Android Wear smartwatches may not be as much of a “hot gift” this year as the Apple Watch is, but if you have friends without an iPhone, going with an Android-based smartwatch is pretty much your only option if you want to gift them a wearable. There are a lot of options to pick from across many different price points, but we’re here to help you pick out the perfect combo of fashion and tech for your loved one…
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Huawei Watch – from $300
My favorite watch this year is the Huawei Watch by far. The Moto 360 (2nd gen.) is a close second in my eyes (you can read more about that watch below), but I would definitely go with the Huawei Watch if money isn’t as much of a factor. The device sports a look that’s classy and unique, and — sadly, depending on your bank account— a price point to match. The watch doesn’t have the infamous “flat tire” of the Moto 360, and comes in many different tiers — some upwards of $700. The device has a 1.4-inch screen covered by sapphire crystal, powered by a 300 mAh battery, 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 400 processor, and 512 MB of RAM.
You can get the Huawei Watch from Amazon starting at $300 for the stainless steel model with a black leather strap. For the big spenders out there, feel free to head over to Huawei’s official online store to get the gold stainless steel model with brown leather strap for $700.
Moto 360 (2nd generation) – from $300
The second generation Moto 360 is definitely the runner up in the realm of Android Wear, coming in at just about the same price as the Huawei Watch. The new Moto 360 has the same design as last year’s model, but with a few minor adjustments. The button used to be located on the right side of the device, but has been moved to the 2 o’clock position.
The 2nd gen. Moto 360 case will come in several different external designs, all customizable through Motorola’s Moto Maker website. In addition to the outer appearance of the watch’s case, though, there’s also several different strap styles to pick from across many different price points. One of the upsides of both the Huawei Watch and the Moto 360 is that you can swap out your own strap anytime you want.
You can customize your own Moto 360 (2nd gen.) at Motorola’s website starting at $300.
Samsung Gear S2 – from $275
If you want to go with something a bit more unique, Samsung’s Gear S2 with a 40mm casing and slick form-factor might be the watch you’re looking for. Unlike the previous two offerings, this watch runs a completely customized build of Android rather than Google’s pre-baked Android Wear OS. This can be an upside of a downside depending on who you’re gifting this to, but this is sure to be a hit either way.
This watch lets you control the user interface by spinning the bezel around the face, which provides a unique experience that can’t be found with any other watch. The Gear S2 is made of 316L stainless steel, and inside you’ll find a 1.0 GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB of flash storage, 512 MB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.1 and WiFi support, NFC, and Samsung even offers a model with 3G.
The modern looking “Dark Gray” model can be had from Amazon for as little as $275 at the time of this writing, with the silver model going for $283 and the classier “Classic” model at a premium of $327.
ASUS ZenWatch 2 – from $130
On the other hand, if you want to give the gift of Android Wear without the enormous price tag, you can go with the slightly-less-beautiful ASUS ZenWatch 2. While it may not have the dazzling circular display and high-quality build of other Android Wear watches in this group, you’ll still get pretty much everything that Android Wear has to offer functionality-wise with the ZenWatch 2. Additionally, unlike older Android Wear watches, the ASUS ZenWatch 2 has built-in speaker hardware, which will be used when Android Wear 1.4 launches in the coming weeks. This watch may not be in the jewelry category by any means, but it gets the job done and sports a price tag that’s less than half of the Huawei Watch.
Samsung Gear Live – from $80
The Samsung Gear Live is definitely an oldey (it launched with the LG G Watch with the first batch of Android Wear devices), but it’s also a goody. If you’re on even more of a budget than the $150 ASUS ZenWatch 2, the Samsung Gear Live is arguably the best option. Just like the ASUS ZenWatch 2, it’s not the prettiest watch ever — but it will give you everything you need to get started with Android Wear.
Pebble Time – from $170
If you aren’t sure what to get for your prospective loved one or friend (or you don’t know which phone they use on the daily), the Pebble Time is a great option for just about everyone. Although it offers a completely different set of features, the watch has been reviewed as one of the best cross-platform (meaning it will work with both iPhone and Android) smartwatches available. The watch sports multi-day battery life (unlike the other offerings on this page), packs a color ePaper display, and has great build quality for the price.
Amazon offers the Pebble Time from $170.