Choosing the best Android Wear smartwatch is a confusing task, with a grand total of 16 different devices now hitting officialdom. Or 18 if you count different sized models. Or just 17 if you take away the one that got cancelled. See, we told you it was confusing.
Google’s smartwatch OS is an exciting hot-bed of wearable innovation, with updates constantly arriving offering likes of GPS, offline music and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Getting to grips with the platform can be tricky, so when you do bag yourself a brand new smartwatch, make sure you check out our Android Wear hub of tutorials to help get the most from your device.
But here’s the main event: the juicy details on every single Android watch on the market, with our favourites up top…
Top pick: Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony’s third stab at the smartwatch comes with either a rubber sports strap in a choice of colours, or a slick stainless steel one, along with a 1.6-inch 320 x 320 pixel LCD display. The screen isn’t spectacular but battery life benefits as a result, with two days of use easily achievable.
The big win for the SW3 is that it was the first Android Wear watch with built-in GPS, so it’s great for tracking runs, cycles, and even tapping into golf apps. It’s looking a little dated now though, Sony could be playing catch up if the Sony SmartWatch 4 doesn’t make an appearance soon. And the Moto 360 Sport is hot on its heels.
Digest and enjoy our Sony SmartWatch 3 review.
For max customisation: New Moto 360
The 2015 Moto 360 may still have that annoying flat-tyre at the bottom of its circular display but the rest of the setup is very promising indeed. It now comes in two sizes – 42mm and 46mm – in fact, it’s three sizes if you count the different band sizes. Using the Moto Maker platform there are hundreds of different combinations of straps, bezels, finishes and colours to choose from.
On offer are two different sized displays: 1.37 or 1.56-inch. On the larger size, the resolution is 360 x 360 – a 233ppi count.
Put the new Moto 360 next to the first-gen Motorola watch and you can see the subtle differences that really turn this design into a ‘watch’ rather than last year’s circle on a strap.
Take a look at our Moto 360 review here.
For build quality: Tag Heuer Connected
The Tag Heuer Connected is now official and while it doesn’t boast the ‘Swiss Made’ tag of its mechanical brethren, it’s by far the best example of watch craftsmanship in the Android Wear world. The build is incredibly high quality; the case, lugs and back are all made from grade 2 titanium. The display is 46mm in diameter and it’s covered in crystal sapphire.
Also, don’t worry that your expensive smartwatch will be useless in a couple of years – at the end of the 2-year warranty period, you can use it to trade in for a mechanical Tag Heuer watch.
Have a gander at our Tag Heuer Connected review
Best for running: Moto 360 Sport
Finally an Android Wear smartwatch to rival the Sony SmartWatch 3’s GPS skills, the Moto 360 Sport is actually a better running aid thanks to the Moto Body app built in.
The 360 Sport boasts a single-structure silicon case and band, with a special UV coating to wick away sweat. The AnyLight LCD display is naturally adaptable, meaning it should be nicely backlit in dim lighting situations but be easily readable when out running in sunnier conditions.
Read our full Moto 360 Sport review.
For stunning display visuals: Huawei Watch
The Huawei’s AMOLED display is a 1.4-inch, 400 x 400, one with a 286ppi count. That’s the highest on any Android Wear device so far.
Huawei’s effort is made all the more impressive thanks to a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Side by side with the smaller Moto 360 2 – its closest rival in terms of aesthetics – it’s clearly a better display. Not just because it offers genuine 360-degree visuals, but because everything just looks sharper.
Have a look at our Huawei Watch review.
Great for style: LG Watch Urbane
The Urbane is a more female-friendly and, we have to say it, ‘blingy’ version of the G Watch R, with a high end styling that’s a bit more dressy than sporty. It isn’t designed to replace the R, simply add an extra option for smartwatch shoppers looking for a classier, ‘luxury’ smartwatch.
You can’t miss the Urbane, whether it’s the silver or gold model; that fully round bezel is seriously eye- and light-catching. It also comes with a higher quality leather strap, which can be changed out for something more personal. If you really want splash out, the LG Watch Urbane Luxe has a 23-karat gold case and comes with an alligator leather strap. It’ll set you back $1,200.
Take a look-see at our LG Watch Urbane review.
Best for traditionalists: LG G Watch R
LG’s first round Android Wear model added an improved two-day battery life, a heart rate monitor and better quality materials (stainless steel and leather) to the original G. It’s sharp, well-built and feels like the most mature Android Wear watch yet. The diver’s bezel makes it easily the most ‘traditional’ looking Google-powered smartwatch.
