After a shaky start, Google's Android Wear is an increasingly mature platform thanks to the recent update to Android Wear 2.0.
The software brings a number of new features to the OS. You'll be able to reply more easily to messages direct from the watch, with improved handwriting recognition and even the addition of a tiny keyboard (which comes with predictive text).
It also features Google Assistant right on the watch, giving you access to the search engine's wealth of knowledge about pretty much everything.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is that apps will now be able to run independent of your phone - meaning that the processing will be done on the Android Wear device itself. This means that you can leave your phone at home if you want to go for a run - and that apps on your watch should hopefully be a little faster too.
This new perk leads to yet another benefit of getting onboard with Android Wear 2.0: these watches can run the full experience, even when connected to an iPhone. Previously, the iOS experience was a far cry of what Android owners had. Those days are over.
The first wave of new Android Wear watches have hit the market and unsurprisingly, they have ended up at the top of our list. But with many more to come this year, keep a look out for this page to receive an even more frequent shake-up than usual
Here are the best Android Wear watches on the market.
- Check out our list of the best smartwatches money can buy
- Android Wear: everything you need to know
- Best Android Wear watch faces that you can download now
1. LG Watch Sport
Google's Android smartphone for your wrist
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8.2+ | Display: 1.38" 480 x 480 P-OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Conductive USB-C charger | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G + 4G LTE
The LG Watch Sport comes ready to play, offering more bells, whistles and watch faces than any other smartwatch or fitness tracker to date.
Headlined by Android Wear 2.0, this feature-packed watch debuts the long-overdue upgrade to Google’s nearly three-year old wearables software.
What you get is a cleaner, yet more robust interface, one that powers what’s likely be your first LTE-connected smartwatch – if you're in the US it can function just fine without a phone nearby, for a small fee.
It’s a brawny-looking watch, built for fitness tracking thanks to a heart rate monitor, GPS chip, barometer and waterproof casing. You can even track strength training. Google to Apple: “Do you even lift?” Apple’s answer is “No.”
If you're looking for an always-connected smartwatch made all the more intelligent by Google Assistant, this is your best option now by a long shot.
Read the full review: LG Watch Sport
2. LG Watch Style
The thinnest Android Wear smartwatch yet
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS8.2+ | Display: 1.2" 360 x 360 P-OLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB charger | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The LG Watch Style (built in collaboration with Google) offers everything that's to love from the best Android Wear smartwatches, ditches the dreaded flat tire, then fills in the gap with cool, useful features and a whole lot of… style.
Roll that all up and you're left with an extremely alluring presentation that makes a mighty strong argument for Google's wearable platform. But there are some familiar wrinkles here.
Battery life is still a low point, and, as independent as Android Wear 2.0 claims to be, Google is still in the early days of filling the new Play Store with compatible apps that are enticing enough to bother with aside from its own. The Style's appeal lies more in what it will be soon, rather than what it is at launch.
That said, it’s easy to express why the Style is the only smartwatch we want to put on our wrists. For $249 (£249 / AU$325, but not confirmed for AU), it offers just as much utility as prior smartwatch attempts, but ups the ante with a slim, dashing design and several welcome features, like the voice-activated Google Assistant and a refreshed user interface that's full of clever tweaks.
Read the full review: LG Watch Style
3. Sony SmartWatch 3
A regal and sporty smartwatch
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.6" 320 x 320 TFT | Processor: Quad-core 1.2 GHz | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Micro USB | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
All things considered, the Sony Smartwatch 2 was a bit of a disaster for Sony. But the good news is that with the company's latest hardware update, it has created something rather decent indeed.
The Smartwatch 3 has the increasingly rare distinction of featuring a square, rather than circular display - which depending on your preferences, could be a good thing. It certainly seems to reduce the price, relative to its power, compared to what you'd pay for a round screen.
It was the first Android Wear device to have built in GPS - ideal if you want a device that doubles up as a fitness tracker too. And like Sony's smartphones it is both dust and waterproof, for if you want to really test it (though yes, this will drain your battery).
Another favorite feature is something obvious yet simple. Unlike other smartwatches (such as the Moto 360) which rely on wireless charging, the Smartwatch 3 can be charged up using a normal micro-USB cable. This means that wherever you go, there will probably be a way to give your watch some extra juice if it needs it.
Read the full review: Sony SmartWatch 3
4. Moto 360 (2015)
This is the one to beat
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.56" 360 x 330 IPS LCD | Processor: Quad-core 1.2 GHz | Band sizes: 20mm-22mm | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The original Moto 360, released in 2014 quickly earned the praises of users, for packaging up Google's fledgling OS in some super attractive packaging. And the 2015 edition of the watch builds on this - providing arguably the best Android Wear experience to date.
The watch comes in two different sizes: 42mm and 46mm, and is runs slightly more slickly than its predecessor thanks to the improved processor. The round-screen makes it feel slightly more natural than bolting a square display on to your wrist. The only thing that really feels lacking is GPS support - meaning that it is unable to natively track your journeys.
