Alexa on the Apple Watch, you say? Well, while the smartwatch doesn’t have an official app for Alexa, it’s still compatible through a new third-party app.
If you download the Apple Watch app, you can ditch Siri and instead pop your queries over to Amazon’s Alexa. And while it’s fairly straightforward to achieve, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to take in order to gain compatibility.
Essential reading: Apple Watch tips for beginnersRead on below, as we explain how to get Alexa on the Apple Watch, what you’ll be able to control and whether the real Alexa will soon be standing up.
1. Install Alexa on the Apple WatchThere’s no first-party way to connect Alexa to your Apple Watch, but downloading Voice in a Can gives you a neat workaround. It costs £1.99 from the App Store and gives you full compatibility with iPhone and iPad, as well as the Apple Watch.
Since it’s a standalone app, it works whether your smartwatch is connected to Wi-Fi or through LTE. And once the app is all installed on your wrist, you just need to simply sync your Amazon Alexa account with the watch and tap the icon inside the app to access the smart assistant.
With the latest iteration of the app, you can even harness the device’s Siri Raise feature to instead prompt Alexa, as well as tap into a nifty little Siri Shortcut workaround (which you can learn how to do here, since it’s a little tricky to set up).
2. Use Alexa on the Apple WatchYou can ask Alexa your queries regarding the weather, directions and whatever else using the app, but that’s not all.
The good news here is that there’s not a huge amount of drop-off from what you would be able to control through a smartwatch that officially works with Alexa and your Apple Watch. However, there are a few things to be aware of. You won’t be able to ask for announcements, make calls or listen to music, for example.
But the workaround does enable you to control your Alexa-enabled smart home tech, meaning you can turn your lights on/off, adjust your smart thermostat or even lock your front door, as shown above by developer Damian Mehers.
Since this can save you pulling out your phone, it’s a no brainer download for both Watch and smart home enthusiasts looking to simplify how they talk to Alexa.
Will the real Alexa be coming soon?That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But the truth is, we simply don’t know. It seems unlikely, considering Apple and Amazon’s smart assistants are now locked in an all-out brawl with each other and rivals, but rare examples have shown the former to open up the garden fence. With the current workaround not providing full support, and being a little slow to actually use, here’s hoping the two companies work out a solution sooner rather than later. At least for now, though, the above method is the best way to get Alexa on the Apple Watch.
More Apple Watch explainersToday’s best smartwatch deals
Alexa on the Apple Watch, you say? Well, while the smartwatch doesn’t have an official app for Alexa, it’s still compatible through a new third-party app.
So you’ve got a fancy new Apple Watch – congratulations. But now prepare to supercharge your experience with our updated list of essential Apple Watch tips.
The good news is that watchOS 5, Apple’s latest smartwatch operating system, is one of the more comprehensive on the market. This makes for a steep learning curve, but there’s a great amount of opportunity for customisation. And we’ve got watchOS 6 on the way later in the year to bring us more Apple Watch goodies.
Be ‘appy: The best Apple Watch apps to downloadTo give you a fast start, we’ve rounded up 46 essential hacks to help make the current Apple Watch even more useful, including improvements introduced through the most recent updates. From adding music to trimming unwanted notifications and even taking screenshots, your experience will be richer for reading this list.Best Apple Watch dealsApple Watch Series 4 40mm GPS+Cellular – Save $50
Organise, and use, the app dockApple ditched glances way back in watchOS 3, and now you view all currently open apps by touching that side button. You should totally use this dock, stacking it with your most used apps. Why? Because these are the apps your Watch will prioritise when pulling in information and background refreshes.
You can customise the dock in your companion Watch app. It can be set to pull in the most recent apps you used, which works a little bit like multitasking on the iPhone. Or, you could turn it into a proper dock with your favourite apps. If you choose the latter, you can easily customise which apps appear.
If you’d like to customise the dock on the Watch itself, you can do so by clicking the side button, then 3D touching an app and tapping “Keep in Dock.”
Apple still doesn’t offer its own built-in sleep tracking mode but it is apparently in the works. For now though, that means it can’t quite match Fitbit, Garmin and others for offering the complete fitness tracking experience straight out of the box, but there are a bunch of apps that can bring the feature to the Watch. We’ve picked out the best sleep tracker apps for the Apple Watch so you don’t have to go hunting for them on the App Store.
In order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Apple Watch, you’re going to want to update it regularly. This is fairly straightforward to achieve, and you should get a pop-up on your iOS device each time there’s an update ready. To check on iOS, head to the My Watch tab in the Watch app, tap through to General and then go to Software update. Follow the instructions and and, voila, you should be on your way. Just make sure to keep the Apple Watch on charge throughout.
Also, considering there’s different ways to force one, and you may need some troubleshooting tips, check out our full guide on how to update Apple Watch.
The most stylish Apple Watch bandsApple Music streaming now comes directly to your Apple Watch thanks to cellular support, but you can still add MP3s and pair it with some AirPods for music. You’ll need to head over to the companion Watch app, then over to the Music section.
Here, you’ll see a few options. You can have a couple of ever-updating playlists automatically sync music to your Watch when it’s charging. You can also manually add in songs by artist, album and playlist just below that. Thankfully, Apple has made this process much, much easier than before. Previously, you had to create a playlist first before syncing over any music.
Of course, you should get a good pair of Bluetooth headphones to listen to the music. In fact, when you start playing a song on your Watch and there are no Bluetooth headphone connected it’ll throw up a little pop-up box asking you to sync some headphones.
There’s also the Apple Watch Spotify app, too, in case you’re wondering what to do if you’re not an Apple Music subscriber. You’ll be able to add and play music to your Spotify library from within the app.
If you’re fully kitted out with all the Apple gear, there’s also a way that you can use your Apple Watch to skip typing in a password on your Mac to get access, so long as you have a mid-2013 or a newer Mac that’s running macOS Sierra 10.12 or later. If you want to pair the two together, the first thing you need to is make sure they are both signed into the same iCloud account.
Your next step is to head to your Mac and choose System Preferences, then Security & Privacy and click the General tab. Here, you’ll be able to set the Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. Make sure two-factor authentication is enabled as well on your Mac (head to System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Security).
Check out our full guide on unlocking the Mac with Apple Watch.
If you’re overburdened by notifications, you can wipe your recent history by swiping down from the top of your screen to access a chronological list. Once displayed, you can banish them all by long-pressing the screen then tapping Clear All. If you’re looking to manage your notifications and need more detailed help, though, check out our full guide on how to clear all notifications, which also includes tips on deleting texts and turning them off altogether.
Setting an alarm on the Apple Watch isn’t actually as straightforward as it may seem – sure, going into the Alarms app on the watch itself and twiddling around with the Digital Crown is easy enough, but there’s plenty to delve into. For details on how to set an alarm on the Apple Watch and keep it silent, or even set up Nightstand Mode, read our full guide. Timers, on the other hand, are actually very straightforward. No matter what event you’re clocking, simply heading into the Timers app and toggling how much time you want to track is about all there is to it.
Apple made several improvements to Siri in watchOS 5, and most of them are in the Siri watch face. Through machine learning, Siri will now be able to serve up more contextual information, such as showing heart rate after a workout, or sports scores if your favourite team is playing.
However, waking Siri and chatting with the assistant has also improved. No longer do you activate things through “Hey Siri” – you simply need to enable the new wrist-raise option which automatically kickstarts the assistant. If that’s too Dick Tracy for you, pushing and holding the crown will also make Siri pipe up.
Read our full guide on things to ask Siri on your Apple Watch.
Take a screenshotAll Apple Watch devices can take screenshots when you push the Digital Crown and the action button below it at the same time. Images are then saved to the camera roll on your iPhone. This is not set as default, though. To enable screenshots, head to the Watch companion app and then go to General. There, you’ll be able to toggle Enable Screenshots on or off.
