Best smartwatch for Android: Wear OS and alternatives

If you’re the owner of an Android phone there are plenty of great compatible smartwatches to choose from.

The Apple Watch Series 5 may be the best selling smartwatch in the world, but it still can’t be paired with Android smartphones, meaning those who don’t want to make the switch to an iPhone are forced to explore the world of Android watches.

But that’s no hardship as there are so many great smartwatches out there that are Android compatible.

Your first port of call will be Wear OS smartwatches – and we have a run down of the best here.

But devices like the Samsung Galaxy smartwatch range, Huawei and even Fitbit smartwatches are all Android compatible too – and offer different benefits. Read on for our insights.

Update: We updated this article in March 2020 to include the latest Android smartwatches we’ve been testing including the new Michael Kors and Skagen Gen 5 devices.

Best Wear OS smartwatches

When many refer to Android watches, they mean Google’s own Wear OS. It’s one operating system that brands can use across their devices. It should be the optimum experience for Android users – just like the Apple Watch and iOS – but sadly Wear OS/Android Wear doesn’t pack many of the features we expect from modern smartwatches. However, many Wear OS watches are some of the nicest looking on the market.

Skagen Falster 3

Skagen Falster 3

Credit: Wareable

Key features

  • Android and iOS
  • Google Wear OS
  • 42mm case
  • 22mm interchangeable watch straps
  • Google Pay
  • Built-in GPS
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Waterproof design
  • Up to 24 hours battery
  • Price when reviewed: $299 – Skagen Falster 3 product page

Ever since the first Falster smartwatch, the range has been a leader in terms of design. And the Falster 3 is no different. At just 11mm thin and powered by a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, it’s a great looking and powerful Wear OS smartwatch that comes recommended.

The newly released Falster 3 also boasts upgraded memory, water resistance and heart rate monitor. Battery life remains at 24 hours. It runs on Fossil Group’s Gen 5 platform – with Google’s Wear OS in the background.

It has grown to 42mm (which we count as unisex) but retains its premium case with great looking (if fiddly) straps. The 1.3-inch AMOLED is also bigger, so overall the smartwatch is easier to read and use.

The beauty of the Falster 3 is still its thinness, and at 11mm there are few devices that look and feel so sleek on the wrist.

However, the heart rate sensor isn’t anywhere near good enough and the design and strap aren’t really suited to sweaty workouts.

Read our full Skagen Falster 3 review.

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

Fossil Gen 5
Credit: Wareable

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • 44mm case
  • Silicone, stainless steel & leather straps
  • 3 ATM (Swim-proof) water resistance
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • 8GB storage/1GB RAM
  • Built-in speaker to make calls
  • NFC for Google Pay
  • 24 hours battery
  • Price when reviewed: $295 – Fossil Gen 5 product page

Fossil is working through bringing the fifth generation is technology across its sub-brands, but the Gen 5 Carlyle is the flagship for the range and a decent choice for those looking for a stylish option.

The Carlyle HR and Julianna HR for ladies, come in a host of bold, 44mm sized case options.

There’s built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, a swim-proof design and Google Pay to make contactless payments. However, we’re not vouching for the accuracy of the sensors, and this is by no means a performance fitness, health or sport tracking option.

A speaker has now been added into the mix letting you play music sans headphones, hear Google Assistant responses and make calls from your wrist.

The Julianna and Carlyle HR are some of the best looking Wear OS watches you can get, and the Gen 5 builds on all the good stuff that Fossil has already achieved with a platform that still needs some refining.

Read our Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch review

Suunto 7

Suunto 7

Suunto 7 key features

  • Runs on Google Wear OS
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform
  • Compatible with Android and iOS
  • Weighs 70g
  • Uses 24mm straps
  • GPS, Glonass, Galileo
  • Up to 12 hours GPS battery life in GPS/Up to 48 hours in daily use
  • Waterproof up to 50 meters
  • Price when reviewed: $499 – Suunto 7 product page

The Suunto 7 is a smartwatch that manages to bring some interesting software features to the table, but is ultimately held back by familiar Wear OS shortcomings – including battery life and poor on-board fitness tracking.

