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 options…
The best gifts for Android users
NEW FOR JULY:
Mobvoi Ticwatch S/E
After hitting $500,000 in just 6 hours on Kickstarter, Mobvoi’s latest Ticwatch is set to land in the US toward the end of this year with a new design, new specs, and Android Wear.
The latest Ticwatch comes in two variants, the Ticwatch S and Ticwatch E. While the former focuses on a sporty design for workouts and running, the latter aims to please everyone with a unique and good-looking design. Both watches start for under $200 ($159 for E, $199 for S) and offer similar packages under the hood.
Both offer Android Wear 2.0, IP67 dust/water resistance, a heart-rate monitor, accelerometer, GPS, and 1.4-inch OLED displays. Unlike most smartwatches, though, the Ticwatch S and Ticwatch E are powered by a MediaTek MTK MT2601 dual-core processor paired with the typical 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. While Mobvoi includes some of its own applications, it’s also great to have Android Wear 2.0 and full Play Store access on this new hardware.
The Ticwatch S is 45mm in diameter and 13mm thick, while weighing in at 45.5g. It also has a fixed, “breathable” watch band designed for workouts which minimizes sweating under the band.
The Ticwatch E features a more classy design with a smaller 44mm diameter which is a bit thicker at 13.55mm, but lighter at 41.5g. The casing on the “Ice” and “Lemon” designs are also transparent and the E also features interchangeable bands.
Both watches are set to ship to Kickstarter backers by November with discounts off of the retail price for the entire campaign as much as 40% off the retail price. As mentioned, the Ticwatch S will cost $199 when it hits retail and the E will ask $159.
FROM EARLIER THIS YEAR:
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 differences with the Classic versus the standard include, first off, that this model lacks LTE. That, however, does mean that the Classic is built from a more premium “Titanium Grey” shell which has a bit less sporty look. A leather band is also installed out of the box rather than the silicone one found on other models. Pricing on the Huawei Watch 2 Classic is a bit higher than the standard model, asking $369 from retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy.
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.
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/Classic
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).
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.
- Fossil announces two new Android Wear devices: the Q Venture and Q Explorist [Gallery]
- Fossil announces limited edition ‘Q x Cory Richards’ Android Wear smartwatch
- Fossil Q Marshal and Q Wander to be available for pre-order on August 12th for $295
If you’re into premium smartwatches, the Montblanc Summit is the latest option hitting watch shops around the world. Out of the box, it runs atop Android Wear 2.0 with the standard specifications — Snapdragon Wear 2100, 512mb of RAM, and 4GB of storage. There’s no NFC or LTE on board, but the watch does feature a heart rate sensor and premium materials.
The base model is crafted from polished stainless steel with a premium calfskin leather band. Other models are available with a titanium casing and alligator leather straps, but they do up the cost quite a bit. All models have a 46mm casing that is 12.5mm thick. Battery life is rated at a day and the watch is IP68 water/dust resistant.Pricing for the Summit starts at a lofty $870 and goes well up from there. Currently, the only place to buy the watch online is via the outlet Mr. Porter, but the watch should be available in the coming weeks anywhere Montblanc smartwatches are sold.