One of the big new features on the Series 4 is the ability to take an electrocardiogram (ECG). Or, well, it’s available in the US. It’ll take some time to roll out internationally. It’s an important feature that can help detect if you’ve got atrial fibrillation, so it’s worth checking out at least once. It can even be helpful to take before you head for a yearly checkup.
Discreetly view the timeIf you want to check in on the time without raising your wrist, you can slowly twist the digital crown upwards and it’ll brighten up the screen gradually to let you peek in, rather than fully illuminating the watch screen.
It happens. Maybe you get a new iPhone or you decide to give your old Apple Watch to someone else because you’ve upgraded. You’ll need to go through this process, which thankfully is pretty straightforward to do. You’ll need to go to the iPhone connected to your Watch. Head to the Watch app and open the My Watch tab, tap the ‘I’ on the screen and then hit Unpair Apple Watch.
You can also erase your data (if you want) by heading to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings on the device itself.
Change the wrist-raise actionThis tip came from complaining to golf app developer Hole19 about constantly having to reopen the app while out on the course. Didn’t we feel like fools.
In the Apple Watch settings menu, turn on the Wrist Raise feature. Below, you’ll have a couple of options under ‘On Screen Raise Show Last App’. You can choose to show the last app while you’re in session, within two minutes of last use, within one hour of last use, or always. Now, when you raise your wrist you’ll see the last app you were using.
You can also do it from within the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Just go to General and then Wake Screen, you’ll have the same couple of options to choose from.
Today’s best smartwatch deals Get some bandsOne of the things Apple really pushes with the Apple Watch is bands. There are new bands released every few months, with new colours to match the season, and your wardrobe. That’s why we recommend having a look at what’s out there and taking advantage of the customisation options.
Read this: The best third-party Apple Watch bandsAnd if you don’t want to splash the cash on Apple’s bands, there are always third-party options. Despite new case sizes with the Apple Watch Series 4, your old bands will still fit, too – a handy design trick from Apple.
Struggling to swap them? Check out our how to change Apple Watch bands quick guide.
As with many third-party apps, Apple also lets you halt run tracking when you get interrupted or have to stop at a set of traffic lights. You can now enable automatic run pausing simply by heading to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, heading to the My Watch section and then selecting Workout. Here, you’ll be able to toggle on Running Auto Pause.
Unlock Watch from your iPhoneIf you didn’t do this in the initial setup process, you can still unlock your Apple Watch and iPhone at the same time without having to hammer in a passcode (if you’ve set one of those up). To do this, go to the Watch companion app, where you can toggle the Unlock with iPhone feature on or off. You need to be wearing the Watch for this feature to work, though.
Turn on heart rate notificationsApple is taking heart health more seriously, and one of the newer features is a notification when your heart rate is detected as lower or higher than it should be. You can enable it in the heart rate section of the companion app.
Read this:Apple Watch heart rate monitor essential guideWhen you turn it on, you’ll be asked to choose a threshold. Then, your Apple Watch will only alert you when you go past the threshold and appear to have been inactive for about 10 minutes. On top of that, it’ll look for signs that your elevated/falling heart rate is a longer-term problem, rather than a temporary blip brought on by something terrifying – like a horror movie.
If you find yourself getting stressed in the day, you may find it useful to tap into the Apple Watch Breathe app. This allows you to follow the on-screen instructions and focus on your breathing for a select amount of minutes. It’s a handy wellness feature from Apple, and you can edit details such as how many breaths per minute you want to take, how many notifications you receive and how prominent the haptic feedback is through the Watch app on your iPhone.Chain together your workoutsYou triathlete, you. To date the Apple Watch has let you down, but it’s gotten better, and you can now chain together workouts, which means less time rubbing those sweaty fingers around the screen. If you want to jump from one type of workout to another, rather than stopping the current one, swipe right and tap the + button to add a new one on.
Sharing Activity ringsApple’s answer to Fitbit, Garmin and the rest of the fitness tracker fraternity is its Activity platform. That’s where all of your daily movements are recorded. In its latest iteration you can now share activity progress with other Apple Watch users. To do it, you need to add friends, which has to be done by going to the dedicated Activity app on your iPhone. You can then select Sharing and hit the + icon in the corner to add contacts.
Jog on: The best Apple Watch running appsBack on the Apple Watch, go to the Activity app and swipe right to see Activity data from your friends. You can also comment on workouts to keep them motivated, or to make fun of them. Either way, it’s your call.
The move goal is your calorie benchmark for each day, and while it’s a satisfying one to tackle, that battle gets a little old if it’s set too high or too low. Every so often, the Watch will nudge you to let you know how you’re getting on, but did you know you can alter the number directly from the watch?
Simply go to the Activity app and Force Touch the rings – you should see the move goal pop up and allow you to adjust. This is really handy for when you steadily want to ramp up your targets.
Use pictures as watch facesBy default, the Apple Watch selects images from the Favorites folder on your iPhone – something we’d never thought to use before. So go and tag some images in iOS using the heart button at the bottom. When you use the photo album watch face it will randomly select photos from the folder. You can tap the face to cycle through images.
Essential reading: Best Apple Watch faces to try outAlternatively, you can now turn those photos into trippy designs with the kaleidoscope face. On your iPhone, you should now now see a ‘Create Watch Face’ option in the action menu on any picture. This will let you stick a picture on your Watch either as is, or in kaleidoscope form.
Control music playbackWe’ve already talked about how to add music to the Apple Watch, but what about controlling it on other devices? Well, if you’ve updated past watchOS 4.3, you can control the music playback on the Apple HomePod or iPhone straight from the Watch. Of course, iPhone users could briefly do this after watchOS 4 first launched, though it was swiftly removed after music streaming was re-added to the smartwatch through watchOS 4.1.
With many users enjoying the control, though, and the HomePod entering more homes, users are now one again able to select tunes, alter volume and skip all from the wrist.
Change AirPods volumeIf you want to change the volume on the AirPods without taking out your iPhone, you have to ask Siri. Convoluted to say the least, but if you have an Apple Watch, you’re in luck.
When you’re playing music on a Watch running on watchOS 4 or later, whether it’s from your iPhone or Watch, you can glance at your watch to see what’s “Now Playing.” All you have to do is rotate the Digital Crown to raise and lower the volume. It couldn’t be more convenient.
Enable Fall DetectionApple made a big deal about Fall Detection during the Series 4 unveiling, but the feature actually isn’t turned on by default. When it is, the Watch is able to detect falls and offer automatic assistance.
However, unless you’re above 65 years old, or you haven’t specified your age inside the Health app, taking a hard fall won’t activate the new feature. To enable it no matter your age, head to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, go through to Emergency SOS and toggle the Fall Detection option.
Apple itself indicates that physically active people are more likely to trigger false positives, but only you can decide whether the potentially incessant notifications are worth it.
Check your data usageIf you’ve got a Series 3 or Series 4 with cellular, you may want to keep an eye on your data usage. You never know whether something will tip you over your monthly plan. Alternatively, it’s neat to see how little data the Apple Watch actually uses.
You’ll have to head over to the companion app, checking in on the cellular menu option to see the information. Once you do, however, you’ll find out how much data you’ve used in the current period and which apps are using that data.
Check in on storageThere’s a decent amount of room on the Apple Watch to accommodate apps, emails and music. If you want to see how much storage you have to play with, head to the Apple Watch companion app, go to General and then select Usage. Here, you’ll be able to get a breakdown of how much space apps are taking up.
Change text sizeIf you find yourself constantly squinting at your wrist to read the Watch’s notifications, you can change the text size. Simply go to Settings > Brightness & Text Size then configure it to whatever’s comfortable for you.