In running terms the built in Suunto app does a good job, and offers decent mapping features – based on Suunto’s heatmap software. Run tracking was accurate and you get decent analytics – but the experience isn’t as polished or slick as the Apple Watch or dedicated Garmins.

Ultimately though, it’s ended up with something that costs more than an Apple Watch and a whole host of other sporty smartwatches that will give you a better overall experience. Even if it does have those great mapping skills.

On the music front there’s 8GB of storage on board (smartwatches normally have 4GB) leaving room for thousands of MP3s to be played from the wrist. However, WearOS doesn’t allow for offline storage of Spotify music – but you can tap into the library of Google Play Music and download to the Suunto.

Fossil Sport

4. Fossil Sport

Fossil Sport features

  • Available in 41mm and 43mm sizes
  • Runs on Google’s Wear OS
  • 5ATM waterproof
  • 22mm straps (interchangeable)
  • Microphone
  • Google Pay
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Built-in GPS
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor
  • Price when reviewed: $255 – Fossil Sport official page

The first Fossil watch to come with the now-standard Qualcomm 3100 chipset, which aims to make performance improvements across the board including ramping up battery life, the Fossil Sport is still the best Wear OS watch to own.

Coming in case sizes of 43mm or 41mm, which also come in a variety of eye-popping colors, this is an ideal wrist partner to an Android phone.

Particularly for those looking for a workout-first watch, the Sport can handle it all, packing GPS for location tracking, a swim-proof design and a heart rate monitor.

It’s one of the lightest watches to wear when exercising, too, and though we don’t particularly love the Google Fit experience in its current form, this does count for a lot – especially when you can just download a third-party app from the Google Play Store and bypass the shoddy core experience.

Battery life is still only around 24-36 hours, which isn’t ideal, but, all things considered, this is an affordable and handy fitness companion showcasing exactly what Wear OS can (and can’t) do.

Read our full Fossil Sport review

TicWatch E2

5. TicWatch E2

Ticwatch E2 features

  • Runs on Google’s Wear OS
  • 46mm watch case
  • Built-in GPS
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • Dedicated swim tracking
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 1-2 days battery life
  • Price when reviewed: $255 – Ticwatch E2 official page

If you don’t want to spend big on a smartwatch, the Ticwatch E2 is, in our opinion, the best budget option available right now for those with an Android device.

It may not be as powerful as the TicWatch Pro LTE, but the E2 is still a respectable fitness tracker, albeit one living inside a slightly chunky and bland frame.

The benefit of this slightly bigger design is the room for a heart rate sensor and GPS, which is also backed up by a suprisingly good display and responsiveness, considering the price.

You won’t have access to big smartwatch features like LTE or Google Pay, as we say, and the battery life is just a meagre 1-2 days, but this is a great pick for those who want a cheap, balanced workout partner.

Price when reviewed: $159.99

Read our full TicWatch E2 review

Michael Kors Access Lexington 2

Lexington 2

Lexington 2 features

  • Powered by Wear OS by Google
  • Compatible with iPhone and Android phones
  • 44mm case
  • AMOLED Display
  • Voice-activated Google Assistant
  • Heart Rate tracking
  • Swimproof
  • Payment technology
  • GPS distance tracking
  • Water resistant up to 30M
  • Price from: $350 | Lexington 2 official page

The 44mm Lexington 2 is the priciest in MK’s range, and set you back $425 – although different finishes and models do vary.

It’s available five different colorways including gold tone, tri-tone and silver tone metallic options all that come with a 22mm sized band.

Of course Google’s Wear OS is there to bring smartwatch staple features including payments, heart rate monitoring and GPS tracking as well as access to Google Assistant. Accuracy of heart rate tech isn’t brilliant, but let’s face it, this isn’t a fitness watch.

There’s also a speaker, so you can’t make and take calls and hear responses from Google’s smart assistant.

The battery life is good for up to 36 hours, though that’s dependent on features you regularly use. Our testing saw it get through a day easily, and that’s main thing. For many that won’t be enough.

