The best Wear OS watches offer a level of versatility that you might not get from its competitors. That's especially true for watches running the latest Wear OS 3 update. So, while many of them may be less known than the Apple Watch range, that doesn't stop them from being worth your time.
As there is a wide variety made by different manufacturers, you'll need to really think about what features you need the most, and which watch connects well to your phone. That's on top of finding a design that suits your style and knowing your budget.
Whichever watch you choose, you can rest assured you'll get a clean interface showing reliable health and fitness tracking (including GPS), third-party apps, and stylish digital watch faces, along with attractive physical cases, straps and bezels.
We've tested pretty much all of the best smartwatches on the market, and that includes those running Wear OS from major brands like Samsung, Fossil, TicWatch, MisFit, and Google. And, we gathered the best of them here, noting performance, features, build and design, and price.
If you don't think a Wear OS watch is right for you, the best Apple Watches may be more suitable. Otherwise, take a look at the best Wear OS watches below.
The best Wear OS watch 2023
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is Samsung’s top smartwatch and the best of the small number of Wear OS 3 watches, combining a premium design with a durable build, a great AMOLED screen, and plenty of health and fitness smarts.
Its tough exterior, hefty battery, and advanced GPS features – such as route generators for endurance workouts – mean it’s also the closest thing Wear OS has to the Apple Watch Ultra – and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is also a whole lot cheaper than Apple’s top wearable.
It’s still on the expensive side, its features will be overkill for many, and it’s unlikely to sway Garmin converts. But this article is about the best Wear OS watches, and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro certainly ranks high there.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a smaller battery than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and also a less bulky – but less durable – build. However, it’s also significantly cheaper, meaning it’s likely to be the better option for a lot of people.
With a bright, sharp and responsive screen, multiple size options, a lightweight build, and a wide range of fitness features, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is just an all-round excellent smartwatch.
Our review noted that battery life is just a day, and that some features are reserved for users of Samsung phones – but certainly if you have a Samsung handset this is a top choice, and even if you don’t it’s well worth considering.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review
The Google Pixel Watch is Google’s first attempt at a smartwatch, and what an attempt it is, with an elegant design and a small but superb 1.2-inch screen.
This also has Fitbit tech under the surface, so it’s excellent as a fitness tracker as well as a smartwatch, and despite an older chipset performance is smooth. The Pixel Watch also offers hands-free Google Assistant access, which is useful, and the software as a whole impresses.
Our main complaints include a lack of sizing choices and a slightly tricky band switching system, but these are small issues with an otherwise fantastic smartwatch.
Read the full Google Pixel Watch review
Returning to Wear OS means the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is one of the best Wear OS watches out there, even if it's no longer the latest model. It doesn't use a typical Wear OS UI, embracing One UI Watch 3 instead, but it's still a top-end smartwatch that can track workouts along with mostly everything else you can think of.
That comes at a price for iOS owners (don't count on it working with your iPhone) and you'll need a Samsung smartphone to gain features such as blood pressure or ECG measurements, but it's the right combination, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 offers great looks, decent battery life, and speedy performance.
Fitness enthusiasts will particularly appreciate the new 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor that means the watch can track your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and body composition, right down to skeletal muscle mass and body fat percentage.
Read the full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review
The Fossil Gen 6 is the company's latest smartwatch, and it features a powerful chipset, a good display and a sleek design. If you're looking for a top-end Wear OS watch, the Fossil Gen 6 may be a suitable choice for you.
We particularly liked the 1.28-inch display with its 416 x 416 resolution that looked bright and crisp in all lighting conditions.
The design is where this watch sings though, and if you like the look of the Fossil Gen 6 you'll likely be happy with your smartwatch purchase.
Read the full Fossil Gen 6 review
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
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 smooth experience or an easy to use smartwatch. you're almost certain to enjoy the Fossil Sport. Plus, the price has dropped a lot in recent years so that makes it much more attractive.
Read the full Fossil Sport review
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
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
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
How to choose the best Wear OS watch for you
The most obvious factor to consider when you’re looking for the best Wear OS watch for you is design. For example, would you prefer the sleek and lightweight style of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or the chunky and sports-focused look of the TicWatch Pro 3?
Next up, you’ll need to consider your budget. If you know that smartwatches are for you already, and don’t mind spending a bit of cash for the best one, check out the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, our current top pick in the first spot on our list. However, there are more affordable options for those with less to spend or for people new to smartwatches – there’s no point dropping a small fortune on a device you might not use in a month. If that’s you, look at the TicWatch options in the list above, which work fantastically well but are generally cheaper than their Samsung and Fossil rivals.
Another key factor to consider when shopping for the best Wear OS watch is compatibility. Yes, all of the devices in this list run on Wear OS – Google’s smartwatch operating system – but Samsung and Pixel watches tend to offer a broader suite of features if you’ve got a Samsung or Google phone. For example, Samsung watches can only use the Bixby voice assistant if connected to a Samsung phone. It’s worth checking whether a top-priority feature is available with the watch and phone combo you plan on getting.
Other considerations come down to personal preference. For example, if you know you won’t be bothered to charge your watch every night, you will want to prioritize longer battery life. You’ll also want to think about what you’re using your smartwatch for. If you want a phone-like experience on your wrist, you'll need a fantastic screen and all the best features. If you plan on using it as a fitness tracker, first and foremost, you’ll want to check that we recommend it for working out.
How we test
Anyone can put on one of the best Wear OS watches and give you a quick rundown of how it looks and feels. But here at TechRadar, we like to go above and beyond.
We ensure all our testing gives us more than enough hands-on time to let you know how comfortable a watch is over days and weeks of wear – whether that’s for work, sleep or exercise. This also gives us enough time to drain the battery several times. That way, we can tell you whether the brand’s battery claims are slightly over-optimistic – which is sometimes the case.
Not everyone wants a smartwatch purely for exercise features, but we know that’s a top priority for many. So we ensure we’ve taken every smartwatch we test for a spin, whether to the gym or outside for a run. This also allows us to test each watch’s GPS credentials. Not just whether GPS works but how it shapes up against rival watches.
Comparing the watches we test to rivals is a vital part of the process. A smartwatch can seem best in class, but it’s only with our extensive testing and knowledge of competitors that we can say with confidence which Wear OS watch is best in certain respects compared to others.