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Best Wear OS watch 2021: our list of the top ex-Android Wear smartwatches

Best Wear OS watch 2021
(Image credit: Fossil, Mobvoi)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Finding the best Wear OS watch for you is a lot of fun but also quite intimidating thanks to there being so many options. Picking the right set of features, as well as the right style, can be confusing and that's before you consider price too.

To help you out, we've tested pretty much every smartwatch running Google’s software on the market to bring you this definitive list of the best Wear OS watches going. It's regularly updated so you can be sure that the advice is current with the latest developments in Wear OS. 

Included on this list are major brand names like Huawei, Fossil, TicWatch and Misfit, all of which continuously put out the best Wear OS has to offer. The list doesn't include watches from Fitbit or Samsung as these wearables use their own operating system which provide different advantages to Wear OS. 

One of the most attractive things about Wear OS is that you can easily pick from a wide range of different designs to suit the look you're going for, while still gaining a similar experience across the board. That's because the software is typically very similar across all watches with a clean design and a focus on providing you with notifications from your phone while also offering physical sensors to track your health and fitness. There's a watch for every budget too so everyone should be happy here.

Most of the wearables here have heart rate sensors with some also offering GPS built-in. That means when you go for a walk or run, your watch can still track your route even if you don't take your phone with you. Some also have NFC so you can make contactless payments, while all the watches on this list will count your steps.

This list includes only the most recent Wear OS products so you're guaranteed to have the latest software with no risk of outdated hardware. Make sure to read the individual reviews for each smartwatch to ensure you pick the one that best suits your needs, tastes and budget.

Fossil Sport

(Image credit: Fossil)

1. Fossil Sport

The best in Wear OS

Specifications
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.2-inch 390 x 390 AMOLED
Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz
Band sizes: 22mm straps
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: Two days
Charging method: Proprietary
IP rating: IP68
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight design+Powerful watch
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks high-end features-GPS can be slow

Looking for the greatest Wear OS watch money can buy? We currently think that's the Fossil Sport. It's not the very best smartwatch overall, and it doesn't boast many unique features but it does offer a fantastic all round package.

The Fossil Sport is a great combination of value and features in a lightweight body that you're able to wear comfortably day-to-day or when you're working out. There's GPS and the battery life often lasts around two days.

It was one of the first smartwatches to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset. That means this watch offers a smoother experience than a lot of the others in this list.

Overall, if you're looking for a smoother experience or an easy to use smartwatch. you're almost certain to enjoy the Fossil Sport.

Read the full Fossil Sport review

TicWatch Pro 3

(Image credit: Mobvoi)

2. TicWatch Pro 3

The watch with two screens

Specifications
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.4" 454 x 454 OLED paired with LCD screen
Processor: Snapdragon Wear 4100
Onboard storage: 8GB
Battery duration: Up to 72h, 45 extra days in Essential mode
Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin
IP rating: IP68
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC
Reasons to buy
+Big battery lasts 3 days+Fast chipset
Reasons to avoid
-Sometimes poor interface-Sleep tracking isn't the best

Smartwatch manufacturer Mobvoi have a variety of TicWatch products in this list, but the very best is the TicWatch Pro 3. It comes with some top-end specs, a phenomenal battery life and it won't cost as much as some other smart wristwear either.

This uses the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset with 1GB of RAM, and we found this smartwatch to be one of the most powerful devices of this list. Apps load quickly, and we didn't find any time where you'll be left waiting for something to boot up.

Where does this smartwatch come into its own? Battery life, as the smartwatch can last for up to 45 days in something called 'Essential Mode' that allows you to extend its battery life if you're away from your charger for extended periods. It'll even last for a full three days without that turned on though.

Read the full TicWatch Pro 3 review

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3. TicWatch E2

One of the cheapest Wear OS watches

Specifications
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+
Display: 1.39" 400 x 400 OLED
Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: Around 48h
Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin
IP rating: IP67
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+Easily two day battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No NFC for payments-Bland design

The reason the TicWatch E2 sits so highly in this list is largely down to its price. It's one of the best cheap smartwatches money can buy, and it sports the latest in Wear OS software.

Compared to the last-gen TicWatch E, you'll get 30% better battery life here with our reviewer saying it lasted for over two days with average usage. You'll get less if you're using lots of fitness features though.

It's waterproof so you can take this watch into the swimming pool, there's GPS to track your location and there are lots of other features here too. It lacks NFC, so you can't use this for Google Pay, but considering the price you'll likely love what the TicWatch E2 can do.