Have a read of our full Michael Kors Access Lexington 2 smartwatch review to read our full testing.

Michael Kors Access Bradshaw 2

Bradshaw 2

Bradshaw 2 features

  • Powered by Wear OS by Google
  • Compatible with iPhone and Android phones
  • 44mm case
  • AMOLED Display
  • Voice-activated Google Assistant
  • Heart Rate tracking
  • Swim-proof
  • Payment technology
  • GPS distance tracking
  • Water resistant up to 30M
  • Price from: $350 | Bradshaw 2 official page

The Bradshaw 2 is the MK smartwatch you go for if you like your watches big and showy.

There’s a punchy 1.28-inch AMOLED display to host Google’s Wear OS – and from there you can make payments using Google Pay and there’s a speaker to make calls (when paired to your smartphone of course). There’s also heart rate and GPS, although this isn’t the ideal watch for runs or the gym.

You’re getting a performance boost thanks to the inclusion of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 Wear processor alongside 1GB of RAM. There’s now 8GB of external storage to free up more space for storing music and apps.

It comes in pavé tri-tone, rose gold-tone and gold-tone finishes all with the same 44mm size watch case. There’s also additional blue-tone, pink-tone and blush-tone if you’re looking for something in a bolder, more manly shade.

All come with interchangeable 22mm straps with extra buckles to adjust fit. It’s also water resistant up to 30 metres, though it’s not the kind of watch you’d actually want to take for a dip.

There’s certainly nothing subtle about the Bradshaw 2, but with more masculine looks and that big, brash design there’s still something quite appealing about the feature-packed smartwatch.

TicWatch Pro 2020

TicWatch Pro 2020
Credit: Wareable

TicWatch Pro 2020 key features

  • Wear OS
  • 45mm case
  • 22mm interchangeable straps
  • Dual-layer display
  • Google Pay
  • GPS and heart rate monitor
  • 2 days battery life (smartwatch mode), 30 days (basic watch mode)
  • Price when reviewed: $249.99

For our money the TicWatch Pro 2020 is still a little pricey. The specs aren’t all that great and you can pick up better alternatives for significantly less.

However, in the Wear OS stable it mixes a good mix of features with am understated design – and that makes the TicWatch Pro 2020 worth a look.

You’re still getting the same sized 45mm watch case, which is available in black and silver, as its predecessor, and at 12.6mm thick it’s not the slimmest out there – and the Falster 3 comes up with a much nicer build.

There’s a 1.39-inch, 400 x 400 resolution touchscreen AMOLED display, However, it’s quite challenging to read in bright sunlight, even with the screen cranked up to full brightness.

There’s GPS built in which works well – but the heart rate sensor didn’t fare well in our tests – and won’t do the trick for anyone serious about fitness.

So what does the TicWatch get right?

You get two days of battery life, although a new power saving mode will make it work for 30 days as a digital watch.

As we said, the TicWatch creeps into a price bracket that doesn’t make it an easy fit. But if your eye was caught by the cheaper TicWatch E2 but you’re looking for a tad more style, the TicWatch Pro 2020 could be a contender.

Android watch alternatives

Wear OS is getting pretty dated now and is not recommended for those who value features such as top notch health, wellness data and sports tracking. Here are our pick of devices that work brilliantly with Android smartphones – but don’t use Wear OS.

Huawei Watch GT 2e

Huawei Watch GT2e

Credit: Wareable

Huawei Watch GT2e key features

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Runs on Huawei’s Lite OS, not Wear OS
  • 42mm and 46mm models
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in music player (Android only)
  • SpO2
  • Stress tracking (Android only)
  • Speaker and microphone
  • 15 sports tracking modes
  • Heart rate monitor
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Two weeks battery (normal use)
  • Price when reviewed: $250 – Huawei Watch GT2e product page

The Huawei Watch GT 2e builds on the impressive GT2 – and is the company’s third smartwatch to run Lite OS after it ditched Wear OS. It’s not a huge change from the GT2, which introduced smaller sizes, a speaker and phone call functionality to make it more of a smartwatch. However, it’s got a new sporty look, and Huawei has enabled new features such as SpO2 and stress tracking.

