Update: We have had to bid farewell to the Sony Smartwatch 3 and from our list as it’s difficult to buy either now, but there’s a new entry from the Huawei Watch 2 in our best Android Wear watches list.
After a shaky start, Google’s Android Wear is an increasingly mature platform thanks to the recent update to Android Wear 2.0.
The software brings a number of new features to the OS. You’ll be able to reply more easily to messages direct from the watch, with improved handwriting recognition and even the addition of a tiny keyboard (which comes with predictive text).
It also features Google Assistant right on the watch, giving you access to the search engine’s wealth of knowledge about pretty much everything.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is that apps will now be able to run independent of your phone – meaning that the processing will be done on the Android Wear device itself. This means that you can leave your phone at home if you want to go for a run – and that apps on your watch should hopefully be a little faster too.
This new perk leads to yet another benefit of getting onboard with Android Wear 2.0: these watches can run the full experience, even when connected to an iPhone. Previously, the iOS experience was a far cry of what Android owners had. Those days are over.
The first wave of new Android Wear watches have hit the market and unsurprisingly, they have ended up at the top of our list. But with many more to come this year, keep a look out for this page to receive an even more frequent shake-up than usual.
Here are the best Android Wear watches on the market.
1. LG Watch Style
The thinnest and best Android Wear smartwatch yet
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS8.2+ | Display: 1.2″ 360 x 360 P-OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB charger | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The LG Watch Style (built in collaboration with Google) offers everything that’s to love from the best Android Wear smartwatches, ditches the dreaded flat tire, then fills in the gap with cool, useful features and a whole lot of… style.
Roll that all up and you’re left with an extremely alluring presentation that makes a mighty strong argument for Google’s wearable platform. But there are some familiar wrinkles here.
Battery life is still a low point, and, as independent as Android Wear 2.0 claims to be, Google is still in the early days of filling the new Play Store with compatible apps that are enticing enough to bother with aside from its own. The Style’s appeal lies more in what it will be soon, rather than what it is at launch.
That said, it’s easy to express why the Style is the only smartwatch we want to put on our wrists. For $249 (£249 / AU$325, but not confirmed for AU), it offers just as much utility as prior smartwatch attempts, but ups the ante with a slim, dashing design and several welcome features, like the voice-activated Google Assistant and a refreshed user interface that’s full of clever tweaks.
Read the full review: LG Watch Style
2. LG Watch Sport
Google’s Android smartphone for your wrist
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8.2+ | Display: 1.38″ 480 x 480 P-OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Conductive USB-C charger | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G + 4G LTE
The LG Watch Sport comes ready to play, offering more bells, whistles and watch faces than any other smartwatch or fitness tracker to date.
Headlined by Android Wear 2.0, this feature-packed watch debuts the long-overdue upgrade to Google’s nearly three-year old wearables software.
What you get is a cleaner, yet more robust interface, one that powers what’s likely be your first LTE-connected smartwatch – if you’re in the US it can function just fine without a phone nearby, for a small fee.
It’s a brawny-looking watch, built for fitness tracking thanks to a heart rate monitor, GPS chip, barometer and waterproof casing. You can even track strength training. Google to Apple: “Do you even lift?” Apple’s answer is “No.”
If you’re looking for an always-connected smartwatch made all the more intelligent by Google Assistant, this is your best option now by a long shot.
Read the full review: LG Watch Sport
3. Asus ZenWatch 3
A vast improvement over its predecessors
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS8.2+ | Display: 1.39″ 400 x 400 AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Magnetic pogo pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Asus isn’t an obvious name to associate with Android Wear watches, though with the ZenWatch 3 it has more than earned in place.
Available at $229 (around £190, AU$340), Asus’ latest is one of your best bets, especially since it is Android Wear 2.0-compatible.
Let’s run through the list of good qualities. It has a great display, useful hardware buttons and good battery life. It’s styling might not be for everyone but Asus did a commendable job designing a watch that looks more like a premium watch than a piece of lifeless technology.
Read the full review: Asus ZenWatch 3
4. Huawei Watch 2
A well-equipped smartwatch with too many features
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8.2+ | Display: 1.2″ 390 x 390 | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Conductive USB-C charger | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G + 4G LTE
The is an attempt by the Chinese company to widen the use of Android Wear watches. Huawei has tried to include a variety of new features in its latest smartwatch and it’s not entirely clear if it has succeeded with the Watch 2.
