Best Wear OS watch 2018: our list of the top ex-Android Wear smartwatches

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Google's Android Wear had a shaky start, but it's now an increasingly mature platform thanks to the Android Wear 2.0 update and the switchover to the Wear OS name in early 2018.

Android Wear may be over, but Wear OS is now better than the former ever was thanks to updates to improve navigation, battery life and more on the platform. This list has changed a lot since we first ranked the best Android Wear watches.

One of the main reasons Google renamed its operating system is to make the watches more palatable to those who own an iPhone. 

Wear OS watches work with both Android and iPhones, but it's worth checking compatibility before you buy as each watch will only work with certain devices.

There's no better time than now to grab yourself a smartwatch, so below we've put together the definitive list of the best available on the market right now.

Each has been extensively tested throughout our review process and we've then ranked the watches according to some of the most important features including price, design, battery and features.

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1. TicWatch Pro

Our favorite Wear OS watch comes with two screens

Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED paired with LCD screen | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 48h, 5 extra days in Essential mode | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP68 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1

Innovative screen tech
Premium design
No LTE
Limited app

Our number one Wear OS watch you can buy right now is the new TicWatch Pro. You may not have heard of this brand before, but the latest from parent company Mobvoi is a powerhouse of a watch and comes with two displays.

That doesn't mean there's one display on each side of the watch, but instead it has a transparent LCD display on top of a full color OLED. When it's conserving battery, the watch will switch to the LCD screen that shows you the time, your step count and more.

The normal OLED screen will work like your average smartwatch, but the other display means the watch has much better battery life than a lot of the other watches on this list.

The TicWatch Pro also has a premium design, a heart rate sensor, great GPS tracking, NFC for Google Pay and much more alongside the latest Wear OS software powering the whole watch.

If you're looking for something different at a relatively affordable price, the TicWatch Pro is sure to scratch that itch better than any other Wear OS watch you can buy right now. Meanwhile, if you want something cheap from TicWatch you're in luck below. 

Read the full TicWatch Pro review

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2. TicWatch E

Another favorite Wear OS watch that's cheaper

Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED | Processor: MediaTek MT2601 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1

Accurate GPS and heart rate sensor
Fantastic value
Design won't suit everyone
Not-so-elegant charging method

Once rated as our best Android Wear watch, the TicWatch E is now our second favorite Wear OS watch. This TicWatch offers some top notch hardware for a lower price than a lot of the rest of the competition.

The TicWatch E largely sits so high in this list because of it has a low price alongside the fact it features almost everything you'd expect from a Wear OS watch. There's GPS and a heart rate sensor onboard, which we found to work swiftly and accurately.

The design is attractive - although it won't be to everyone's taste as it's made of plastic - and it offers at least a full day's battery life from a single charge. All of that said, it doesn't come with NFC so there's no Google Pay here and it lacks wireless charging so instead opts for a three-pin pad design.

All in all, if you're looking for an affordable smartwatch that packs the latest in Wear OS software you probably don't need to scroll any further down this list.

Read the full TicWatch E review

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3. Misfit Vapor 2

A revamped watch from the fitness experts

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

Affordable price
NFC for Google Pay
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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4. TicWatch C2

Yet another TicWatch on this list

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

Low price
Google Pay and GPS
Limited straps
Outdated internals

This is the latest smartwatch from Mobvoi's TicWatch brand that takes up a lot of places in this list. It's not our favorite device from the company as it doesn't innovate as much as the TicWatch Pro, but 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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(Image: © Evan Blass (via VentureBeat))
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5. Huawei Watch 2

A well-equipped smartwatch with too many features

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

Built-in GPS and NFC
Optional 4G model
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

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6. TicWatch S

Another TicWatch takes sixth place

Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+ | Display: 1.4" 400 x 400 OLED | Processor: MediaTek MT2601 | Onboard storage: 4GB | Battery duration: Up to 24h | Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin | IP rating: IP67 | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1

Affordable
Comfortable with a nice design
Lacks NFC
Can't change the strap

Much like the TicWatch Pro, C2 and E up higher in this list, we love the TicWatch S. The differences between the TicWatch E and the S are limited, but these may be dramatic enough to make you want one watch over the other.

The first thing to note is the thicker bezel on the TicWatch S. It makes it easier to read the time, but it also means the watch is that little bit bigger and it's a touch heavier than the TicWatch E too.

It still features a heart rate sensor and many other features alongside its day long battery life but it doesn't feature swappable straps. That's because the GPS is included within the strap, which TicWatch claims makes it more accurate than other watches.

There's no LTE or NFC here, plus the price is a touch higher than the TicWatch E as well. This is still a great watch though, it's just whether you'd want to invest in this over the other choices on this list.

Read the full TicWatch S review

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7. LG Watch Style

Once top dog, this Wear OS watch is still great

Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 9+ | 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

Devilishly good-looking
Reasonably priced
Disappointing battery life
Lacks NFC and broader connectivity

The LG Watch Style is every bit as stylish as its name suggests, with a sand-blasted stainless steel chassis and a circular display. It's also one of the thinnest Wear OS watches around at just 10.8mm. 

That means that while it will look great on anyone's wrist it's especially at home on smaller wrists, which is worth noting, since a lot of smartwatches are chunky things that could dwarf a small wrist.

The LG Watch Style also benefits from a rotatable crown, which helps you navigate the interface without prodding its tiny screen. It's a good screen though, being a 1.2-inch P-OLED one and fully circular - there's no flat tire here.

The core specs are fairly standard but up there with pricier watches, because despite the Watch Style's great looks it's actually quite affordable. Some sacrifices have been made though to keep the cost down and the watch slim, as there's no GPS or heart rate monitor here.

Read the LG Watch Style review

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8. LG Watch Sport

Google's Android smartphone for your wrist

Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 9+ | 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

Breaks totally free from the smartphone
Best-in-class connectivity and performance
Battery falls short
Full functionality requires SIM card

Launched alongside the LG Watch Style, the LG Watch Sport is in many ways it opposite, with a chunky, uninspiring build but absolutely loaded full of features.

It has a heart rate monitor, GPS, a barometer and optionally even 4G connectivity, making it a strong option for the athletically inclined or for anyone who wants to leave their smartphone at home.

It also has a bigger, sharper screen than the LG Watch Style and one that's just as circular. Of course it's also one of the pricier smartwatches available, which is why it doesn't feature higher on our list.

Read the full LG Watch Sport review