What are the best smartwatches which you can pair up with an Android phone? We’ve tested out loads of the latest watches and wearables packing Google’s Android Wear OS, which link direct to your Android smartphone (and now your iPhone too) for full notification support, fitness tracking and smart home control. Here’s a selection of our favourites.
Smartwatches have been around for a few years now, with most manufacturers already on their second or third generation of wearable devices. Apple has of course staggered onto the smartwatch scene with its own Apple Watch, now up to the Series 3, but for anyone demanding a bit more choice, Android Wear is where it’s at.
Here’s our pick of the best Android watches you can buy in 2017, on pretty much any budget, as well as a handy explainer of Android Wear and its full capabilities.
What is an Android smartwatch and what can an Android watch do?
Apple is so far leading the competition when it comes to smartwatch tech with its excellent Apple Watch. However, that could well change in the near future, with Android taking the lead instead.
After all, Google’s Android Wear OS, designed specifically for Android watches, is better than ever thanks to the fresh new version 2.0, which adds loads of great new features. This sexy revamped software has come to quite a few Android smartwatches in 2017, meaning these wrist rockets are even more enticing.
Recent advances in the smart home world have meant these smartwatches are now becoming remote controls for our home gadgets as well as a second screen for our phones. Factor in GPS support and onboard storage and these Android watches are now handy stand-alone exercise companions and fitness trackers too.
Android Wear smartwatches aren’t just compatible with Android smartphones, either. Android Wear support has long since spread to Apple devices too, via the Android Wear iOS app. So iPhone users can sport an Android smartwatch instead of an Apple Watch, if they wish.
Google has partnered up with plenty of manufacturers in the past to create Android watches, while the likes of Samsung and LG regularly update their own line-up. Likewise, you’ll find more affordable devices from brands such as Ticwatch. That means plenty of choice, with a range to suit all kinds of budgets and user needs. So here’s our favourite Android Wear watches right now, for budgets of any size.
Best Android smartwatches 2017: LG Watch Sport
The LG Watch Sport is a no-compromise offering that comes with all the bells and whistles you could want on a smartwatch, plus a price tag to match (now around £250 here in the UK).
As the name suggests, the Sport is aimed at fitness fans who demand essential features for tracking their efforts. A heart rate sensor, GPS and even cellular support mean it can operate completely independently of your smartphone, so you can take this watch on the road and still monitor your activity levels.
Check out our LG Watch Sport feature for all you need to know.
Best Android smartwatches 2017: LG Watch Style
If you’re looking for a current-generation Android Wear device, the LG Watch Style is arguably one of the most basic offerings available. This smartwatch is a far more conservative effort than the Sport model, slashing some of the Sport’s flashier components and instead providing a simple yet effective user experience in a stylish package.
Whilst that means fitness fans looking for GPS and a heart-rate sensor will be better served by the likes of the Polar M600 or Huawei Watch 2 and there’s no NFC, simplicity does have its advantages.
For as low as £160 in some places, the LG Watch Style has fast become one of the most affordable watches right now. However, with the Android Wear 2.0 update now available to a whole host of older wearables as well, there’s a lot of choice out there for a decent price.
Have a gander at our full LG Watch Style review for all you need to know.
Best Android smartwatches 2017: Huawei Watch (first generation)
The Huawei Watch may not boast the most original or exciting name, but it’s a good looking Android Wear smartwatch that packs a decent 1.4-inch AMOLED display with 400 x 400 resolution and 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Charging of the 300mAh battery is done via conductive USB and gives enough juice for a reasonably solid 24 hours of use.
Huawei’s Watch packs a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 CPU with 4GB of onboard storage, but sadly there’s no GPS support – for that you need to look to the second generation (see later). However, you do get a heart rate sensor built into the back, so tracking your fitness sessions using a connected smartphone is always an option.
Now that the Huawei Watch 2 is out, you can bag the original Watch for around £200. Not cheap, but a solid price considering the slick design.
Check out our full Huawei Watch review.
Best Android smartwatches 2017: Huawei Watch 2
Huawei finally updated its smartwatch for 2017 and the result is the Huawei Watch 2. This is one of the very first wearables to come packing Android Wear 2.0, an updated version of Google’s smartwatch OS packing even more smart features. Android Wear is now more independent for a start, allowing you to download apps, swap watch faces and so on without reaching for your phone.
Factor in Huawei’s smart hardware and the Watch 2 is a formidable beast indeed. You get built-in GPS, WiFi and cellular support, plus a heart rate sensor like before. The crisp screen and two-day battery life (without cellular enabled) round off a solid smartwatch.
Check out our full Huawei Watch 2 review.
