With new hardware and software options that continue to get better and better, there’s no time like now to buy a smartwatch. While iOS users are pretty limited in what they could buy, Android users have too many choices to count. Not sure where to start looking? Let’s go over some of the best…
The best gifts for Android users
NEW FOR MAY:
Verizon isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think about a smartwatch, but the company was one of the first to announce a new device for Android Wear 2.0. The Verizon Wear24 is an LTE smartwatch powered by, of course, Android Wear 2.0. It has a fairly traditional design with just a single button on the side.
The Wear24 features a 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, 450 mAh battery, Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and, of course, LTE on Verizon’s network. It also has wireless charging and an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The watch is also 13.5mm thick and has a 42mm diameter.
ZTE also made its debut in the smartwatch arena recently with the ZTE Quartz. This is yet another cellular-equipped smartwatch, but this time with 3G on T-Mobile’s GSM network.
The Quartz packs similar specifications to the rest of the Android Wear family with a Snapdragon 2100, 768MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage, and a 1.4-inch AMOLED display. It also offers GPS, a 500mAh battery, and an IP67 dust/water resistance rating. ZTE’s first wearable also comes in at 14.2mm thick and has a diameter of 46mm.
At $192, the Quartz is a pretty incredible value, but do keep in mind that is it only available through T-Mobile for the foreseeable future. There’s no wireless charging, no NFC, and no heart rate sensor, though.
Huawei Watch 2/Classic
The original Huawei Watch is one of the most beloved Android Wear devices on the market thanks to its gorgeous design. Unfortunately, many were disappointed to learn that the second generation model wouldn’t keep up the same looks, instead opting for something a bit chunkier and rugged with the standard and “Classic” models.
The Huawei Watch 2 and the Huawei Watch 2 Classic both offer familiar specs with a 1.2-inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon 2100 processor and a 420 mAh battery. There’s also 768MB of RAM and 4GB of storage in each device.
Both smartwatches feature 45mm casings with compatibility with 20mm bands on the standard model and 22mm on the Classic. Both also feature two buttons for navigation and accessing app functions such as Android Pay, as Huawei has included NFC.
The primary difference between the Watch 2 and Classic is the design, where the standard model has a more sporty look with bright colors, small buttons, and silicon bands.
On the other hand, the Watch 2 Classic offers more pronounced buttons, lugs, and leather bands. The Watch 2 also features LTE where the Classic does not. GPS and IP68 dust and water resistance are also included.
Pricing for the Huawei Watch 2 starts at $299 and includes 10 weeks of Google Play Music for free. That model is available now from various retailers including Best Buy and Amazon, but the Classic variant is not yet available.
Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F20
Announced at CES 2017, the Pro-Trek WSD-F20 is the latest and greatest from Casio. Following up on the WSD-F10, this new watch offers a slightly thinner but just as rugged design with Android Wear 2.0, revised specifications, and some new features.
Under the hood, the WSD-F20 packs the Snapdragon Wear 2100, 4GB of storage, 768MB of RAM, and support for various sensors including GPS. The watch is also rated at 50 ATM, offering complete water resistance up to 50 meters. The watch also features a slimmer body at 15.3mm thick, but it is considerably wider with a whopping 57mm diameter.
There’s no NFC on board, but with Android Wear 2.0, there are buttons along the side for accessing some of Casio’s various software features. The watch has a 1.32-inch LCD display with a special monochrome power-saving mode.
The Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F20 is available now for $499 from various retailers including Amazon in both orange and black.
FROM EARLIER THIS YEAR:
LG Watch Sport
Android Wear 2.0’s debut saw the release of two new Android Wear smartwatches, the first of which being the LG Watch Sport. This LTE-equipped Android Wear 2.0 device offers up a futuristic metal design in either silver or blue and two customizable buttons on the top and bottom of the rotating power button. That button is used for navigating the device and, as pointed out in our review, comes in handy quite often.
Under the hood, there aren’t any surprises with a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, 4GB of storage, and 768MB of RAM. The Watch Sport also offers NFC, GPS, and LTE on AT&T and T-Mobile (a Verizon model is coming eventually). It also offers a 430mAh battery with wireless charging. The Watch Sport also comes in at 14.2mm thick and has a 45mm diameter.
LG Watch Style
Debuting alongside the LG Watch Sport was the LG Watch Style. This super-thin Android Wear watch is designed for those with smaller wrists in mind, and it certainly is a great option for those users. At just under 11mm thin with a 42mm diameter, it’s one of the thinnest options on the market today.
The Watch Style offers similar specs to the LG Watch Sport with Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, 4GB of storage, and 512MB of RAM. It lacks NFC, GPS, and a heart rate sensor, but still offers a solid 1.2-inch OLED display and that rotating power button.
The battery is a slightly smaller 230mAh cell with wireless charging. The Watch Style is also IP67 dust/water resistant and ships with Android Wear 2.0.
LG asks $249 for the Watch Style, which is a fairly reasonable price, but with deals cutting that by a few bucks, it’s always a good idea to shop around.
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
My personal favorite watch for Android on the market today actually isn’t an Android Wear device, rather coming from Samsung and running atop Tizen. The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier is all the smartwatch you’ll ever need, with a sporty, circular gray design with a 1.3-inch Super AMOLED display that is the best I’ve personally ever used and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass SR+.
The Gear S3 also offers a dual-core Exynos 7270 processor, 768MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. The watch also features sensors such as GPS, NFC, and even optional LTE. The standout features, though, include Samsung Pay (on any smartphone) and the rotating bezel. The Gear S3 is a pretty big watch, though, coming in at 12.9mm thick with a 46mm diameter.
The Gear S3 also has dozens of useful features and very well-thought out software. It’s really just an excellent smartwatch at the end of the day, offering everything I could ask for. More information is available in our full review, and the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic are available now at various retailers, including Amazon, for $349 (or less).
Mobvoi Ticwatch 2
Another great smartwatch for Android users that isn’t powered by Android Wear is the Ticwatch 2 from Mobvoi. Powered by a forked version of Android, the Ticwatch 2 offers up a unique but nice experience. The hardware is somewhat cheap-feeling, but looks classy nonetheless and has a compact size that works on small and large wrists alike. It has a 42mm diameter and comes in at just under 12mm thick.
The 1.4-inch AMOLED display is excellent and lends itself to some spectacularly saturated colors, as well as very deep blacks that the Ticwear OS takes advantage of. Mobvoi claims about 1.5 days on a charge, and that’s about what I got. Thanks to wireless charging, it’s also easy to keep topped off.
The Ticwatch 2 starts at $199 for the base model, but goes up to $300 depending on the band and display upgrades you pick. You can read my full review of the watch over on 9to5Toys as well. Sales available now on Amazon.
Fossil Q Series
Fossil is a traditional watchmaker, but it hasn’t been shy at all with supporting the world of Android Wear. The company offers several different smartwatches, including the Fossil Q Marshal, Wander, and Founder. Soon, the company will also be offering the Q Venture and Q Explorist, as well as the limited edition Q x Cory Richards.
All of these watches offer somewhat similar designs, but feature different price points depending on the model. Older generations offer the Snapdragon 400, with the newer models mostly sticking to the Snapdragon Wear 2100. You can learn more about the individual models below, and pick up most of them on Amazon.