There were only a few decent smartwatch options in the early days of Android Wear — mainly from Motorola and LG. Since then, the platform has been rebranded to Wear OS, and many other companies have joined the Wear OS party. We’re now seeing Wear OS watches come from fashion brands and watchmakers as well as smartphone OEMs. There are plenty of options out there, but which ones are the best? Here are our picks for the best Wear OS watches and best Android watches you can buy.
Don’t miss: What you need to know about Wear OS, Google’s smartwatch platform
Why choose Wear OS in 2021?
Wear OS has needed a revamp for years, and Google finally delivered one in 2021. Wear OS 3, which was co-developed by Google and Samsung, offers the ability for OEMs to customize the look and feel of the interface. It also provides better all-around performance, more battery efficiency, and new apps. Sounds great, right?
Unfortunately, Wear OS 3 is only available on one smartwatch right now, and only a handful of Wear OS devices are confirmed to get the update in 2022.
With all that said, Wear OS 2, which is available on all entries but the Galaxy Watch 4 on this list, still has some things going for it. First, tight integration with Android: whether you’re interacting with a notification or asking Google Assistant a question, the experience between your smartwatch and your smartphone should be relatively seamless. Wear OS is a lot like Android proper in that it provides choice to the user. Need something sporty for your outdoor activities? There’s a watch for that. Looking for a classier smartwatch that actually looks like a traditional timepiece? Yep, there are watches for that use case as well.
The best Wear OS watches
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best Wear OS watch you can buy. It has exclusive access to the major Wear OS 3 update until 2022, and the hardware is great, too.
The Mobvoi TicWatch E3 is the best cheap Wear OS watch. Not only does it have a small price tag, it also has decent hardware.
The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is the best Wear OS watch for long battery life, thanks to its innovative dual display and power-saving features.
The Fossil Gen 5 is the best last-gen Wear OS smartwatch. It’s available in lots of styles and still (mostly) holds up today.
The Skagen Falster 3 is another good Wear OS watch. It has the same hardware as the Fossil Gen 5, only it was designed by Skagen.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: The best Wear OS watch
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
If you’re planning on buying a Wear OS smartwatch in 2021, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic should be on the top of your list. They’re the only watches running the new Wear OS 3 update, and that’ll be the case until sometime in 2022.
Samsung’s new smartwatches come in multiple size options and a variety of colors and styles. The Galaxy Watch 4 is for the sportier crowd with its lightweight and slim design, while the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is better suited for the office. Both offer solid activity tracking and heart rate data, and the new body composition metrics can be very useful.
Wear OS 3 shines on both watches, though Samsung’s software can be overbearing at times. For instance, the default voice assistant is Bixby — Google Assistant won’t be available until a later date.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Samsung’s best smartwatch, now with Wear OS
Samsung and Google combined forces to improve the software situation with smartwatches on Android. The result is the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, running the new, co-developed Wear OS. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 is for the sportier crowd, while the Watch 4 Classic is for those who’d like a watch they can wear to the office.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
The classiest smartwatch Samsung has to offer
If you’re looking for a high-end follow-up to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3, look no further. Now with Wear OS on board, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will be perfect for your trip to the office or a night out.
Classy, durable designs
Multiple size options
Wear OS 3 is all-around good
Large models have decent battery life
Improved heart rate sensor
Useful body composition metrics
No solid software update commitments from Google
No Google Assistant support
Slow, slow charging
Poor GPS performance
Sleep tracking needs tweaking
Small models have short battery life
Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Mobvoi TicWatch E3: The best cheap Wear OS watch
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
The Mobvoi TicWatch E3 is the best cheap Wear OS smartwatch you can buy. Available for $200, Mobvoi’s budget-friendly watch offers great hardware, a sleek design, and a battery that can last all day. Mobvoi needed to cut costs somewhere, so you’ll probably want to swap out the cheap-feeling strap right away.
The TicWatch E3 runs Wear OS 2 right now, but it’s eligible to receive Wear OS 3 when it’s released in 2022.
Mobvoi TicWatch E3
The Mobvoi TicWatch E3 marks a generational update over its processor thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform. It also boasts an updated design and improved performance.