Eject water after a swimFrom Series 2 onward, the Apple Watch is waterproof and includes an eject mode to get rid of any water that’s left lurking inside after you’ve gone swimming. If you want to manually use this feature, swipe up from the main home screen to view the Apple Watch Control Center. Look for the water droplet icon and press it. You’ll then be prompted to twist the digital crown to eject the water.
It’s actually a good idea to tap the droplet button before getting in the shower or pool (but don’t worry if you forget) as it also locks the screen, preventing it from confusing water droplets for your fingers.
Ping your iPhoneLose your iPhone? Good thing you have your Apple Watch on because it can help you find your handset in a pinch. Swipe up to bring up the Control Center, look for the ‘Ping iPhone’ button and tap to be reunited with your iPhone. If you tap and hold the ‘Ping iPhone’ button, your iPhone’s LED flash will blink, giving you a visual guide in case the speaker gets too muffled.
Reply from the wristApple doesn’t have a keyboard on the Apple Watch (and probably never will), but there are other ways you can respond to texts and emails. Apart from using custom responses, you can either tap the microphone to dictate replies with your voice, or scribble them letter by letter. That’s a little tasking, but Siri is getting better at voice detection, and when you’re paired with some Bluetooth headphones with a mic, the experience is much smoother.
Force restartApple says to do this action as a last resort, so if you’re left with no choice then hold the Digital Crown and side button together for 10 seconds. Just like restarting your iPhone, the Apple logo will pop up and your watch should restart.
Get your next Apple Watch fixCover to dimIf your Watch is set to notify you or ring with sounds, but you’re in the middle of a meeting or situation where loud dings are rude, you can turn on ‘Cover to Mute’ in the Sound & Haptics settings. Then simply cover your watch for three seconds for it take effect.
Use third-party complicationsAdded to the mix in watchOS 2 (but we’ll forgive you if you’re new to this), information can be drawn from third-party apps into watch faces. On the Series 4, the main faces for these are Infograph and Infograph Modular – where you’ll get spots for eight and six complications respectively. On other Series, you’ll have the Modular, Utility and Chronograph options.
Press and hold the watch face to cycle through the selection of faces, and tap Customize to enter an editing mode. Swipe to the right to make the areas that can be customised appear in boxes. Tap the area you want to change, and then use the crown to scroll through options – this is where those third-party complications can be added. Most can be turned off if you prefer the minimalist look.
If you don’t want to deal with the Watch’s tiny display, you can also do this on your iPhone via the Face Gallery in the companion app.
Use Theater ModeHave you ever sat in a dark cinema, moved your arm to get a little more comfortable and then seen a beacon go off on your wrist? That was your Apple Watch. To avoid being a public nuisance in the cinema, just swipe up on the watch face and click the Greek theatre faces to enable Theater Mode, which will keep your Watch’s display off during your film.
Do some gym-based cardioApple GymKit has rolled out, and while it’ll take a while for gyms across the world to get in the necessary equipment, the process has begun. Essentially, GymKit allows you to tap your Apple Watch to an NFC terminal on cardio equipment, which will then perfectly sync up all your exercise data.
Transfer a call to your iPhoneReceived a call on your Watch, but want to continue it on your actual phone? No problem. Accept the call from the smartwatch and swipe up to send it over. Seamless.
Get your podcast onThe Podcast app was one of our most requested features for watchOS 5, and we’re finally getting it. With the update, you’ll be able to listen to your favourite shows on the go, with them syncing up with your iPhone and Mac. Handily, that means you can pause halfway through an episode on one device and pick up on another.
Master the Workout appApple’s Workout app got another upgrade in watchOS 5. After it already had a new look last year, including a whole bunch of new workouts, like High Intensity Interval Training, skiing and snowboarding, the big addition this time around is automatic exercise detection.
Read this: Apple Watch Activity and Workout app explainedHowever, this doesn’t work quite how you would expect. The Apple Watch will sense what kind of workout you’re doing, but it won’t automatically start tracking it without you doing anything. Instead, it sends you a notification telling you that it thinks you’re working out, and it’ll remind you to start the tracking. Once you’ve done so, it’ll give you retroactive credit for the amount of workout you’ve already done. Similarly, if you forget to end a workout it’ll prompt you to do so.
As for new workouts, yoga and hiking are finally in the list. Yoga’s algorithm is built off your heart rate, while hiking takes pace, heart rate, and elevation gain into consideration. Put the watch in power reserve modeDraining power too fast? Swipe up on the main watch screen to bring up the Control Center. The first icon displays current battery status. Press this to reveal the Power Reserve button.
And if you’re finding this to be a consistent problem, it’s worth finding out how to get more out of your device throughout the day. Read our 15 tips to improving Apple Watch battery life.
Trim notificationsBy default, the Apple Watch will show any notification that appears on your iPhone, but you can turn each one off individually to quell the digital noise. In the iPhone’s Apple Watch app menu tap Notifications and scroll down to ‘mirror iPhone alerts from’ and start turning off those annoying offenders.
Set up for left handersThe Digital Crown isn’t best placed for south paws, who generally wear their watch on the right arm. However, you can have the Apple Watch flip its controls so that the crown works on the bottom left instead of top right. In the iPhone companion app go to General > Watch Orientation and then choose your preferred wrist and Digital Crown position.
Thankfully, there are a couple of different ways to organise your apps. You can keep the old honeycomb grid (shown above) if you want, and if you do choose that way, know that it’s much easier to fire up the companion app, head over to App Layout and organise it all there, instead of on the watch itself. If you want to be done with the honeycomb grid, you can also switch over to a list view. On the Watch, just force touch on the app selection screen to choose the grid view option.
Make Mickey and Minnie speakSay you’re a bit sad, and you need a jolt of joy. You can head over to your Mickey or Minnie watch face and tap on them to hear them tell you the time in their trademark voices. You’ll need to make sure it’s on by heading to Sounds & Haptics in the companion and enabling ‘Tap to Speak’.
Trim watch facesWhile Mickey has been the face of Apple’s marketing campaign, and he’s a fun novelty, it’s virtually impossible to tell the time from his stubby arms. In fact, there are only three watch faces we actually can bear to use. Banish the rest by swiping up on any offending design. If you want one back, just press the + at the end of the list.
Delete stock Apple appsUnless you’re really invested in the stock market, you probably haven’t touched Apple’s Stocks app on the iPhone. So why would you open it up on your Apple Watch?
Back in iOS 10, Apple added the ability to remove stock apps from your iPhone. Lucky for you, deleting those stock apps also removes them from your Apple Watch.
A headline addition that landed through watchOS 4.2, Apple Pay Cash is essentially a prepaid debit card that’ll both let you pay for things in stores and pay friends. So if you owe your friends for that lunch, or you just lost a bet, you can simply open the messages app on your Watch and pay them. You can also request money from friends if they’re avoiding you.
Setting up Apple Pay Cash is simple. If you’ve got a debit card linked to your Apple Pay account, all you have to do is head to Settings on your phone, then ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’ then ‘Apple Pay Cash’. You simply agree to the terms and – voila – you’re all set up.
Check out these Apple Watch how-tosHow to use your Apple WatchHow to make an Apple Watch faceHow to stream music on Apple WatchHow to use Apple HealthHow to set up your Apple WatchHow to use Apple Watch Breathe appHow to make calls on Apple WatchHow to enable running auto pause Apple WatchHow to use Spotify on Apple WatchHow to add music tracks to Apple WatchHow to clear all notifications on Apple WatchHow to set an alarm on Apple WatchHow to update Apple WatchHow to get LTE on Apple WatchHow to use Siri on Apple WatchHow to unlock Mac with Apple WatchHow to pair Apple WatchHow to take an ECG
Apple has revealed what the future holds for its smartwatch in 2019 – and that future includes an App Store that lives on the wrist. It’s taken five years, but Apple has finally decided that, with watchOS 6, now is the time to make it easier to find, download and install apps straight from its Watch.
