Android Wear: everything you need to know

Google smartwatches for Android rival Apple Watch

Android Wear smartwatches so far

The Android Wear smartwatch selection is expanding, already you can buy models from LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony and Asus and more are on the way.

The Moto 360 was front-and-center in the initial smartwatch announcement, even though Google has offloaded Motorola to Lenovo. There's good reason for highlighting this time piece: it's ambitious.

Moto 360
Motorola totally disses square smartwatches...

As the name suggests, Moto 360 has a beautiful circular face that contrasts with other watches we've seen like the square Pebble Steel and boxy, but wrist-conforming Samsung Gear Fit.

This beautiful watch face has a 1.56-inch LCD display that boasts a 320 x 290 resolution and 205 pixels per inch. It's protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and costs $250 (£200, around AU$275)

It's not the rumored OLED screen and the circular watch face doesn't sit behind sapphire glass, unlike theApple Watch. But it certainly costs less than the so-called iWatch.

Moto 360
Classy watch, classy Qi wireless charger

Sticking with that authentic watch styling, there are no charging contacts or USB ports. Motorola went with an inductive wireless charger, giving us a wire-free reason to own that Qi-compatible Nexus charger sold in the Google Play Store.

It doesn't feature a privacy-invasive camera like the Galaxy Gear and Gear 2 either. This just didn't fit into the classic design, according to Motorola. Also, unlike Samsung's non-Android Wear watches, it supports more phones than its own Moto X.

Moto 360 is compatible with Android 4.3, Android 4.4 and Android Lollipop phones and tablets that use low-powered Bluetooth 4.0 for battery life conservation.

Left off the compatibility list is Apple. That means even if you own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, it won't work with this Android-only device.

Moto 360 features
Sorry, iPhone owners. This stylish smartwatch isn't for you

Moto 360 blends familiar Android menus like Google Now and Hangouts messages with a sophisticated-looking digital watchface, and Motorola touts just-as-premium strap materials that remain comfortable.

The company offers a variety of styles beyond the default leather straps, including metal bands and new leather colors. Alternatively you can take the toolkit to the watch and add your own 22mm strap.

LG G Watch R is even rounder

One-upping Motorola's smartwatch is the LG G Watch R. It boasts what LG loves to refer to as the first full-circle watch powered by Android Wear.

It's true. Moto 360's display doesn't form a complete circle. It has a blank spot at the bottom. This chin or horizon line houses its screen components instead of needing a blank circular bezel for the task.

Moto 360 features
The LG G Watch R is rounder, without a missing bottom portion of the circle

Moto 360 isn't ideal for analog watch faces, and LG thinks it has a solution. LG G Watch R uses a circular bezel on its smaller 1.3-inch Plastic OLED screen, but covers it up with second-hand tick marks.

Some people think this looks more like a real watch, while others call it a diver's watch and don't want to pay the roughly £210/$350 that it costs.

LG Watch Urbane adds some style

Addressing at least one of the criticisms of the G Watch R, LG followed it up with the LG Watch Urbane. Functionally it's almost exactly the same as LG's older timepiece, but it's dressed for dinner with a stainless steel body and a slightly smaller bezel.

LG Watch Urbane

The overall device is still pretty chunky, but it's definitely one of the best looking Android Wear watches yet, combining the truly round face of the LG G Watch R with an even more premium design than the Moto 360.

Sadly the other problem faced by the LG G Watch R, namely its price, is only exacerbated here, as the LG Watch Urbane retails for a seriously pricey £259/$349/AU$459.

Sony Smartwatch 3 gets sporty

While round is the in thing now, Sony said it purposely stuck with a square-shaped display on its Sony Smartwatch 3 because it's better. It also stores music in its 4GB of internal storage and adds a GPS chip to its specs - firsts for Android Wear.

