Android watches come with has many, or as few features and functions depending on your needs. There are watches that are good for athletes to keep track of time, or smartwatches that let you answer incoming phone calls handsfree. Most Android watches include a GPS system, or connect to apps like Google Pay. Here are several of the best Android watches
All the tools for a healthy, active lifestyle
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 has all of Samsung’s best wearable ideas rolled up into one smartwatch. It’s stylish, comfortable, has great battery life, and plenty of health tracking features to make you happy and keep you motivated.
A solid, slim GPS tracker
If running is the name of your game, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is easily the best choice. It has a transflective display that is easy to read in direct sunlight. It comes with a comfortable band, stellar battery life, and unmatched workout tracking.
A hybrid lifestyle
The Fossil Hybrid HR provides you with a perfect balance of style and features. You get a taste of certain smartwatch perks and the look of a traditional timepiece. It will track your activity and sleep, monitor your heart rate, and give you over two weeks of battery life.
Big and imposing, Mobvoi's TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE is the premiere connected smartwatch, allowing you to stream music or receive calls even when your phone isn't nearby. Plus, its two-in-one display lets you see it in direct sunlight.
Worth the upgrade
If you're looking for the latest tech, the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a worthwhile pick. It's a premium lifestyle wearable packed with some new health and fitness features that allow users to enjoy the best of all worlds.
Day and night ready
The Falster 3 gives you more RAM for smoother performance, a speaker for making and taking calls, and much-improved battery life thanks to Skagen's new Extended Battery modes.
A fitness tracker that’s good at everything
As one of the most popular names in the wearable world, Fitbit is always a good option. The Versa 2 is centered around health and fitness tracking, so it's ideal for workout enthusiasts. You have activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and Fitbit Pay.
Time to get started
When you're just starting out on your fitness tracking journey, you might prefer to keep things simple with a watch that won't break the bank, like the TicWatch C2+, for example. It's got activity tracking, GPS, heart-rate monitoring, and Google Pay.
A truly sporty smartwatch
Wear OS users who want a fitness smartwatch designed for serious athletes will love the Suunto 7. It's also the best pick if you want a giant piece of tech on your wrist. It offers built-in GPS with offline outdoor maps, superior activity tracking, Google Pay, and an array of vibrant color options.
Smaller, cheaper, and nearly as good
It's barely six months older than the Galaxy Watch Active 2, but it loses only a few of the features and a lot of the price tag. The Watch Active is small and light but has a beautiful AMOLED display and battery that lasts multiple days. It also has all of the incredible features Samsung's wearables are known for.
How to pick the best Android watch
The good news about wearing an Android watch is that while there are plenty of options on the Wear OS side of things. You also have some fantastic options from companies like Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin, too.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is an outstanding choice for most people and has received our most coveted Best Overall recommendation. You can even enjoy it if you don't own a Samsung device. You'll have built-in GPS, activity, sleep, and heart-rate tracking, music storage, smartphone notifications, Samsung Pay, and more. It doesn't get much better than this.
Of course, everyone has their preferences. If you're not a fan of Tizen OS or Samsung Health, your choices certainly don't stop there. You'll have your pick of many other wearables, whether it be from Fitbit, Garmin, Fossil, or any other brand that has captured your attention.
There are plenty of factors to consider when you're shopping for a smartwatch. Whether this is your first wearable or you've been around the block a time or two, you'll want to narrow down some key aspects before making a decision. Here are the main factors you should focus on:
1. Size and design preferences
First and perhaps most importantly, you'll need to figure out what size of watch you're after. Smaller watches are often a bit cheaper than their larger counterparts, and some watches may be too large or small for your wrist, which will quickly thin out the herd. The not-so-cheap Suunto 7 is a good example.
And of course, we can't forget about aesthetics. You're still shopping for a watch, after all, and it should be compatible with your style! You can always opt for one of the fashionable watches on this list, like the Fossil Gen 5 Julianna or the Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2.
