to keep track of your energy levels, pulse, respiration, menstrual cycle (for some of you), stress, sleep, heart rate, hydration, and a lot more. You can also have the music pumping from your favorite apps and download songs to your smartwatch or stream music from Spotify, Amazon Music, and Deezer.

The battery life of this smartwatch is better than most, with 8 days of smartwatch mode on a single charge, or 6 hours of continuous music or GPS. You will also find that this is a watch that you can customize, with thousands of free watch face designs, apps, and widgets from the Connect IQ store. You also have a host of safety and tracking features, including incident detection and assistance, allowing you to send real-time information from your watch to emergency contacts.

This is a great watch for an active lifestyle, and one of the best watches out there for customization.

Huawei Watch GT 2

Huawei Watch GT 2 - product image

Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50m) | Pool and open water: Yes

Another amazing looking watch, with an attractive retro look and appeal, while still giving you all of the functionality and power that you associate with modern smartwatches. The watch comes in a pebble brown color (the strap), and the round watch face is elegant and stylish. Huawei have created something special that everyone will want to wear on their wrist.

Smartwatches need to have a robust battery life, and this one exceeds all expectations. When using it in smartwatch mode, you have two weeks battery life on one single charge. There are also multiple levels of convenience and tracking available to you.

The watch is rated at 5ATM, allowing you to dive deep with they watch, and submerge it under the water if you need to. That is perfect if you are integrating the watch into your fitness routines, and there are functions to track your step count, calories burned, movement, and high-intensity training.

One of the impressive things about this watch is that it can scientifically track and diagnose common sleep issues. The watch will track and monitor your sleep and offer suggestions on what sleep issues that you are struggling with, and how to combat those issues.

You also have a ton of convenience with this smartwatch. When paired with your smartphone, you can receive notifications from SMS messages, email, calendar, and other social media apps. You also have a host of features available to you, including weather, alarms, timers, stopwatches, flashlight, and a ‘find my phone’ feature, extremely handy if you find that you misplace your phone often.

The watch has a lot of storage, and you can store up to 500 songs on this device, pairing it easily with Huawei Free Buds to listen to your music. Perfect for when you are working out or commuting.

This is an elegant and stylish watch that brings a lot of benefits with it. Your life will never be the same again.

What To Know Before Buying a Waterproof Smartwatch

Waterproof smartwatches share many features and functions with regular smartwatches, however, almost all waterproof smartwatches also have fitness tracking capabilities. If you’re looking for a waterproof smartwatch, then there’s a good chance that you’re a sporty and outdoorsy person.

Here’s what to look for in the best waterproof smartwatches.

Waterproof vs. Water-resistant

When it comes to waterproof vs. water-resistant, we often find that there is a lot of confusion, and that confusion can lead to severe smartwatch damage. Not knowing the difference between the two can be the difference between a working watch and a broken one.

The frustrating part is that there is often no consensus on a definition for each term.

Well, we are here to help.

Water-resistance is regarded as the lowest-level of protection out there. If a smartwatch is water-resistant, it means that it is designed to be difficult for water to get in, but water can still get in.

Waterproof should mean that water cannot get in, but that is not always the case. There is currently no industry standard governing waterproofing. Products can be labeled as waterproof without actually being fully waterproof.

So, what can you do?

Looking at the IP and ATM numbers can give you a more accurate sense of how waterproof a product is.

Ingress Protection (IP) is a rating system set up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Usually, you will see the letters IP followed by two numbers, for example, IP67.

The first number in this equation refers to solid objects, like dust and sand, while the second number refers to liquids, like water. The higher the number, the better the ingress protection.

You can check out a more detailed chart here.

Atmosphere Measurement (ATM) deals with how much pressure your smartwatch can take. Each number translates into a measurement of depth, and that tells you how deep you can go with your smartwatch. For example, 5ATM will mean that you can go to a depth of 50m.

However, water pressure is not always accurate, so you have to be careful with these numbers. While a device may have an ATM rating, it does not always mean that it is safe for submersion. 1ATM and 3ATM both offer protection, but they are not suitable for swimming. Always check the manufacturer’s website to be sure.

You can learn more about ATM ratings here.

Activity Tracking

If you are looking to improve your health and fitness, then a pedometer is a great place to start. This will track your steps when you are walking or running. You can also look out for things such as accelerometers, which measure intensity, and heart-rate monitors. By combing those with other trackers, you can keep track of your speed, calories burned, and heart-rate. Some smartwatches will even come with full health kits and customizable workouts.

