Product review

After three months of using their designated smartwatch, the verdict is in. How do our participants rate their product and how do these smartwatches compare against each other?

Smartwatches rating
Apple WatchApple Watch Series 2 Samsung GearSamsung Gear S3 Garmin VivoactiveGarmin Vivoactive HR
Intuitive interface: How easy to use is the watch?
Battery life: Are you satisfied with the battery life of the watch?
Integration with the phone: How easy was it to connect the smartwatch with your phone/laptop?
Choice of health & fitness apps: How satisfied were you with the choice of health & fitness apps for your watch?
Overall design: How satisfied were you with the overall design?
Do you think the smartwatch influenced your attitude towards health & fitness?

Overall score

  • Apple Watch Series 2: 23 points
  • Samsung Gear S3: 23 points
  • Garmin Vivoactive HR: 17 points

Highest Rated: Apple Watch Series 2 & Samsung Gear S3

What did you love about it?

How smart it was – from step counter and calorie tracker up to a meditation app and alarm, this watch really had it all.All the apps are stored logically, the interface is usually very responsive.

In terms of design, whilst I think it’s hard to beat the elegance of an analogue watch, the Apple watch is a sleek option that balances out aesthetics with function.

What did you hate about it?

Whilst I didn’t hate anything about it, having so many notifications could be distracting or guilt-inducing. The short battery life was a little annoying- having to charge the watch daily, or every other day, can be a bit annoying. However, the payoff is the amount of features you get.

What feature did you use the most?

Most used for me was the exercise tracker and breath function. I also liked the timer and alarms, and the step counter, but there are so many ueful features out there  such as hydration trackers, running apps, meal trackers.

Overall, how satisfied were you the smartwatch and would you recommend it?

Really satisfied. I was expecting to be glad to take it off by the end but I’ve really enjoyed using it.

Do you feel more energised and active after these 3 months?

It’s been an active few months so definitely, even if the watch wasn’t the sole cause of this.

Do you sleep better?

Most of the time my sleep is pretty good so there wasn’t too much that the watch could do here.

Have you identified any areas you would like to improve (e.g. diet, posture, etc)?

I’ve realised that when I’m working, I really don’t move! A day spent on my desk can result in a scarily low step count. I now try to make sure that on these days I get moving once an hour, be it to make a cup of tea, walk around or take a handstand break! Strictly for days spent working at home for the latter.

What did you love about it?

Alex entry 1

The interaction between my phone and the watch, makes me feel like a spy.

It's also pretty easy to use. The watch face is large enough and the rotating wheel on the watch face makes it really easy to navigate to your section. 

Regarding integration with the phone, it was really to easy to connect the two devices. The watch would link through Bluetooth and was synced up to receive messages, social media notifications (particularly handy for my role). I did find this aspect pretty useful.

The watch would last a few days after a full charge, I was pretty pleased with the battery lifespan. In terms of design, I think I’ve been fairly lucky with the choice of watches. It’s not as bulky as the others, the choice of "watch faces" was great, it could be as flashy or understated (which is what I wanted) as you like.

What did you hate about it?

The constant notifications of when I’ve been stationary. I understand this is the reason for the watch to galvanise sitting office workers but it was annoying.

What feature did you use the most?

The step count, it means that I can monitor my activity across a week. A very simple function but pretty useful!

It was pretty useful in terms of monitoring my steps taken over the week and my progression over the study. I didn’t really use most of the apps like monitoring your liquid intake, but again I see the merit in these programmes.

Overall, how satisfied were you the smartwatch and would you recommend it?

Hasn’t revolutionised my attitude to exercise, but has fit easily into my life and when I don’t have it on, there is a strong sense of something missing/lost. 

Do you think the smartwatch influenced your attitude towards health and fitness?

Not massively, I mention in the diaries I think it altered my attitude to walking and undertake more journeys on foot.

What did you love about it?

Deborah Gilbert


What did you hate about it?

It’s bulky and the look of it.

What feature did you use the most?

Most used for me was the running feature. The watch has many more functions, for example golf, that perplexed me and which I didn’t explore. 

The watch didn't integrate with my phone but I did with my laptop and that all worked fine.

Overall, how satisfied were you the smartwatch and would you recommend it?

I am ambivalent about it. I can understand how, if someone is training or looking to gain a personal goal it may be useful, but for day-to-day keeping fit it didn’t really add much to me. I know and understand all the health advice coming at us today because of my job with Bowel & Cancer Research.

I am motivated to run on a regular basis because I have a young family and want to keep my heart healthy, ensure I keep moving as I get older and manage my stress levels. My attitude to this hasn’t changed because of the watch.

I will continue to wear it running but it won’t be a feature of my life. The novelty value soon wears off and I do wonder about the overall usefulness of all this technology that we’re increasingly encouraged to run our lives by – but you can put that down to my age!

Do you think the smartwatch influenced your attitude towards health and fitness?

A bit, it probably helps me to push myself a bit more and I quite like knowing when I’ve done the 5k but I’m set in my exercising ways and it didn’t encourage me to do any more.

Our contributors

The views and opinions expressed by each contributor (not employees, agents or servants of BMI Healthcare) following their independent review of the products do not reflect the views of BMI Healthcare.