If you're more worried about having a comfortable fit than a stylish design, there are some other options that might catch your eye. Runners will love the simplistic look and feel of the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music, for example. If you're intrigued by the idea of a minimalistic design but you'd like something a bit more appealing, the TicWatch C2+ is both subtle and elegant enough for daily wear.
2. Consider your must-have features
You'll also need to weigh the importance of features like GPS, fitness and sleep tracking, cellular connectivity, heart-rate monitoring, and mobile payments. Fortunately, it's not hard to find a watch that has a bit of everything these days. With that said, your list of options will be much shorter if you're set on having a watch with cellular connectivity. You'll only find two models on this list with that feature, so the pickings are rather slim. Not everyone is buying a smartwatch for LTE connectivity, so this won't be a deal-breaker for most users.
Some of the more common features you'll find on most smartwatches these days include GPS, fitness tracking, and heart-rate monitoring. There are still some models that still have yet to jump on the built-in GPS wagon such as the Fitbit Versa 2, so you'll have to decide how much this means to you. Granted, you can still use connected GPS via your smartphone but it's not nearly as convenient.
Another feature we're seeing more and more of is NFC for mobile payments. In fact, more than half of the wearables on this list have it. You won't find it on the more niche watches, like the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music or the Fossil Hybrid HR, but that's mostly because those models are geared toward a different type of user.
3. Which OS do you prefer?
Choosing an operating system can be tricky for a number of reasons. If you're new to the smartwatch world, you might be indifferent on the matter but it can affect your overall experience, so it's worth mulling over. One of the most common concerns is how well your smartphone will work with your smartwatch.
Is it easier and more fluid to have an Android smartwatch paired with an Android smartphone? Absolutely. Should that be the deciding factor? Not quite. You can use an iPhone with an Android smartwatch but be prepared for some hiccups along the way. There can also certain limitations, like not being able to use the quick reply feature to respond to a text message from your watch.
A recurring complaint from Samsung users is that Tizen OS doesn't always do a great job of displaying notifications on its watches. It's not that they fail to appear but that the options for how they appear are somewhat limited. You might have an easier time scrolling through notifications on a Wear OS smartwatch.
Other smartwatch companies such as Garmin and Fitbit use their own operating systems. This can involve a bit of a learning curve in some cases, but it just might be worth it. If you're a passionate runner who is frequently tracking your workouts and other stats, Garmin is an excellent choice. Casual athletes, on the other hand, might find the simple nature of FitbitOS to be user-friendly and easy to navigate.
4. How smart is a hybrid smartwatch?
If you're learning about hybrid smartwatches for the first time, you might be wondering just how smart they are. You get a nice blend of a traditional timepiece with some smartwatch perks sprinkled in. However, don't buy one of these wearables expecting premium features.
The Fossil Hybrid HR, for example, offers heart-rate monitoring, basic activity tracking, music controls, and smartphone notifications. You won't have a bright AMOLED display, Google Assistant, mobile payments, or any GPS options. Those who want a taste of the smartwatch world without going all-in might find this to be a good place to start.
5. What about battery life?
Some users can't stand the thought of having to take their watch off every 24 hours to charge it. Luckily, there is a decent amount of multi-day battery life picks on this list. You can also go for a model with advanced technology that helps extend battery life, like the dual-layer display on the TicWatch Pro 4G/LTE.
Other models offer battery-saving modes that turn off certain features to prolong battery life, but this isn't always ideal. Alternatively, when you choose a watch such as the Skagen Falster 3 that offers rapid charging, it might not be as much of a hassle. Simply set your watch to charge in the morning as you get ready for the day and it will be juiced up before you know it.
If you're still determined to find a watch with superior battery life, Garmin and Fitbit offer some of the best options that offer almost a week's worth of battery life. While nothing can beat the 2+ weeks offered by the Fossil Hybrid HR, be prepared to compromise when it comes to key smartwatch features.
Once you've hammered out all of the details, you should have a pretty good idea of what type of smartwatch you should buy. No matter which option you pick, you can look forward to owning a nifty piece of tech that will help you track your health and fitness while also giving you a fun accessory to pair with your personal style.