Best Rugged and Waterproof Smartwatches

Young sporty man with rugged smart watch tying shoelaces on a bench
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Back in 1972 when Hamilton Watch and Electro/Data Inc. developed the first digital watch that sold for a whopping $2100, who would have thought that someday we’ll be flaunting fully-functional computers as wristwatches.

Yes, we are talking about smartwatches. These technological marvels have been around for some time now, but waterproof smartwatches are a niche product that is comparatively new. And if you’re looking for a good waterproof smartwatch without blowing a hole in your pocket, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we will be telling you everything you need to know before buying a waterproof smartwatch. As a matter of fact, we’ll also share our handpicked list of top 7 rugged and waterproof smartwatches.

7 Best Rugged and Waterproof Smartwatches & Reviews

1. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – 40mm, IP68 Water-Resistant

With an IP68 water resistance rating, this sleek smartwatch can handle up to 5 meters of depth. This model brings in some of the top-end features that are designed to make everyday tasks easy. A well-thought design that is suited both for daily wear and workout, we would say this is one of those products that fit perfectly into your lifestyle.

This model shows off Samsung’s wearables trademark – the circular display. But, it misses on the rotating bezel that Galaxy Watch had. It seems the bezel was thoughtfully removed from this model in order to give it a sportier look. Unlike its predecessors, the Galaxy Watch Active is lighter and noticeably thinner on the wrist.

This smartwatch’s body looks high-end as it is made of metal. Although it is mostly featureless, there are two buttons on the right-hand edge. You can use these to unlock the watch (though Samsung could have increased the button size a bit). Another great thing about this model is that it comes in four different color variants – black, sea green (they say it’s blue), silver, and pink. The pink variant comes with a rose-gold body while the rest matches the color of the straps. 

One of the features that stand out is that this smartwatch sends you real-time alerts about your heart (even an irregular heartbeat). Plus, this watch is compatible with Samsung and other Android phones that have at least 1.5GB RAM and runs on Android 5.0 or above. And for the iPhone community, this watch is compatible with iPhone 5 and above as well as any other iOS device running on iOS 9.0 or above.

Technical Details

Samsung Active features a 4GB storage and 750MB RAM. The maximum usage time is 90 hours. It is GPS-enabled, IP68 water-resistant, dust resistant, and runs on Tizen OS. It also comes with inbuilt NFC and Bluetooth. This device is also shock resistant.

Pros

  • Sporty and high-end design.
  • Moderate pricing.
  • A plethora of features.
  • Easy to set-up and connect with different devices.
  • Real-time updates.

Cons

  • Is missing the signature rotating bezel.
  • It has a limited storage space.
  • It doesn’t come with an LTE variant.
  • A bit shorter battery life as compared to competitors.

2. Huawei Watch GT with 50-Meter Water Resistance

The Huawei GT has set new benchmarks when it comes to battery life. The rugged and metallic look boasts of a product that is made for the wear and tear. Huawei has made sure that your smartwatch has full protection, thus it packed a ceramic bezel, DLC coating, stainless steel shell, and an AMOLED screen in the watch. It is extremely slim and vibrant.

This smartwatch comes with a battery that is said to be the world’s first double-chipset architecture and provides a battery life of up to 2 weeks. It also has a heart rate monitor and charging port on the rear side which is made of plastic (presumably to keep the weight low).

With a 1.39-inch display, you won’t be missing any inbound notifications. The user interface is based on Huawei’s custom Lite OS, thus easy to access. One of the coolest features (that is quite similar to Samsung) is the Huawei TruSeen 3.0 heart rate monitoring technology that provides a real-time alert based on self-learning algorithms and innovative sensors.

Another notable feature (for adventurers) is this smartwatch has the modern-day 3 Satellite Positioning System for faster and accurate positioning. The watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters for 10 minutes. Some other features that are unique to this smartwatch are TruSleep 2.0, professional swimming and cycling assessments, and scientific coaching.

This smartwatch features silicon straps in four colors – graphite black, saddle brown, glacier gray, and fluorescent green. You are free to choose the strap color while you place your order.

Technical Details

 It weighs 46 grams without the straps and features a 454×454 px display which supports slide and touch gestures. The ROM is 128MB and internal RAM stands at 16MB, but because of the pre-installed apps, the actual usable storage is low. It supports Bluetooth, but no Wi-Fi. Supports a lot of sensors and works on Android 4.4 or above as well as iOS 9.0 or above.

Pros

  • Huge battery life.
  • Custom Huawei features like TruSleep, TruSeen, etc.
  • Advanced and accurate fitness tracking.
  • 9/10 Sleep Monitoring.
  • Classic & Rugged Styling.

Cons

  • Low storage.
  • Not so-friendly UI (a bit laggy as well)
  • Missing out on advanced features as compared to competitors.
  • No option to add apps.
  • Limited dialer-face options.

3. Garmin Fenix 5X Plus: Advanced Fitness GPS Smartwatch 

Garmin’s watches are known for their rugged and big designs. This design is made for the fitness-loving crowd who swoon over every feature. And, the 5x plus is no different. It is the largest waterproof smartwatch available in the market. Plus, it is jam-packed with features. 

