These are the standout wearables of the year
Yes, it’s back. The only awards you need to know about if you care about all things wearable tech.
While we are all understandably in a rush to get 2020 out of the system, it’s been a year that’s been crammed with some incredible wearable launches that have kept the Wareable team busy testing.
So now it’s time to tell you about the ones that really impressed us. The connected companions we enjoyed living with and we think you’ll enjoy living with them too.
It’s time to announce our Wareable Tech Awards 2020 winners.
To all the winners, it’s a massive congratulations. To all of the brands, big or small, that launched wearables this year, thank you for continuing to innovate and help make wearables play a greater role in our lives.
Maybe it will be your year in 2021.
Wearable of the Year – Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE, not the Apple Watch Series 6, walks away with our top honour. In a year when it feels like we’ve put on more smartwatches to the test than we ever, the SE is the one that stands out for us.
While it doesn’t give you those life-saving health features or that always-on screen you’ll get on the Series 6, it still gives you that same gorgeous design and the key features that make the Apple Watch the most polished experience. That’s why it’s the one that stands tall above all other wearables this year.
Smartwatch of the Year – Apple Watch SE
Along with picking up the Wearable of the Year award the Apple Watch SE is also taking the Smartwatch of the Year award too. Apple still does smartwatches best for us.
With the SE, Apple made the opportunity to get that great core experience for less money without making huge compromises and that’s ultimately what swayed it in this category.
Fitness tracker of the Year – Fitbit Charge 4
in 2020, Fitbit added a feature to its flagship tracker we’ve been asking about for a long time. With the addition of built-in GPS on top of reliable fitness tracking and insightful sleep monitoring, the Fitbit Charge 4 was a better fit for exercising outdoors.
While there was some band competition from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi and Amazfit, it was the Charge 4’s insights, analysis along with those extra tracking features that made it our top pick.
Affordable Smartwatch of the Year – Amazfit Bip S
There has been a barrage of Amazfit watches this year and it’s the budget-tastic Amazfit Bip S that has impressed us the most. It was an easy choice making it our affordable smartwatch pick of 2020.
What it lacks screen quality and not so super heart rate accuracy, it makes up for a tidy smartwatch experience and the kind of sports tracking skills you struggle to find on watches that cost triple the amount of the Bip S.
Affordable Fitness Tracker of the Year – Amazfit Band 5
The Amazfit Band 5 emerged as the budget fitness tracker we thought we’d get when Xiaomi Mi Band 5 arrived months before it.
Huami, the maker of both bands, decided to take largely the same design and pack it with more features. It’s the cheapest way to get Amazon’s Alexa on your wrist and as a fitness tracker and smartwatch hybrid, it’s the one that has impressed us the most this year.
Sports Watch of the Year – Coros Pace 2
In a category that has usually been dominated by the big names in previous years, the Coros Pace 2 is our pick of the standout sports watch that launched in 2020.
Still a relative newcomer to the space, the Pace 2 perfectly sums up why we think Coros is working its way into the conversation of the best running watches you can buy. Whether it’s GPS accuracy, big battery life or analysing your training.
It’s not just about running either. The Pace 2 gives you just as good support for the likes of cycling, swimming and triathlons at a price that will definitely worry Garmin and Polar.
Health Tech of the Year: Fitbit Sense
In a year where it’s fair to say keeping closer tabs on our health has been a pretty big deal, we think the Fitbit Sense has made big breakthroughs to help us do that more effectively.
It’s the first smartwatch to include a temperature sensor letting you monitor it during the night to give you an indication you could be getting unwell or something isn’t right. It matched the Apple Watch by including an ECG sensor to offer medical grade heart rate readings and it promised to delve deeper into stress to help us pay much closer attention to our mental wellbeing.
As we said in our Sense review, it was the right watch to launch for these strange times.
Hearable of the Year: Apple AirPods Pro
There have been more wireless earbuds and true hearable launches this year than there are ears to put them in, but the one that stands above the rest is Apple’s AirPods Pro.
Apple’s shorter, stubbier ‘pods added noise-cancelling into the mix, but also a design that felt more like Apple. They fitted better and sounded better than the first AirPods and had a design that made them fit for sweaty workouts too.
It also inherited new smarts later in the year including spatial audio surround sound, to make the best hearable in 2020 even better.
Newcomer of the Year – Oppo Watch
If Google’s Wear OS has a future, then it’s smartwatches like the Oppo Watch that provide hope things are going to get better.
While the design of Oppo’s debut smartwatch was strongly inspired by the Apple Watch, it offered a nice mix of its own Color OS with Google’s own software that didn’t feel painful to use.
The larger version also brought impressive fast-charging technology, LTE and an even more impressive display that have us looking forward to what Oppo has in store for us next.
Innovation of the Year: Garmin Instinct Solar
Solar-powered watches have been around for some time, but the Garmin Instinct Solar marked a smarter way to make use of restoring energy reserves by soaking up the sun on a sports watch.
It harnessed that solar display technology to give you a boost in all battery modes whether it was getting more smartwatch or trekking time. While it wasn’t the first Garmin watch to get solar powers, it was the first to showcase just how useful it can actually be.