And one other criticism that has been leveled at the 360 is the battery life - that tends to only go for 48 hours at best. But at least this still means your watch will still be keeping you informed long after your Apple Watch-wearing colleagues have run away to look for a plug socket.
Read the full review: Moto 360 (2015)
5. Asus ZenWatch 3
A vast improvement over its predecessors
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS8.2+ | Display: 1.39" 400 x 400 AMOLED | Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h | Charging method: Magnetic pogo pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Asus isn't an obvious name to associate with Android Wear watches, though with the ZenWatch 3 it has more than earned in place. Available at $229 (around £190, AU$340), Asus' latest is one of your best bets, especially since it is Android Wear 2.0-compatible.
Let's run through the list of good qualities. It has a great display, useful hardware buttons and good battery life. It’s styling might not be for everyone but Asus did a commendable job designing a watch that looks more like a premium watch than a piece of lifeless technology.
Read the full review: Asus ZenWatch 3
6. Huawei Watch
One of the best all-around watches
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 AMOLED | Processor: Quad-core 1.2 GHz | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
With the Huawei Watch, the Chinese behemoth is very definitely aiming at the top end of the market, as it is priced around £299 (US$349.99, around AU$549). But it does actually go some distance towards earning that price.
The main strength is the screen - which is a 1.4" AMOLED display, running at 400x400 - one of the highest resolution watches available, ensuring PPI on par with the Apple Watch. Helpfully too, the screen is always on - it will dim after a few seconds of inactivity, but the time will still remain visible.
Spec-wise, the watch is slightly less remarkable - with 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 300mAh battery it is rougly on a par with its top-end rivals.
Sadly, despite the premium price the watch doesn't include GPS, but it does include a heart rate sensor. So if you want a polished, top of the line Android Wear watch - this is probably the one to go for.
Read the full review: Huawei Watch
7. LG Watch Urbane
The best smartwatch LG has made yet
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.3" 320 x 320 P-OLED | Processor: Quad-core 1.2 GHz | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: MicroUSB | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
The Urbane is LG's attempt at getting classy. While the 360 looks slick and modern, the Urbane looks, well, like you'd expect a watch to look. With a metal design and leather strap, this is perhaps your best bet if you don't want to look like a nerd (let's admit it - smartwatches still aren't quite wholly acceptable.)
Spec-wise the screen is a little smaller than the 360 but the physical size could prove an issue for some - especially if you have small wrists. It also charges over Micro USB, which as mentioned earlier means that it can be easier to charge on the go (the battery is 410mAh, putting in somewhere in the "not the worst… but not the best" bracket).
Ultimately though what the Urbane has going for it is its looks. If you care about the way it looks, there are better hardware options available.
Read the full review: LG Watch Urbane
8. Fossil Q Founder
A slick debut from Fossil
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.63" 360 x 360 LTPS LCD | Processor: Intel Atom | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Fossil is another traditional watchmaker that has trying to solve the problem of becoming a tech company, before tech companies can fully become watchmakers. So it has come up with the Q Founder Android Wear watch.
Vaguely reminiscent of other high-end round watches like the Moto 360 and Huawei Watch, the Q features a combination brushed and polished metal face - and a plastic back, so that can it can charge wirelessly.
While the screen is lower resolution that some competitors, it is barely noticeable. Perhaps the only annoyance on-screen is the so-called "flat tire" at the bottom, which means the screen isn't a perfect circle. This is to leave room for the ambient light sensor. Unlike most other rivals too, it has 1GB of RAM instead of 512MB, which should boost performance.
So it certainly has the looks - and the innards look promising too. But at the end of the day, this watch isn't anything too special.
Read the full review: Fossil Q Founder
9. Tag Heuer Connected
When form meets function
Compatibility: Android (Full), iPhone (Limited) | Display: 1.63" 360 x 360 LTPS LCD | Processor: Dual-core 1.6 GHz | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Conductive USB | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Now that smartwatches are a fact of everyday life, luxury watchmakers are worried that they're on a path to destruction. You only have to look at how the iPhone killed any interest in diamond-covered "luxury" phones - even amongst the filthy rich. So perhaps wisely, Tag Heuer has come out with its own take on the smartwatch - by taking Android Wear and giving up touch of Tag's class.
Priced from £1,100 (US$1,500, around AU$2,100 - about 5 times as expensive as a normal Android Wear watch), the Tag Heuer Connected won't be cheap, but will make you look pretty slick at the golf club. The body is made from grade II titanium - the same material with which the company makes it's traditional watches. It is also fairly chunky at 12.8mm thick (so at least it looks expensive).
The trade-off though appears to be on the inside, where spec-wise the price doesn't match the performance. Faster, higher resolution devices are available at lower prices. But of course, if you do go for a Moto 360 instead, it won't have the classic Tag Heuer watchface.
Read the full review: Tag Heuer Connected