It comes with a black steel bezel and 26mm black silicone bands which are changeable. The sapphire display stands out in this watch as it is scratch-resistant and perfectly readable under sunlight. This smartwatch is water-resistant up to 100 meters.

Featuring the advanced TOPO maps, this watch allows you to search and follow the best routes. The Pulse Ox Acclimation sensor notifies you about blood oxygen saturation levels when you’re on higher altitudes. And, it has a huge memory for a smartwatch (you can fit in almost 500 songs). It also comes with state-of-the-art performance tracking and analysis apps that help maintain a healthy lifestyle. To top it all, Fenix 5x also gives you 70 hours of battery life – a deadly combo of storage and performance!

Technical Details

26mm silicone straps, weighing at almost 95 grams, this smartwatch comes with a host of features. Lithium polymer battery lasts on smartwatch mode for up to 20 days and in GPS mode + music for 13 hours.

Pros

  • Huge Storage Space
  • Advanced monitoring and performance metrics.
  • TOPO mapping.
  • Multi-network Navigation
  • Make payments through gestures (*Garmin Pay contactless payment solutions)

Cons

  • A bit pricey.
  • Transferring music is difficult.

4. Fitbit Versa Smartwatch – Designed to Meet Your Goals

Claimed to be the lower-cost Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa is a lightweight smartwatch that doubles up as a fitness tracker. It comes with all the features of the Versa Lite Edition and intelligent exercises tips on the display.

It also features advanced monitoring and tracking tools that keep you notified about heart rate and sleep stages 24×7. The smartwatch connects seamlessly to Android, iOS, and Windows, thus allowing you to access most of the things on your wrist, thanks to the 38.6mm screen. And, don’t forget the 15 plus exercise modes.

Running on Fitbit’s latest OS 2.0, this smartwatch also has a new and personalized dashboard for easy access to fitness data. The Fitbit Pay feature allows you to make transactions right from the watch. It also allows you to store up to 300 songs.

Technical Details

A perfect balance of smartwatch and fitness tracker, Versa is lightweight (19 grams) and feature-rich. The overall dimensions are 2 x 4 x 9 inches. It syncs to all iOS devices and uses an integrated GPS.

Pros

  • Sleek and lightweight.
  • Good battery life.
  • SmartTrack for female health tracking.
  • Detailed Sleep Analysis.
  • Intuitive User Dashboard

Cons

  • The square with rounded corners won’t suit every wrist.
  • Missing GPS
  • Limited App Store
  • Apps take some time to open.

5. Suunto 5 GPS Smartwatch – Lightweight and Feature-rich

This is a watch that you can wear as you like. It is rugged and fashionable. Suunto 5 offers long battery life in a lightweight GPS watch, loaded with multiple sport features that make it easy for you to monitor all your workouts and keep up with your progress.

One of the differentiating features of this smartwatch is its intelligent battery mode. It also comes packed with other features such as fitness level tracking, 24/7 activity tracking, stress and recovery management, aptitude training guidance. It has 80+ sports modes and is water-resistant to 50 meters.

Featuring a stainless steel bezel, mineral crystal glass, and silicon straps – this smartwatch is lightweight and can be worn for longer durations without any irritations on your wrist. The battery lasts around 20-40 hours in training mode with GPS and up to 14 days in normal mode. It has Bluetooth 4.0 and is also compatible with a host of online sports communities. The smartwatch syncs seamlessly with Android 5.0 or higher and iOS 11.0 or higher.

Outdoor functions include advanced GPS systems, navigation modes, and GPS Track analysis in addition to Altimeter and Weather trackers.

Technical Specifications

The overall weight of the smartwatch is 66 grams and the strap width is 22mm. It is perfect for wrist sizes of 130-210mm and has a display resolution of 218x218px.

Pros

  • Awesome Battery life.
  • Durable Casing and Design.
  • Advanced fitness training plans.
  • Moderate pricing.

Cons

  • Poor display under sunlight.
  • Sleep time tracking is limited.
  • It doesn’t feature a barometric altimeter.
  • The strap is a bit uncomfortable.

6. Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30: Great Screen and lots of WearOS Apps

From the Japanese company that set a benchmark in digital watches comes this latest F30 series smartwatch. A 50-meter water resistance, WearOS by Google, and a high-visibility OLED screen packed into a sleek and trendy smartwatch – the Casio Pro Tek is a hiker’s dream come true.

Unlike F20, this smartwatch has a slimmer case and tested clear on military specs. Keeping the brand symbol intact, this watch has shiny bolts on the straps which have a carbon-fiber like feel. Other than the subtle colors, you can opt for the shiny blue and orange shades to pose a bold statement.

It has a range of sensors and tools that are great for outdoor use. One of the most unique things is that this watch features 2 screens – a 1.2-inch OLED and a 1.2-inch monochrome LCD. Both screens work in unison to save battery usage. Using GPS and navigation is easier, and the inbound notifications are detailed. 

