With new hardware and software options that continue to get better and better, there’s no time like the present 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 JANUARY
Fossil’s brands dominate the Android Wear market, and for early 2018, one of its most notable releases is from the Skagen brand. The new Skagen Falster is a minimalist smartwatch designed with both men and women in mind, and it’s striking in person.
Like many other Android Wear smartwatches available today, the Falster runs on top of Android Wear 2.0, a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, and has a circular display that measures in at 1.19-inches. The watch itself has a 42mm casing and a simple button for power, Google Assistant, and the app drawer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t rotate.
The look of the Falster is its biggest selling point, and it’s certainly a looker as Justin Duino noted in our CES 2018 hands on:
Around front, you get a solid black, silver, or rose gold casing that hides all of the bezels. What really made the watch standout for me are the two pieces of metal that extend outward from the case to secure watch bands. This simple design choice not only looks finished, but it also provides a very comfortable experience when wearing the watch.
Pricing on the Skagen Falster starts at $275, and goes up to $295 depending on the colors and materials you pick out. The watch is available now on Skagen’s online store.
Kate Spade Scallop
Kate Spade is a very well-known brand for women’s fashion accessories, and the company’s first foray into smartwatches is the “Scallop.” This small Android Wear watch is the company’s first touchscreen smartwatch, and it’s appealing for a few reasons.
First, this is one of the very few Android Wear devices, or smartwatches in general, that caters to women. The circular metal design is available in gold and rose gold colors, and has a great overall look. There’s a single button on the right side used for power, the Google Assistant, and the app drawer, but it sadly doesn’t control anything when it rotates.
Like most other Android Wear devices, the Scallop is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and has an OLED display that measures in at 1.19-inches. There’s Android Wear 2.0 pre-loaded, and it comes with a couple of additions from Kate Spade, as we noted in our CES 2018 hands-on.
To differentiate the smartwatch from the competition, Kate Spade designed and includes three unique watch faces. These include one that has winky eyes, a flower pedal that loses its petals as you take more steps, and one that features an NYC taxi cab driving off-screen.
In addition to taking a look at the watches, we got to see Kate Spade’s “choose your look” watch app. This app asks the wearer to input data such as the time of the day, the color of their outfit, and more to automatically create a matching watch face. While the app wasn’t ready for the primetime, it’s a very cool and easy way to customize the look of the watch without requiring the user to spend countless minutes changing the look and behavior of the wearable.
FROM EARLIER THIS YEAR
Samsung Gear Sport
Samsung’s Gear S3 is one of my favorite watches, personally, and the new Gear Sport just takes that formula and makes it better for everyone. With a new focus on fitness and a smaller and more refined design, the Sport is easily the best smartwatch you can buy right now for an Android device.
The Samsung Gear Sport has a 1.2-inch AMOLED display and runs on top of Samsung’s own Tizen OS with its latest update. Like on the Gear S3, you’ll get two tactile buttons along the side and a touchscreen, but the standout navigation feature here is that rotating bezel.
The watch ditches MST payments, but still supports Samsung Pay over NFC in its compact 42mm body. It’s available in both black and blue and ships with a silicone band to match. It promises all-day battery life, has a new and allegedly more accurate heart rate sensor as well as 5ATM water resistance.
Pricing lands at the same $299 you’ll pay for a standard Gear S3, but we’ve already seen discounts. The watch is available now on Amazon, Best Buy, and pretty much anywhere else you can buy a smartwatch.
Fossil Q Control
Fossil has a lot of Android Wear smartwatches, but it’s most interesting model was announced without any fanfare at all. The Fossil Q Control goes for more of a minimalistic look than the rest of the company’s collection with a circular design, 45mm casing, and metal build.
The specifications in tow here are similar to the rest of Android Wear’s ecosystem with 4GB of storage and presumably the Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, but there’s a lot we don’t know just yet since Fossil’s spec page is pretty light.
Most notable on this watch, though, is the bezel. The right side of the watch has a touch-sensitive portion which can control scrollable menus on Android Wear 2.0. It’s no rotating bezel, but it’s a great addition. Pricing for the Fossil Q Control lands at $275 on Fossil’s website and Amazon.
Not everyone can afford expensive watches, so that’s where the Ticwatch E from Mobvoi comes in. This smartwatch brings along Android Wear 2.0 with a circular display and standard specifications with a unique design, all for $159.
The Ticwatch E is built entirely from plastic, but it’s certainly not a bad looking wearable in any of its 3 colors — black, white, or yellow. On your wrist, the E has a 44mm diameter, but it still looks pretty good on smaller wrists.
As for specs, you’ve got a 1.4-inch 400×400 OLED display, MTK MT2601 dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and IP67 water/dust resistance. That runs Android Wear 2.0 and with a 300 mAh battery, you’re getting a day of battery life no problem.
The Mobvoi Ticwatch E is available on Amazon for $159. Alternatively, Mobvoi’s website charges $159, but you can score $20 off by entering the code OANOYU at this page to redeem a coupon code to be used at checkout.
Another smartwatch from Mobvoi released recently is the Ticwatch S, a sports-oriented smartwatch also running on top of Android Wear. The sporty design of the Ticwatch S comes in at 45mm and is a bit chunky at 13mm thick. Packed inside there’s a 300mAh battery for a full day of battery life, heart-rate monitor, and built-in GPS thanks to the band.
The Ticwatch S also has a 1.4-inch OLED display at 400×400, MTK MT2601 dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and of course Android Wear 2.0.
