Watches are no longer restricted to telling time and sounding a tiny alarm. Today’s watches are connected to such things as the internet, our home, and our health. As such, they can surf the internet, monitor the security of our homes, or track our health and prompt us to stay moving (or get moving). Although they look strikingly similar to the jewelry pieces of yesteryear, they have transformed into data tracking hubs.
Of course, they also tell time.
Brands that exist in this price range
Because a smartwatch is less of a timepiece and more an informational way-point, they can get expensive–fast. Not Rolex expensive, but still…expensive. However, for less than $500, you can purchase one of many brands that carry an astonishing number of features. The best watches under 500 market includes brands such as Apple, Google, and Samsung. Of course, the stalwart watch brands, such as Casio and Hamilton also dominate this price point. Finally, Invicta is also smartwatch front-runner.
What you will likely find though, unless looking for a dress watch, that the leather strap or leather band has been ditched mostly for something a bit lighter, longer lasting and more breathable.
Features for any smartwatch include health tracking and home tracking. They provide GPS monitoring for the elderly and for children, and they are playing a large role in improving people’s sleep quality. Additional features include such things as weather monitoring via an internal barometer. However, the primary role of a smartwatch is to connect and improve communication. As such, they can serve as a stand-in for your phone if you are driving, jogging, or otherwise busy, and they can reply to messages or notify you of e-mails or social-media updates.
Features to expect
In the less-than-$500 price range, you can actually expect just about all the features any smartwatch can provide. These watches might not always be made of stainless steel or have the styling of some of the more expensive watches, but in terms of functionality–expect access to lots of apps and lots of functionality. In fact, for watches in this price range, it is not so much the number of features you can expect but the type of specificity. For instance, many smartwatches offer multiple features while “leaning” toward a certain specific feature, such as fitness tracking.
Ten Best Watches Under 500 Bucks Reviewed
A long leader in stylish, upscale watches, Casio offers the Pro Trek Resin smartwatch for men interested in outdoor trekking. It offers an Android 2.0 CPU, and it serves as an activity tracker. That said, its specialty is in its ability to detect minute variations in the weather.
For instance, the internal altimeter and barometer will track a person’s ascent in the mountains while alerting to any possible dangerous changes in the weather. Additionally, the digital compass will keep you on track toward your destination. This watch includes a GPS, and it is water resistant up to 50 meters.
Additional travel-related features include an onboard map, and it includes a microphone.
- made of sturdy resin
- comprehensive outdoor tracking features
- water resistant
- not suitable for swimming or snorkeling
The Samsung Galaxy Watch offers a slick construction made of metal and resin. It offers a multi-functional display, and it is Bluetooth compatible, so it can connect to your Android or Apple smartphone.
Included with the watch is a rubber wristband with a series of connection holes. As any watch will need to be charged, the included charging dock is a welcome accessory. Additionally, the charging dock is wireless, so you can charge your watch in comfort from across the room. Finally, it comes with a travel adapter that will also allow you to charge your watch.
As a smartwatch, it is designed to help keep you fit. It tracks your activity and can prompt you to get moving if you have remained stationary for too long. It tracks calories that you burn, and it is even equipped with software to help you with meditation and breathing exercises. Being that it is focused on activity and fitness, it makes sense that the battery will last days on a single charge, allowing you to remain active without having to stop and recharge your watch.
Additional features include the watch being water resistant up to 50 meters, and it can withstand drops or impacts from up to 4.9 feet in height. Finally, it can operate in extreme temperatures.
- tracks fitness levels
- tracks calories burned
- It also tracks weather
- not for scuba diving or swimming
The Gear S3 is another excellent smartwatch, and it is designed to keep you connected, track your present location, and monitor your overall level of activity. In terms of remaining connected, you can receive e-mails, texts, and other notifications at any time. Because it is Bluetooth compatible, you can connect to your Apple or Android smartphone.
The watch offers several different styles of bands, and it also offers Samsung Pay, allowing you to make payments without ever having to take a credit or debit card out of your wallet.
One unique feature of this watch resides in the bezel’s functionality. When turned, the bezel serves as a radio dial, of sorts, displaying all your available apps. With the app displayed, you can then engage it via the touchscreen and watch buttons. The final extra feature of this smartwatch is that it boasts military-grade precision and durability.
- bezel dials up the apps
- fitness tracker
- integrated with Samsung Pay
- water resistant
- should not be submerged
Few smartwatches are made of wood, but the Original Grain Koa smartwatch is. It is a stylish, duo-tone watch with rich, hardwood hues and an attractive black overlay. The glass is made of sapphire crystal. Constructed of wood and stainless steel, it is, perhaps, one of the sturdiest yet attractive Japanese quartz, chronograph watches on the market.
In addition to being made of natural wood, each high-quality watch is hand crafted, ensuring you get a quality smartwatch that is truly like no other in the world. Each watch is both scratch resistant and splash proof, so normal wear will in no way endanger the watch or the sensitive internal computer system.
To ensure a precise fit, the band’s links can be removed or added to. As such, each wearer is ensured a precise, comfortable fit. A stopwatch with a stopper button is also included.
- all-natural Koa hardwood
- stainless-steel elements
- band can be easily shortened and lengthened
- 1 tree is planted for every watch sold!