Best Android smartwatches 2017: Nokia Steel HR
The Steel HR is a solid choice if you want a smartwatch that looks nothing like a smartwatch. This great-looking slice of tech features an analogue face, complete with physical goal counter, as well as a dinky digital face that can report on your steps count, calorie burn and so on. You also get basic notifications support, for added smarts.
The Nokia Health Mate app is a great little companion, recording all of your efforts to date. You have a heart rate sensor which continuously tracks your pulse as well. Factor in the three week battery life and this really is a great watch, even if the smarts aren’t quite as smart as some.
Have a gander at our in-depth Nokia Steel HR review.
Best Android smartwatches 2017: Ticwatch E
On a tight budget? This is one of the cheapest options out there as far as Android Wear devices and smartwatches in general go.
Just over £100 bags you a fully fledged Android Wear watch, complete with heart rate tracking and app support via Google Play. Only more premium features such as NFC support and cellular connectivity are missing in action. We’re not a massive fan of the chunky design, which especially doesn’t suit feminine wrists. But if you can get past that, there’s a lot to like here.
For more info, head over to our Ticwatch E review.
Best Android smartwatches 2017: Tag Heuer Connected
As high end smartwatches go, the Tag Heuer Connected sits atop the pile – certainly for that price of near £3000.
Does that price only get you the premium Swiss watch manufacturer name, or more? Well, there’s only a dual core processor running at 1.6GHz and you don’t get GPS support, which is a real shame. Battery life tops out at 24 hours too, like most other Android Wear watches.
However, you do get a gorgeous 1.63-inch 360 x 360 LTPS LCD screen and a conductive USB charger, plus IP67 water-resistance.
The luxury look is this Android watch’s big appeal. That premium finish is neatly complemented by a chunky-yet-comfortable strap and a hefty 12.8mm build. Plus, of course, you get multiple Tag Heuer watch faces to show off to your mates.
Best Android smartwatches for 2017: Moto 360 Sport
The Moto 360 Sport is an all-round performer for sports fans, as the name kind of suggests.
This Android watch comes with GPS and heart rate sensors built in, with a comfortable build that makes running a pleasure. And thanks to an IP67 rating, it’s weather resistant too. The AnyLight screen adjusts to give the optimum brightness at any given time, thus saving on battery, while offering a clear readout on the 1.37-inch 360 x 325 IPS LCD display at all times.
This £140 smartwatch lasts for up to 24 hours on a charge and works with the latest Android Wear OS. But it also has sports focused tracking for things like lap times while out exercising.
Check out our Moto 360 review.
Best Android smartwatches for 2017: Fossil Q Founder
The first smartwatch from Fossil, the Q Founder is another classic watchmaker going digital smart.
There’s an Intel Atom processor, 1.63-inch 360 x 360 LTPS LCD screen, 4GB storage and IP67 water-resistance crammed into this Android watch. You don’t get GPS but you do get a brushed and polished metal face, which looks lovely. This does have a flat finish of course, so you don’t get a true circle display unfortunately.
Check out our Fossil Q review.
Best Android smartwatches for 2017: Nixon The Mission
This chunky Android Wear smartwatch is all about being active and adventurous. The 48mm rugged watch is water-resistant to 10 ATM, aka 100 metres, and is super tough thanks to its surgical grade stainless steel build.
Thanks to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 system-on-a-chip combined with an AMOLED display, battery life is good for at least 24 hours. This Nixon watch can be used for sports thanks to GPS and the 4GB of onboard storage can be loaded with music, to enjoy on your jogs via a Bluetooth connected headset. All that for just £280.
Best Android smartwatches for 2017: Asus ZenWatch 3
One of the newest Android watches of the bunch, this Asus offering packs the latest energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 4GB storage, a 340mAh battery and a 1.39-inch 400 x 400 resolution AMOLED display. The result is good battery life on what looks like a well designed smartwatch featuring metallic classic side buttons.
This is a seriously well-rounded smartwatch, literally and figuratively, and at a tidy £195 price.
Check out our Asus ZenWatch 3 review.
Best Android smartwatches for 2017: LG Watch Urbane
LG has released several smartwatches but its Urbane is arguably the best of the bunch. The chunky metallic build is premium while the strap is soft and comfortable. There’s a 1.3-inch 320 x 320 P-OLED display and microUSB charger for a decent battery life of 24 hours with plenty of use.
This LG watch is IP67 water-resistant and the price, for the specs on offer, is respectable at about £180.
Check out our full LG Watch Urbane review.
Want to see which Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches are our favourites? Check out our guide to the best Android Wear 2.0 devices.