Mobvoi sells the Ticwatch S for $199 at retail, but there are a few discounts going on. Amazon is offering select colors for $159. Further, you can get $20 off by entering the code OANOYU at this page to redeem a coupon code to be used at checkout from Mobvoi’s own store.
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.
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 around $299.
Android Wear hasn’t had too many affordable options in the past several months that have impressed us, but one we’ve been looking forward to has been the Misfit Vapor. Now, the $200 wearable has hit the market and it has a ton of pros, especially for those who are active.
The Misfit Vapor was originally launched with a proprietary operating system, but that was ditched for Android Wear 2.0. The Vapor has a 1.39-inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, and a heart rate sensor. Those specs are fairly standard for Android Wear, but the Vapor also includes 5ATM water resistance which is a huge plus, and an assortment of software features added by Misfit.
As far as pricing goes, the Misfit Vapor lands at a reasonable $199. That’s a solid deal especially considering the fitness features and appealing circular design of this watch. If you’re interested in picking one up, it’s available now in an assortment of colors from Misfit, Best Buy, and it’s available on Amazon as well. Misfit also launched new metal bands at CES 2018.
Michael Kors Access Grayson/Sofie
Most of today’s Android Wear devices aren’t the most stylish, but two of the latest watches from fashion brand Michael Kors aim to change that. The Grayson and Sofie watches are designed to suit the style of men and women respectively, and both start at around $350.
Like most other watches on this list, these both feature Android Wear 2.0, a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and IP67 dust and water resistance. The differentiation of these watches really comes down to the hardware.
The Grayson is designed for men and is clearly inspired by a traditional watch. It has a stainless steel casing at 47mm wide with a 1.39-inch 454 x 454 AMOLED display.
The Sofie, on the other hand, is designed for women with jewelry inspired accents. It has a smaller 1.19 inch 390×390 AMOLED display, and a smaller casing at 42mm. As mentioned, pricing starts at $350 for either variant and goes up depending on options. Sales are available from MichaelKors.com (Grayson — Sofie) and also from outlets such as Amazon. (Grayson — Sofie)
Since we’re talking about Android, we have options to look at that aren’t Android Wear, and one of those is the Fitbit Ionic. The first proper smartwatch from the fitness-focused brand may not be as gorgeous as most Android Wear offerings, but it makes up for that with fitness features and improved battery life.
The Ionic packs all the typical fitness features you’d expect such as a pedometer, heart rate monitor, sleep tracking sensors, and even built-in GPS for keeping track of runs. Better yet, it’s water-resistant to the point where it can track swims, and it even has some personal coaching features on the touchscreen.
Aside from fitness, though, the Ionic packs full support for typical smartwatch features, including notifications from basically any app on your phone. There’s even an app store with popular offerings such as Strava, Starbucks, Pandora, and more. There’s also built-in NFC payments through “Fitbit Pay” with support for Visa, Mastercard, and AMEX debit/credit cards.
Fitbits promises about 4 days worth of usage out of a single charge with the Ionic. The device is available in three colors — Charcoal & Smoke Gray, Slate Blue & Burnt Orange, and Blue Gray & Silver Gray. Bands are interchangeable and the watch sells for $299 outright. It’s available now from Amazon and other popular online retailers.
Garmin Vivoactive 3
Another option outside of the Android Wear ecosystem comes from Garmin. The Vivoactive 3 is another fitness-first smartwatch, but with some interesting features on board.
It packs support for 15 different types of activity tracking, a heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, and battery life that the company claims can last up to 7 days on a charge. The display is a special “Chroma” display which is designed to still be fully visible in direct sunlight.
The Vivoactive 3 of course also supports notifications from your smartphone, the ability to reply to messages, and a handful of apps and watchfaces. Its best feature, though, comes in the form of Garmin Pay, which uses NFC to enable mobile payments. You’ll have to use a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card, but once set up, you’ll be able to make payments anywhere Android Pay is accepted.
Pricing on the Garmin Vivoactive 3 starts at $299 depending on the model you select.
Diesel ON Full Guard
In Android Wear’s continued push into the fashion industry, fashion brand Diesel has recently debuted its first smartwatch. The Diesel ON Full Guard is a pretty big watch at 48mm across, but it features a design you won’t find on any other smartwatch at the moment. The “rugged” design of the watch makes room for a fully-circular display of an unspecified size and resolution, as well as three buttons along the right side of the device.
You’ll also get a leather band with your purchase with a different design depending on your preference. Some models are available with stainless steel link bands for an extra $25.
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 looking for the best design out there today, one watch that should be on your list is the Movado Connect. Powered by Android Wear, the Movado Connect offers up a minimalistic design, but quite a few feature you’d want.
First and foremost, the Movado Connect runs on top of the standard Android Wear specs package — a Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. It also includes a 1.39-inch 400×400 AMOLED display, 300mAh battery, and a typical array of sensors including an accelerometer and gyroscope. There’s also an ambient light sensor here and support for NFC, meaning you’ll be able to use Android Pay with this watch.
If you ask me, this is one of the classiest watches you can buy with Android Wear today, but it comes at a cost. You’ll need to fork over $595 to get the Connect on your wrist, and it’s available from Movado’s website as well as Kay Jewelers.
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.
Unfortunately, there’s now only one place to buy the LG Watch Sport since Google purged Android Wear from its store — AT&T. There, you’ll be able to get the Watch Sport for $17.50 a month or for free with a 2-year contract.