Reviews - December 20, 2021

Best Android smartwatches in 2024

It’s taken a few years, but Wear OS smartwatches can now compete with the best wearables in the business — including the Apple Watch. The software has gone through multiple levels of refinement. It offers intuitive features that aid fitness, provide notifications, and enhance everyday usability, making it the perfect companion for today’s best Android phones.

The best Wear OS-packing watches on the market include extensive fitness features like GPS tracking, long battery life, and accurate health monitoring, so they also double up as some of the best fitness trackers. And it certainly helps that tech companies have upped the aesthetics, too. With a dizzying amount of feature sets and designs available, choosing the best smartwatch for your needs can be challenging work. To help you decide, this list includes some of the best Wear OS smartwatches on the market.

Must-have Wear OS smartwatches

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 in black, positioned at an angle Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Best overall

All-around excellence

$235 $300 Save $65

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 boasts a complete feature set, including an accurate sensor and a convenient user experience, making it the best smartwatch for most people today. It’s not quite as premium as the Watch 6 Classic, but is a better value and only sacrifices a few features.

Pros

  • Most of the perks of the Watch 6 Classic
  • Bigger display than the Watch 5
  • A well-priced, top-shelf Wear OS experience

Cons

  • Extremely similar to last gen
  • No more rotating bezel

The standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 offers almost everything the Watch 6 Classic does for considerably less cash, starting at $300 MSRP and now consistently discounted. The two watches share nearly everything, including performance, display, battery life, and software. The standard Watch 6 lacks the 6 Classic’s rotating bezel, though. A minor difference on paper, but many find it a big deal — it’s fun, useful, and helps protect the display from cracks and scratches.

samsung-galaxy-watch-6-review 2-1

But the option to skip that single feature to save $100 is very appealing — the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 represents a top-shelf Wear OS experience for a lower price. The previous-generation Galaxy Watch 5 and even the Galaxy Watch 4 that came before also closely resemble the newer Watch 6, but their availability and precision don’t quite match. So, if you’re buying a current-generation watch, the Galaxy Watch 6 is the best way to spend your money right now.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review.

Black Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic angled to the right Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic

Premium pick

King of the Wear OS hill

$340 $400 Save $60

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is the best Wear OS watch you can buy if you can stomach the relatively high cost. It runs the latest Wear OS 4, has better-than-average battery life, offers great performance with Samsung’s Exynos W930 chipset, and has a bright, vivid screen. It also reintroduces the rotating bezel we missed in the Galaxy Watch 5 series.

Pros

  • Great display
  • Better battery life than the last generation
  • Wear OS 4 in tow

Cons

  • $100 upcharge for that clicky rotating bezel
  • Limited improvements from last gen

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic is our favorite Wear OS watch overall. It’s yet another light generational refresh of Samsung’s tried-and-true Wear OS platform, but it’s the most refined version yet, featuring a slimmer build, larger displays, slightly faster performance, and longer battery life than the Galaxy Watch 5. It also brings back Samsung’s trademark rotating bezel for navigating menus — not an essential feature, but one we sorely missed in the Watch 5 series.

Picture of a man's wrist wearing a Samsung Galaxy Watch6 Classic, with fall leaves in the background

All the fundamentals are rock solid here: the Watch 6 Classic has strong battery life (especially in the larger 47mm version), the smoothest performance of any Wear OS watch you can get right now, and great, vibrant displays across both sizes. Along with the standard Galaxy Watch 6, it also marks the debut of Wear OS 4 — though, for now, that doesn’t mean a lot compared to the Wear OS 3.5 some other watches on this list are running.

If you’re rocking a Galaxy Watch 5 or even a Galaxy Watch 4 and its battery is holding up, there isn’t a lot of incentive to jump on the Watch 6 Classic. However, if you’re coming from an older wearable or buying your first, this is as good as it gets in Wear OS today.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic review.

Mobvoi TicWatch E3 Mobvoi TicWatch E3

Best value

Inexpensive with great battery life

$130 $200 Save $70

While it’s nowhere near new, the Ticwatch E3 sports capable hardware and a reasonable price, in addition to frequent discounts that bring it well below $200. Its 2023 update to Wear OS 3 is also clear evidence that it’s still an excellent choice, offering great performance and convenience for years to come.

Pros

  • Snappy Wear 4100 chipset
  • Two full days on a charge, even with the always-on display
  • Runs Wear OS 3

Cons

  • Thicker than we’d like
  • LCD doesn’t quite match competing OLEDs

With Qualcomm’s Wear 4100 chip, a whole gig of RAM, and a December 2023 update to Wear OS 3, Mobvoi’s TicWatch E3 offers a lot of value for a relatively modest $200. Mobvoi went with a lower-cost LCD to hit that low price, which means lower contrast and no perfect OLED blacks. Still, even with that less efficient display type, battery life stretches well into a second day. An optional Essential Mode also limits the watch’s functionality but boosts battery life significantly.