However, we can’t help feeling like it’s odd timing, and there’s an argument to suggest that Apple needn’t have bothered altogether. You only have to look at the high profile names that have already decided the Apple Watch is not worth the building time: Instagram, Google Maps, eBay, Amazon and Slack are among the companies that decided to drop their dedicated Apple Watch apps over the couple of years.
Essential reading: Best Apple Watch faces and complicationsWill the arrival of a dedicated App Store for the Apple Watch all of sudden see those companies drift back and pick up where they left off? It seems… doubtful. That said, Apple did make some moves during its WWDC keynote that it’ll hope entices other developers to invest their time in apps for its smartwatch again. Developers, for example, will now be able to build and design apps for the Apple Watch that work completely independently, and that means without an iPhone.
It’s also giving developers the tools to create more intelligent apps, like offering streaming audio from third-party media apps and apps that can access sensors, like heart rate and motion, even if the screen turns off.
Apps just don’t feel all that vital on a smartwatch
But a quick straw poll of the Wareable office tells you what we’ve been saying for some time: apps just don’t feel all that vital on a smartwatch. We wear Apple, Garmin, Fitbit and Samsung smartwatches, but apps sit pretty low on the list of things we use day-to-day, in comparison to things like notifications, music controls and tinkering with watch faces. Does Apple really have the ability to change that behaviour?There’s no doubt that it can do a better job of implementing a store front on its smartwatch than Google, Fitbit and Samsung have managed to come up with so far, but it’s likely these examples are more deeply rooted failures.
It’s a pretty clunky experience using the Google Play Store on Wear OS smartwatches, while Samsung has seemingly struggled from the start to entice developers to get on board with Tizen. Fitbit decided it needed to have an app store (or Gallery, as it calls it) to make its entry into the smartwatch space, but we’d be intrigued to know how many Ionic and Versa users are making use of the small pool of apps on offer.
Apple decided to dedicate a lot of time in its developer keynote to the arrival of its on-device App Store, but perhaps it should have focused more on the core smartwatch feature that it’s already doing a great job with.
It still refrains from opening the door to third-party developers to ramp up the watch faces on offer for Apple Watch owners, which is a shame, but it is improving them. Complications will now live more elegantly, and are also becoming richer, in terms of the information it can deliver.Perhaps the arrival of the on-device App Store could be the starting point for Apple to show the love to watch face developers and let them build on the great work it’s already done on this staple smartwatch feature. The idea of being able to quickly download a watch face from the Watch, as opposed to going to your iPhone to do it, definitely has more appeal.
Maybe Apple will prove us wrong and the changes it’s making for developers in watchOS 6 will change the way we use its smartwatch, and what we expect from rival smartwatches, but right now we’re sceptical.
It’s still offers the most compelling argument that you need one, but it’s a big ‘if’ it can really change our opinions on smartwatch apps needing to be a focal point.
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Apple has unveiled a new summery range of its official Apple Watch straps bringing a set of new bands to dress your Apple smartwatch up with.
Announced alongside watchOS 6 at its annual WWDC developer conference keynote, Apple is adding new colors to its Sport Band and Sport Loop collections with all new options available to order from Apple’s online store.
Read this: Best Apple Watch strapsThe Sport Band and Sport Loop is now available in Canary Yellow (above), Dragon Fruit and Cornflower shades. Additionally, there’s now a Pride Edition Sport Loop with a donation made on each band sold going to LGBTQ advocacy organisations including Encircle, Gender Spectrum and the National Center for Transgender Equality and The Trevor Project.
The Pride Edition band should also match up nicely with the new Pride watch faces Apple added to its Watch in the recent watchOS 5.2.1 software update, which also saw a bigger rollout of its ECG feature to more countries.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any new band options from Apple’s Nike Sport Band and Sport Loop collections, but maybe the two will decide to roll some new ones out at a later date.
As mentioned, all of the new Watch bands are available to purchase over at Apple. All of the new summery Sport and Loop bands are priced at $49.While it’s always nice to see Apple swell its band collection, all eyes were on watchOS 6 and what it will be bringing to its smartwatch. Among the new features, Apple is adding an on-device App Store, women’s health tracking features, the ability to monitor your hearing health, new apps including a tip calculator and more insightful fitness tracking features.Unlike those new bands though, we will have to wait until later this year to have a play with those new watchOS features.
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The Samsung Galaxy Watch may not be awash with apps in the same way that the Apple Watch is, but it does have some support for big apps like WhatsApp.
If you’re an active WhatsApp user and want to bring some of that instant messaging action to your Samsung smartwatch, the good news is that it can be done.
Upgrade: Discover the best Samsung smartwatchesWe’ve broken down how to use WhatsApp on your Samsung Galaxy Watch covering the key features and modes that you can make use of.
Got any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.
How to view WhatsApp notifications There is no dedicated WhatsApp app for the Samsung Galaxy Watch. You can reply to message notifications, but not in a full-blown chat interface.
First, we therefore need to make sure the watch gets the right message notifications.
To do this, follow these steps:
1. Go into the Galaxy Watch app on your phone, scroll down to the Settings menu and select Notifications.
2. Check they are switched at the top of the page? If not, enable notifications by tapping the slider button beside it.
3. Next, tap Manage Notifications. You’ll see a big list of all the apps on your phone, and slider next to each, which lets the notifications fly over to your phone. Make sure WhatsApp’s slider is switched “on”.
Responding to WhatsApp notificationsWhen a notification arrives on your phone, it’ll appear in miniature preview form at the top of the Galaxy Watch display. It could alternatively take over the screen for a moment if the display is in standby mode.To bring the notification back up at a later time:
1. Rotate the bezel on the Galaxy Watch counter clockwise. This takes you to the last notification received.2. Tap the message, whether it’s an SMS or a WhatsApp. This takes you to the full message read-out.
How to send a default responseIf you scroll down to the bottom of the message, you’ll see a whole list of pre-filled messages you can send to your contact with a tap.These aren’t based on the content of the message itself, but you can add your own. Scroll down far enough and you’ll come to the Edit Responses entry.Tap this and you can write your own. After all, not everyone wants the “OMG!” that is a top Samsung Galaxy Watch suggestion.We strongly recommend using the bezel to scroll through the messages. It’s far too easy to accidentally send one using the touchscreen.
Writing your own responsesAbove the list of pre-written replies, you’ll also see three little icons. The first lets you dictate a message using the Galaxy Watch’s built-in microphone.The second offers the emoji library to pick the emoticon of your choice to send over. Who doesn’t speak in emojis every now and then?The last is the keyboard. And this lets you type out a message manually, using a T9-style keyboard. You can tap on a keypad, each of which represents 3-4 letters of the alphabet as you type, the Galaxy Watch guesses the word you’re aiming for using predictive text.
More Samsung Galaxy Watch…To add numbers or punctuation, just turn the bezel clockwise to flick through the various keyboard screens. From the punctuation and numbers screens you can also tweak the keyboard’s own settings. Tap the little cog icon in the keyboard to get to this menu.In the Smart Typing menu you’ll see the option to turn off predictive text, if you can’t get on with the T9 method too.
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Samsung is reportedly already working on the next Galaxy Watch smartwatch, with details suggesting the next generation watch will get some 5G love.
The usually reliable folks at Sammobile claim to have the first evidence from sources, offering model numbers that are tied to the new smartwatches. That’s SM-R820 and SM-R830 for the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth versions, and SM-R825 and SM-R835 for the LTE versions. So, it looks like there will be two versions, just like the first Galaxy Watch.
Essential reading: Samsung Galaxy Watch faces to downloadThere may well be a Galaxy Watch 5G option, too, with SM-R827 and SM-R837 model numbers speculated to be linked to what could be Samsung’s first 5G-ready smartwatch.