Read the full TicWatch E2 review

Fossil Gen 5

(Image credit: Fossil)

4. Fossil Gen 5

Classic watch aesthetic

Specifications
Compatibility: Android 6.0+, iOS 10+
Display: 1.28" 416 x 416 AMOLED
Processor: Snapdragon Wear 3100
Onboard storage: 8GB
Battery duration: 24h+
Charging method: Conductive USB charger
IP rating: IP68
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Battery saving modes +Fast processor 
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than rivals -Weak speaker

The Gen 5 is a decent Fossil smartwatch but not a patch on the Fossil Sport sitting at number one in this ranking. The Gen 5 cost is more expensive without bringing too much else, but you might prefer its classic watch looks to the Sport’s more active design.

The Gen 5 comes in a larger Carlyle version or a smaller Julianna, but both have the same premium features like bright vibrant displays, GPS, a heart rate sensor, 1GB RAM and the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, meaning it’s very fast and responsive. 

Its battery saver modes are genuinely useful and it has water resistance up to 30m, but it’s more expensive than other Wear OS watches and the speaker is poor.

Read the full Fossil Gen 5 review 

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5. TicWatch S2

Remarkably similar to the E2

Specifications
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+
Display: 1.39" 400 x 400 OLED
Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: Around 48h
Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin
IP rating: IP67
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Waterproof design
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks NFC-No LTE variant

This watch is very similar to the TicWatch E2 on paper, and that's largely because it is. In fact, all of the spec is exactly the same here and the company has released two versions with different names because they have differing designs, but S2 has a more durable design than the E2 that is listed above.

The S2 has military grade durability so it should be able to take a bit more of a beating than any other watch on this list making it suitable for adventurers as well as runners.

Other than that, you'll have two-day battery life, GPS, a waterproof design and all the other benefits of the latest Wear OS software. If you're trying to save money look at the TicWatch E2, but if you prefer this design the S2 isn't much more expensive.

Read the full TicWatch S2 review

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6. Misfit Vapor 2

A revamped watch from the fitness experts

Specifications
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.2-inch or 1.4-inch display, 360 x 360 AMOLED
Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz
Band sizes: 20mm straps
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: A day
Charging method: Proprietary
IP rating: N/A
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+NFC for Google Pay
Reasons to avoid
-No LTE option-Kind of flimsy

Misfit's second attempt at a Wear OS watch is a positive step in the right direction with this new product solving a lot of the issues we found with the first generation. There's NFC here for Google Pay, GPS so you can track your runs and you can get it in two separate sizes.

The design of this watch is simple, and that may be something you're looking for from your smartwatch. There's either a 1.2-inch or 1.4-inch display in the center of the watch, which is more than enough room to navigate around Wear OS.

This is one of the best smartwatches for exercising, and the lower price point than some of the alternative smartwatches on the market makes the Misfit Vapor 2 an attractive option for a lot of people.

Read the full Misfit Vapor 2 review

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7. TicWatch C2

Yet another TicWatch on this list

Specifications
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Display: 1.3-inch 360 x 360 AMOLED
Processor: Dual-core 1.0GHz
Band sizes: 20mm or 18mm straps
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: A day
Charging method: Proprietary
IP rating: IP68
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
Reasons to buy
+Low price+Google Pay and GPS
Reasons to avoid
-Limited straps-Outdated internals

This isn't our favorite device in the TicWatch range - which takes up a lot of places near the top of this list - and that's because it isn't as innovative as the TicWatch Pro. That said, it's still a good option if you're looking for an affordable smartwatch.

In fact, this is one of the most affordable smartwatches if you want GPS and Google Pay support in the same package. 

This isn't as built for fitness fans as a lot of other options on this list, but it does feature some elements for you to use to workout. With some impressive tech built-in considering the price, you should take a look at the TicWatch C2 before buying any other watch on this list.

Read the full TicWatch C2 review

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8. Huawei Watch 2

A well-equipped smartwatch with too many features

Specifications
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 9+
Display: 1.2" 390 x 390
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
Reasons to buy
+Built-in GPS and NFC+Optional 4G model
Reasons to avoid
-Screen too small-Performance can be sluggish

The Huawei Watch 2 is an attempt by the Chinese company to widen the use of Wear OS watches. Huawei has tried to include a variety of new features in its latest smartwatch and it's not entirely clear if it succeeded with the Watch 2.

We like the built-in GPS and NFC on the watch as well as the option to have a 4G model, but the Huawei Watch 2 can be sluggish and the screen is a little small for some. 

This may suit you though with an attractive design and a plethora of features, but the price is much higher than the original Huawei Watch.

Read the full Huawei Watch 2 review