The TicWatch E3 has an MSRP of $200 but is regularly available for less. If you’re looking for a super affordable way to try Wear OS and you catch a good sale on the E3, you’ll be getting a decent experience — but we’d encourage you to save a little longer for something more robust if you can.

Read our full Mobvoi TicWatch E3 review.

google pixel watch 2 white background angled Google Pixel Watch 2

Most stylish

Google’s watch is a looker

The Google Pixel Watch 2 is the sequel to Google’s first self-branded smartwatch. The second generation doesn’t reinvent the wheel, instead offering a handful of low-key improvements like a redesigned digital crown, Wear OS 4 out of the box, and a newer chipset that should offer better performance and battery life. 

Pros

  • Super stylish
  • Genuine all-day battery life
  • Wear OS 4 out of the box

Cons

  • Display is slower (30Hz) and dimmer (1,000 nits peak) than some options
  • Screen still has those big bezels
  • A little spendy

If you’re out for something with a little more panache, the Google Pixel Watch 2 might be up your alley. At an MSRP of $350, the Pixel Watch 2 is less expensive than our top pick, the $400 Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, but looks like it could cost much more.

It’s not just looks, the Pixel Watch 2 is also a good smartwatch: it’s responsive, has a solid fitness tracker with deep Fitbit integration, and has totally acceptable battery life. While the first-generation Pixel Watch often struggled to make it 24 hours away from a charger, the Pixel Watch 2 can much more easily make it through a full day and night of use, even with the always-on display active.

Google Pixel Watch 2 with a third-party watch band showing three forty eight

But realistically, the premium price you’re paying here is mostly for the style. The Pixel Watch 2 shares the original’s distinctive domed design and proprietary rotating band mechanism, creating a look that’s very distinct from what other smartwatch manufacturers are offering. Whether it looks good is subjective (we certainly think it does), but it’s hard to argue it’s not interesting.

The second generation still has a 30Hz display with relatively chunky bezels, and it still only comes in one size, but the Pixel Watch 2 should be on your shortlist if you want a sleek-looking wearable.

Read our full Google Pixel Watch 2 review.

mobvoi-ticwatch-pro-5-square Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5

Battery beast

Wear more, charge less

$262 $350 Save $88

Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 5 is the first Wear OS watch to hit the market with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 chipset. Performance isn’t a night-and-day difference over previous-generation smartwatches, but the TicWatch Pro 5 is very snappy and offers incredible battery life thanks to its dual-layer display tech.

Pros

  • Fast performance
  • Killer battery life
  • Nifty dual-layer display

Cons

  • On the large side
  • No Google Assistant
  • May never get Wear OS 4

The Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 5 is a compelling Wear OS option right now. Boasting both top-shelf performance and battery life that can easily stretch a full three days on a single charge, it’s a great smartwatch for almost anyone with wrists large enough. It is a big watch, though, and its multi-day battery life is facilitated by a secondary LCD layer that can be tough to read in some situations. Possibly worse, there’s no Google Assistant access, and Mobvoi hasn’t said when (or if) that’ll change. We’re also eager to hear Mobvoi’s plans for Wear OS 4 support.

Mobvoi-TicWatch-Pro-5-Sandstone-lifestyle-02-2

At the same $350 MSRP as the Pixel Watch 2, the TicWatch Pro 5 is another premium option, but its better durability and battery life make it a more practical purchase for many buyers. If you can live without the Google Assistant on your wrist, and you’re comfortable not knowing when (or if) you’ll see Wear OS 4, Mobvoi’s latest should be a contender for your next Wear OS watch.

Read our full Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 5 review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro front-facing in black Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Outdoorsy

Great battery life and exclusive features

$330 $450 Save $120

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro doesn’t have Samsung’s Classic-style rotating bezel, but it does support GPX mapping for outdoor athletes, making it a unique Wear OS option.

Pros

  • Large screen, large battery
  • Durable titanium case
  • GPX map support

Cons

  • Very expensive at MSRP
  • No rotating bezel

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series launched in August, but the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is still readily available. Unlike the standard Galaxy Watch 5, which was replaced by the newer Watch 6 as Samsung’s default Wear OS option, the Watch 5 Pro offers features that you can’t get in Samsung’s newer watches.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro with ECG photoshopped in

Samsung bills its Watch 5 Pro as being made for outdoor adventure, and it’s got quite a few features that help with that use case. Its case is made of titanium, a more durable metal than the aluminum or stainless steel many competing watches are made of. You can also load GPX files onto the Watch 5 Pro for custom navigation away from named roads — a useful feature for hikers and trail runners. It’s got the battery life to back it up, too: in normal use, the watch can make it two to three days between charges, so it should be able to handle most runs or hikes mere mortals might attempt. It’s already been updated to the latest, Wear OS 4-based One UI 5 Watch, too.