There are no details on what the new watches will look like, or whether they’ll come in the same 42mm and 46mm sizes as the current models. We do appear to know the color options, though, with the watches said to come in black, silver and gold and with more colors possibly available closer to launch.
The only other bit of information shared is that it will feature 4GB of internal storage, which would mean it matches what pretty much every Samsung smartwatch has offered in the storage department.
It’s perhaps not all that surprising to hear that Samsung is working on the successor to Galaxy Watch. The first Galaxy Watch was unveiled in August 2018, as Samsung decided to ditch the Gear name previously attached to its smartwatches. It launched in two sizes, added new health and fitness features and promised bigger battery life than its Gear predecessors.
Then came the Galaxy Watch Active in February, which was a natural successor to the Samsung Gear Sport. It offered a lot of the same features as the Galaxy Watches, albeit packed into a more compact and affordable design. One feature it didn’t include was Samsung’s rotating bezel, which has been present on the company’s most recent smartwatches. Despite the missing twisty bezel, the Active is one of our favorite smartwatches to wear right now.
So when will we see the new Galaxy Watch? There’s no details of that just yet. If we look to the fact that the first Galaxy Watch landed in August last year, there’s every chance we could be looking at a similar release and launch window for the next one. No doubt there’ll be an Apple Watch Series 5 and maybe even a Google Pixel Watch to go up against whatever Samsung has planned to fight for that place on your wrist.
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The top smartwatches on sale right now are a mix of the usual tech big players – such as Apple and Samsung; fitness tracking specialists like Garmin and Fitbit; and fashion powerhouses including Tag Heuer and Fossil.
When it comes to the standout best smartwatch in 2019, it’s undoubtedly the Apple Watch Series 4. But it comes at a price, and there are so many top smartwatches at cheaper prices and with equally good fitness features.
Whether you’re looking for a great smartwatch for fitness tracking, running or a just taking calls and notifications – there are plenty of great options for every budget. What’s more, smartwatches are getting more stylish too.
If you’re looking for a quick snapshot of the top smartwatches to buy right now, here’s our current top picks. For our comprehensive smartwatch reviews, scroll down.1. Best smartwatch 2019 – Apple WatchThe Series 4 brought about the most dramatic design changes to Apple’s smartwatch since it first launched, and the addition of lifesaving features like ECG and fall detection make it an outstanding option.2. Best smartwatch for fitness – Fitbit VersaThe Fitbit Versa proves that the fitness tracking heavyweight does know how to make a great smartwatch – and with new features arriving, it will only get better.3. Top Samsung smartwatch – Galaxy WatchThe emphasis again is on health and fitness, while at the same time retaining Samsung’s most impressive features: that rotating bezel, battery life that goes beyond what most of the competition can offer and an improving operating system.4. Best for less than £160 – Ticwatch E2A great Wear OS watch for the price. We love Mobvoi’s suite of health apps, strengthened by the built-in GPS and now a fully waterproof design. The Tic Health app is where you can see your progress from the day, presented in some very Apple Watch-esque rings.
5. Best watch for sport – Garmin Forerunner 645 MusicFor the first time on a Forerunner, you can store your own music as well as playlists from select streaming services straight from the wrist – alongside those rich tracking metrics you’d expect from a Garmin.
Best smartwatch comprehensive reviewsFor all the in-depth details on the all of the top smartwatches, read on for our comprehensive buyers guides, based on our living-with reviews. rev=”7283″>rev=”7283″>rev=”7283″>rev=”7283″>rev=”7283″>Apple Watch Series 4rev=”7283″>rev=”7283″>£399.99 (GPS), rev=”7283″>rev=”7283″>AmazonThe Apple Watch Series 4 is as close to smartwatch perfection as we’ve seen to date – it’s a powerful and versatile wearable that can offer a huge range of features. While those looking for a simple smartwatch might find the Series 4’s huge array of fitness, wellness and connected features to be overkill, it’s able to morph between fitness tracker, sports watch and serious health device at will, making it a serious crowd pleaser.
Apple’s latest Watch addition gives us the most dramatic design change since the original, bringing new 40mm and 44mm sizes (in comparison to 38mm and 42mm). That means more space to show off all the latest software features introduced in watchOS 5.
It has all the same core fitness and sports tracking as the Series 3, including built-in GPS for tracking of outdoor workouts and a swimproof design. Fitness tracking analysis may lag Fitbit, but Apple’s unique goals – signified by the closing of Move, Stand and Calorie rings – is still a powerful motivator. However, there’s still no native sleep tracking here, but this can be done via a third party app.
The headline features are the new ECG monitor that unlocks the ability for serious heart health monitoring. It’s been FDA cleared, so the feature can be used to detect heart rhythm irregularities. It’s now available outside of the US with Apple adding 19 more countries that can check in on their heart health from the new Watch. You also don’t have to do that manually, and the Apple Watch continuously monitors for low and elevated heart rates, as well as AFib. There’s also a new fall detection mode that can let users access Siri to contact emergency services or an emergency contact.
The Series 4 comes packing LTE once again so you can take it out sans iPhone and still make/receive calls, get texts and all other notifications you would on your phone. A new speaker also makes Siri chats and phone calls sound louder and clearer.
Battery life is the main gripe still, and for all the improvements, Apple can still only offer 24-48 hours – which for many simply isn’t good enough.
Read our Apple Watch Series 4 reviewFitbit Versa£164, AmazonThe Fitbit Versa is the company’s second smartwatch and, along with a change in design direction, it’s crucially available at a more affordable price than the Apple Watch – it can often be picked up for around £179.99. And don’t forget – Fitbit has announced the Versa Lite Edition (more on that below) which clocks in at £149.
The Fitbit Versa comes in a host of different finishes and with a big collection of bands to mix up the look. And thanks to the runaway success of the smartwatch, there’s a bustling market of straps to choose from.
The Versa offers all of the same fitness and sports tracking features you’d expect from the Fitbit ecosystem, though the big omission here is the lack of GPS. If you want to track runs and rides, you’ll need to take your smartphone with you, and the watch can piggyback your phone’s data. For many this won’t be a massive issue, but as serious runners it’s a level of complication we like to avoid.
Fitbit OS 2.0 brings a new-look UI that offers more insights into your daily data and quick reply support for Android phone users (iOS support coming at a later date). You can still download apps and a whole lot of watch faces, pay from your wrist using Fitbit Pay, and tap into Fitbit Coach. Meanwhile the new women’s health tracking has also been introduced for the first time, which is also available for the Ionic, too.
But it’s battery life that really has the power to compel buyers, as well as the attractive price. You can get five days on a single charge, which means less hassle on weekends away, and simpler sleep tracking.
Read our Fitbit Versa reviewFitbit Versa Lite Edition£149.99, AmazonFitbit had such great success with the first Versa that it decided to make a cheaper version that strips out some of the smartwatch features.
The Lite is almost identical to the first Versa in looks, save for now just a single physical button on the watch body, which means you’ll be relying more on the touchscreen display to navigate the Versa Lite. In our experience, we didn’t miss the second button too much.
In terms of the feature that are lost, you don’t get a built-in music player or swim tracking (it’s still waterproof though). You do get an optical heart rate monitor and all the standard fitness tracking and sports tracking features along with app-based features like women’s health tracking. There’s also no longer Wi-Fi, with Fitbit introducing a new and easier way to update your smartwatch through incremental background downloads.
Sports and fitness tracking performance is not that different from what we found on the first Versa. Sleep tracking is still a standout feature, while the heart rate monitor still tends to falter for high intensity workouts. As a core smartwatch experience it’s decent, but it still lacks in comparison to its closest competitors. Particularly in the app department. If you love watch faces though, you’re well served here.