The Huawei Watch GT 2e favours Android users, who get exclusive access to features like the built-in music player and the stress tracking app.

But the lack of changes over the GT2 don’t make it any less of a great choice. It’s a powerful sports watch with dedicated tracking profiles for pretty much every activity – and it’s especially good for runners with guided running sessions straight from the watch and advanced running metrics focused on the effectiveness of sessions, recovery and VO2 Max.

It also boasts a two-week battery life, despite an always-on display, GPS location tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep reports, storage for music support and more.

Its only real downfall that sports tracking data is not able to be shared with major third-party apps. All of your data can only live inside of Huawei’s companion Health app.

If you’re in Europe the Huawei Watch GT2e is great value for money, but with the restrictions in the US, you’ll be made to pay through the nose, and the value just isn’t there.

Read our Huawei Watch GT2e review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

1. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 features

The latest smartwatch from Samsung is also its best. A perfect fit for both men and women, thanks to its 40mm and 44mm case sizes, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is also our top pick for Android smartphone owners.

No matter which you pick of the Active’s two variants, you get a crisp display surrounded by a touch sensitive bezel – something that helps you navigate the screen without touching the screen.

Instead of running on the equivalent of Android, this smartwatch instead runs on the same software as the rest of Samsung’s other wearable devices – Tizen.

Don’t be put off by the unfamiliarity, though, this is an excellent operating system that’s able to host tons of functionality: GPS tracking for workouts, heart rate monitoring, notification support, sleep reports, offline Spotify playback and much more.

Even better? That list is set to grow, with blood pressure monitoring, ECG readings and fall detection coming to the smartwatch in 2020.

Battery life is a so-so 48 hours, but this is still double the Apple Watch with much of the same functionality.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review

Fitbit Versa 2

2. Fitbit Versa 2

Fitbit Versa 2 features

  • Up to 5 days battery life
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Automatic sleep monitoring
  • Swim tracking
  • Amazon Alexa smart assistant
  • Apps and customizable watch faces
  • Fitbit Pay
  • Price when reviewed: $199.95 – Fitbit Versa 2 official page

Half the price of the latest Apple Watch, the latest Fitbit smartwatch is a fitness and health tracking focused beast living inside a small and light package.

The Versa 2 doesn’t offer the same heavyweight features of more expensive watches, such as GPS tracking or an army of third-party apps, but the trade-off includes six-day battery life, Alexa support and the best sleep tracking in the business.

This is all powered by the wonderfully intuitive Fitbit app, where you can pore over the stats your Fitbit collects throughout the day and night – including Sleep Score, Female Health Tracking, resting heart rate, calories burned, workouts and more.

Like the Samsung detailed above, it’s also set to improve in the near future: the SpO2 sensor is set to track more advanced biometrics, while updates will bring more always-on watch faces to pick from and improvements to the watch’s heart and sleep tracking algorithms.

Read our full Fitbit Versa 2 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch features

  • 42mm and 46mm size options
  • Runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • Activity tracking/sleep monitoring
  • Samsung Pay
  • Spotify offline playlist support
  • 4-5 days battery life
  • Price when reviewed: From $300 – Galaxy Watch official page

It may not be the newest Samsung watch, but the company’s flagship is still one of the top devices Android handset owners can buy.

Similar to the more sporty-looking Galaxy Watch Active 2, there’s also two case sizes available with the regular Galaxy Watch – however, they’re slightly bigger, registering at 42mm and 46mm.

Make no mistake, though – this is the most smartwatch-like device of Samsung’s current pack. There’s the option for 4G/LTE, 2-4 days of battery life (depending on which model you pick) and still all the fitness and health tracking smarts Tizen has to offer.

And though that Tizen experience doesn’t quite provide the same app support as the Apple Watch and Wear OS, it does boast one killer entry – a Spotify app that actually lets you download offline playlists. Winner.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch review

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