At a very-premium $450 list price, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is more of an investment than many of our other top picks, but if you want its unique blend of features — Wear OS 4, a titanium case, killer battery life, and GPX support — you can’t get it anywhere else. It’s been on sale more often as we get farther from its release, though, so keep an eye out for deals.

Read our full Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review.

​​​​​

Google Pixel Watch with a chalk positioned at an angle Google Pixel Watch

Last-gen looker

Style at a discount

$239 $350 Save $111

Even with the Pixel Watch 2 available, the first-generation Pixel Watch is still a compelling option for some buyers. Its battery life isn’t great — a full day between charges isn’t guaranteed — but if you’re just after the look, you can save some cash by going last-gen.

Pros

  • Striking design
  • Updated to Wear OS 4
  • Cheaper than the second generation

Cons

  • Average-at-best battery life
  • No temperature sensor

Yes, the Pixel Watch 2 is out, and it’s objectively a better smartwatch than the first generation. But the original Pixel Watch is still available, and now that the sequel is here, the first-gen model costs less: the Google Store lists the company’s first watch at $280.

A hand holding a Google Pixel Watch showing the steps taken by the wearer

Compared to the newer model, you are missing out on a few improvements. Chiefly, the first-gen Pixel Watch doesn’t last as long on a charge — you might be able to make it through a full 24 hours without the always-on display active, but the first Pixel Watch takes a lot more battery babysitting than the current generation does. The Pixel Watch 2 also has newer fitness tracking hardware: an improved multi-path optical heart rate sensor that Google says gets more accurate heart rate data, a temperature sensor, and a cEDA sensor used in stress tracking features.

If you don’t care about those things, the first-gen Pixel Watch is a good way to save some cash versus getting the newest model, especially since it now runs Wear OS 4. Just don’t expect its battery to last all day with heavy use.

Read our full Google Pixel Watch review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Affordable consistency

One of the first, still one of the best

$169 $200 Save $31

Don’t be fooled by its moderate age because the Galaxy Watch 4 remains one of the top Android smartwatches in the world. It’s compact, sleek, and now pretty affordable, with the snappy response and comprehensive features that only Samsung’s Galaxy series can provide through the Wear OS interface.

Pros

  • Dependable construction
  • Now updated to Wear OS 3
  • Frequently discounted

Cons

  • Middling battery life and charge speed
  • Stock strap stinks

We raved about the Galaxy Watch 4 when it first hit the scene 2 years ago, and we’re still high on it despite a couple of new generational updates. Its sensor array provides a vast data selection, and now that its Wear OS 3.0 software is in line with the newest release, it’s easier than ever to customize and manage.

google-assistant-galaxy-watch-4-face

If you’re a fan of Samsung’s Wear OS implementation (and you should be), you’ll save a good bit of cash by opting for this oldie but goodie. Functionally speaking, it presents few real downsides, although it carries the typically less-than-stellar battery life and charging capabilities common to 2021 smartwatches. The included strap also needs replacement right away, but there are plenty of great alternative Watch 4 straps, and they’re not very expensive.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review.

What’s the best Android watch you can buy?

Sitting right at the top of the Android smartwatch lineup is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic duo. The only smartwatches outside the Pixel Watches to run Wear OS 4, the two devices integrate cutting-edge software with top-of-the-line hardware. You’ll get bright and smooth displays, excellent health tracking features, and battery life that can go as long as two days.

Prefer a more unique design? The Google Pixel Watch 2 should be right up your alley. The sleek design and speedy internals guarantee a slick user experience, even though the display isn’t quite as bright as the Samsung competition. Unfortunately, Google’s smartwatch still packs oversized bezels, which takes away from the immersion when interacting with the screen. On the flip side, the watch guarantees a clean Wear OS 4 user experience.

Do you prefer long battery life over aesthetics? Mobvoi’s Ticwatch Pro 5 is the answer. The utilitarian-looking watch has a killer trick up its sleeve with a secondary LCD that helps cut battery consumption dramatically. Boasting an upgrade to the latest Snapdragon W5+ platform, the Tickwatch Pro 5’s battery life stretches as long as three days, with fast and fluid performance backing it up. There’s no word on a Wear OS 4 upgrade, but the watch has all the essentials covered at a great price to boot.

You could also save yourself some cash by going for the older, but still great, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. It has a clean design and a Wear OS 3 upgrade. The battery also lasts a full day of use. Couple that with the frequently discounted price, and the Galaxy Watch 4 makes an excellent case for itself as a first smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 in black, positioned at an angle Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

Best overall

The right choice, if you don’t care about the bezel

$235 $300 Save $65

Shipping with Wear OS 4 and driven by some of the best hardware in the industry, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 remains the top choice among Android smartwatches. It’s not even super expensive anymore. But if you want a slightly more premium body and the novel, tactile, rotating bezel, the slightly more costly Watch 6 Classic is right there.