Thankfully you still get the same four-day plus battery life, which can definitely stretch to five days depending on usage. That’s still better than what Apple and Google’s Wear OS watches can muster up right now.
If you liked the Versa, but prefer to spend a little less, the Versa Lite Edition is fitting alternative. The swim tracking is a disappointing omission more so than the music player, but if you can live without monitoring your pool sessions it’s still a great smartwatch to consider at a great price.
Read our Fitbit Versa Lite Edition reviewSamsung Galaxy WatchFrom £249.95, AmazonThe Samsung Galaxy Watch is the successor to the Gear S3 and is still one of the best watches around. Compatible with Android and iOS, it now comes in both 42mm and 46mm models.
Samsung treads between smartwatch and fitness tracker, also packing in a heart rate sensor alongside the GPS and its much-improved Samsung Health software. There’s also the option of LTE, if you wish for an untethered connection, with a standalone speaker for taking calls on the watch. It’s now waterproof too, adding swim tracking skills that are on par with the Watch Series 4.
The Galaxy Watch runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS 4.0 and feels like a better alternative to Google’s Wear OS right now. You still get that rotating bezel and one of the best displays you can find on a smartwatch. However, the app selection still lags way behind the Apple Watch and Wear OS devices. That said, the Spotify app is great and offers offline playback.
Battery life, we should say, is also solid, getting you 2-3 days on the 42mm model and more on the 46mm version. If you’re not a fan of Wear OS and don’t want an Apple Watch, this is the top option to consider instead.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch reviewGarmin Forerunner 645 Music£369, AmazonGarmin has been putting out go-to smartwatches for sports lovers for a while now. Running, cycling, swimming, golf – Garmin has had us well and truly covered. Despite the Forerunner name, the 645 Music is more in the mould of the Vivoactive 3 Music. It’s got a similar look and also brings the music this time. This helps make the Garmin more of a smartwatch rival to the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear or Fitbit Ionic than before.
Not only are you getting enough storage for 500 songs, but you’re getting the offline playlist support for Spotify, Deezer and iHeartRadio. For transferring your own tracks, boot up Garmin Express on your computer, select the Music tab and choose from your own music to port over.
That same attractive stainless steel design is here. The 240 x 240 pixel display at the heart of the body is by no means the brightest or most vibrant you’ll find, but crucially delivers strong visibility in most workout conditions, whether you’re sweating it out indoors or outside. However, there is no touchscreen or touchpad here, so you’ll have to resort to pressing some buttons.
As far as the number of sports available to track: while it’s more of the same, there are some notable exclusions – like golf tracking and open water swimming (pool swimming is there though). Heart rate monitoring is decent if not class-leading, and it won’t keep you waiting around for a GPS signal. There’s also all the stress tracking goodies from Garmin’s fitness trackers. As multi-sport smartwatches go, this is the best in our eyes, and builds on all the good work Garmin did with its previous iterations.
Of course, we’re listing the Forerunner here as a smartwatch, and Garmin has added decent smarts. Fitness tracking is fantastic and Garmin Connect is a decent ecosystem for wellness data from steps and sleep to workouts and stress. You can get everything happening on your smartwatch mirrored to your Forerunner, from calls and alerts, and it will suck in information on weather and the like. And battery life is seriously impressive, with a couple of weeks even for power users.
Read our Garmin Forerunner 645 Music reviewSamsung Galaxy Watch Active £225, AmazonThere’s finally a successor to the Gear Sport and it’s called Samsung Galaxy Watch Active.
To give you the rundown, the watch has a 1.1-inch, 360 x 360 screen, 20mm interchangeable straps and weighs just 25g. The 40mm case makes it smaller than the Galaxy Watch and the Gear Sport – but it sacrifices the rotating bezel. Despite the drop in size, it’s one of the most comfortable Samsung smartwatches we’ve worn and still has a high-quality display. That bezel is missed in places (particularly for selecting apps), but on the whole there’s a lot to like about this dinky watch.The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active still runs Tizen and introduces OneUI from Samsung’s phones. It doesn’t radically change the software experience, but it’s zippy at swiping through screens and launching apps.
There’s still GPS on board and the swim tracking really impressed us in terms of accuracy. The same can be said about the heart rate monitor, which even delivered in the high-intensity tests. But it’s the Active’s fitness tracking skills that really impressed us with its ability to keep us moving in small but purposeful ways.
Samsung also includes mindfulness features like stress tracking and guided breathing. It did also promise us blood pressure monitoring, but in our experience it’s clearly not working as promised.
Battery life is around a day and a half, but can stretch to two days with a power saving mode that still lets you receive notifications.
If you can live with some of its shortcomings and you’re looking for a fitness-focused smartwatch that’s smaller than most of the competition, this could be the one for you.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch Active reviewTicwatch E2£145.99, AmazonAnother top budget option, the Ticwatch E2 offers access to the benefits of Wear OS (the new name for Android Wear) in a stylish and wallet-friendly package.
The 46mm watch measures in at around 13mm thick and is only available in black. You do get a choice of interchangeable bands to make it less sporty though.
The fitness tracking as been “inspired” by the Apple Watch, and offers a neat and well-designed tracking experience. And when it comes to real sport, you can tap into Wear OS’s range of apps from the likes of Strava, Runkeeper and more.
There’s GPS built in and a heart rate monitor too, although we found the latter lacking in our stress tests. The headline feature is that it’s now swimproof and does offer decent swim tracking skills in the pool too.It’s by no means a complete fitness experience, but we like the Ticwatch’s funky design and bargain price. For casual users, is an interesting smartwatch option.
Read our Ticwatch E2 reviewSkagen Falster 2£245, AmazonDesigner smartwatches are catching on, but the majority of options out there likely come from Fossil Group’s ranks – and one of the finest among them is the excellent Skagen Falster 2. It’s a unisex watch that comes in a unisex size, although it’s undoubtedly one of the more masculine finishes in the Fossil Group line-up.
Slim and light, the Skagen challenges those who complain that smartwatches are too chunky, packing a full 1.19-inch OLED touchscreen. In terms of size, the case has been shrunk to 40mm, which as small as any smartwatch out there – and it’s extremely light too. At 0.8mm thick it’s no Daniel Wellington, but it’s as comfortable as any full-screen Wear OS watch out there.
It takes a standard 20mm strap, so you can pretty much choose anything from the analogue watch world to pimp out your smartwatch.
There are downsides for a tech perspective. It used older Qualcomm technology so battery life is mired around a single day’s use and we did notice some performance issues. But if you’re looking for style first and tech second – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that – the Skagen Falster 2 is well worth your time.
Read our Skagen Falster 2 reviewFossil Q Venture£218, AmazonFossil Group may be holding the umbrella over a bunch of fashion houses producing smartwatches, but that doesn’t mean it’s not competing in the arena itself. And with its fourth-generation smartwatches, it’s produced perhaps the most attractive smartwatch on the market, from a fashion perspective.
Sharing some similarities with the older Michael Kors Access Sofie (our previous best fashion watch pick), the Fossil Q Venture HR wants to stand out, and fans of a more dressy watch will probably find it a better fit than those who like to keep their wrist wear understated.
Fossil is still keeping screen resolution and other specs under wraps, but we do know this generation (which includes the men’s Fossil Q Explorist HR) is the most feature-packed we’ve seen from the company. Building on the design improvements of the third-gen devices, which saw the flat tyre removed and a slimmer form factor, the Q Venture HR now also harbours some serious tech under the bezel.
There’s now a heart rate monitor, as the name suggests, for tracking beats throughout the day and during exercise, a GPS monitor to keep up with your workouts, and an NFC chip to enable Google Pay. Add to that the ability to take this underwater up to 50 metres, all on the top of the refreshed Wear OS, and it all rounds out as a very complete smartwatch experience.