- Original Grain are an American company with an ethical approach to sustainable materials
- Japanese quartz watch
- does not have any apps
One of the best watches on the market, the Apple Watch Series 4 provides all the functionality expected of what is basically a miniature Apple computer that you wear on your wrist. For instance, it features a 64-bit, dual-core processor. Additionally, the watch face has a primary display, but it also has a computer-like taskbar with buttons you can select for additional functionality. You can switch between listening to music to tracking your heartbeat. In terms of fitness tracking, you can monitor the number of calories burned. Finally, to ensure your investment is protected, the watch is made of durable aluminum.
The Series 4 tracks fitness activity and has heartbeat sensors built in. However, it is also a situation monitor and can alert authorities if it detects you are in trouble. For instance, the gyroscope and accelerometer can determine if you have fallen, and the onboard SOS app can call authorities.
For activity tracking, it can determine the difference between walking, running, and yoga. For runners, it offers cadence tracking and pace alerts, helping you to stay on track for long runs. Of course, running by yourself can be an isolating experience, so the watch connects with friends. Once connected, you can share activity statistics and create competitions for greater fitness motivation. Finally the fitness apps include monthly fitness challenges, so your routine never becomes boring.
It can field calls and let you know who is calling. Finally, if you actually just want to know what time it is, you can set the display to simple hour and minute hands.
- emergency-service notification
- fall detector
- not waterproof
Garmin is known for its GPS tracking, and this watch is built to integrate with the three primary GPS solutions.
Combined, these three position trackers allow for precise position tracking in rough environments or removed terrains.
If there is any single feature in a smartwatch designed for the wilderness lover, it would have to be some sort of “not-lost” feature that makes it impossible for the wearer to become lost. That is exactly what this watch does. For instance, the Garmin Instinct tracks your position better than any other watch on the market, and it also tracks your path. With your path tracked, it can then guide you back to your original starting point–taking you along the exact path that you just originally traveled. Because the battery will last 14 days on a single charge, there is no danger of being stranded with a lifeless brick on your wrist.
When you are busy not getting lost in the wilderness, the Garmin Instinct will keep you connected to the Garmin fitness community, ensuring you can track your progress, engage in friendly fitness competitions, and set group goals with your friends.
In terms of construction, it is built to withstand extreme temperatures, and it is water resistant to 100 meters.
- a true wilderness watch with three-solution GPS tracking
- comes with original-route tracker
- water resistant to 100 meters
- only connects to one fitness community
The Nixon 51-30 cronograph watch with stainless steel case, offers a classic appearance with a variety of sub-dials. These almost disguise the fact this is a smartwatch. It is made of stainless steel, and the time can be micro adjusted.
Although this watch is not made for scuba diving, it is a marine-grade watch, suitable for swimming, boating, and water skiing. Not quite dive watches but water resistant to 200 meters and can withstand increased humidity and rain.
- marine-grade watch
- water resistance to 200 meters
- Japanese quartz movement
- Hybrid smartwatch/ Chronograph watch with stainless steel case
- not many apps
For style and elegance, the Rubaiyat Diamond watch from Bulova is truly something to consider. The classic design boasts a textured grey dial that includes eight diamond indices that are hand-set. Adding additional sparkle are the 42 round diamonds that encompass the outer-rim of the dial.
In terms of durability, the stainless-steel design ensures this watch will last. Finally, the double-press closure keeps this watch securely fitted on your wrist.
Enhancing this watch’s design is the synthetic blue cabochon crown set just above 12 o’clock. In addition, the back of the case displays a beautiful, dye-struck “Goddess of Time.”
- .35 mm stainless steel
- double-curved, sapphire crystal
- diamond indices
- cabochon crown
- water resistant to 30m
- quartz movement
- additional styles not available
If you are an Iron Man or a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fan, you should consider the fashion watch from Invicta. The dial is gold and red dial, which is as stunning as the red-and-black wristband made from steel and silicone.
In terms of keeping accurate time, the Invicta is an automatic, self-winding watch. The mainspring in this mechanical watch is automatically wound via the motion it experiences from the wearer’s arm movements. Simply put, you will never need to wind this watch.
- water resistant to 550 meters
- one-year warranty
- attractive gift box
- automatically winds
- may not be suited for non-Marvel fans
For multi-sport and triathlon training, you should consider the Vantage V watch from Polar. It is designed specifically to withstand the most grueling training and races imaginable. For instance, the Vantage V is waterproof, and it includes GPS tracking. Additionally, the battery life is ultra-long. In fact, it is packed with a variety of features to enable you to reach your peak performance level–no matter what sport you choose.
With Polar Precision Prime, you can monitor your heart rate via the cutting-edge, sensor technology located in the watch. This sensor technology eliminates the need for additional sensors or foot pods.
With both the Recovery Pro and Training Load Pro, you can monitor your training in a more holistic fashion. For instance, these features allow you to determine the optimal balance between rest and training, increasing your ability to stay injury-free. Additionally, you can monitor how well your body recovers from training, and you can opt to receive feedback regarding your body’s recovery. Additionally, the Training Load Pro categorizes your information into muscle load, cardio load, and perceived load. Such distinction allows a more in-depth analysis of your training.
In terms of swimming, you can monitor such things as swimming style, pace, and strokes. Additionally, the Vantage V can even track strokes and distance while you swim in open water.
- up to 40 hours of battery
- integrated GPS
- three styles to choose from
- all training data on Polar Flow
- syncs training data to Strava and TrainingPreaks
- supports over 130 sports
- Some customers reported inaccurate heart-rate monitoring.