The smartwatch is able to measure different activities like swimming, hiking and the analytics are great as well easy to understand. It has a customizable interface that you can tweak as per needs.

Technical Specifications

390×390 px OLED screen, a 60.5mm wide casing, and a 27mm strap width – this watch is fit for the bulkier wrists. It has advanced battery saver modes, Google Assistant integration, and it runs on the most updated version of Google WearOS.

Pros

  • 2 layer screen.
  • Google WearOS.
  • Add-on and smart features for hikers.
  • Robust Casing.

Cons

  • Slow charging speed.
  • Missing heart rate monitor.
  • Expensive compared to similar products from other brands.

7. TomTom Spark 3 – Sleek Smartwatch with Cardio+ Music Features

Yet another classy smartwatch from one of the most renowned brands TomTom. This product is an updated version of its predecessors. It is a combination of a heart rate monitor, music player, fitness tracker, and GPS sweetly packed into a small user-friendly device.

It is water-resistant up to 40 meters, provides 3GB of space to store your favorite music, seamlessly connects to devices using Bluetooth, and has a smart monitoring and notification system.

The built-in GPS and Route Tracker are great (and must needed) features for outdoors. Plus, it comes with multiple sports, an in-built heart rate monitor, and a 24×7 activity tracker mode to help you achieve your goals. This smartwatch is compatible with iOS 8.0 and above and selected Android phones running on 4.4 and above.

Spark 3 has an ultra-sleek design (0.54in thick) and weighs only 47 grams. The strap is thin, lightweight, and comfortable making it easier to wear for longer durations. It also features a rounded square with a thick black frame design which is a great fit for social use, working out, or regular use.

Technical Specifications

It has a display resolution of 5.67×6.61in and a backlight for nighttime visibility. Comes in 2 sizes –  for wrist size 125-175mm and 145-206mm. The battery lasts up to 11 hours when GPS is used continuously.

Pros

  • 3GB memory for storing music.
  • Social share and sync options.
  • Interval and Advanced training modes.
  • Customizable straps.

Cons

  • Complicated menu navigation.
  • Moderate sound quality.
  • Issues with syncing.

Rugged and Waterproof Smartwatches – The Buying Guide

You might already know what a smartwatch is and what it does. Thus, we won’t talk about it. However, what you need to know is that waterproof is a subjective marketing term. You should be able to differentiate between waterproof and water-resistant.

For starters, a good smartwatch is one that syncs seamlessly to your smartphone or other supported devices. In addition to showing time, it should have basic features like health monitor, calorie counter, GPS, and inbound notifications. Another important thing to consider is the device type. While some smartwatches are compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows, some are compatible with individual platforms. 

As technology advances, newer smartwatches are being launched with lots of ‘smart’ features such as LTE connectivity, in-built music player, extended battery life, multiple fitness tracking modes, water, dust and scratch resistance, and much more. There is a wide range of smartwatches available and you need to consider your requirements to get the best value for your money.

Another fact that you need to consider is the size and design of the smartwatch. The most common types of dials are the circular, rounded square, and square shapes. You might want to measure your wrist size and compare it to the diameter of the watch (or you’ll end up with a smartwatch that dangles around your wrist). Then comes the quality of the straps. These days most brands sell extra straps that are made of silicone. If you plan to wear the smartwatch throughout the day, you will want to buy a watch that is not irritating or uncomfortable on your wrists.

And, finally, you might want to check the technical specifications such as connectivity, watch faces, pre-installed apps, internal storage and RAM, Altimeter, WiFi, NFC, Accuracy, Heart-rate monitor, 4G/LTE, inbuilt speaker and other tit-bits. The idea is to underline all the things you need, then filter your search for the best products. This way, you don’t have to scour through thousands of items.

To sum it up, you need to keep a few things in mind and ask yourself a few questions. Some common things to take note of are –

  • Features
  • Compatibility
  • Usage requirements.
  • Design
  • Warranty
  • The watch’s OS.
  • Budget.

Once you have answers to these, it gets easier for you to filter out the best products. Now, that you have a smaller list of products based on your requirement, you can research these individually, compare the specifications and user reviews to make an informed decision.

Conclusion

We understand that it can get a bit overwhelming to figure out the best smartwatches. You obviously want a smartwatch that is high-performing yet within budget. Thus, to make things easier for you, we did the research and listed the best rugged and waterproof smartwatches that you can consider. We hope that this list helps you get the best product while saving a lot of money for your next purchase.

FAQs

Are all phones compatible with smartwatches?

It depends on the phone’s brand. These days most smartwatches connect seamlessly to phones running on iOS 9.0 or higher and Android 4.4 or higher.

What are some of the must-have features in a smartwatch?

The requirements vary from person to person. Ideally, a smartwatch should have a fitness tracker, Bluetooth, smartphone compatibility, and GPS.

What are some of the things that I can’t do with my smartwatch?

Smartwatches aren’t made for consuming large bits of information or handle tasks directly (some support quick replies on Android)

Why should I buy a smartwatch?

There are so many reasons, but the most obvious is to make your daily tasks easier and get better control and updates of your health and fitness.

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