With so many companies having recently announced their new generations of Android Wear watches, there’s never been a better (or cheaper) time to try out the platform. There were many risks with trying it out before. First off, Android Wear watches weren’t that cheap. For a sibling platform with limited performance, it was a lot of money to gamble on a wrist gadget you might hate. Those same watches are now last generation, and with that, they’re much cheaper and give you an easier access point to Android Wear. Perhaps more importantly, the OS itself has come on leaps and bounds since its introduction. Now you can get a great Android Wear experience without having to fork out a ton of cash…
As feature lists go, the Sony SWR3’s is among the most impressive of any Android Wear watch. It was one of the first to have built-in GPS which means you can go for a run and have it track your route and times, without needing to carry a phone with you. It’s also IP58 water and dust resistant, and can easily be swapped between wristbands by popping out the main watch unit. It has a square 320×320 resolution 1.6-inch transflective display, and boasts a 48-hour battery life. An SWR3 with a white sports band will set you back just $159, while a black model is $176. That’s over 40 percent off the original $300 retail cost.
Before the Huawei Watch and 2nd gen Moto 360 were revealed, many would argue that the original Moto 360 was the best-looking smartwatch around. Or, at least, the best-looking Android Wear device. It was the first to really focus on fashion and design with its beautiful metal, round case and stylish leather and metal link bands. It’s not the fastest or most powerful wearable device, and some criticize the ‘flat tire’ on the screen, but it does the job and it looks good doing it. Prices for the leather-strapped models are between $140-$150, while the more premium metal link models are between $180-$200.
When Google first announced the Android Wear platform, the LG G Watch was one of the first devices revealed. It’s not the most attractive, or most highly-specced smartwatches released, but it is the original. What’s more, at below $100, it’s easily one of the most budget-friendly. If all you want is a small taster of Android Wear to see if you like it, the G Watch is one of the most cost-effective ways of doing so.
Like the 360, the Zenwatch was received well thanks to its attractive design. Although not quite as premium as the Motorola-made device, it still pleased those who prefer square watch cases to round ones. It has a Snapdragon 400 chip inside, along with 512MB RAM and 4GB storage, and is IP55 certified. As a kicker, it was one of the first devices to support regular 22mm watch bands, meaning that swapping the strap out for one of your own choice is really simple and doesn’t require any fiddly cutting or modding.
It’s really worth noting, however, that the ZenWatch 2 has just been announced and is available to pre-order from just $129.99. Cheaper than last year’s model, the only difference being that you need to wait a little longer before receiving it. The rubber strap model costs $129.99 to order from NewEgg, while the leather one is $149.99.
Another of the originals, the Samsung Gear Live borrowed heavily from the aesthetic of Samsung’s Tizen-powered Gear 2. The main differences being the lack of a camera and physical ‘home’ button on the front. Arguably, the removal of those physical attributes and the inclusion of Android Wear software transformed it from looking like a tiny smartphone, in to a proper smartwatch. It wasn’t unattractive, but was about as design-focussed as all of Samsung’s products at the time. That’s to say, it’s all plastic. Still, the Gear Live has a 1.63-inch AMOLED display and weighs just 2 ounces and is one of the cheapest Android Wear watches available to buy.
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