With smartwatches and fitness trackers gaining popularity, manufacturers are integrating the two. We now have more access to tracking and monitoring in our wearables. Some may depend on a smartphone connection, but almost all have some basic standalone functionality.

If you want something to play a part in your workouts, then look for fitness trackers that come with smartwatch-like features.

GPS

What would any smart device be without GPS?

If you want to track your exact location and take advantage of some of the advanced features of your smartwatch, then you need one with GPS. I like to use maps on my smart device when I am outdoors. It does not matter if I am in the city or off on a hike; a map is a handy thing to have. And, having one on your wrist is amazing.

Having GPS built into the device will also allow you to use some of the advanced trackers, such as average speed and time to complete a route.

GPS is not essential, but we believe that it gives a waterproof smartwatch the functionality it deserves.

Operating System & Apps

When smartwatches first arrived, there were only a handful of apps. Now, there are thousands. The 5 main OS’s that run on smartwatches are:

  1. Apple WatchOS
  2. WearOS (formerly Android Wear)
  3. Fitbit OS
  4. Garmin OS
  5. Tizen for Wearables

It is essential to know that smartwatches require smartphone pairing for notification functionality. It is also important to understand that not all smartwatches work with all smartphones.

With Android and iOS being the most popular operating systems, you will find that most smartwatches will work with at least one of them. Some also have their own operating system, and will only work with devices from the same brand. If you are purchasing a smartwatch, it is essential that you buy one which is compatible with your smartphone or buy a smartphone to match your smartwatch.

If you are going with one of the big operating systems (Apple’s WatchOS or Google’s WearOS), you are going to find that they are pretty similar. The main difference is that WearOS is more open source than WatchOS. This gives you more variety and customization with WearOS, but WatchOS is generally quicker and cleaner, with more consistency.

Another option, which is growing in popularity, is Tizen. This is the operating system used by Samsung, and is similar to Android. It is open-source software for all of your smart devices that also has a library of its own applications.

Display

The display is one of the critical components of a smartwatch. We have all been spoiled with high-quality screens on our smartphones, and most of us will expect a smartwatch to have comparable quality to that of a smartphone.

That’s extremely hard to achieve for various reasons, yet manufacturers are getting very close. Here are the three leading technologies used to produce smartwatch displays.

OLED and AMOLED
Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) and Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode (AMOLED) displays both work without a blacklight, with each pixel being individually illuminated. This gives lots of contrast and deep blacks.

These types of displays are thin and do not use a lot of power, making them attractive in smartwatch design. Both types of screens can display full color, while OLED screens can also display single and multi-color. OLED and AMOLED are currently the best displays on the market.

LCD
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens use a backlight to illuminate the screen, which makes them better in sunlight or other bright settings, cutting down on glare and other reflections.

Black-And-White
Black-and-white screens are the best for your battery life, you just have to accept the compromise in lack of color. They often use E-Ink or E-Paper, which makes it look as if you are reading a book, and this makes them perfect for sunlight or other bright environments.

Bonus: Strengthened Glass
Hardened glass is used to protect the device from the stress and strain of regular life, especially when you are using your smartwatch for workouts. With strengthened glass, such as Gorilla Glass, you do not have to worry about scratches or other damage.

Interface: Touch Screen vs. Buttons & Bezels

Some manufacturers, such as Apple, have gone for a combo approach. They offer touch displays with a digital crown and side button. The crown allows you to zoom in and scroll, while the side button gives you access to your frequently-used apps. The screen often utilizes Force Touch, sensing the difference between a tap and a long-press.

Other manufacturers, like Samsung, utilize bezels that can be rotated to scroll through menus.

via GIPHY

This is used in combination with the touch screen. As time progresses, touch screens are replacing physical buttons altogether, and the future is taking over.

Cost

We cannot talk about any purchase without talking about the cost. Here at Durability Matters, we believe that you should spend more to save more.

That may sound counter intuitive but, if you spend more on quality at the outset, you are going to save yourself money in the long run. If you invest in quality, the smartwatch is going to last longer and need to be replaced less frequently.

That is not to say that you cannot get a smartwatch for under $100, but you should have a budget in mind before you go hunting for a watch. Think about how much you can spend and do not be afraid to hot that upper limit.



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