The 1.3-inch P-OLED display is smaller than the norm, which means the 320 x 320 pixel screen looks sharper, though the internals are the same. An IP67 rating means showering is okay but swimming isn’t recommended.
Drink down our LG G Watch R review.
The most unisex: Asus ZenWatch 2
The ZenWatch 2 comes in two sizes – one measuring 49 x 41mm, with a 22mm strap, and a 45 x 37mm model that sits on an 18mm strap. Essentially, that’s a male and a female model.
There are a plethora of strap options including rubber, steel, leather and even a Swarovski covered one. Messaging has been targeted by Asus, who clearly feels that Android Wear needs a bit of spit and polish. ZenWatch Message brings direct messaging with emojis from the watch and a new Smart Assistant app enables you to view more content from emails and calendar alerts.
Check out our full ZenWatch 2 review.
For nostalgics: Fossil Q Founder
Looking a heck of a lot like the Moto 360, complete with a chunky chassis and that ever-so-annoying flat tyre at the bottom of the circular display, the Fossil Android Wear smartwatch was revealed alongside a trio of other Intel-powered connected devices.
To be honest, there’s not a lot to write home about for Fossil’s AW debutant. But, if you’re a tech collector and like the look of a chunky metal watch, then the Q Founder could be a useful addition. Especially if you happen to own the 2002 Palm Pilot.
Read our comprehensive Fossil Q Founder review.
The Android Wear old-timers
These are the bottom of the pile when it comes to Google’s smartwatch family. Only really consider them if you can get a super cheap deal and are looking to test the Android Wear waters.
With a circular face, stylish looks and wireless charging, the Moto 360 is a looker, yet performance saw it marked down against some of its newer rivals. However, with a host of new colours and designs from Motorola and new straps available from Dodo, it’s super simple to customise.
It brings with it a rounded 1.5-inch 320 x 290 pixel LCD display, and despite its chunkiness it feels like a watch rather than a gadget.
Take a look at our Moto 360 review.
The Asus ZenWatch packs a curved rectangular display to help it stand out. It’s just masculine enough to be worn with a suit, yet the curved lines make it the female friendly too. The Asus ZenWatch sports a 1.63-inch 320 x 320 pixel screen, which certainly isn’t the best in class, but amply does the job.
Achieve a zen-like state with our Asus ZenWatch review.
Samsung Gear Live
The Samsung Gear Live launched alongside the LG G
Watch. Aside from a slightly more refined look, the key
differences between the two are the Gear Live’s heart rate monitor and its
superior 1.63-inch 320 x 320 pixel SuperAMOLED display.
The Gear Live sports a
slightly smaller battery, though it should see you through a day’s use, and
again it’s IP67 certified so water and dust shouldn’t be a problem.
Check out our full Samsung Gear Live review.
LG G Watch
One of the oldest Android Wear smartwatch out there, you’d be a fool to pay the RRP with super cheap deals now widespread on both sides of the pond.
Described by LG’s own CEO as “no-nonsense”, the LG Watch lets you try out Android Wear without breaking the bank. It’s solid yet unspectacular in both looks and features, with a 1.65-inch, 280 x 280 pixel IPS LCD display and no heart rate monitor or GPS unit on-board.
Read our definitive LG G Watch review.
The one that got away
LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition
Looking a lot like the original Watch Urbane, the LG sequel has a pretty big ace up its sleeve – the cellular connectivity is a first for Google’s smartwatch platform.
The display on the 2nd Edition has also been improved. It’s a 1.38-inch full circle P-OLED, 480 x 480, one – that’s a meaty 348ppi. The battery is an impressive 570mAh.
However, in a crazy turnaround, it has been cancelled with no timeline for it to go on sale again. This was down to an unspecified hardware issue. So essentially we don’t know if and when we will see the Watch Urbane Second Edition, with or without 3G/4G, in the US, Europe or elsewhere.
Coming soon: Casio and New Balance
A couple more Android Wear devices were announced at CES, both going on sale later this year.
A surprise star of was the Casio Smart Outdoor WSD-F10 – an outdoors focused smartwatch that is waterproof, shockproof, vibration proof and certified to US military standard. It’s out in April, priced around $500.
The as-yet unnamed New Balance Android Wear model is set to rock GPS and built-in storage for smartphone free music listening, and is being built in collaboration with Intel and Google.