Best smartwatches for students 2023
Need a portable calendar, workout tracker for your club, or a way to stay atop messages without disrupting class? These smartwatches may help you.
Any student, whether they're a meticulous planner or procrastinator, needs help keeping track of their schedule. When you're rushing to class or need to check something during a no-screens class, a smartwatch is your best option.
We've chosen the best smartwatches for students for any grade level, from college down to elementary and from premium to budget models, so you find what you need.
Go back to school in style with one of the best smartwatches for students
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Versatile, durable Android watch
The best smartwatch for older students is the Galaxy Watch 4. Its 40-hour battery will last from early morning classes to late-night parties. It has a wide range of useful first and third-party apps, controllable with a slick touch bezel. It has useful health-tracking tools for student-athletes, and it costs less than many other lifestyle watches.
iPhone-owning students get the best experience with an Apple Watch, but a Series 7 is too expensive for many. The Apple Watch SE gives you the stylish design with OLED display, useful apps, fitness rings, and iOS integration that you want, at a much lower price.
Fight off that "freshman 15"
Either you need to keep yourself fit without a team on campus, or you want to track your improvements over time. Either way, the Fitbit Versa 3 has all the health tracking tools anyone could want, while also including "smart" tools like a mic/speaker for calling friends or asking your assistant a question for homework.
The best premium experience
We like the SE, but the Series 7 really does offer a step up in features and quality. Specifically, it has a QWERTY keyboard (or Siri) to respond to messages without pulling out your phone, with ultra-thin bezels to give you more screen space and faster charging when the watch dies. It's more durable against dust and falls than before, and has more fitness tracking tools, too.
Fashionable designs for any gender
Plenty of students treat an Apple Watch like a fashion statement in itself, but if you want to make your own statement with an attractive circular watch amidst a sea of squircles, Fossil has several options geared towards men or women. And beneath the surface, Fossil packed in plenty of useful Wear OS tools to keep you informed.
Rather than spend an arm and a leg on advanced features you (or your student) don't need, buy the Bip U Pro to get access to built-in GPS, over a week of battery life, notifications, a smart assistant, and plenty of fitness tools. It's a solid starter watch for frugal students or youngsters that don't care about fashion.
Dual phone/watch for younger kids
One of our favorite kids' smartwatches, the Gabb Watch offers standalone cellular service and GPS, so your kid can call you anytime and you can track them in an emergency. It even warns you if your kid leaves a Safe Zone (i.e. a home or school) during specific hours. Your kid will have fun apps and messaging tools, but with robust parental controls to keep them protected.
Keep your kid fit
If you want to encourage your little student to get active during recess and lunch break, this Garmin tracker has an absurd one-year battery life, activity challenges, and task reminders themed after Marvel superheroes or Disney princesses to pump them up. It doesn't replace a phone like other kids' watches, but it fulfills a different niche.
A great first watch
Younger kids may want a "smartwatch" like their parents, but that just means having to monitor them carefully. The DX3 limits features they aren't ready for, and focuses on giving kids a fun experience. It has cute built-in games and watch faces, movement challenges via a pedometer, a lens for photos or videos, and a School Mode when they need to focus.
These smartwatches will work for any student, from kids to adults
Choosing the best smartwatch for the young student in your life (or yourself) depends on a variety of factors. If you want an uncompromised experience that any adult would enjoy, our two favorite smartwatches by far are the Galaxy Watch 4 and Apple Watch Series 7, depending on whether you own an Android phone or iPhone.
WatchOS arguably has the best wearable software experience available today, but Samsung's Wear OS 3 spin-off of Google's software comes in a close second. In either case, they'll help you stay apprised of any upcoming deadlines and important emails.
In general, students like the same features that anyone else would, varying from person to person. Jocks will prefer a fitness smartwatch that gives them a way to closely track their progress — especially if they go from structured high school sports to training themselves in college.
In that case, something like the Fitbit Versa 3 would fit perfectly. But on the other end of the spectrum, some students will care more about form over function, making something like the Fossil Gen 6 or Garmin Lily the better choice.
Finally, you may specifically want a kid's smartwatch that works independently so you don't have to buy them a smartphone, too. In that case, you'll find several options, starting with Gabb Watch and the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3. The former focuses on communication, the latter on fitness, so you can tailor your purchase to what your kid would enjoy.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.