Android Wear with GPS
Android Wear with GPS is a reality thanks to Sony

Fixing a major complaint of ours regarding proprietary chargers, Sony opted to include a micro USB port for charging. Brilliant. It also delivers reasonable battery life so you won't have to use the charger quite so often.

Its rubbery strap won't be winning any design awards (though there is now a steel option), but combined with GPS this is clearly a sporty watch and won't look out of place at the gym. It's reasonably affordable too, at around £150/$200/AU$299.

Asus ZenWatch proves it's hip to be square

Asus went a different route with the Asus ZenWatch. It's boxy, but still stylish with a stitched leather strap and 2.5D curved glass.

Asus ZenWatch with Android Wear
Asus ZenWatch. A gently curved smartwatch.

Even though manufacturers can't fundamentally change Android Wear, a nifty Asus ZenUI Wellness app makes use of the watch's nine-axis sensor and makes good on Asus' promise to make a health gadget.

It's cheaper than the similarly stylish LG Watch Urbane too, at around £199/$199/AU$252.

Asus ZenWatch 2 is all about customisation

We don't know exactly when the Asus ZenWatch 2 will launch, but we know it's coming and like the Apple Watch it's all about customisation.

ZenWatch 2

Both 22mm and 18mm strap sizes will be available with a variety of leather, metal and rubber straps in both sizes.

Not much has changed on the screen, with the same 2.5D AMOLED display front and centre, but the watch has improved IP67 dust and water resistance.

The ZenWatch 2 also promises mammoth four day battery life, which could make it a breakout hit, given that battery life is the bane of smartwatches everywhere.

Huawei Watch is truly high end

Huawei is about to get in on the Android Wear act with the imaginatively named Huawei Watch and its round face, stainless steel body, leather strap and thin bezel reminds us more than a little of the LG Watch Urbane.

Huawei Watch

But its crisp 1.4-inch 400 x 400 screen makes it the highest resolution Android Wear watch available. It also comes with a strong sapphire crystal display, so there's a lot of promise here.

There are some things we still don't know, including exactly when you'll actually be able to buy it, but it will reportedly be launching soon, likely costing around £300/$460, which would make it the most expensive Android Wear device yet. Though earlier rumored prices have placed it both a lot lower and a lot higherthan that, so we can't be sure of anything yet.

Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch

Samsung and LG had the first Android Wear watches on sale with the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch debuting for early adopters.

LG G Watch
The LG G Watch comes in colors matching the LG G3

LG G Watch is a little more awkwardly titled, as if it's a typo with too many Gs. Just as awkward is the fact that the Moto 360 dissed square-faced smartwatches in its unveil.

That happens to be the exact design of the LG G Watch and the LG Watch Urbane. And, curiously, the G Watch is the opposite of the LG G3 and LG G4, which support LG's quick circle cases.

But circles aren't for everyone and the LG G Watch has a buttonless design that highlights the boxy watch face even more.

With a 1.65-inch LCD IPS display the G Watch is bigger than the Samsung Gear Live's 1.63-inch display, but has a tad fewer pixels with a 128 x 128 resolution instead of the 320 x 320 resolution.

Importantly, the LG G Watch lasts longer than the Gear Live thanks to a larger 400mAh battery. It lasts a day and a half whereas Samsung's watch typically stops ticking just shy of 24 hours.

Battery life is key for a wearable device that has to be worn all day long.

LG G Watch
Sadly contains a proprietary charger

The Android 4.3-compatible LG G Watch is roughly the same size as the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo and water and dust resistant.

Also, like the Pebble Steel and now other smartwatches, it follows the trend of supporting swappable bands for a more personalized look and feel.

The LG G Watch has dropped in price to around $130 in the US and £120 in the UK. It's cheaper than the Gear Live, which in the US is around $199 and is no longer available in most UK stores.

As we predicted, there was no rumored 3G-capable LG G Watch unveiled. Expect that to be added further down the line in Android Wear smartwatches and possibly available in South Korea before anywhere else.