Read our Fossil Q Venture HR reviewMontblanc Summit 2£845, montblanc.comLuxury smartwatches are a thing and some of them are actually very good. It started with Tag Heuer’s smartwatches then the likes of Louis Vuitton joined the connected party too. Now Montblanc wants in.
Its first smartwatch was underwhelming but, in its second coming, the Summit 2 is a watch that delivers on design and on features.
Montblanc has modelled its second generation watch on its 1858 collection offering sleek original watch faces, a high grade construction and a top notch 1.2-inch, 390 x 390 resolution touchscreen display.
Google’s Wear OS runs the show, but Montblanc manages to leave its mark with additional apps and those watch faces we mentioned to help things feel more unique. It’s now packed with more hardware features including built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and a fully waterproof design to add any extra layer of durability.
This is also one of the first Wear OS smartwatches to run on Qualcomm’s new smartwatch tech that offers performance improvements across the board including battery life. You’re not going to get a week out of it, but it should make it through the day and maybe a little extra.
The new fitness features might not be perfect, but it’s nice for the casual gym goer. When you’re not sweating it out, it’ll sit there looking beautiful.
Read our Montblanc Summit 2 reviewWithings Steel HR£140.95, AmazonThe majority of smartwatches in our list have been full-screen devices, but the Withings Steel HR approaches things a little differently – yet is still a powerful connected watch in a package that weighs just 49g.
The analogue display shows the time on the main dial (with a month of battery life) and progress towards your step goal on the second dial – but there’s so much more going on than this.
The Withings Steel HR has a 24/7 heart rate monitor that will keep tabs on VO2 Max and it will pair up with a smartphone to track outdoor workouts via GPS, although the tech isn’t built into the watch itself. It’s also swimproof to 50m and isn’t too shabby in the pool either, tracking laps and lengths
What’s more, Withings Health Mate app is one of the best out there for keeping tabs on all your assorted health data.
It’s no slouch as a connected watch either, and will alert you to notifications on your smartphone using vibrations and the tiny OLED screen build into the bezel. This is capable of offering quick and fairly crude alerts, but can show you when a message/call/calendar alerts are coming through using quick icons.
It’s a stripped back smartwatch experience but one that’s packed into a stylish, small and comfortable hybrid that doesn’t make as many compromises as you’d think.
Read our Withings Steel HR reviewHuawei Watch GT £139.99, AmazonHuawei is still going with its Watch 2, but in 2018 came back to the table with something completely different. The Huawei Watch GT packs a huge set of features but on top of a custom operating system – those are words we usually utter with a huge amount of trepidation, but the Watch GT offers two weeks of battery life, which is a compelling sell.
And it doesn’t scrimp on tech. Huawei has packed in a 1.39-inch, 454 x 454 AMOLED screen. Which is among the best we’ve played with, comfortably matching up with the vibrancy and sharpness found on the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch Series 4.
Lite OS may take away some of the deeper elements previously found in Huawei smartwatches, it’s still an impressive activity tracker with heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking.
Sports tracking on the general is good, but there is one gripe we do have: data cannot be shared with third-party apps. All of your data can only live inside of Huawei’s companion Health app. We also found the heart rate data to lag way behind accomplished sports tracking rivals.
Huawei makes big promises in the battery department: up to two weeks with normal use, a complete day of GPS tracking and up to a month with features like always-on display and GPS turned off. And it delivers. Even with continuous heart rate monitoring turned on, we’ve only had to charge the Watch GT once during our three weeks of use.
There’s now new Huawei Watch GT Active and Elegant editions that offers a less sporty look but comes with all of the same features adding a new Triathlon tracking mode. For those looking for Pebble-esque longevity, but are willing to forgo the glitz and lure of a fully formed operating system and all the apps and glamour – the Huawei Watch GT is an interesting choice.
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The Apple Watch has the power to play music directly from the wrist to a pair of Bluetooth headphones, no matter whether you’re an Apple Music or Spotify subscriber.
However, with the option to play music while connected or offline, there’s actually quite a few steps in playing music on the Apple Watch. For those with a collection of iTunes tracks, you can sync playlists across with ease, but you’re better served with a streaming service, as you’re able to access playlists in just a couple of minutes.
With the process not immediately obvious to newbies, though, and steps changing depending on your service, we’re here to help. Here’s all the details on how to put music on your Apple Watch, including instructions for adding music, connecting headphones and which Apple Watch models let you stream music offline.
How to use Apple Music on Apple Watch1. Open Apple Music on iPhoneTo get started, fire up the Apple Music app on your iPhone. We won’t go through the ins and outs of the app here, but you can search the library of more than 30 million tracks and curated playlists. If you don’t have a subscription to Apple Music, you can still use good old MP3s, but make sure they appear in the Music app through iTunes.
2. Open the Watch app on iPhoneGo to the Watch app on your iPhone and then scroll down to the Music tab. Tap Add music and you’ll be whisked off to Apple Music – and from here you can choose to browse by artists, albums, genres or playlists. Music used to have to be part of a playlist, but now you can add what you want. Just browse, and tap to add.
3. Sync music to Apple WatchThe music will only be transferred when the Apple Watch is on its charging cradle. The playlist will be marked ‘updating’ until it’s completed, after which it will say ‘synced’. You can add multiple playlists if you want, but when you run out of space, they’ll stop being added.
After years of workarounds and hassle, the Apple Watch Spotify app is now here. It’s by no means perfect, and features like offline playback and streaming over a cellular connection aren’t available, but you can still get the basics on your wrist by following the steps below.
1. Install the Apple Watch Spotify appWorking for both Spotify Free and Spotify Premium users, you’ll need to first make sure that you have the Spotify smartphone app installed and that you’re signed in. To do so on the wrist, go to the Watch app on your iPhone, search the App Store tab for ‘Spotify’, install it and then open it on your Apple Watch.
2. Add and play music from Apple Watch Spotify appYou can add music to your library straight from the app itself. The prominently placed heart can be tapped, and the track will be added to your music library. To retrieve it, just go to the Songs list in your Spotify library on iPhone.
A swipe to the left also shows you recently played music across your entire Spotify account. From here, you can scroll with your finger or the digital crown and swap albums or playlists. You only get to choose recent items, and you can’t select songs within those items – although you can skip – and set to shuffle using the toggle at the top of the screen.Music on Apple Watch without iPhoneIf you’re a Spotify subscriber, you’re unfortunately unable to play music through the service if you’re offline or relying on the Watch’s cellular connection. However, it’s a different story if you have Apple Music and the correct Apple Watch model.
When syncing to any version of the Watch through Apple Music, it will use the device’s internal storage in order to allow you to play tracks without the help of your phone. If you’re offline, though, you obviously can’t start searching for new tracks or playlists – you’re stuck with what’s downloaded on the Watch.
Naturally, always making sure everything is synced over can be a bit of a hassle, which is why cellular connectivity is great for when you want to search and play music not already downloaded onto the Watch. Providing you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or Apple Watch Series 4 with LTE (the red dot or red circle on the Digital Crown) and you’re paying that monthly cellular fee, you can do so.
Connect Bluetooth headphones to Apple WatchWhen connecting for the first time, check your Bluetooth headphones are in pairing mode and then head to Settings > Bluetooth and tap on your device to get connected. From then, the Apple Watch should automatically connect, but you can always head back to the Bluetooth menu to double check.
If the music starts pumping out of your iPhone, instead, you’ll need to force the issue by pressing and holding on the screen and choosing Bluetooth playback.
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Samsung isn’t leaving owners of its older Gear smartwatches out in the cold, rolling out new features that recently debuted on the Galaxy Watch Active smartwatch.
Anyone with a Gear S3, Gear Sport or the other Samsung Galaxy Watch models will be able to enjoy Samsung’s One UI, which previously only appeared on the company’s smartphones before making the leap to the Active this year. The new UI was brought over with the hopes of decluttering the feel of Samsung’s software on its smartwatch and now it’s going to do the same for its other watches.