We like the built-in GPS and NFC on the watch as well as the option to have a 4G model, but the Watch 2 can be sluggish and the screen is a little too small for some.
This may suit you though with an attractive design and a plethora of features, so it’s placed in fourth position in our best Android Wear watches roundup.
5. Moto 360 (2015)
The former king
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.56″ 360 x 330 IPS LCD | Processor: Quad-core 1.2 GHz | Band sizes: 20mm-22mm | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The original Moto 360, released in 2014 quickly earned the praises of users, for packaging up Google’s fledgling OS in some super attractive packaging. And the 2015 edition of the watch builds on this – providing arguably the best Android Wear experience to date.
The watch comes in two different sizes: 42mm and 46mm, and is runs slightly more slickly than its predecessor thanks to the improved processor. The round-screen makes it feel slightly more natural than bolting a square display on to your wrist. The only thing that really feels lacking is GPS support – meaning that it is unable to natively track your journeys.
And one other criticism that has been leveled at the 360 is the battery life – that tends to only go for 48 hours at best. But at least this still means your watch will still be keeping you informed long after your Apple Watch-wearing colleagues have run away to look for a plug socket.
Read the full review: Moto 360 (2015)
6. Huawei Watch
One of the best all-around watches
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.4″ 400 x 400 AMOLED | Processor: Quad-core 1.2 GHz | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
With the Huawei Watch, the Chinese behemoth is very definitely aiming at the top end of the market, as it is priced around £299 (US$349.99, around AU$549). But it does actually go some distance towards earning that price.
The main strength is the screen – which is a 1.4″ AMOLED display, running at 400×400 – one of the highest resolution watches available, ensuring PPI on par with the Apple Watch. Helpfully too, the screen is always on – it will dim after a few seconds of inactivity, but the time will still remain visible.
Spec-wise, the watch is slightly less remarkable – with 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 300mAh battery it is rougly on a par with its top-end rivals.
Sadly, despite the premium price the watch doesn’t include GPS, but it does include a heart rate sensor. So if you want a polished, top of the line Android Wear watch – this is probably the one to go for.
Read the full review: Huawei Watch
7. Fossil Q Founder
A slick debut from Fossil
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.63″ 360 x 360 LTPS LCD | Processor: Intel Atom | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Fossil is another traditional watchmaker that has trying to solve the problem of becoming a tech company, before tech companies can fully become watchmakers. So it has come up with the Q Founder Android Wear watch.
Vaguely reminiscent of other high-end round watches like the Moto 360 and Huawei Watch, the Q features a combination brushed and polished metal face – and a plastic back, so that can it can charge wirelessly.
While the screen is lower resolution that some competitors, it is barely noticeable. Perhaps the only annoyance on-screen is the so-called “flat tire” at the bottom, which means the screen isn’t a perfect circle. This is to leave room for the ambient light sensor. Unlike most other rivals too, it has 1GB of RAM instead of 512MB, which should boost performance.
So it certainly has the looks – and the innards look promising too. But at the end of the day, this watch isn’t anything too special.
Read the full review: Fossil Q Founder
8. Tag Heuer Connected
When form meets function
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.63″ 360 x 360 LTPS LCD | Processor: Dual-core 1.6 GHz | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Now that smartwatches are a fact of everyday life, luxury watchmakers are worried that they’re on a path to destruction. You only have to look at how the iPhone killed any interest in diamond-covered “luxury” phones – even amongst the filthy rich. So perhaps wisely, Tag Heuer has come out with its own take on the smartwatch – by taking Android Wear and giving up touch of Tag’s class.
Priced from £1,100 (US$1,500, around AU$2,100 – about 5 times as expensive as a normal Android Wear watch), the Tag Heuer Connected won’t be cheap, but will make you look pretty slick at the golf club. The body is made from grade II titanium – the same material with which the company makes it’s traditional watches. It is also fairly chunky at 12.8mm thick (so at least it looks expensive).
The trade-off though appears to be on the inside, where spec-wise the price doesn’t match the performance. Faster, higher resolution devices are available at lower prices. But of course, if you do go for a Moto 360 instead, it won’t have the classic Tag Heuer watchface.
Read the full review: Tag Heuer Connected