Decent battery life
NFC and Google Pay
Iffy automatic activity tracking
Inconsistent sleep tracking
Wear OS 2 is aging
Check out our full review to learn more about the TicWatch E3.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3: The best Wear OS watch
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 is the first smartwatch with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset. This, coupled with 1GB of RAM, makes for overall good performance and long battery life. While some materials seem a little cheap, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is still one of the better Wear OS watches you can buy today.
The TicWatch Pro 3 runs the “old” Wear OS version at the moment but is one of the only current-gen devices slated to receive Wear OS 3 in 2022.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
The TicWatch Pro 3 GPS is the first Wear OS smartwatch powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset. It features enhanced battery life compared to previous models and includes blood oxygen tracking. The smartwatch has also been redesigned to be thinner and lighter than previous models.
Great battery life
Dual display is ace
Accurate heart rate sensor
Dire companion app
Inaccurate sleep and fitness tracking
Less durable than previous models
Check out our full review to learn more about the TicWatch Pro 3.
Fossil Gen 5: An oldie but a goodie
Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch
The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch makes the best of a strange software situation with excellent hardware and performance. It has 1GB of RAM and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 SoC, which means the performance is acceptable, though not as speedy as something running the Snapdragon Wear 4100.
Notably, the Fossil Gen 5 and Skagen Falster 3 (below) will not be eligible for the Wear OS 3 update in 2022.
Looking for something with LTE connectivity? You’ll want to check out the Fossil Gen 5 LTE.
Fossil Gen 5
Wear OS needs a revamp, but you won’t get a better experience with the software than on the Fossil Gen 5. Because it’s Wear OS, you can use Google Assistant, Calendar, and other Google apps.
Crisp, bright display
Plenty of great watch faces preinstalled
Useful custom battery modes
GPS, NFC, and heart rate sensor
Accurate fitness tracking
The built-in speaker is handy
So-so battery life
Pokey performance in 2021
It can be expensive when not on sale
Check out our full review to learn more about the Fossil Gen 5.
Skagen Falster 3: Same as the Gen 5, but different
The Skagen Falster 3 fixes all the performance and battery issues that plagued the first two Falster smartwatches. It has essentially the same specs as the Fossil Gen 5 (above), as well as its fantastic custom battery modes that help it eke out as much battery as possible. There’s also a built-in speaker, so you can hear Google Assistant talk to you and answer phone calls directly on the watch through Bluetooth.
If I had one complaint, it’d be that this watch is too expensive. So is the Gen 5, but the Falster 3 rarely sees discounts.
Skagen Falster 3
The Skagen Falster 3 rights many of the wrongs committed by its predecessor. It has improved specs, support for making/receiving Bluetooth calls, a built-in speaker, and the same great custom battery modes found on the Fossil Gen 5.
Simple, clean design
All-day battery life
Useful custom battery modes
The built-in speaker is convenient
Wear OS can be very buggy
Performance could be better
It can be expensive when not on sale
Check out our full review to learn more about the Skagen Falster 3.
That’s it for our list of the best Wear OS watches you can buy, but it’s only a fraction of what’s out there. We also want to give an honorable mention to the following products:
Fossil Gen 6: Fossil’s new flagship smartwatches are launching soon. They’re all slated to get Wear OS 3 in 2022, but for now, they have the same ol’ Wear OS we’ve used for a few years. All devices in the Gen 6 lineup have more powerful specs, better fitness tracking sensors, and more customizable designs. These watches will surely make our best Wear OS watches list once we’ve had a chance to test them out.
Suunto 7: Suunto’s first-ever Wear OS smartwatch is a solid option if you need a GPS sports watch running Wear OS. Unfortunately, the high price tag hasn’t dropped much since its launch, and there are still some software issues plaguing the device today.
Moto 360 (2019): If you need a Wear OS watch right now and don’t mind older software, the Moto 360 (2019) could be a good buy if found on sale. It has solid hardware, great battery life, and offers one of our favorite Wear OS designs in recent years.
Why you should trust the editor
Not only does Jimmy Westenberg love wearables, he loves helping people find the right devices to suit their needs. He’s been our resident fitness reviewer at Android Authority since 2016, and in that time, has reviewed dozens of fitness products and other wearables.
Through his rigorous testing of fitness products and deep knowledge of health devices and services, you can rest assured knowing Jimmy will give you honest recommendations. Looking for more brand-specific recommendations? Check out the following guides:
Above article first published by . We curated and re-published.