Essential reading: Best Samsung Galaxy Watch faces to try outIn addition to the arrival of that One UI, fitness features will be improved, too, with the ability to track workouts in a simpler way via the Samsung Health app and dedicated widget. Outdoor swimming has been added into the tracking mix for the Galaxy Watch only (the Gear S3 is not fit for the pool), which is good news for any open water swimming fans.
On the health front, you’ll get high heart rate alerts, more detailed sleep tracking and the addition of a Daily Activities screen viewable on your watch.
Samsung is also making tweaks in other places bringing new settings like the ability to enable or disable the Touch to wake-up feature. You can also control the frequency of Daily briefing updates and now Samsung’s Goodnight mode, which mutes the notification noise at night is making the leap onto the other Samsung watches. If you liked the look of some of those Samsung Galaxy Watch Active faces, a select few will be available too.
There’s improvements on the battery front as well, with Samsung having made performance tweaks to help extend the time you get with your watch before you need to grab that charger. This will be a source of good news for Galaxy Watch owners, who may have had mixed results getting the promised big battery life Samsung promised, particularly with its 46mm model Galaxy Watch.
The big update will start rolling out to compatible watches now, but will vary by region in terms of when those new features will be available.
True to form, Samsung has been pretty good about making sure owners of its older smartwatches get in on those new features. It did the same when it snagged the all-important Spotify support a few years ago and has continually rolled out software updates, which is good to see.
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In the era of the smartwatch, pretty much every device can double as a golf watch. With a host of free golf apps on Apple Watch and Wear OS, you can track distances to the pin for nothing more than the original cost of your smartwatch.But Tag Heuer has decided to do things differently. It’s launched a Golf Edition of its high-end Wear OS smartwatch – complete with its own golf watch features.
It’s taken the Connected Modular 45 smartwatch it launched back in 2017, and given it a more durable design that making it a better fit for when you’re out for a round. That’s also joined by a dedicated Golf app that among the many features can display 39,000 golf courses from around the world, with the database regularly updated to account for new courses and changes made to existing courses.Like the first Connected Modular, this is a smartwatch that unsurprisingly comes with a luxury price tag and will set you back a cool $1850 if you want one in your life.
We got hands-on initially at Baselworld 2019 and were impressed by the attention to detail that Tag had placed on its proprietary app. But how does it fare on the course – there’s only one way to find out. Here’s our full verdict on the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition.Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Design and buildTag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition key specs45mm size watchRuns on Google’s Wear OS400 x 400 resolution touchscreen displayComes with dedicated Golf app (iOS and Android)Built-in GPSNFC for Google Pay 410mAh battery 25 hours battery life
We’re not just going to be re-reviewing the smartwatch here – so if you’re interested in how it fares as a smartwatch, check out our dedicated Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 review.
But as an overview, the Connected Modular 45 boasts a 45mm body, which means it’s one of the biggest Wear watches around. There’s a 1.39-inch, 400 x 400 resolution AMOLED display wrapped in scratch-resistant sapphire cover glass, and at 13.75mm thick it’s still one of the chunkiest as well.
It’s really chunky – and that will put some people off. And as a sports watch we did find it a little cumbersome, but not so much it bothered us during the game. However, tight fitting sleeves may not pass over the watch, which can make it a little showy.
Tag has partnered up with Intel, packing in the chipset maker’s Atom processor Z34XX. That’s backed up by a pretty standard 512MB of RAM and there’s 4GB of storage on board as well.
The Golf Edition comes with an adjustable fabric strap, which attaches with a deployment clasp. It’s a stiff strap, but we didn’t find it that comfortable.
Being a Swiss Made watch you’d always expect some subtle design variations, and the most obvious is that the numbers around the bezel read 1 to 18, rather than simple timekeeping.
And it’s not just a design trick. When you’re playing a round of golf, the on-screen data will highlight these physical details to show you the current hole you’re playing, which is a really nice touch.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Golf featuresWe’ll freely admit that we weren’t expecting to be blown away by Tag Heuer’s own golf app – but we were wrong.
Read this: Best Wear OS apps to download firstWhat’s available on the Tag Heuer Connnected Modular 45 Golf Edition is a brilliant golf experience that will rival any Apple Watch or Garmin golf watch experience.
To get started you download the Tag Heuer Golf smartphone app for iOS/Android, which is free for anyone to download and use. You then pair that to your Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition, and the smartwatch app, which is pre-installed, will come to life.
When you’re ready to start a round, you can do that on the watch without any interaction with your phone. Just open it up, and it will select near-by courses. Tap, and you’re ready to go straight from the wrist.
Another huge plus is that it has over Hole 19, which requires set-up on your phone, and then the partner smartwatch app kicks in.
By default the GPS is set to work from your phone, but in the settings you can switch this to the watch, which will tax your battery. You’ll only be looking at one round from your watch if you do this
The display also reverts to a black and white power-saving mode, with reduced detail to make sure it lasts a full round.
It offers 39,000 courses – 99% of the world’s total – which is pretty much identical to any golf app out there. But it’s the detail that really impresses. Each course benefits from a 3D render, which shows all hazards and the shape of fairways and greens. There’s no grainy aerial photography and the presentation of these hole fly-bys is incredible.
And it’s translated so well onto the smartwatch app as well. When you’re on a hole you just drag your finger through the hole – exploring from tee to green. There are white lines that intersect every 5 yards or so, and the distance to each line is shown on the side.
The green has three lines, so to get a yardage to front or back you just drag the display, and there’s additional ones for the green apron too.
It’s simple – and while perhaps not as glance-able as other set-ups to get your front, middle, back green yardages, it’s so much easier to find the distance to hazards on the course.
The app doesn’t hold back on features either.
You can quickly initiate distance tracking of your shots via the menu – which measures the straight line distance between your tee and the ball.
There’s also scoring too – for you and buddies on your round. And leaderboards/Stableford scores will all be tracked within the app too.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Watch performanceSo what’s holding it back? Well, while the app is pretty hard to fault we did feel that the performance of the Connected Modular 45 let it down slightly.
Essential reading: All the latest golf wearable newsWe found that some aspects were a little laggy, including switching between holes. The app could also be a little stubborn if tee boxes are close together, switching between them automatically and incorrectly.
Yardages were slower to update than Hole 19 on the Apple Watch, and you should make sure you give it time to settle before selecting a club – or you may find yourself through the back of the green.
These were all minor gripes and hardly anything to ruin the experience – but it shows that Tag Heuer is onto something impressive with its app.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition: Golf AppOf course, while we’ve been touching on the performance of the smartwatch app, the smartphone app is so much of the experience – and it’s fantastic.
Free for anyone to use, you get the scoring, course mapping and leaderboard options. You can even do shot measuring all from your smartphone, without the watch getting involved.
If you’re using the Tag smartwatch then your data will automatically be recorded into this app, including scores and any tracked shot distances.
Users can also get the Apple Watch companion app, which is available for an annual subscription.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition
By Tag Heuer
Tag Heuer has created far more than a smartwatch with the Connected Modular 45 – it’s simply a (very expensive) vehicle for their golf app, which is in itself a triumph. It’s one of the slickest, smartest golf apps we’ve used, and we’re glad that Tag Heuer hasn’t closed out this system by opening up the smartphone app to everyone, and the app to Apple Watch users.
The Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition itself is a neat option for anyone considering a techy Tag – and we love the little details such as the 1-18 bezel. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Connected 45 Modular is beefy and eye-wateringly expensive for a creaking Wear OS experience on now aging Intel tech. The Tag Heuer will appeal to a small subset of golfers, but it’s open experience is recommended for everyone.
Amazing golf experience
Great fly-by mapsPerformance laggy
So so expensive